June 19 2017
Cold tea? We’d normally think of this when we return to a mug we made earlier, only to find that our cuppa has turned cold and bitter while we were preoccupied.
But brewing tea in cold water – or ice – can yield fantastic results. First popularised in Asia, most notably Japan, cold brew teas are served up and down the country as a refreshing remedy during the muggy, humid summers. One of the interesting things about cold brew tea is that a very different chemical process takes place to that of hot water. Higher temperatures encourage the leaves to release their many compounds and potentially bitter substances faster – however, the cold brew process reveals an entire new world of soft, sweet, grassy flavours with a rich touch to the palate.
One of our favorite teas here at The Gilded Teapot to use for cold brew Japanese organic Sencha Superior and is beautifully simple to make. The first method is add the Sencha to your teapot and fill it with ice cubes – once enough of the cubes have melted to fill your cup you can strain the infusion and enjoy. The other method is to add the tea leaves to cold water and infuse for 5-8 minutes. You can also re-infuse these leaves several times, so you can enjoy your cold brew throughout the day.
Here’s one of our favorite sunny day concoctions – a shaken Matcha cold brew finished with lime and mint. Matcha is a fascinating shade grown green tea upon which the Japanese tea ceremony is built – these soft, sweet leaves have been ground to form a fine powder which, when whisked into water, forms a vibrant, velvety infusion. While delicious as a tea in its own right, it pairs incredibly well with other flavours – in this instance, the grassy matcha with fresh mint makes for a deeply refreshing cup. You can use a cocktail shaker for this recipe, or simply make yours in a jar with a good tight lid.
Matcha Cold Brew Recipe
For each jar:
1.5 tsp Matcha
1 slice of lime
Handful of fresh mint
1 tsp sugar
1. Sift the matcha into a dish and pour on a little spring water. Give this a good whisk until it is nice and smooth with no lumps, and pour it into the jar. Add the mint leaves, lime slice and sugar (if you’d like it on the sweeter side) and give it all a good muddle.
2. Add the ice cubes to fill around 2/3 of the jar, screw on the lid tightly, and give it a good shake for at least 10 seconds.
3. Take off the lid and top up the jar with spring water. Stir and garnish with more fresh mint and lime to finish.
Variation: Looking for a cold brew with a bit of poke? You can easily turn this shaken tea into a Matcha Mint Julep tea cocktail- simply add a shot of bourbon to the Matcha, mint leaves and lime.
November 3 2016
The Hot Toddy – that most famous of winter cure-alls for coughs, colds, sore throats and cold, blustery evenings. Originally prescribed by a Dublin physician in the 1800s, the recipe spread, and was soon found gracing the glasses of dinner party guests as evenings drew to a close.
Benjamin Silliman, an American professor of Chemistry – and founder of the American Journal of Science – observed, “it may well be presumed, that the fumes of such a hot inebriating mixture, must occasionally turn the brains of parties not restrained by considerations of decorum or of religion … And indeed, among the most sober people, it is easy to perceive some exhilaration produced by the hot toddy, as they sit and sip from hour to hour.”
One of the most delightful elements of the toddy is that you can play a little fast and loose with the general ingredients and ratios – our recipe goes a little easy here on the alcohol, but you could easily bring it to a 1-to-4 or even 1-to-3 should the mood take you. All a toddy asks for is the classic combination of hot water (tea in this instance!) sugar/honey, lemon and alcohol.
Toddies make for a wonderful infusion to come home to, or share amongst friends on a cold evening – so have fun and tinker with your own concoction to warm your cockles.
For each toddy:
- 2 tsp tea – we used our Winter Spice Tea blend, but you can try using any spiced back tea – Chai would be very suitable too
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 lemon
- Stick of cinnamon
- 1 shot of whisky – we used a deep, smoky scotch, but bourbon or any other dark spirit like Brandy or Rum would taste great
1. Put the kettle on
2. Using a tea infuser or paper tea filter, get your tea leaves ready in the mug. If making more than one toddy you can use a teapot
3. Steep the leaves as you would for a normal cup. For instance, infuse Winter Spice for 3 1/2 minutes
4. Fill your mug with tea to just over 2/3 full
5. Add the lemon juice, honey, and stir well
6. Add the shot of alcohol and cinnamon stick
7. Give everything a good muddle and finish with the slice of lemon
September 10 2016
The seasons are turning and there’s a chilly nip in the air, which are two of many wonderful excuses to embrace autumn and make one of the most popular takeaways from our Tea Shop – the Chai Latte. This soul warming cuppa is beautifully simple, and the scent of winter spices drifting through the kitchen is an utter delight. Comfort in a cup!
How to make a chai latte
Ingredients. You will need:
- 1 tablespoon loose leaf Chai tea
- Milk / soya milk / oat milk (almond also works well) to fill 3/4 of a mug
- Honey / brown sugar / agave to taste
- Cinnamon for dusting – you could also grate over a little nutmeg
- 1/4 mug of water just off boiling
- Tea infuser or filter
Spoon the chai tea into your infuser, place into your mug and pour over the hot water until the mug is around 1/4 full. Leave to infuse for around 5 minutes to allow the tea to develop a full, deep flavour.
- Meanwhile, heat the milk in a saucepan until steaming, and use a balloon whisk to create some texture. You could also use a milk steamer if you have one hiding in the cupboard.
- Notes: If using a frothing wand from a home espresso machine hold the milk in the jug at an angle so the milk moves in a circular motion. Keep heating the jug becomes just a little too hot to touch. If bubbles have formed, tab the jug strongly on a board and swirl the jug until the milk becomes smooth and silky.
- Remove the infuser of Chai from the mug and stir in your honey or sugar.
- Slowly pour in the heated milk, stirring as you go.
- Finish with a dusting of cinnamon. Relax, and enjoy.
And that’s all there is to it.
If you’re feeling adventurous you could add a little vanilla extract or vanilla pod to the milk for a Vanilla Chai infusion… Or perhaps a sprinkling of turmeric?
May 13 2016
Cold tea? We’d normally think of this when we return to a mug we made earlier, only to find that our cuppa has turned cold and bitter while we were preoccupied… Or perhaps a pre-bottled sugary supermarket offering? Well, we’d like to tell you how it can be so, so much more – and not only is it wonderfully simple, the cold brew technique opens a entirely different spectrum of taste and experience.
What is cold brew tea?
Brewing tea in cold water – or ice – can yield fantastic results. First popularised in Asia, most notably Japan and Taiwan, cold brew teas are served up and down the country as a refreshing remedy during the muggy, humid summers. One of the many interesting things about cold brew tea is that a very different chemical process takes place to that of hot water. Higher temperatures encourage the leaves to release their many compounds and potentially bitter characters and tannins at speed – however, the cold brew process reveals an entire new world of soft, sweet, grassy flavours with a velvety touch to the palate.
Ice brew Japanese Hojicha and Sencha teas
This completely leapfrogs over the need to brew hot tea, cool it, then add something to sweeten it in an attempt to mask the bitter notes of this cooled-down infusion.
Learn more about how temperature affects tea here in our Tea & Temperature Guide
One of our favorite teas here at The Gilded Teapot to use for cold brew Japanese organic Sencha Superior and is beautifully simple to make. The first method is to add 2 tsp of Sencha to your teapot and fill it with ice cubes – once enough of the cubes have melted to fill your cup you can strain the infusion and enjoy (and return to the rest when the rest of the cubes have melted). You can also add a little cold water to encourage the infusion if you’d like your tea a little faster. The other method is to add the tea leaves to cold water and infuse for 5-8 minutes. You can also re-infuse these leaves several times, so you can enjoy your cold brew throughout the day.
Evening cold brew Sencha Superior
Another tea that works particularly well is Hojicha – a blend of lower leaves and tea stalks that have been toasted over charcoal in porcelain pots by a family of growers in Mie, Japan. Rather than a typically ‘green’ and grassy character, the Hojicha gives a fantastic light, coffee/cocoa sweetness. You can brew this in exactly the same way as the Sencha above. It tastes rather similar to the famed Boucha tea from Kanazawa on Japan’s western coast – there is nothing better than diving into a small, shady tea room in Kanazawa’s Chaya district on a hot day and being greeted with a cooling glass of iced Boucha.
And why not experiment? You can even look towards herbal infusions… Peppermint cold brew with slices of fresh lemon and cucumber is a thorough delight first thing in the morning. Or a cold brew Earl Grey (with a little gin) over ice might tickle your fancy?