Tag: Tea

Osmanthus Flowering Tea

I picked this flowering Osmanthus tea up in Leaf, a hipsterish restaurant in Liverpool that I want to live in.  I’ve never tried flowering tea before, and it was only a few quid so I thought I’d give it a go.

Anyway, they are sewed up green tea ‘bulbs’ which unfurl when plonked in hot water.  Once they have fully opened you can drink.

It was quite fun, but it wasn’t the best tasting tea I’ve had.  It wasn’t a strong taste, but a bit like stewed green tea.  I’ve also seen prettier flowers on the interwebs.  So I don’t know if this was a dud one, or whether it had been siting on the shelf too long (the other tea I bought there is fine), or whether flower tea is just a bit rubbish. But I think I’ll try some more just to see.

 

Anyone know anything about flowering teas? Have you had good ones?

 

 

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How To Make Green Chai Shortbread

Soooo I’m very into my green tea these days!  So when I found this recipe for Chai Shortbread I got quite excited.  I don’t ‘do’ black tea though so I substituted in T2 Creamy Choc Chai, which is green tea.

Ingredients

  • 150g Margarine
  • 160g Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 300g Plain Flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp Creamy Choc Chai- finely ground
  • 30-50g Chocolate chips (I just eyeballed it, and also ate some so I don’t have a firm grasp of the amount)
  • Optional- extra chocolate to melt on top

I found the trickier part of making the Chai Shortbread was getting the Chai tea fine enough.  The Creamy Choc Chai has some bigger chunks in it, as would any Chai I assume.  I sieved it, pressed it with a spoon, chopped it with a knife, and hit it (gently) with a hammer.  As you might expect using the knife was the most effective!

Chai Shortbread

Recipe

  1. Cream the margarine and sugar, then mix in the vanilla extract.
  2. In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, and beautifully ground Chai.
  3. Mix the two together.  At this point I added my chocolate chips.  Then smushed (technical term!) the mixture together with my hands to make a ‘log’ about 20cm long.  It’s pretty crumbly at this point and fell apart a bit.  And some of the bits that fell of somehow ended up in my mouth…
  4. Anyway, wrap the log in cling film and put in fridge for 1hr.
  5. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F, and put some baking paper on a tray.
  6. Cut the log into discs about 1.5 cm thick.  Then put in the oven for abut 12mins.

It was quite tricky to cut the log into discs…as you can see my chai shortbread pieces are slightly misshapen.   And mine got a little too brown but they still tasted yummy.

Chai Shorbread

 

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The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura- Book Review

The Book of Tea

The Book of Tea

I picked up The Book of Tea from the interwebs for not very much money.  It’s part of the Penguin classics series (no 112 if you were interested).  It’s from 1906, and is a guide to the Japanese tea ceremony.  Not so much a step by step, but a brief history of tea in Japan, and explanation of the importance of drinking tea.

The Philosophy of Tea is not mere aestheticism in the ordinary acceptance of the term, for it expresses conjointly with ethics and religion our whole point of view about man and nature.

I started folding down the pages of The Book of Tea when I found a quote I liked, and suddenly all the pages had corners turned down.  Boyfriend would be most distressed at my treatment of the book, but it’s the words that are important not the paper, right?  Anyway, Okakura writing in the early 20th century comments on the ‘long isolation of Japan’.  He challenges the West’s view of Japan and the East.  Westerners believed, and continue to believe, that Japan is backwards or barbarous.

We have developed along different lines…You have gained expansion at the cost of restlessness; we have created harmony which is weak against aggression.

He talks about the different schools and types of tea, and the different dynasties which favoured them.  He goes into Taoism and Zennism.   I read this on the train to London and was a little tired, so these bits I struggled to take in.

The whole ideal of Teaism is a result of this Zen conception of greatness in the smallest incidents of life.  Taoism furnished the basis for aesthetic ideals, Zennism made them practical.

It’s 108pages long and worth a looksee, though more if you have an interest in Japanese culture than tea.  Who knows if The Book of Tea is accurate with it’s description of tea houses and tea masters.  Or in it’s history of tea.  But taken with a pinch of salt (apparently how tea was drunk once- yuck) it’s a good read.

 

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Green Tea!

Tea

So I’m quite into tea.  Particularly green tea.  I’ve posted about this before, I went through a healthy phase (currently hanging off the healthy wagon), and cut out fizzy drinks.  Instead I replaced them with water and tea.  But I have always hated black tea or regular breakfast tea, even the smell of it makes me feel sick.

Fruit ‘Tea’

In the past I’ve tried the fruit teas that my mum and dad had at home.  I was never very impressed.  They smelt great, but had very weak flavour.  They tasted more like purple hot water, as a result I never really got into them.   Most fruit teas don’t actually have any tea in them so they lack a certain substance.  You can get away with that if you’re packed of spices and whatnot, but less so if you’re just mixed berries…

Green Tea

Green tea can be bitter, and an acquired taste.  So flavoured green teas are a good way in.  I never though green tea with lemon did much but green tea with mint can be delicious.  And green tea is everywhere these days, with all your common brands doing about 470 varieties.  Currently, I’m drinking the Clipper green tea in the morning before work because they were selling it in a lovely tin.  Clipper do a rather nice one with elderflower, nettle, fennel, and citrus as well.

And I have a couple of boxes of Twinings green tea at work because they were on a buy one get one free.  Twinings do the mint one I love, but they now also do ones like Mango and Lychee, and Cherry Bakewell.

You can see a Tetley one in the photo, they have a bunch with B vitamins in them, and say things like ‘IMMUNE’, ‘HEART’, and ‘BOOST’.  This gives the impression they will make you completely immune to illness which ain’t true guys.  The amount of vitamins in them will be so small, and you don’t even eat the tea you just drink it’s water.  Ever so slightly more effective than holistic medicine I would think.  But…the forest fruits ones is quite nice, and smells amazing.

For Christmas boyfriend bought me some T2 tea, which is loose leaf tea, and a bit pricey.  He bought me Gen Mai Cha Bancha which is a very gentle, low caffeine green tea.  He got me another green tea which I had to exchange because it had nuts in it and boyfriend is allergic, but stupid and buys things with nuts in…I picked up the delicious Creamy Choc Chai.  Mum got me some Green Chai loose leaf as well, from a company called Farrar’s which I had never heard of before.  I also have a box I just picked up from Sencha green tea Fortnum and Mason which I have yet to try.

 

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Chai Bubble Tea

I haven’t made bubble tea in a while and I got some new Chai tea so I thought I’d give it another go.

  • Chai Tea
  • Tapioca Pearls
  • Coconut Milk

I boiled 3 Chai teabags then put the tea in the fridge to cool down.  I then boiled some tapioca ‘bubbles’ (known as boba) until they were soft (still chewy though).  I poured the tea into a mason jar*, then poured in some low fat coconut milk, and the boba.  Bubble Tea Chai*Is this crafty or hipstery?  Either way I only did it because I don’t own any glasses.