Brazilian Guava Tea - great over ice! (ETS image)

Brazilian Guava Tea – great over ice! (ETS image)

Summer is a relative concept. Which may have some influence on how you consume tea. When I was growing up back in the Northeast, summer began with pools opening on Memorial Day, followed by school letting out. A period of heat followed, the pools closed on Labor Day and school started again. Leading up to that were the dog days of summer, typically the hottest and in many places the most humid time of the year.

Which is all just a memory now that I live in balmy Arizona, where summery type weather lasts from about March to October and I suspect it would be decidedly different for anyone living in a cold clime like Alaska.

Since my esteemed editor has also written about dog days and tea (great minds thinking alike and whatnot) I won’t devote much space to defining them, except to say they occur sometime in July and August, depending on whom you ask, and they get their name from the fact that the ancient Romans associated them with Sirius, the Dog Star.

What all this means for tea drinking, assuming you live in a place where the seasons are more clearly defined than hot, hotter, hottest, and groan, is that there’s still plenty of good iced tea drinking weather to be had, even as we reach the dog days. Hot weather and iced tea drinking seem to be a natural fit, especially here in the United States, where we don’t drink much in the way of hot tea but we do put away considerable amounts of the iced variety.

But the former might not be such a bad choice (hot tea, that is) during warm weather, according to some accounts. They suggest that hot beverages might actually have a cooling effect when consumed on a sultry day. There’s a little more to the notion than I can summarize briefly so I’ll direct you here and here for more details.

Not that I’m convinced, mind you, and like so many Americans my choice of tea during the dog days and the rest of summer will be a nice cool glass of iced tea. No word, by the way, on whether drinking iced tea in cold weather can warm you. But I doubt it and although we’re still drinking iced tea during the dog days most of us will be turning our thoughts to what hot tea might be best to soon ward off the winter chill. That’s present company excluded, of course, but that’s another story and one that I’ve related here.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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