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?
April 9 2015
The Spring tea harvest season is upon us – one of my favorite times of year in the tea calendar. After laying dormant for the winter (rather like you and I) the tea bushes in Japan are waking up with the change in the seasons, producing their fresh spring growth.
On the 20th of April we’ll be boarding a plane and heading back to Japan once again ready to sample this year’s harvest from Wazuka, one of the original tea growing areas just outside of Kyoto. We’ll also have the opportunity to hand pick and process the tea using centuries-old traditional methods, explore the different varietals grown in the area, and catch up with old friends.
But we’ll be putting together a little extra something for you too. I say little… it is a story that we have been researching for the past few months, and decided that, rather write it as a series of blogs, it would be much, much better as a video. So, as well as fresh tea, we’ll be bringing back with us the story of Sen no Rikyu – arguably the most famous Japanese tea master who ever lived. Some of you may be familiar with his work and the tales that surround his life, or you may never have heard of him! Either way, we’ll be delving underneath the traditional telling of his story to explore the upheaval, paranoia, and charged political landscape of 16th Century Japan, where Rikyu’s Chanoyu (way of tea) was formed and developed.
Our trip will begin with a chance to shake our jet lag in Tokyo before heading to Osaka and Rikyu’s birthplace, Sakai. From there we’ll be heading to Kyoto for two tea ceremonies and a rather special temple visit, before visiting Wazuka. Then we will wave goodbye to Kyoto and spend a night in Kanazawa – a town that played a role in a quite spectacular tea room that we’ll look at in our video – and explore their old streets lined with chayas and samurai residences. Owing to its heritage, Kanazawa has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so I am very much looking forward to visiting this beautiful town. After boarding the new Shinkansen line that opened last month, we’ll head back to Tokyo for a few days, before retuning on May 6th. And somewhere in all of this is my 30th birthday…
We’ll be sharing what we find (and eat) on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, such is the wonder of technology. If you have any recommendations for things to see, eat and explore while we’re there then do let us know! I’m particularly fond of wagashi… (hint hint)
June 21 2014
When we were visiting Wazuka the weather was as beautiful and balmy as it is in Dorset right now. Our friend Matsu made us a pot of ice brew Sencha to refresh us in the shade – the method is simple, effective, and delicious. Thank you, Matsu!
Infusing tea leaves in cooler or ice water means fewer tanins (the astringent elements of tea usually released at higher temperatures), catechins and caffeine are released. This chemical difference drops the bitterness and focuses instead on the sweetness of the tea, leaving the bitter compounds behind, and encouraging the refreshing grassy notes of the leaves to shine through.
When you’ve enjoyed your pot of ice brew tea, you can add more ice cubes or cold water and infuse the leaves again. We find that Sencha works particularly well, but you can also try this method with many other kinds of leaf too…
December 9 2013
Tea hunting is a thoroughly fascinating process. While it is never easy, finding and meeting a new tea garden and infusions is the single most rewarding part of what we do. So when you find not one, but three startling teas it can feel a little bit like all of your Christmasses have arrived at once…
For several months we have been searching for exquisite teas specifically from Japan. While your usual Japanese teas – especially Sencha – can come from large commercial blends, we wanted to make contact with small, family run tea gardens that carefully pluck and process their own teas. Our journey has led us to two tea farms, one in Miyazaki on one of the southernmost islands of the Japanese archipelago, and the other in Mie, about an hour and a half outside of Nagoya. Both are pioneers in organic tea production, and when their samples arrived we were simply bowled over. We have managed to select three of their very best, we do hope you enjoy them as much as we have!
So (without further ado!) we are thrilled to introduce our three new Japanese teas.
SENCHA SUPERIOR – Miyazaki
A bright first flush Toku Jô (extra-superior) highest grade Sencha, harvested in late April in the season known as Ichibancha, or ‘first-picked-tea’. These fine, needle-like deep emerald leaves are gently steamed at a low temperature, and give a full bodied sweet, grassy infusion with notes of wilted greens and fresh citrus. The bright, sweet aroma and lingering grapefruit freshness are a real highlight.
KARIGANE KUKICHA – Mie
This remarkable tea is created using both the leaf and stalk of the tea plant picked during the shade grown organic Gyokuro harvest in early May. The cool climate of Mie, near Nagoya, and gentle steaming of the leaves produce a soft, balanced infusion that is deep, smooth and naturally low in caffeine. One of the first things that strikes you is the incredible aroma of fresh blackcurrants from the dry leaves, and this bright fruit sweetness continues through each exploratory infusion.
TOASTED HOJICHA – Mie
Organic toasted Bancha and tea stalks picked during the late summer season are gently roasted over charcoal in porcelain pots, giving an intense, deep amber infusion. This fascinating tea has subtle, baked nutty notes with hints of dark cocoa and makes a great accompaniment to a meal. Naturally low in caffeine.
The Gilded Teapot, 1 Tudor Arcade, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1BN