Tea Cocktails

Tea cocktails are perfect for any occasion! Here are a few cocktail recipes that we have developed to showcase some of the darker, richer flavors that tea has to offer. Perfect for both holiday parties and cozy nights staying in.

 

Hazelnut Puerh Old-Fashioned

Hazelnut Puerh Old Fashion

Hazelnut Puerh Old Fashion

  • 2 tablespoons Hazelnut Puerh tea
  • 4 oz boiling water
  • 2 oz Kentucky bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 3-5 dashes chocolate bitters
  • A few tablespoons cocoa powder or coarse sugar for garnish (optional)

 

Steep hazelnut puerh in 4 oz boiling water for 5 minutes before removing leaves; allow to cool. In an iced-filled mixing glass, combine simple syrup, bitters, tea, and bourbon. Stir strain into an old-fashioned or rocks glass with a large ice cube or sphere. Optionally, rim glass with cocoa powder or coarse sugar for a festive flair.

 

Big Red Robe Cocktail

Big Red Robe Cocktail

Big Red Robe

 

Steep Da Hong Pao in 4 oz 195º water for 4 minutes before removing leaves; allow to cool. In an ice-filled mixing glass, combine cooled tea with amaretto and bitters. Stir and strain into a chilled martini glass.

 

Merry Matcha Cocktail

Merry Matcha Cocktail

Merry Matcha

 

  • 1 tablespoon Matcha Infused Sencha tea
  • 4 oz dry gin
  • 2 further tablespoons Matcha Infused Sencha tea
  • 4 oz 175º water
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3-5 dashes Embittermint Liquid Gold bitters
  • 2 oz sparkling mineral water

 

Begin by making an infusion of tea and gin, adding 1 tablespoon to 4 oz dry gin and allowing to sit for 2 hours before straining out tea leaves.

Steep 2 tablespoons of Matcha Infused Sencha in 4 oz of 175º water for 3 minutes before removing leaves. Combine tea in an ice-filled shaker with gin infusion, honey, lemon juice, and bitters. Shake and strain out into a martini glass, topping with mineral water. Garnish with cranberries.

 

Chocolate Mint Brandy Cocktail

Chocolate Mint Brandy Cocktail

Chocolate Mint Hot Toddy

  • 2 tablespoons Chocolate Mint tisane
  • 4 oz boiling water
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup (optional)

 

Steep Chocolate Mint tisane in 4 oz boiling water for 5 minutes before removing leaves. Stir in brandy and sweeten if desired. Garnish with mint leaves; serve hot.

 

Maple Chai Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy Cocktail

Hot Toddy Cocktail

  • 2 tablespoons Maple Chai
  • 4 oz boiling water
  • 2 oz brandy
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup

 

Steep Maple Chai in 4 oz boiling water for 5 minutes before removing leaves. Stir in brandy and maple syrup. Garnish with cinnamon stick; serve hot.

 

By:Jennifer Coate

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Top 5 Tea Accessories

We get this question a lot from our newest tea converts: what do I need in order to brew myself the perfect cup of tea? While the truth is that, at its simplest, all you need for a good cup of tea is leaves and water, we have a few favorite tools that we think can make the process easier and more enjoyable. These accessories make great gifts for both the beginning tea enthusiast and the longtime connoisseur.

Infuser Basket for Large Leaf Tea

Infuser Basket

1. Infuser Basket: Hands down, baskets are the best option when it comes to steeping your tea leaves. Unlike an infuser ball, baskets do not compress the tea or pack it in too tightly, allowing your tea leaves to expand as they infuse, which in turn leads to a fuller flavor extraction. Tea baskets are designed to fit a variety of mug sizes, and some can fold or collapse for easy storage. Look for stainless steel for easy, dishwasher-safe cleaning, and for fine straining holes to allow for a variety of cuts of tea or tisanes.

 

Teapot with Removable Strainer

Teapot with Removable Strainer

2. Teapot with Removable Strainer Basket: Want to brew more than a single cup? Teapots with a removable strainer make it quick and easy. After your tea is finished brewing, the basket lifts out so you can pour, share, and not over-steep. (we’ve got these in our Purcellville, VA location)

 

3. Paper Tea Filters: Looking for an easy way to brew tea at the office or on-the-go? Paper tea filters let you leave your infuser basket at home. Simply fill the packet with your desired amount of tea, then fold down, infuse in hot water, and discard when your tea is ready. Our favorite brands are biodegradable, so that you can compost both bag and leaves when you are finished.

 

Matcha Whisk

Matcha Whisk

4. Chasen (Matcha Whisk): Sometimes, traditional tools are far better than modern equivalents. Unlike a metal kitchen whisk, the fine bamboo tines of a chasen will easily mix up your matcha green tea powder without leaving clumps or residual powder behind.

 

5. Glass Gaiwan: Extremely popular among Chinese tea connoisseurs, the clear walls of a glass gaiwan allow you to watch your tea leaves unfurl and “dance” as they infuse. This is a beautiful and meditative way to enjoy your loose-leaf teas!

 

Glass Gaiwan

Glass Gaiwan

 

By: Jen Coate

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Holiday Cookies with Tea: Maple Chai Cookies & White Chocolate Frosted Matcha Cookies

Holiday season is upon us! With Thanksgiving just around the corner and holiday parties not far behind, we thought we’d share a couple of our favorite recipes for cookies that are made with tea. These treats are a delightful way to show off your love of tea to friends and family – or maybe try out a new flavor for yourself! We find that maple chai cookies offers a wonderful contrast to darker, smoky teas like Dominion Caravan, while the matcha cookies pair excellently with Japanese greens like Shincha.

Maple Chai Cookies

Maple Chai Cookies

Maple Chai Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup real maple syrup (Grade B syrup will give you a darker, richer flavor. We sourced ours from a local producer, Vale of the Blue Ridge Maple)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons maple chai tea

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease baking sheets or line with silicone baking mat.
  2. Grind maple chai tea to a fine powder in a spice grinder or food processer and sift out any remaining large particles.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together. Add egg, syrup, and vanilla. Mix until blended.
  4. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and powdered chai. Stir into wet mixture until well combined.
  5. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, form dough into 1-inch balls. Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool on wire rack.

 

Matcha Cookies with White Chocolate Frosting

Matcha Cookies with White Chocolate Frosting

Matcha Cookies with White Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons matcha
1 large egg
1½ cup bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1-2 cups white chocolate pieces or chips, as needed
Red sprinkles or decorative sugar

 

 

 

  1. In a small bowl, sift matcha until smooth and free of clumps.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together softened butter, sugar, and matcha about three minutes until smooth. Add egg and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed throughout.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add dry mixture to wet and mix until a uniform dough forms, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  4. Cover dough and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease baking sheets or line with silicone baking mat.
  6. Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop, form dough into 1-inch balls. Place on baking sheet about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake 13-15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are set, but not brown. Rest on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
  8. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler, then generously dollop over each cookie, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Top with sprinkles or decorative sugar as desired.

By Jen Coate

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How to Make Matcha

Matcha is enjoying a surge in popularity these days! This powdered green tea out of Japan is now being seen in all sorts of applications from cocktails to baked goods. Naturally, people are also curious to try matcha brewed traditionally.

Prepared Matcha

Bowl of Usucha

Although the process may seem intimidating at first, it is actually quick and simple. All it takes is a few tools and a little practice.

Traditionally, matcha in Japan was prepared in two different ways. Usucha (“thin matcha”) is prepared with more water and less powder, which gives it a creamy head and a foamy appearance. Koicha (“thick matcha”) boasts a higher viscosity and a deeper, more intense flavor. Both types are worth trying at least once, as both offer an experience vastly different than what we Americans think of when it comes to tea.

 

To brew matcha, you will need:

  • Matcha tea powder
  • A bamboo chasuku, measuring scoop, or teaspoon
  • A chawan or small bowl for mixing
  • A chasen or small whisk
  • Hot water

Steps:

  1. Heat your water to a boil and set aside to cool. To prepare usucha (thin matcha), use 3-4 oz of water. For koicha (thick matcha), use 1-2 oz. The water will need to be between 158°-176°F.
  2. Preheat your matcha bowl by filling it about 1/3 full of hot water, then stirring gently with the tip of your chasen or whisk. Discard the water and dry your bowl thoroughly.

    Ceremonial Grade Matcha Powder

    Ceremonial Grade Matcha Powder

  3. Measure out your matcha into your bowl. For usucha, use about ½ teaspoon, or 2 scoops using a chashaku. For koicha, use about 1 teaspoon, or 3-4 scoops. We highly recommend sifting your matcha before proceeding to the next step to remove any clumps from the powder.
  4. Measure your water temperature. Once it has dropped between 158°-176°F, you are ready to begin.
  5. Pour your water into the matcha bowl, directly over the matcha.
  6. Whisk, holding the whisk in one hand and steadying the rim of the matcha bowl with the other.
  • For usucha, whisk in W-motion using your wrist until the matcha is thick and frothy, with lots of pale green bubbles on its surface.
  • For koicha, rather than frothing vigorously, use the whisk to knead your matcha from left to right and up and down, rolling into a thick, syrupy consistency. The resulting tea will be dense, smooth, and dark.
  1. Drink directly from the bowl and pour into your cup of choice. Enjoy!

As you get comfortable with the process, you may wish to experiment with water temperature, amount of matcha powder used, or whisking methods. As current food trends are demonstrating, matcha is quite versatile, so have fun and play around with it!

By: Jen Coate

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Four Imperial Teas

In a prior blog, we talked about the working-class origins of the British “builder’s tea”, favored by laborers to push through long hours of physical toil. This time, we thought we would take a look at how the other half lived and highlight a few of our favorite teas with royal reputations.

 

Bai Hao Silver Needle (白毫銀針)

Also Called: Baihao Yinzhen, White Hair Silver Needle

Bai Hao Silver Needle Tea Leaves

Bai Hao Silver Needle

This highly prized Chinese white tea is traditionally sourced from either Zhenghe or Fuding, northeast in the Fujian province. It is very lightly oxidized and features only the unopened buds of shoots plucked early in April during the plant’s first flush. These buds are covered in fine silver hairs, giving it its characteristic color. The flavor of this tea is smooth, lightly sweet, and delicately floral. This exquisite tea is said to have been first cultivated during the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE), and for centuries was reserved exclusively for the Emperor.

 

Da Hong Pao (大红袍)

Also Called: Big Red Robe

Da Hong Pao Mother Trees in Wuyi

Da Hong Pao Mother Trees in Wuyi

This oolong is grown on the steep slopes of Mt. Wuyi in Fujian. The rocky cliffsides and unique mineral compounds making up the mountain’s slopes give this tea its rich, full, mineral flavor. Due to its rarity, expense, and reputation, Da Hong Pao remains a traditional “gift tea” in China reserved for honored guests or special occasions. According to legend, the mother of a Ming Dynasty emperor was cured of a deadly illness by drinking this tea; in gratitude, the emperor sent his own royal red robes to cover the four bushes that produced it. These bushes are still be producing tea to this day.

 

Dragon Well (龍井茶)

Also Called: Longjing

Dragon Well 1st Grade Pre Qing Ming

Dragon Well 1st Grade Pre Qing Ming

Dragon Well is one of the most famous teas to come out of China, and is certainly the most renowned of its green teas. Its long leaves are flattened by hand and pan-fried to stop oxidation, and boast a sweet and grassy flavor with light astringency. The highest-prized Dragon Well teas are sourced from Longjing Village in Zhejiang, and must be plucked from the first shoots that appear before the Qingming Festival in early April. Dragon Well tea was granted the status of Gong Cha, imperial tea, during the Qing Dynasty by the Kangxi Emperor (1661-1722).

 

Huo Shan Huang Ya (霍山黃芽)

Also Called: Huoshan Yellow

Yellow tea floating in gaiwan

Belonging to the rare category of yellow tea, this tea was produced in Anhui as an imperial tribute during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644 CE). It is thought to have been developed specifically to have a yellow color, in honor of the imperial family, to both its dried leaf and its steeped liquor. The flavor is delicate and subtle, with both floral and buttery notes. Due to its intensive production process and niche position in the market, this tea can be difficult to find. But like all royal teas, its complex and unique flavors make it worth a try for any tea enthusiast.

By: Jen Coate

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