Thursday, July 27, 2006

Great Oolong Workshop

Tuesday night was another fun oolong workshop with some new and familar faces in attendance. We sampled everything we intended too and slipped in a couple of Indian oolongs samples that we had just received.

Brewing with a Gaiwan and Gung Fu style was new to most of the group but they quickly realized how different oolong teas taste in more traditional brewing methods.

It is always so amazing how many times you can brew the same tea and still get delicious character.

Besides the tea everyone enjoyed the raw veggie salad with soy dressing and the brownies.

Thanks to all who attended!

Until next time, Beth

Enjoying some conversation and something to eat before everyone arrives.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Iced Tea Follow Up

Here are some more great ideas to jazz up cold tea brews. I hope you will enjoy them.

Mix a hearty black tea, like organic Nilgiri, China OP or a breakfast tea, with lemonade for a refreshing summer beverage. Or get really creative and use a fat busting oolong tea, we are drinking tons of it after researching the last tea spot article! Try the combination below that uses honey instead of sugar for a sweet touch. You can substitute any tea you like for the Nilgiri.

Black Nilgiri Lemonade
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about 5 lemons plus wedges for garnish
1/2 cup honey
3 cups freshly brewed organic Nilgiri black tea, chilled
1 cup water, chilled
To make tea;
Bring 3 cups of filtered water to a boil. Remove from heat and add 3 heaping teaspoons of organic Nilgiri black tea leaves. Allow leaves to steep 5 minutes and use a strainer to remove leaves. Chill.
To make tea lemonade;
Combine honey and lemon juice and stir until honey has completely dissolved. Transfer to a pitcher, pour in chilled tea plus 1 cup cold water, stir well. Fill pitcher with ice, add garnish and serve.

Try this fruit juice, tea combination below to brew up a deliciously healthy white iced tea.

Peach White Iced Tea
4 cups peach nectar
1 bunch fresh mint
2 lemons
6 cups freshly brewed white tea, organic Bio Hao or organic Mountain Mist.

To make tea;
Bring 6 cups of filtered water to just under a boil. Remove the water from heat and add 8 heaping teaspoons of white tea leaves. Allow the leaves to steep 5 minutes and use a strainer to remove when done. Chill.

You can combine one or all of these, peach nectar, mint leaves and/or lemon with the chilled tea; stir and refrigerate 1 hour. Add ice to a pitcher, pour in tea and serve.

This combination can also be used with a hearty black tea like organic Nilgiri. Just substitute the 6 cups of freshly brewed white tea with 6 cups of freshly brewed black tea.

Try brewing up green tea and sweeten with the ginger simple syrup, see previous blog for recipe, for another tasty combination. Or just drink the green tea without any additions. I love the Kukicha, Japanese green tea, chilled without anything in it! Remember when brewing up tea for icing use a bit more tea leaves to strengthen the tea. It wont get lost in the ice or other flavors that way.

Stay cool and enjoy, Beth

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Simple Syrup, a sweet touch on Iced Tea.

Not to state the obvious, but boy it's been hot! Interestingly South Florida, when compared to the rest of the US, has been one of the cooler places to be.

A great way to quench your thirst in this sweltering heat is by drinking iced tea.
Unlike soda, which actually leaves you thirsty, iced tea, has healthy benefits. You can drink any tea cold whether its black, white, oolong or green, so try your favorite over ice.

I have been collecting some ideas for adding a sweet touch to summer teas and thought I would share them.

Anyone who sweetens their iced tea knows that trying to get sugar to dissolve in a cold brew is difficult. The solution, simple syrup. Easy to make, simple syrup will last in the refrigerator, in an air tight container, for about 2 months.

Simple Syrup;
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 3/4 cups water
Prepare ice bath, a bowl with both ice and water, and set aside.
Combine sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour syrup into a bowl, one that will fit into the ice bath, and set in bath. Stir occasionally until the syrup is chilled.

For more interesting simple syrup try the combinations below.

Ginger Syrup
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups water
1 6 inch piece of peeled, thinly sliced ginger
Combine ginger, sugar and water; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Remove the ginger. Use and store.

Mint or Lemon Syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed, chopped fresh mint leaves
2 lemons, zest and juice from both
1 1/2 cups water
Combines sugar, water and mint or lemon (juice and zest) in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer remove mint or lemon. Use and store.

Rosemary Syrup
3/4 cup sugar
6 sprig's fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups water
Combine sugar, water and rosemary in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing to a boil. Cook until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand 20 minutes. Remove rosemary. Use and store.

All of these syrups can be added to tea, lemonade, limeade or just about any drink you wish. These syrup recipes came from Martha Stewart Living several years ago so I do not take credit for them.

Maybe you have a delicious way to brew up summer teas? If so share them with me and I will post them on this blog!

I will be posting some more tea recipes over the next few days so come back and visit!

Thanks, Beth

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Final Workshop in the Series

As we prepare for tonight's Oolong workshop, one of our most popular and certainly one of my favorites, I was thinking about the workshop series that ended in June. Here are some of the pictures and my thoughts from that awesome class.

I really enjoyed doing this workshop series! It's really the participants that make a class great and these girls are the best.

Pat #1 could not be more of a champion for Teas Etc. She encourages people to try tea, teaches them about quality and has them sign up for the basic workshops. I am wondering if Pat really should be in the tea business instead of working at the college?

Riza, who showed up early for every class to help me with the food, has become a real tea taster. At the open house I tried to slipper her a tea similar to one that the class had tried a week earlier and she knew immediately!

Brenda has to be the worlds best tea timer, always keeping me right on track.

I am going to miss seeing all of you for our once a month get together. You each brought something special to our group and I will smile when I think of the slurps, laughs and tea we shared.

Thank you for making this such a wonderful experience for me.

Fondly, Beth

Class Pictures from our oolong night.