Tea infused simple syrup is an easy way to incorporate tea into a wide variety of recipes and its simple to make. So skip the store bought stuff and experiment with your own. A typical simple syrup is just equal parts water and sugar. The water is heated to the point of dissolving the sugar and then removed from the heat to cool.
Tea Infused Simple Syrup
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
6 grams (roughly 2 Tbsp) Tea
Bring the water to a boil and remove from heat. Put in the tea leaves to steep for 10 minutes. Strain off the leaves and measure out 1 cup of remaining liquid. If you are short because the tea leaves absorbed more than 1/4 cup, add more water to get you to 1 cup of liquid. Put this back on the stove top and add the 1 cup of sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. If you do this immediately after steeping, you will not need to return the tea to a boil as it will be hot enough on medium heat to dissolve the sugar quickly. Allow the simple syrup to cool and then put in the refrigerator if not using immediately. Simple syrup generally has a shelf life of 1 month in the refrigerator.
Tea Infused Simple Syrup – Uses
Lemonade – This favorite summer time drink requires a fair amount of sugar to keep it from being too puckering. A tea infused simple syrup is a great way to add an unexpected twist to the lemonade. Moroccan Mint or Mint Fields impart a subtle mint flavor to your lemonade, while using Pear Raspberry Green gives it a nice raspberry twist.
Cocktails/Mocktails – Many cocktails call for simple syrup to help cut the edge off the alcohol in the beverage. If the cocktail, has a clear alcohol base like gin, vodka or rum, the flavor of the tea will be very evident. This allows you to use green tea simple syrups using Sencha or Jasmine Green. With barrel aged alcohols, you can have fun with Puerh and your stronger black teas from Assam.
Coffee – Yes, you read that correctly. Some spicy teas like Ginger Honeybush and Masala Chai add a fun twist to the cup of coffee.
There are countless ways to use simple syrup, so experiment and enjoy!
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Pumpkin Pie is Great with Tea!
Tea makes an easy and wonderful accompaniment to your pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. It will help you digest everything you ate for the day and compliment one of the best courses. Below we highlight 3 teas to pair with pumpkin pie and even suggest a few for apple or cherry pie. Don’t worry, we have even put in a caffeine free option.
- Jasmine green tea is a unique and amazing pairing with pumpkin pie. The floral notes of the tea blend with the sweetness and spicing of pumpkin pie. They compliment each other nicely. Cherry and Apple pie also go nicely with this tea.
- Lapsang Souchong is another unique tea that pairs well with pumpkin pie. The smokiness of the tea tones down the sweetness of the pie while not overpowering the spiciness. The bold flavors and mouth feel of Pumpkin pie is what makes this a nice pairing. Other fruit pies maybe overpowered by this tea.
- If you are not feeling adventurous, Nilgiri tea makes a perfect companion since it is both floral yet strong enough to hold its flavor with pumpkin pie. This beautiful black tea from southern India allows you to serve something unique without straying too far out of guests comfort zones.
- Ginger Honeybush when drunk with Pumpkin pie creates a lemon citrus flavor when combined in your mouth that is also smooth. This surprising combination adds an unexpected twist to the Pumpkin pie that is refreshing. If this is too adventurous, Rooibos is just fine.
Don’t forget you can pair tea with other courses on your Thanksgiving menu. The idea is that the tea and food item compliment each other without having one flavor over power the other. You can find some ideas in our post on 3 unusual tea and food pairings.
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October brings us Halloween and all things sweet and green slime colored. So in the spirit of having something tea flavored that still fits the bill for a Halloween treat to enjoy at home, in comes Matcha Popcorn. This fun recipe is easy to make and we even added some chocolate drizzle.
Matcha Popcorn – Ingredients
1/2 cup of popcorn kernels
2 Tablespoons of unsalted butter for pan
2 Tablespoons for unsalted butter for matcha sauce
1 tsp of Matcha powder
Salt and Sugar to taste – 1/4 tsp of each was our preference
Matcha Popcorn – Instructions
- Start by heating the 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan. A dutch oven is perfect but you can also use a 4 quart pan. You need to have the lid for the pan and oven mitts near by as you will be shaking the pan. Measure out the popcorn and have it handy to pour in.
- While the butter is melting, in a microwave safe bowl, melt the other 2 tablespoons of butter. Allow to cool on the counter while the popcorn pops.
- Once your butter on the stove has melted drop in the kernels and put on the lid and pick up the pan and shake it around. You are trying to coat all the kernels with the butter. Put the pan back on high heat and await the popping. While it pops, you will need to periodically shake the pan to distribute the kernels. You may want to crack the lid a little to allow out steam and reduce the likelihood of burning the popcorn. Once the popping reduced to less than 3 pops in 5 seconds, pull from the heat and remove the lid. Pour the popcorn out into a large bowl.
- Stir the matcha and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar and salt into the butter. You are looking to smooth out the matcha, no clumps. Once smooth, pour over the popcorn and stir the popcorn. The matcha will transfer to the other popcorn kernels. Have a taste and then sprinkle on more salt and/or sugar to taste.
You can also do this with microwave popcorn. If you are feeling industrious and have a spice grinder, you can grind down your favorite tea to a powder and substitute it for the matcha. It will give you an entirely different flavor of popcorn.
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Care for some tea with your cream and sugar?
It is possible to retrain your taste buds to enjoy tea without milk or sugar. You are not so much retraining your taste buds but your brain. How people enjoy food is a rather complex system that scientists are still studying to understand, but there is a general consensus that flavor preferences are built by what is consumed routinely. So if you are wanting to remove that milk and sugar from your tea or expand your tea habit into new areas like puerh or green tea, here are 3 tips to help you in that process.
- Slowly remove the milk and sugar from your tea. This includes stevia and other sugar substitutes. If you taper it down over time, your brain won’t reject the change. Try reducing the milk and sugar by half what you normally put in the first week. Then reduce by half the following week and follow the same pattern until you are at zero. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ran a study in 2016 that had half the participants reduce their sugar intake and then judge the sweetness of certain foods before and after 3 months of a reduced sugar diet. It was not a surprise that the group found certain foods more sweet after reducing their sugar intake. Our brains are very good to adapting to what we do, if we constantly consume sugar the brain stops consciously registering the sweetness. So we consume more sugar to get the sweetness we think we want. This particular study used 3 months, but other studies on taste have indicated that the taste preferences reset anywhere between 3-6 weeks.
- Keep trying that new tea. It will take between 5-10 tastes to adjust. Yes, new flavors are learned. So a single sip will not work, it requires repeated consumption to register the new flavor with your brain. You need to think when consuming this new flavor. What do you like? What is different? Why is it different? Is different good or bad? This practice is termed mindful eating. If practiced enough you will enjoy new foods more.
- Pair that new tea with something you love. If you are really serious about bringing green tea into your diet but are having trouble with the flavor, drink that tea while eating something you like. This is called associative conditioning. Our brains will associate the new flavor with the one you already like and condition you to enjoy that new flavor more than if you consumed it alone. You will need to do this more than once for it to work, usually about 4 or 5 times. This trick also works really well when introducing new foods to children.
Enjoy trying new tea and retraining your taste buds!
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Hojicha Tea Poached Pear
With fresh juicy pears in season right now it is hard to pass up the opportunity to make the classic poached pear dessert with tea. For this recipe we used the green tea Hojicha from Japan to infuse the poaching liquid. The Hojicha adds a beautiful nuttiness and depth to dish. You can feel free to try this dish with any of your favorite teas.
A few items to consider before taking on this dish. It does take time to poach pears and make the syrup and allow them to cool, roughly two and half hours, so making this while preparing dinner is not really an option. The pears keep well in the refrigerator, so you can definitely make them in advance, even the day before. When buying pears, you are looking for pears with stems to make it easy for you to move them in and out of the water. If that is not possible, you can quarter the pears and use a slotted spoon instead of serving whole. Ideally you would use ripe pears, where if you press along the neck of the pear it gives under pressure. If you cannot find them, don’t worry, you will need to poach longer in the liquid.
Tea Poached Pears – Equipment
6 cup pan with lid
Grapefruit spoon or corer
Tongs or slotted spoon
Container to hold the pears in the refrigerator
Kettle to heat water
Pyrex or pitcher/teapot to brew tea in
Tea Poached Pears – Ingredients
6 Pears with stems
4 cups of water
1/4 cup of Hojicha tea
1 cup of sugar
Tea Poached Pears – Steps
- Peel and core the pears. Start by coring the pears from the bottom so as to keep the stem in place. Using a grapefruit spoon or corer, work around the notch at the bottom into the pear with the goal of removing the seeds and hard center. It will create a hole in the pear, which helps to speed along the poaching. After coring, peel the skin off the pears and place into your pan.
- Heat up 4 cups of water to 185°F and put in the tea. Steep for 3 minutes. Strain out the loose leaf tea and pour the remaining liquid into the pot with the pears.
- Turn on the burner to about medium. The tea is already hot, so you can pour in the sugar while it comes up to a simmer.
- Allow the pears to simmer in the tea for at least 20 minutes, but more likely 40 minutes if the pears are not fully ripe. You can use your knife to test if they are done. The knife should insert very easily.
- Remove the pears from the liquid using tongs by lifting them out by the stem and put in the refrigerator to cool. Leave the sauce in the pan and turn the burner up to high to get the sauce to a rolling boiling. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer until it reduces to a syrup that coats the back of your spoon when you lift it out. This will take around 30-minutes so be patient and stir periodically to check. Remove from heat and store in the refrigerator.
- Poached pears are traditionally served cold on a plate by placing the full pear in the center, drizzling on the syrup, and allowing guests to add whipped cream if want it.
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