Tea Infused Foam: Fun with Cocktails and Mocktails

What is tea infused foam? Great question! It is a fun way to play with your cocktails and a good excuse to have your own whipped cream dispenser. Below we will give you a few tips and tricks on making your own and even point out the recipes that can be done with a standard kitchen whisk.

History of Foamy Cocktails

So the foam in cocktails is traditionally made with egg whites. Eggs have been added to beverages since the Middle Ages. Keep in mind that alcohol was common beverage since the technology and knowledge of how to make most water safe to drink was not available. The modern day version of egg cocktails came in the late 1800’s and all of them involve shaking the cocktail. Modern technology, in the form of the modern day whipped cream dispenser, allow us to bypass shaking and to substitute the egg.

Tea Infused Foam Recipes

Lighter Foam

1 tsp of Egg Replacer

1 tablespoon of water

16 oz of Cold Tea (Your favorite flavor)

Stir together the egg replacer and water and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add the tea and the egg replacer to the whipped cream dispenser and shake hard for about 30 seconds before adding the gas canister to the dispenser. Shake again for a few more seconds after the canister has emptied into the dispenser. It is ready to use on your favorite beverage. We love adding Chocolate Mint foam to iced Earl Grey. If you would like to use egg, it is just egg white from 1 egg instead of the egg replacer and water in this recipe.

Note:  Egg replacer will not foam without the dispenser, so there is no point in trying a whisk on this recipe.

Stiff Foam

1 tsp Guar Gum

16oz of Cold Tea

Whisk together the guar gum and cold tea until the guar gum is dissolved and a foamy gel is formed. The gel will be heavy and sink into the drink if not added to the whipped cream dispenser. So while it can be spooned directly onto the drink, it may work better and be even more foamy if put it in the whipped cream dispenser for application.

Enjoy using the foam as a way to change up your ice team or favorite foamy cocktail.

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Southern Afternoon Tea: An American Tradition

Sweet Tea // Ice Tea

Popular throughout the American south, Sweet Tea can be a great way to beat the summer heat. Photo by liz west (Flickr) – CC BY 2.0 – https://www.flickr.com/photos/calliope/641462022/

With iced tea season on hand, it is time to look at another American twist to tea, the southern afternoon tea. If you haven’t guessed already, the main beverage of the southern afternoon tea is iced tea. So let’s take a look at its origins and then what to serve to make your southern afternoon tea truly American.

Southern Afternoon Tea – History

Afternoon teas in the US mimic British teas during the 1700’s. However, as the ice box and refrigeration developed in the US, so did iced tea. Keep in mind, a high temperature in London is the upper 60’s for the summer. In most of the southern US it is a good 20 degrees warmer, so ice became very popular very quickly in our country. Sweet iced tea, with black tea as the base, first appeared in the 1870’s. Before that, it was green tea that served as the base to iced tea. In the wealthy plantations the tea was served over ice with sugar and a slice of lemon. Periodically herbs like mint or basil were added as garnish.

Southern Afternoon Tea – What to Serve

A southern tea needs American food, luckily there is no shortage of historic recipes to draw from when crafting your menu. Much like the British, the southern tea includes both sweet and savory items. The big difference is the use of ingredients and foods that reflect what was available in the early to mid-1800’s in the United States. Of course you can update this with your favorite family recipes.

  • Southern Tea Cake – This soft cake like cookie is the simple combination of sugar, flour, eggs, milk, butter,and pearlash (an early form of leavening agent, like yeast). Today’s version includes vanilla, baking powder and salt. These versatile cakes can be eaten plain or used much like the British scone.
  • Apple Tansey – This calls for a true cast iron skillet to get right. First published in 1742 in Williamsburg, VA, this treat is highlighted in the Complete Housewife, which was originally published in England but was reworked by William Parks for American tastes. This recipe calls for Pipin Apples (Granny Smith seem to be a favored alternative), butter, eggs, cream, sugar and nutmeg. The goal is to fry the apples in butter and then add the eggs and cream and have it brown on one side and then flip (or cook under a broiler) to brown the other. Think of it like a sweet apple frittata.
  • Ambrosia Salad

    Ambrosia Salad – Photo by Flickr User Steven Depolo (CC BY 2.0)

    Ambrosia Salad – This fruit salad appeared in the 1860’s as the railroad connected the southern citrus fields with the northern Eastern cities. As California opened up, coconut was commonly delivered into San Francisco and made its way east for those who could afford it. Ambrosia salad was originally a layered salad of shredded coconut, sugar and citrus. It has since had pecans and marshmallows added to it.

  • Biscuits with Ham – Pigs were a big staple in all early American homes. They provided both protein and fat for cooking other foods that could be cured with salt for long term storage.

So the next time you are thinking about afternoon tea, try the American version!

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Raku Pottery: Art Fashioned by Tea

Raku Style Pottery

Raku Pottery – Photo by Flickr User Tony Alter – CC BY 2.0

Raku pottery finds its roots back to the later part of the Ming Dynasty in China (1500’s CE), but was fully developed by the Raku family in Japan. This pottery technique has spread the world over and has taken its own form in the United States and Europe. However, the fundamentals are still similar and they all go back to the influence of Sen Rikyu, the buddiest monk who created the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Raku Pottery – Early History

Sen Rikyu heavily influenced the first Raku potter, Chojiro. Chojiro’s father was originally from China. He brought with him to Japan the Chinese pottery method of Sancai. This method uses the three colors of off-white, brown, and green to decorate pottery. Chojiro was taught this method and used it in his own works. He was commissioned by the Buddiest monks to make the clay tiles for a temple in Kyoto. It is there that Sen Rikyu and Chojiro met and together brought about what is now called Raku pottery.

Sen Rikyu commissioned Chojiro to make tea bowls that reflected the philosophy of wabi-sabi. This philosophy was focused on the beauty in simple items. Rikyu wanted the tea bowls to be a single color and simple form that reflected simplicity. Chojiro worked in red and black glaze. The red was a reflection of the original color of the clay, while black was a humble color. These bowls became the center piece of the Japanese Tea Ceremony and were shared widely by Sen Rikyu. Both Sen Rikyu and Chojiro worked for a leading warrior statemen, Toyotomo Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi so loved the tea bowls that he presented Chojiro with a golden seal containing the Chinese symbol for Raku. Chojiro took that as his surname and it has been past down through the family ever sense.

 Raku Pottery – Current Times

Fifteen generations later, the Raku family still practices ceramics in Japan. Their home, rebuilt in the late 1800’s, is a museum that houses a collection of the older pieces of Raku ceramics. The current generation is active in preserving the Japanese Tea Ceremony in Japan as well as more modern art and interior design.

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3 Tips for Adding Home Grown Herbs to Tea

Multiple Herbs in a Garden for Tea

Your Herb Garden Can Enhance Your Tea Experience

It is easy to add home grown herbs to your favorite tea. With all the work that goes into maintaining a garden, your herbs can be enjoyed in your beverages as well as food. Here are 3 tips on how to make this the best tea experience possible.

  1. Pesticides/Fertilizers – Be careful with how you fertilize and protect your herbs. Even if you don’t use a liquid fertilizer or pesticide in your herb garden, if they are used in your yard, transfer can happen with the wind, animals or you. Obviously, rinse your herbs before drying or consuming. Nobody wants fertilizer or pesticide in their cup of tea.
  2. Dry vs. Fresh – The herbs can be added both ways. You should blend by the cup, meaning pick and add when you are ready to consume. This is because you need to be super careful with storage. Fresh herbs should generally not be stored with your dry tea. The moisture will be quickly absorbed into the tea. Mold can easily grow if it occurs in your dark, airtight container (which is how you should be storing your tea). If you are drying your herbs, you can mix a batch with your tea and store it for later consumption. Just be absolutely certain they have been thoroughly dried. Any moisture in those herbs will find its way to the tea and may cause mold in your mix.
  3. You can have too much of a good thing – Herbs have beautiful smell and flavor and can quickly overpower your tea. So think of a flavor profile for your tea before you mix. You should also realize it won’t take much herbs to flavor your favorite tea. If you are wondering the ratio to use, with a few exceptions, anything over 10% will over power your tea and generally 5% does the trick.

So have fun playing with your home grown herbs. You will be amazed at which ones compliment tea well.

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Tea Infused Scones – Cranberry

Tea Infused Scones

Tea Infused Scones with Jam

Tea infused scones are a fun and easy addition to your afternoon tea. This is an easy way to serve something traditional but to put your own spin on it. The recipe below is a British scone recipe, not an American recipe. The difference between the two is very striking. British scones are built to add condiments like butter, clotted cream, and jam. So they do not have sugar in them and a much smaller amount of butter. American scones are built to be eaten as is and so they have sugar and more butter than British scones. The British scone recipe also lends itself to the creation of a savory scone that includes cheese and garlic, which I have given directions on how to add at the bottom.

Scones are best prepared just before you want to eat them as they are meant to be eaten right out of the oven. If you must make them in advance, you should reheat them before serving. I have made a few notes below on which ingredients you can prepare in advance so your scones come together quickly when you want them.

Tea Infused Scones : Ingredients

4 tablespoons of Summer on Cape Cod tisane
1/2 cup of water
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/3 cup of dried cranberries, raisins or currants (you can used any dried fruit, just cut them to the size of raisins)
3 1/3 cups of All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (You can replace about 1/2 of this with vegetable shortening if you wish)
1 beaten egg with a tablespoon of water
Flour for rolling pin and service

For savory scones, substitute the dried fruit with a 1/3 cup of sharp cheddar cheese.

Tea Infused Scones: Steps

  1. British Style Scones - Infused with Tea

    Tea Infused Scone – British Style Scones

    This step can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to make scones. Put the milk and 3 tablespoons of the tea on the stove top and bring the milk up to just below boiling. Remove from heat and allow the milk to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and return to the refrigerator to cool down. You can also prepare tea infused butter to use in this recipe.

  2. Set your oven to 425°F. Pull out a baking sheet and make sure it is lightly greased or line with a piece of parchment paper that is lightly greased.
  3. Bring the 1/2 cup of water to a boil and put in 1 tablespoon of Summer on Cape Cod tisane and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and allow the 1/3 cup of cranberries to soak in the liquid while you are preparing the dough.
  4. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar.
  5. Cut the 6 tablespoons of butter into small cubes and by hand pinch them into the flour. Keep doing this until all the flour looks a little shiny. It may seem that there is not enough butter to cover everything. However there is, so keep working until all the flour is coated. It will look like wet sand when you are done.
  6. Pour in 1 1/3 cups of the tea infused milk all at once and stir briefly. You are looking for everything to stick together. Do not stir a lot as you will lose the bubbles caused by the baking soda and cream of tartar. It should create a sticky dough.
  7. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Flour the rolling pin and roll out the dough to 1 inch thick. This will not take long if everything is properly floured.
  8. Flour a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. If you do not have one, measure the diameter of a drink glass made of glass and flour the rim of the glass to use as a cutter. You should be able to stamp out 10 scones before re-rolling to get the last couple. You should get between 10-12 scones.
  9. Place the scones on the baking sheet and brush the top of the scones with the egg wash. This ensures that golden brown color.
  10. Bake the scones for 10 minutes in the oven. Pull them out and serve. Our clotted cream recipe is a great addition.
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