Tulsi Tea & A Food Gal Giveaway

Take a taste of organic Tulsi teas for a blast of herbal deliciousness. (Photo courtesy of Davidson's Organic Teas)

You probably know your usual garden-variety Genovese basil as the cornerstone of pesto and Margherita pizzas.

But Tulsi or “holy basil” is definitely another type worth trying.

And Davidson’s Organic Teas gives you an easy way to do that with its new Tulsi teas.

Tulsi is considered a sacred herb in many cultures, including India, where it is used in religious ceremonies. It also has been commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

It also makes for a soothing cup of tea — either hot or cold. It has a pronounced herbaceous quality, with minty and floral undertones, as evidenced by the samples I recently tried.

The teas come in six varieties: “Signature Blend,” “Pure Leaves,” “Rooibos Chai,” “Spicy Green,” “Hibiscus Flower,” and “Chamomile Flower.”

They are all certified organic and certified Free Trade. They are all caffeine-free except for the “Spicy Green,” which has a small amount of caffeine from the green tea leaves that are added to the blend.

Davidson, the nation’s oldest organic tea company, provides the Tulsi seeds to farmers in India to grow the plants in the company’s own biodynamic garden. Ten percent of proceeds from the tea benefit projects that help the farmers, including the restoration of abandoned farmlands, and infrastructure improvements to housing and schools.

Tulsi Teas are available at Whole Foods for $2.95 for a box of eight tea bags or $5.50 for a box of 25.

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win an assortment of 100 Tulsi tea bags to enjoy. Entries, limited to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight PST Nov.  12. Winner will be announced Nov. 14.

How to win?

Just tell me your most favorite way to enjoy tea — and why. Best answer wins.

Here’s my own answer to that question:

“Definitely with dim sum. It’s the one time you even get asked in a Chinese restaurant what type of tea you would like. And the slightly bitter tannin of cup after cup of hot tea does such a great job of cutting the richness and saltiness of all of those porky, fried and soy sauce-laced morsels that come to the table so enticingly. Plus, I love the conviviality of it. There’s nothing better than sitting around a big table with friends and family, sharing steamer basket after steamer basket of dumplings, keeping an eagle eye out for your favorite dim sum offerings on the carts that circle the room, and playing host by making sure everyone’s tea cup is always filled.”

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  • My yoga studio has tulsi tea, and it is delicious! However, they posted a notice near the dispenser saying that the tea is being studied for possible contraceptive effects, and that it should be avoided by pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant. It is, however, purported to have very good health benefits for everyone else.

  • I like to enjoy a quiet cup of tea while reading a book — so yummy and relaxing.

  • Well, I really enjoy iced tea best… I drink it year round. But I do enjoy hot tea in the fall and winter… Especially chai tea. Those comforting flavors of cinnamon, cardamom etc… Are so good.

  • I’ve never been much of a tea drinker until my mother-in-law turned me on to her iced tea. She makes it all-year round but it’s especially good in the summer. She uses this Passionfruit Tea that’s only available at this Heath Food store by her and it’s the most YUMMY tea ever especially with a squeeze of lemon! I totally steal some from her every time I visit!

  • It has been green tea whole my life, but ever since I met my Indian neighbor friend, I’m addicted to homemade chai (not the Americanized chai). I drink at least two cups a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I started to fell in love with the flavor and smell of cardamom and without it my day doesn’t start. I still drink green tea for Japanese meals, but I’m really enjoying chai now. 🙂

  • I hate tea, but my husband loves it. I want to win it for him because he makes me a cup of coffee every morning…and he hates coffee!

  • i will add a sprinkle of cinnamon, ginger, cloves or cocoa powder to my tea to add a bit of flavor. mostly i do this to save calories from honey/sugar/cream/milk.

  • I love my “calm me down” cup of tea every night. Every night after I read to the toddler, I make a cup of tea. It’s a nice ritual, and the tea I make changes with the seasons. Right now it’s caffeine free candy cane tea. I’d love to rotate Tulsi tea in! 😉

  • Hot green tea is my all time favorite drink. I love the way hot tea steams up in my face.

  • My boyfriend and I try to enjoy a cup of tea together at night just before bed. He works nights, so it helps him to settle down after coming home late from work. I have a lot of trouble sleeping, and chamomile/catnip tea tends to calm me a bit and helps me get myself to sleep a little easier.

  • Now that the cold weather is setting in, my tea intake is increasing exponentially! I love drinking a nice flavored decaf tea before bed…it puts me in such a peaceful/ready-to-sleep mood!

  • I’ve never heard of Tulsi, but wow does it sound amazing! My favorite way to enjoy tea is in the afternoon as a little pick-me-up. I like it black and usually paired with a little piece of dark chocolate. 😉

  • I’ve always enjoyed the more flowery teas for their fragrance and sweetness, but recently I find myself trying to cook with tea. On one hand, it’s a challenge if you want the tea to shine, because its taste is just so easily overpowered by the other ingredients; On the other hand, it’s like natural makeup, you know something is different from the normal dish, but you can’t pin it down, and the whole dish tastes great. So yeah, I enjoy my tea with my food, but I enjoy my tea *in* my food even more. 😉

  • Now… (the cold weather) is the best (my favorite) time for tea. I drink green tea, tulsi, and echinacea tea interchangeably. So good to keep myself warm and hydrated throughout the day with the warm brew (2-3 cups with one serving of tea leaves).

    Tulsi really has a calming effect!

  • My favorite way to enjoy tea is in the morning. I like Lipton black tea bag with hot water & then honey & milk. So delicious & helps me to wake up!

  • I’ve never tried Tulsi tea before and that sounds wonderful.

    My favorite way to enjoy tea is having “high tea” in the afternoon. Simply pair my pot of tea with a little tea sandwich, a snack, or desserts (sometimes all of the above….I guess that sounds more like a full meal than an afternoon pick me up!) hahahaha….What can I say, I certainly love to eat, and drink. 🙂

  • Tulsi Teas are my mainstay as they provide me with comfort and relaxation, so appreciated in light of my issues with rheumatoid arthritis and spinal stenosis. My sleep, previously disrupted, has become anticipated. Also, a small teapot of one or another tulsi blends sits at my side while I paint. The multiple blends add just the right touch to my activities; and it’s a joy to select the blend I’ll brew throughout the day with a little raw honey. The enticing aromas are inhaled before sipping and set the mood for whatever I’m about to undertake.Can’t beat it!!!

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