3 Teas to Replace Coffee

Malty Assam Black Tea and Liquor

Malty Assam Black Tea and Infused Liquor. This crush-tear-curl tea even looks like ground coffee beans.

We get a lot of people in the shop that love tea but will not abandon their morning cup of coffee. This is a shame given all the benefits of tea. So, here are recommendations on the 3 teas to replace coffee, especially that first cup in the morning. We have seen, first hand, their success in converting those whose are willing to try.

  1.  Malty Assam – This bold black tea from the Assam region of India is the only CTC (cut-tear-curl) tea we carry. The CTC method for manufacturing tea gives you small balls of tea leaves. The small surface intensifies both the flavor and briskness of the tea. This tea holds up to milk and sugar, in case that is the real reason you love your morning cup of coffee.
  2. Ceylon OP –  This beautiful tea from the mountains of Sri Lanka features malty flavor and brisk mouth feel to help get the morning started quick. It’s a wonderful tea on its own with no need for milk and sugar.
  3. Kosebei TGFOP – From Kenya, this beautiful black tea has flavors of currant, malt, and moist earth. It can also handle milk and sugar without losing its flavor.

Yes, all these teas are black. Their woody and earthy flavors accompanied with their astringent/brisk finish is fairly similar to coffee. However, they are easy to drink without milk and sugar, so we recommend you try them straight first. You may be pleasantly surprised that you can get rid of the milk and sugar calories. The other big difference you will notice is that the caffeine doesn’t disappear out of your blood stream as fast, so there is no energy crash an hour later. For those of you who already drink tea in the morning and are looking for new ones to try, take a look at our piece on new teas to try in the new year. Personally, we start our morning with a wide variety of teas, some days green, others puerh and so on. So don’t think black tea is the only way to start your morning.

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Golden Tipped Yunnan

Golden Tipped Yunnan

Yunnan Sunrise (aka Golden Tipped Yunnan)

Golden-tipped Yunnan also goes by the name Dianhong. Dian is the short name for the Yunnan province and hong means red tea, so the name is Yunnan Red tea. Keep in mind, what Americans and Europeans refer to as black tea is called red tea in China. The red refers to the color of the brew, while the black refers to the color of the leaf. Neither name is wrong, they just refer to different characteristics of the tea.

Origin of Golden Tipped Yunnan

As the name suggests it is produced in the Yunnan province of China. Known more for puerh and bricks of packed tea, Yunnan province did not move into producing loose tea until the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.  Their loose black teas are some of the most complex with rich flavor, most notably by the inclusion of golden buds in the black tea. Most notably the golden-tipped Yunnan is made from the cultivar Yunnan Dayeh, which has a broad leaf, stronger and thicker buds (making it easier to twist and keep whole at the same time), and an earlier sprouting meaning they are harvested in early March instead of late March, allowing the farmer to harvest more during the growing season.streaming The Bye Bye Man film

Golden Tipped Yunnan Production

To produce the golden buds, there are additional steps in the production of this tea than in a typical black tea. As with all tea, after the leaves are plucked they are immediately withered in the sun or climate controlled warehouse to allow the leaves to be pliable and to remove around 60% of their moisture. Next they are rolled either with machine or by hand to help breakdown the cell membrane and speed along oxidation. Then the leaves are laid out and allowed to rest while they oxidize. After assessing the moisture of the leaves, they may be covered with wet cloths to speed the oxidation processes. This is where the Golden-tipped Yunnan deviates from the standard production. The leaves are not allowed to oxidize fully and a slow oxidation process is needed to control it properly so the cloths are not used. They are allowed partial oxidation with the tea master inspecting often to ensure those golden tips don’t turn fully black. They are dried by a variety of techniques by blowing warm air on the leaves. They are then sorted by size to be sold. In some cases, a second drying may occur to further reduce moisture if needed and increase the golden color.

Loose leaf Golden Tipped Yunnan after infusion.

Infused leaf of Golden Tipped Yunnan.

Golden tipped Yunnan (Yunnan Sunrise) has a beautiful mix of golden and black buds with a slightly hoppy smell. It brews a beautiful reddish-brown with a complex mix of orange, malty and smooth finish. The partial oxidation on the leaves allows this black tea to be brewed like an oolong, at lower temperatures, which produces a more creamy flavor.

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Sweet Tea Recipe – An American Classic

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/

Sweet tea has been around since the 1800’s in the United States. It has had many variations in a wide variety of cookbooks. Generally speaking it is tea, sugar and lemon. It is the ratio’s of those ingredients that provide this variety and allow this drink to become a family recipe. The big headache with sweet tea is getting the sugar to dissolve in the cold tea. The recipe below takes care of this by using a tea infused simple syrup.

Sweet Tea (1/2 gallon)

4 cups of water

4 tablespoons of loose tea (Originally this was green tea since that was what was available in the 1800s, but now it is usually black. English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast make a great base.)trailer movie J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only 2017

1 lemon

1 cup of simple syrup

4-5 cups of ice

Start by making the simple syrup from the recipe below. You can use the same tea you are using for the base of the sweet tea or change it up to add a hint of something else. Moroccan Mint or Earl Grey with Lavender make interesting twists to the flavor of sweet tea. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add the tea. Allow to steep for 5 minutes if a black tea and 3 minutes for a green tea. While the tea is steeping. Take out a 1/2 gallon pitcher and fill half-way up with ice. If you have a larger pitcher, just add 4 mounded cups of ice. Then pour in the simple syrup over the ice. If your simple syrup just came off the stove, it will melt some of the ice. Add more ice to get your ice back up to half way up your pitcher. When your timer goes off, put a strainer on the top of the pitcher to catch the loose tea and pour the hot tea into the pitcher over the ice. You are using the ice partly as water and partly to cool this down quickly to ice tea.

You can slice the lemon and add it to the pitcher. It will cloud the tea, but I find that it cuts the sweetness nicely. (Sorry I love my tea straight up.)  Or you put the lemon in the glass and pour the tea over it.

The ratio of simple of syrup to tea used above is borrowed from older recipes, but what you generally find is that it is a personal preference so feel free to adjust accordingly.

Tea Infused Simple Syrup

1 cup water

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp of tea

Simple syrup for sweet tea simmering on the stove.

Preparing simple syrup for sweet tea.

On the stove top, put 1 cup of sugar into 1 cup of water in a sauce pan and hit over medium-high to high heat to get to boil. It is recommended that your stir, it will not take long for the sugar to dissolve into the warming water. As soon as bubbles start to appear, put in the tea and set a timer for 5 minutes. It is easiest if you stir for the next 5 minutes, you will want the water at a low rolling boil. Once it is there drop the temperature so you do not turn your simple syrup into a caramel sauce. At the end of the 5 minutes, remove from the heat and strain out the tea. Simple syrup can be made in larger batches and kept in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, so feel free to make a large batch so you have them at your disposal anytime (It works nicely in tea infused cocktails).

 

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Smokey Mushroom Soup

As winter approaches, we start looking for warmer foods and smokey mushroom soup fits that bill. It is always fun when you can find ways to incorporate your favorite drink into warming food. The Chinese have used Lapsang Souchong tea for years to add smokey flavor to all sorts of dishes. So I figured mushroom soup would be a good candidate for this treatment.watch The Jungle Book 2016 film online now

Below is the recipe that swaps out the traditional stock with Lapsang Souchong tea, adding a nice smokey flavor to an already earthy soup.

Cooking up smokey mushroom soup

Smokey Mushroom Soup

Smokey Mushroom Soup

Serves six to seven

  • 6 grams Lapsang Souchong Tea
  • 4 1/3 cups water
  • 1 lbs mixed mushrooms – Shitake, Baby Portobello, White, King Oyster
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tbsps of red wine vinegar
  • Pepper
  • Crusty bread for croutons
  • 2 ½ tbsps. Olive oil
  • 6 slices Mozzerella cheese
  • Fresh tarragon

Start by bringing 2 cups of water to a boil and steeping the tea in the boiling water for 5 minutes. While you are waiting for the tea, chop up the mushrooms into even bite sized pieces and remove any hard stems. Remove the tea strainer with the leaves and transfer the tea to a 1 -2 quarter pot. Put the mushrooms into the tea and set the heat to medium, put a lid on the pot and allow to cook for 15 minutes. While the mushrooms cook, chop up the onions into small pieces and the garlic. In a small saute pan, heat up ½ tbsp. of the oil and saute the onions until almost translucent, introduce the garlic and then remove from heat about 2mintues later (You do not want to burn the garlic.). At the end of the 15 minutes, put the onions, garlic, remaining 2 1/3 cups of water and the red wine vinegar into the pot with the mushrooms and leave on medium heat while you make the toppings.

Smokey mushroom soup with bread, cheese, and taragon.

Smokey Mushroom Soup with Bread, Mozzarella, and Fresh Tarragon Just Out of the Oven

To make the topping for the soup, slice the crusty bread into thin pieces. Cut enough pieces to roughly fill 2/3 of the fop of your bowl that you will be putting the soup in for each person. Brush the front and back of each piece with olive oil and put on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top and put the cookie sheet in the oven under the broiler set to high for 3-5 minutes. I set the rack in the middle of the oven to lessen the likelihood of burning the bread. When you pull the bread out, do not turn off the oven as you will be using it in a moment to melt the cheese.

When you pull the bread out, taste the soup and add pepper to your liking. Slice enough mozzarella cheese to make the number of bowls of soup you are going to serve. Ladle the soup into the bowls, put the croutons on top and put the piece of mozzarella balancing on the croutons. Put the bowls onto the cookie sheet you just pulled out and put the soups back into the oven under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese (about 2-3 minutes). Chop the fresh tarragon. Pull out the bowls of soup, sprinkle the tarragon on top and serve.

Note:  You can adjust up or down the level of smokiness by brewing more tea and using less plain water.

 

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Kickstarter Projects with a Tea Theme

A few weeks ago we discovered two great Kickstarter projects for ideas we love; MIITO and Imbue (Update: 4/12/2017 – The Imbue project ultimately released a product deemed unsafe and was shut down). These projects are to create products for boiling just the right amount of water for your next cup of tea and for the initial production run of a new tea infusing vessel. We’ll admit to jumping in and funding these early without looking around at other related projects or, frankly, reading up on Kickstarter generally. We had success with Bo and Yana (now Dash and Dot from Wonder Workshop) in the past and jumped right in. That said, we are curious and wanted to look a bit more at Kickstarter and tea themed projects.

What is Kickstarter?

There are many tea related projects on kickstarter.

Kickstarter provides a way to match ideas with backers to fund them.

In short, Kickstarter is a platform playing matchmaker between people with ideas (they may or may not be great) and people to would love to see the idea become a success. You may make the mistaken assumption that the platform is for funding new technologies, products, or businesses and these are certainly a large part. However, the platform is also used as a way to fund single events, art installations, books, and more. If you have an idea, want to test the waters, and see if its got legs then Kickstarter is a platform to do just that.

According to their FAQ, the company is only about 110 people and is located in New York City. In exchange for a small percentage of money pledged, the project owner gets an easy way to publicize their idea and collect funds from backers. In order to reduce risk to backers, the company claims to keep an eye out for suspect projects and they use an all or nothing funding model to ensure that if a project doesn’t meet funding goals nobody gets billed.

Kickstarter claims (as of May 31st, 2015) about a 38% success rate of projects successfully receiving funding by their goal date. But do note that not all projects get funded, and even funding is no future guarantee of future products or business (see some of the projects below).

Tea Themed or Inspired Projects

In addition to MIITO and Imbue, which initially got us looking for other tea related projects, we found quite a number of others. Everything from WINKpen, which is a refillable pen for writing with naturally staining liquids (Wine, Tea, etc), to no less than three different tea infusers, to Barons of Tea which is a tea themed board game. We wouldn’t necessarily back all these though we did find some more interesting than others.

WINKpen

Created by Jessica Chan, this unique pen was designed to solve the problem of disposable ink pens allowing the user to fill it with natural “inks”. This glass pen can be filled with wine (the name comes from wine as ink), cranberry juice, tea, or any other substance which naturally stains. Having settled on a design this project is to fund a large manufacturing run allowing the dream to be turned into reality for those who want a unique and environmentally friendly pen to write with.  We would recommend using puerh or a black tea,if you where to fill the pen with tea.

HIYA

The premise behind HIYA is near instant cold brewed green tea. We love cold brewed tea (green tea or otherwise) and have blogged about it before. What HIYA was promising was essentially a tea bag with (we would imagine) very finely processed green tea. This project promised to bring green tea to those on the go with just a few seconds of shaking a water bottle containing the sealed and staple free tea bag. Despite having successful funding we aren’t quite sure if HIYA is still producing product as its been out of stock since at least November 2014 with limited Twitter or Facebook updates.

Tea Infusers

We found three different tea infuser projects on Kickstarter as of May 2015; VivaBoo, TeaDrop, and DunkFish. These projects all take their own unique spin on the tea infuser with DunkFish and VivaBoo being playful tea ball variations starring fish or platypus designs and offering built-in handles to remove them from water with reduced risk of burning your fingers. TeaDrop is slightly different with a combination infuser ball and built in timer to mechanically stop steeping when the timer stops. We haven’t tried any of these and hope they provide enough room for loose leaf tea to expand well, but they add both fun none the less.

Stock Certificate from The Long Dock Company

Is Kickstarter the replacement for issuing stock or soliciting venture capital?

Barons of Tea {The Board Game}

For those who are fans of board games and art, the Barons of Tea allows players to imagine they were alive during the time when England ruled the seas and competed to develop the tea trade world wide. This project was intended to fund the creation of a number of these board games envisioned by illustrator Gregory Snader. It was completed, and games were shipped back in 2012.

All in all Kickstarter does seem to be a great way for smaller ideas to get off the ground. In many respects it may even be a better way to prove a market exists than traditional market surveys or attracting venture capital investors. From a tea perspective, we love the creativity of the many ideas supported by the Kickstarter platform which may make our tea enjoyment just a little bit better. (And we can’t wait for our MIITO and Imbue products to arrive).

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