Witch’s Brew: Blending Your Own Tea

For Halloween, let’s brew up some unique tea blends using existing teas. Over the next four weeks, we will walk you through the craft of blending tea while creating four new blends to enjoy. So grab your measuring spoons, cup and infuser and join us on our blending adventure.

1st Recipe: Strawberry Jasmine

This blend is a mix of our Strawberry Oolong and Jasmine Green teas. Generally a tea blender would not opt for this mix as the density and size of the two teas are not similar, so the possibility of separate in the final storage container is rather high. Separation has to be considered as it leads to an inconsistent flavor on a cup by cup basis. So this is a blend you would make by the cup as opposed to making it in a large scale.

In crafting this blend, we choose to favor having a stronger Strawberry flavor with a Jasmine highlight. Picking a flavor to focus on is critical in making a tea blend. Ironically, if there are too many flavors in a blend it becomes hard for the drinker to figure out what they are drinking, which leads to confusion and a nonoptimal tea experience.

Recipe for Strawberry Jasmine – 12oz Cup

3 tsp (flat) – Strawberry Oolong

1 tsp (flat) – Jasmine Green

Steep for 3 minutes in 175°F water.

2nd Recipe: Caramel Apple

This blend combines our Dulce de Leche and Apple Blossom teas. Pretty routinely you will find that flavored teas are inspired by other food combinations. When building a blend on a known flavor it is important to think about what components are in the flavor and is there a dominant flavor characteristic. For Caramel Apple, the caramel is dominant with a slight apple finish. So you will notice that in this recipe, if you want more apple, adjust the Dulce de Leche down and the Apple Blossom up. Much like our last recipe, this is a blend to make by cup as the Dulce de Leche is rooibos based, making it very small and dense, while the Apple Blossom is puerh based, making it big and lite.

Luckily, this blend combines teas that require boiling water and have the same steep time, so no adjustment is needed there. If you have not had puerh before, we would highly recommend you drink some Apple Blossom on its own. It is a great introduction to puerh and its earthiness, without being overwhelming.

Recipe for Caramel Apple – 12oz Cup

2 tsp (scant – less than full, think 90-95% full) – Dulce de Leche

1/2 tsp (flat) – Apple Blossom

Steep for 5 minutes in 208°F water.

3rd Recipe: Almond Joys

When aiming to recreate a known flavor profile, in this case a famous candy bar, the goal is to find the balance in the flavor. Sure, a cup of tea will not contain the sweetness of the candy bar, which gives you some flexibility in what flavor to amplify. So feel free to play with the ratios to highlight either the chocolate or the coconut of this combination. We combined our Chocolate Almond Fantasy and Coconut Oolong to make this cup of tea. If you need that sweetness as well, add your sugar after you brew.

Blending with nuts is a tricky business, first you need them cut into the right size to roughly match the size of the tea leaves and then you need to factor in their shelf life. Slivered nuts have no where near the shelf life of tea. A good black tea can easily stay fresh, when stored correctly, for 5 years. Slivered nuts, on the long side, might have 1 year, but are more likely going to start to turn bitter at 6 months. So if you like teas with nuts in them, drink them frequently and do not save them for the future.

Recipe for Almond Joys – 12oz Cup

1 tsp (round) – Chocolate Almond Fantasy

1 tsp (flat) – Coconut Oolong

Steep for 4 minutes in 195-200°F water.

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Simple Syrups for Iced Tea

Simple syrup, in this case made from honeysuckle.

Have you ever experimented with simple syrup? Although most widely used in the world of cocktails, simple syrup is an easy way to add flavor to your iced tea without relying on expensive artificial sweeteners. Because the sugar is completely liquefied during cooking, it is perfect for mixing with cold beverages, and there are limitless ways to customize it. Here are a few of our favorite recipes to make your own simple and flavored syrups at home.

Simple Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

In a saucepan on the stovetop, combine water and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low, stirring gently until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-resistant container. Cover and store in fridge for up to two weeks.

Mint Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

5-6 sprigs fresh mint leaves

Combine water, sugar, and mint sprigs in a saucepan on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring gently until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow mint to infuse for thirty minutes or longer, tasting for preference, then strain. Try with our Lemon Drop or Betsy Ross White Tea.

Peppery Ginger Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 knob of ginger (approx. 6”)

1 ½ tsp whole black peppercorns

Peel ginger and slice finely; combine in saucepan on the stovetop with water, sugar, and peppercorns. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, stirring gently until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow pepper and ginger to infuse in refrigerator overnight before straining. Try with our Georgia’s Peach Tea or Strawberry Oolong Tea.

Rose Flower

Rose Syrup

½ cup water

½ cup rose water

1 cup sugar

Combine water, rose water, and sugar in a saucepan on the stovetop and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, stirring gently until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and pour into a heat-resistant container. Try with our Moroccan Mint or Japanese Sencha Green Tea.

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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.

 

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Dragon Well Shrimp

Dragon Well Shrimp is a simple traditional Chinese dish that incorporates the world famous Dragon Well Tea. This recipe originates from the same region as Dragon Well tea, the Hangzhou province of China. It is easy to make and can actually be made with other teas as well.

Dragon Well Shrimp Ingredients

1 pd of shrimp (Any size is fine. Traditionally, these would be small rock shrimp)
1 tbsp Chinese Rice Wine (can be substituted with dry white wine, sake, or chicken/vegetable stock)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp white pepper
3/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon of Dragon Well tea
Salt to taste

Dragon Well Shrimp Instructions

Start by peeling and deveining the shrimp and putting them into a small bowl. Mix the Chinese rice wine, white pepper and corn starch. Pour over the shrimp and put into the refrigerator for 15 minutes. While the shrimp is in the refrigerator, brew the tea. Heat the water to 175°F (If you are working with a kettle, bring it up to a boil and then pour out 3/4 of a cup of water and allow to cool 3 minutes). Steep the tea in the water for 4 minutes and strain out the leaves. Do not through out the leaves as you will be cooking with them. Have a plate nearby the stove

Steeped Dragon Well for Shrimp

Heat the oil in a large flat pan and put in the shrimp. You will want to spread out the shrimp in the pan so they do not overlap to ensure even cooking. You will want to pour out any  leftover marinade in the bowl. As the shrimp cook, pour in the tea and stir in the tea leaves. The tea and marinade should thicken into a sauce. Turn the shrimp about 2 minutes into cooking. After 4 minutes, if your sauce is not fully thick, remove the shrimp to a plate and continue cooking the sauce until it thickens. Then turn off the heat and put back in the shrimp. Taste the sauce and add salt to your taste.

The tea leaves will soften and be very easy to eat with the shrimp. Other green and white teas can be used for this recipe. Black and oolong teas will be much tougher and are not ideal for this unless you chop the leaves after brewing. This is a fun way to appreciate tea.Follow Dominion Tea: Facebooktwitterpinterestrss

Tea Poached Pears

Poached pear prepared with hojicha green tea.

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
Peeler
Grapefruit spoon or corer
Tongs or slotted spoon
Knife
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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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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