The Best Wine And Tea Infusions You Need To Try

By September 28, 2016 Brewing Tea, Cocktails, Mocktails & More

Tea is a perfect way to start any morning and wine is great with dinner or for a relaxing evening with friends. But what if you could combine the two? After all, wine and tea have a lot more in common than you might think.

Each grape or tea leaf is influenced by its growing conditions, soil, rainfall, harvesting, and even production. Then, they’re both lovingly fermented to create a delicious, unique liquid made for sipping.

They also have subtle complexities and flavor notes within. Savoring a cup of tea, for example, is a lot like savoring a glass of wine — you breathe it in, sip with as much air as you can, roll it around your mouth to let the flavors express themselves, swallow, and wait for the lingering notes left on your tongue.

Together, they can create the perfect undiscovered pairing.

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The Tea And Alcohol Love Affair

With so many similarities, it’s not surprising that mixologists and chefs have created infusions of tea and wine after years of combining tea with alcohol.

Over the years, tea-infused liquor has become popular enough that most liquor stores carry bottles of various flavors. For example, a common recipe is soaking four tea sachets in your liquor of choice for anywhere between four and eight hours.

Now, tea is becoming more common in wineries while vintners are experimenting with wine and tea blends for bottling.

Wine And Tea Infusion Combinations

Think subtly. Like pairing cheese or chocolate with wine, the idea is not to overwhelm either one, but instead, to bring out the hidden flavors in both beverages. You want the flavors to complement, not overpower, each other. (Also, avoid using lower quality teas which have heavier flavors compared to quality leaf.)

The best wine and tea combinations come from loose-leaf teas. Here are some outstanding options:

  • Oolong is the most versatile. It has such a depth of flavor that it can combine with the richest of reds or the lightest of whites.
  • Green teas pair well with white wines.
  • Rich, full-bodied reds combine with black teas that have a dark, caramel, or malt flavor.

Making Tea Infused Wine

It starts with your favorite bottle of wine and a quality loose leaf tea. It’s really that easy!

  • 2 bottles of your wine of choice
  • ¼ cup loose leaf tea
  • Cheese cloth
  • Glass pitcher with a lid or plastic wrap for covering
  • Large spoon for stirring

The night before:

Add the two bottles of wine to the pitcher. Pour a bit of boiling water over the tea leaves to start the process. Do not soak the leaves. Just pour water over them. Add the wet tea leaves to the wine. Stir.

If you are using a white wine, transfer to the refrigerator. Similarly, if you’re using a red wine, transfer to a cool place. (The best temperature for red wines is 70F degrees.)

The next day, strain the wine through cheesecloth. Then, add the wine to a blender and blend for 30 seconds — this aerates the wine and allows it to open up quickly.

At this point, you can add the wine to a decanter and set aside OR slice fresh fruit and add it to the pitcher of wine and refrigerate until you’re ready to enjoy.

Wine and Tea Infusion Additions

White:

1 bottle of sweet wine like a French Riesling

1/8 cup Iron Goddess of Mercy Tea (oolong)

1 ounce rose petals

2 organic vanilla pods

Mix together and place in the refrigerator in a glass pitcher overnight. Strain it through cheesecloth the next day. Serve chilled.

Sultry Cacao Infused Wine

Red:

1 bottle of late harvest Pinot noir

1/8 cup English Breakfast Tea

2 Tablespoons cacao nibs

1 Tablespoon cardamom pods

2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks

Mix together and place in a glass pitcher overnight. The next day, strain it through cheesecloth. Run the wine through a blender for 30 seconds and add to a wine decanter.

The duo of wine and tea not only tastes great, it gives your body, mind, and spirit a lovely boost. These wine and tea infusions will be the ideal dinner companion. The night is yours — these wine and tea combinations will only help enhance it!

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Tea Types: What Are You Drinking?

By September 26, 2016 History and Culture of Tea

All tea (white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh) comes from the same plant — Camellia sinensis. All teas start out as fresh green leaves before being processed into a specific tea type. It is the cultivated and processed leaves of this plant that create the second most consumed beverage in the world.

 

Camellia sinensis is a subtropical/tropical evergreen plant native to Asia, though commercially grown all over the world. It takes between 5–7 years before the plant has matured enough to be used in the making of tea, and can be cultivated for more than 100 years. In every pound of finished tea, there are 4.5 pounds of freshly plucked tea leaves, which equates to about 2–3 thousand shoots.

There are five major tea types produced — white, green, oolong, black and pu-erh. It is the processing of the tea at origin that determines which type of tea the freshly plucked leaf will become. During processing, the leaf’s enzymes are exposed to oxygen. This chemical reaction, or oxidation, can transform the green leaf into the many shades of green to brown to black. Oxidation is the processing step that has the greatest impact when determining the tea type. Oxidation is sometimes incorrectly referred to as fermentation. An apple’s flesh turning brown after being cut and the leaves on trees turning colors in fall are both examples of oxidation.

White Teas

White teas are so named due to the white down that covers the new leaf buds. Traditionally, white teas came only from the Fujian province of China. However, today, any tea that follows the white processing method is considered white tea. White tea is closest to the natural tea plant. Processing methods of white tea do nothing to encourage or stop oxidation. The natural bruising of the leaf during harvesting and transportation allows oxidation to start on part of the leaves. This produces subtle aromatics, taste and color.

Green Teas

Green teas traditionally came from China and Japan; however, the processing methods of each are radically different and produce completely different tea aromatics and taste. Today, green tea comes from most tea producing countries due to its popularity, but is still defined by which processing method was used. Green teas need to keep their fresh green color, for this to happen, oxidation must be limited. Heat is applied to the leaf to arrest oxidation. In China, the heat source that is applied is referred to as pan firing. Due to this, Chinese green teas tend to have a nutty, smoky vegetal taste. In Japan, steam is used as the heat source, thus, Japanese green teas have a brighter emerald leaf color with a more seaweed, fresh taste.

Oolong Teas

Oolong teas, sometimes referred to as wulong or blue tea by some creative marketers, is the huge bridge between green and black teas. Oolong teas can be as green as green teas and as black as black teas. Oolongs are sub-categorized by the amount of oxidation and leaf shape. Traditionally, oolongs come from China and Taiwan (Formosa), and still today are the major producers of these teas. Oolongs are prized for their complex aromatics and flavor, as well as their ability to be steeped several times. Greener, less oxidized oolongs tend to have more floral notes; mid-oxidized oolongs tend to have more stone fruit notes; and darker oolongs tend to have more nutty, woody notes.

Black Teas

Black teas are the most consumed tea in the US. Though over 60% of the black tea in the US comes from Argentina, historically black tea was a product of China, India, and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). In some countries black tea is referred to as brown or red tea. (It is important to note that today the term red tea is most commonly used to refer to rooibos tea, which is an herbal tea not made from Camellia sinensis.) Black teas are considered fully oxidized and produce a full bodied, robust, and earthy cup of tea. Black tea is strong enough to stand up to milk and spices; hence why it is used in Breakfast teas and Masala Chai’s. (Chai is a Hindi word for tea, though most commonly used to refer to a spiced tea in the US.)

Pu-Erh Teas

Pu-erh teas historically come from the Pu-erh region of China — though other areas of China produce a similar style tea. Many tea companies refer to this category of tea as dark tea due to its rich and dark brew. Dark teas are aged teas which subjectively become better with age and will fetch a higher price the older they become. Oxidation is never fully arrested so the teas become darker over time. Traditional pu-erh teas can take up to 5 years before they are palatable, with many consumers wanting 10–15 year-old teas. These teas are referred to as uncooked teas. To speed up the process some producers add microbes to the tea so that in 1–2 years the tea tastes like it has aged longer. These are referred to as cooked teas. The taste difference between these 2 styles of tea is vastly different. Cooked teas tend to be more earthy, wet farm, and musty in flavor; while uncooked teas tend to be more earthy, spicy and smooth in flavor.

No matter which tea type is your personal favorite, all teas start out as a fresh green leaf of the Camellia sinensis plant. The processing and control of oxidation determines which flavors and tastes are developed for you to enjoy.

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How To Make And Enjoy The Perfect Crumpets For Your Tea

By September 23, 2016 Cocktails, Mocktails & More, Cooking with Tea

Tea and crumpets could be one of the best food and drink pairings in the world. The crumpet goes amazing as a snack or as an integral part of your next tea party. So how do you prepare and make the perfect crumpet? It’s a lot easier than you might expect.

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Creating The Ideal Crumpet Experience

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Before you start your crumpet journey, bring your water to a boil for the perfect cup of tea. (You can pick any of your favorites, but black tea is the traditional choice.) While your water is heating, grab your toaster. Why? Untoasted crumpets are squishy like a sponge.

Carefully put your crumpet into the toaster and use the highest setting — the high heat will help to create the perfectly warmed crumpet.

Back to your tea, pour hot water over your tea and steep while your crumpet is toasting.

When the toaster dings, your crumpet is STILL not yet ready. Put it through a second toasting and be aware that you’ll want to pull your crumpet out before the edges burn. You’re looking for a golden bottom and a tanned upper crust, not a burn. Remove the crumpet when it looks tanned.

After inspecting for perfection, allow it to sit for one minute. If toasted perfectly, you should have crunchy outsides and a contrasting squishiness on the inside.  

The Crowning Glory: Crumpet Toppers

Honey, butter, and jam are three essential toppings. Your add-ons should melt enough to fill the crumpet holes with flavor in each bite.  

Pure, softened butter is an amazing crumpet topper. If you let your butter rest at room temperature for a few hours before using it, you can just slice off a bit and put it on your warm crumpet.  

If your butter is straight out of the refrigerator, soften it using a hot water bath. Cut off a few chunks of butter and place it in a bowl; then, carefully place the bowl inside a shallow container of hot water to soften the butter quickly. (Make sure only the butter dish — and not the actual butter — touches the hot water.)

Jam is a delicious treat and provides a good contrast of cold and sweet with a hot crumpet. Honey is also a great idea: when combined with salty butter, you get a sweet and savory crumpet.  

You can also add cheese, eggs, vegemite, or even creamy peanut butter as a tasty crumpet topper.

Make Your Own Crumpets

Want to make your own crumpets? In that case, we’re here to help! Here’s a foolproof way to make the perfect crumpet. Enjoy!

Tea Crumpets
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 ¼ cups of milk that has been warmed to 110F
  2. 1 package of yeast
  3. 2 teaspoon of sugar
  4. 2 cups flour
  5. 2 Tablespoons of gluten flour or vital wheat gluten
  6. 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  7. ½ teaspoon baking soda
  8. ½ cup water
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  2. Set aside and allow to rise for about 10 minutes.
  3. In another bowl, combine flour, gluten flour or vital wheat gluten, sea salt, and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  4. Mix the two bowls together for approximately four minutes. You want the mix to be like a thick pancake mix.
  5. Move to a warm place, cover with a towel for one hour.
  6. After an hour, mix together baking soda and water
  7. Remove the towel on your rested mix and add this new creation, mixing well.
  8. Cover and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes.
  9. Heat a buttered pan (cast iron is best) and butter 4” metal crumpet molds. Allow the molds and pan to heat on low while your mix is rising.
  10. After 30 minutes, scoop out some of the batter gently and add inside the ring. You should fill it ¼ of the way so that when the crumpet cooks, it rises to ¾” thickness. Bubbles will form and the batter will dry out. That’s when your crumpet is ready.
  11. Take the crumpet, ring and all, and brown the top over a flame (or use the toaster method we outlined). Flipping a crumpet causes it to flatten out. Instead, be sure to remove the crumpet by gently loosening it from the ring with a knife.
ArtOfTea http://blog.artoftea.com/
Crumpets and tea are more of an experience than something that can be described. While they can be enjoyed in so many different ways, whatever you decide, there’s no doubt that mouth-watering flavor of crumpets and tea are a match made in heaven.

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