Tia McDonald was working as the culinary director for the Vetri Foundation when she started going through what she calls a “food metamorphosis.” While teaching children about healthy eating habits, she began experiencing health issues after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
So the Culinary Institute of America-trained chef started drinking unsweetened herbal teas. When commercial offerings came up short, she brewed her own, starting with a ginger green tea. She used an exceptionally long, multi-day steeping process that resulted in a “super-bold ginger flavor” (to which we can attest).
McDonald started making small batches of the tea and selling them under the brand Zazou Teas, named after a punk subculture in World War II France. In addition to Ginger Green, Zazou flavors include Turmeric Tinct (a combo of fresh turmeric, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and black and cayenne pepper) and Hibiscus Ginger (ginger, lemon juice, and a touch of agave syrup).
Because they’re made with fresh ingredients, the small-batch iced teas have a shorter shelf life than most mainstream competitors — about two weeks if kept refrigerated. McDonald, a proponent of moderation, has found that the teas also come in handy as ready-made cocktail mixers.
Zazou Iced Teas, $6 for 12 fluid ounces, at area stores including Primal Supply, Red Hook Coffee, and V Marks the Shop; also available on zazou-online-shop.ecwid.com.