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…
July 13 2013
Gin and Earl Grey – finally a way to combine our two favorite things. All this sunshine typically has us with Pimms on the mind, but after experimenting with cold brew tea and other infusions, we thought it was time we’d turn our attention to something a little, ahem, stronger…
The Tom Collins is a classic long cocktail originating in late 1800s New York made mixing gin, lemon juice, sugar, soda and plenty of ice. So here’s a typically English spin on it – a Tom Collins with Earl Grey. The citrus and botanicals work beautifully with the aromatic bergamont and astringent nod from the tea leaves, making an excellent balmy summer evening concoction.
- 1 shot of lemon juice
- 2 shots of Gin (Sipsmith is lovely)
- 1 heaped tablespoon of loose leaf Earl Grey – we used Earl Grey Supreme
- 2 tsp caster sugar (or a shot of sugar syrup)
- Wedges of lemon and orange to garnish
- Ice cubes
- A Collins or Highball glass
Step one: Add the loose leaf tea to the gin and leave to infuse at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours
Step two: Strain the gin and tea mixture and discard the leaves. Into the glass add the lemon juice, tea infused gin and sugar. Stir well.
Step three: Add a handful of ice cubes to the glass and stir again (or if you have a cocktail shaker, give everything a good shake) add more sugar or lemon juice to taste.
Step four: Add the lemon wedge, top off with soda and stir for a final time. Finish with an orange wheel.
A long, balanced and refreshing infusion.
(Always enjoy responsibly)
June 6 2013
And as if by magic… Summer appeared.
This glorious weather has us thinking of chilled infusions, and this simple recipe really hits the spot on a balmy afternoon (and is an equally delicious early morning cool-down too).
Cold brew is a great way to enjoy iced tea. Rather than making a hot infusion and chilling down afterwards, cold brew is made entirely without a kettle. Hot infusions, when cooled, can become rather bitter – hence some iced teas being packed full of sugar to help take the edge off. But brewing your tea in chilled water releases less of those bitter tannins resulting in a fresh, clean infusion.
- 2 tsp English Peppermint
- 500ml room temperature water (filtered)
- Some sprigs of fresh mint leaves
Using a jug or pitcher, add the Peppermint tea and pour over the room temperature water. Place in the fridge for 1 – 2 hours (all depends on how strong you like your tea). Strain the infusion and serve over ice with some fresh mint and a good squeeze of lemon juice – you can add some lime and cucumber too if you fancy.
February 4 2013
We love Matcha. This beautiful powdered green tea is a true gem created in Japan, and is traditionally drunk after being whisked into hot water. This is a bright, vibrant infusion in a world of its own, and Matcha also happens to be rather versatile… The powdered nature of this tea makes it incredibly handy to use in cooking, and can be a great introduction to the world of Japanese tea – and when we heard about Soba noodles infused with Matcha, we were chomping at the bit to try some.
Cooking Soba was an entirely new experience for us here in Dorset, and we couldn’t wait to get them in the pan. We cooked them up with a simple dipping sauce that’s incredibly easy to make (and very satisfying to eat!)
- A good handful of Matcha Soba noodles (sometimes known as Cha Soba, you can find them from online Japanese shops in the UK. Made with buckwheat, they are wheat free)
- 1 sachet of Dashi stock (again available online or larger supermarkets)
- 1 shot glass of dark soy sauce
- 1 shot glass of mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
- Sheet of sushi Nori (optional)
Place the noodles in a pan of boiling water and boil for approx. 7 minutes or until soft. As the noodles are cooking, in a smaller pan dissolve the dashi in 200ml of boiling water and add the soy sauce and mirin. Keep this mixture simmering until the noodles are done. Strain the noodles and rinse in cold water, and everything is ready to serve. We finished the noodles off by cutting some nori into thin slices and sprinkling them over the top, and enjoyed the whole lot with a pot of Genmaicha tea.
And hey presto! All that’s left is to tuck in. The light, grassy flavour of the noodles sits wonderfully with the simple dipping sauce – we’re determined to always keep some Soba in the cupboard from now on.