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TIP OF THE DAY: Infuse Your Own Tea

There are so many flavored teas on the market. Many American consumers prefer them to plain teas.

But did you know that you can flavor your own, using plain black, green, white or rooibos teas? Just look around your kitchen for things to infuse:

  • Fruits: apple, citrus peel/zest, lemon, orange, pear or other fruit
  • Herbs: mint
  • Spices: allspice, anise/star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel seeds, ginger/fresh ginger/crystallized ginger, nutmeg, vanilla bean, turmeric
  • Sweeteners:Agave, honey, flavored syrup
  •  


    You can buy flavored tea, or infuse different ingredients into plain tea. Photo courtesy Republic of Tea.

     
    HOW TO INFUSE TEA

    1. With a spice ball. We prefer the new twist-and-lock spice ball style.

    2. Loose. If you don’t have a spice ball, just infuse all of the ingredients in a large measuring cup, ideally one with a pouring spout. Then pour the tea through a strainer, into a cup.

     
    RECIPE #1: TURMERIC GINGER SPICED TEA

    Ingredients For 1 Cup Of Tea

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ginger green tea bag or 1 teaspoon loose tea
  • 1 inch orange peel (no white pith)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 slice fresh ginger or 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • Garnish: sliced lemon round
  •  

    Preparation

    1. HEAT water to a rolling boil. Place the tea bag, orange peel and spices in a glass measuring cup or other receptacle. Add water and orange peel.

    2. STEEP for 5-7 minutes. Remove tea bags and orange peel. Stir in lemon juice and agave nectar. Garnish with lemon round.

    Now for some gin in your tea! See yesterday’s tip.

     


    Hot and spicy. Photo courtesy David Rio.
     

    RECIPE: MASALA CHAI

    Masala chai is Hindi for spiced milk tea (masala = spice, chai = tea). It’s a strong black Indian tea infused with milk, sugar and spices—commonly cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, peppercorn, clove and nutmeg (chocolate or licorice are sometimes included). While chai is traditionally made from black tea, green tea chai and rooibos chai have become popular in the West.

    There is no one “best chai recipe.” As with any other dish, the best version has the seasonings you prefer, in the strengths that you want.

    Here’s a basic masala chai recipe that makes eight cups of tea. Take it as a starting point and adjust the proportions next time.

    If eight cups is too much for you, cut back the recipe. Or, refrigerate the remainder, store it in the fridge and and heat it as needed. You can also drink it iced.

     
    TIP: If some people prefer unsweetened tea, or use a noncaloric sweetener, omit the sweetener and provide options at the table.
     
    Chai Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups whole milk (or substitute a lower fat or nondairy version)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 vanilla bean, chopped fine
  • 4 teaspoons black tea leaves: Assam or other strong tea
  • 8 ounces honey or 4 ounces agave
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the water and milk to a boil in a sauce pan. Add the remaining ingredients except honey and simmer, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes.

    2. REMOVE from heat and strain into another pot or bowl. Add sweetener and blend thoroughly.

    3. SERVE from a conventional teapot or a pitcher; or bring pre-filled cups the table.

     
    TEA TALK

    Check out the different types of tea and tea terminology in our Tea Glossary.

      




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