Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer School- All About Tea Chapter Two

The second chapter in my Tea 101 class was a trip down memory lane, and a look at my life right now. This chapter spoke to me in two ways- one, the art of steeping, having lived in England for four years and experiencing high tea and being introduced to the British Brown Betty, and two, my new love affair with iced teas. I remember my mom making tea once in a while, with her old whistler tea kettle and big boxes of Lipton tea bags. Simple but exactly what she wanted. Today I have no fewer than ten different tea bags in my kitchen along with at least six loose teas. A bright turquoise vintage looking whistler sits on top of my stove, and a mug tree stands on the counter holding my favorite mugs. 

So back to the lesson. The water is key. Always start with fresh COLD water. To boil or not to boil? Well that depends on your tea. If you are using green tea or white tea you want the water to be ALMOST boiling. Boiling water "cooks" the leaves and results in a less flavorful cup. This was news to me! I thought I always had to use boiling water. Then the tea you choose is the next important step. Always use the best tea you can find. If you're using loose tea you want to use one teaspoon of loose tea for every 6 ounce cup of water. 

How long do I steep my tea? Again, that depends on the tea and how strong you like your tea. I usually shoot for 5 minutes, unless the box says something otherwise. Toss the bag or strain the tea into the cup and enjoy it. I like mine just as is, but you can add sugar, honey, milk, lemon, whatever you like.

This same chapter also touched on iced tea, which is nothing more than brewed tea, served over ice, but you already knew that. You want to brew your iced tea at double the strength of regular tea since you'll be serving it over ice which adds water to the drink. I have mentioned that iced tea is my new thing. It totally is. All my life I hated iced tea, hated the taste, hated the smell, and no amount of sweetener or flavoring would change my mind. One day, last year, I tried a nice glass of ginger peach iced tea at a coffee house in Hannibal, Missouri, with not a bit of added sugar, and it was mind blowing. I was instantly sold, and my love affair with all teas over ice began. I bought a couple different teas that very same day and have been trying new iced teas every chance I get.

Since we're talking about iced tea, let's make one I really really love-

Iced Matcha Lemonade

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
1 cup ice, plus more
1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and fairly melted.

Pour over additional ice into two glasses and serve.

Today's photos feature my own teacups and teapot, which is a vintage-style whistler in a pretty turquoise enamel. The teacups are the only two I have, and they have no real historical or family significance. The photos do share a few of my extensive collection of tea towels, these particular ones are made by DII For The Home and feature some pretty French macarons and stripes almost identical to my teapot! They were perfect for these photos.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 55: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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