If you’re still with me after that unforgivable (but very funny) pun, I want to share with you my recipe for homemade chai in honor of this, a midsummer tea party. Chai is one of those things I didn’t realize you could make yourself until I thought about it and was like, “well, obviously it gets made at some point.” If you were wondering, that’s the provenance of about 90% of my DIY projects. Behold, Oprah-free chai:
Bonus: A picture of the Nashville Food Trucks book that I just finished editing!
I know it’s pretty hot to be thinking about drinking chai, but who doesn’t love an iced bev this time of year? I tried this out a couple different ways (details after the jump), and it was good hot, cold, room temp, and as an ice cube.
My boss has returned from China, and with him comes a ton of weird, wonderful, rare teas that I am SO EXCITED to share with you. Behold, bluegrass mountain:
Isn’t it mossy-looking?
Remember how I told you about oolongs? This is one of those, too! It’s got the weird variable caffeine/questionable health benefits, but this one is much greener, and oh.my.god. it is so good. Very delicate, vegetal, and a little clovery, it doesn’t smell like anything when you hold your face over it. It’s so fragile we have to keep it in a freezer case at all times, so it isn’t even available for sale. If you want to come try some, come by my office and I’ll pour you one.
Have you tried any weird teas since last we spoke?
Y’all, I love pearl tea. It’s so delicate, so jasmine-y, and overall, just my favorite thing in the world. It’s with pleasure that I bring you this week’s tea:
Those tiny pearls expand to fill the pot almost completely with leaves, which is, to me, completely magical.
Pearled tea is hand-rolled. I’m going to pause to let that sink in. Every tiny pearl is a long, lightly oxidized green tea leaf that a human being rolled into a ball. This boggles the mind! As we’ve covered before, green tea is an antioxidant, helps with weight loss, improves circulation, and is generally a wonder drug. I love this particular tea because it is so fragrant, so light, and so perfectly floral.
The downside of a lightly processed, delicate tea with a high degree of human involvement is that it’s a little pricey– about $10 an ounce. The good news is a little goes a long way; six pearls will make you a nice pot of tea, and you can resteep the leaves several times. The variations in the flavors are delightful. Just delightful.
My favorite pearl teas come from my work ($24 for 2 ounces) and, honestly, from Teavana ($12 for 2 ounces). You CAN tasted the difference if you’re discerning, but if you’re new to tea and want to get your feet wet before investing, the less expensive option is still great.
Have you tried pearl teas? Do you like them? Do you love them? Let me know what you think.
I am in to tea, to be sure. My pantry is mostly half-full canisters from tea shops the world over, and my current job affords me a lot of access to weird teas. My boss brings them straight to me from China and Japan, so I don’t even have to go look for them! This is a convenient arrangement for me, but our shop is pretty small, so don’t go quitting YOUR job or anything. To the best of my knowledge, it’s a pretty tight market for caterers at tea shops in Louisville, Kentucky.
So I thought I would just haul out one of my teas each week and let you look at them, because they’re pretty and tasty. I’m no great expert on tea (though if you have any bourbon questions, please direct them this way), but I do enjoy it. Without further ado, your tea of the week is…Red bush!
Okay, so it isn’t a surprise, since it was right up there in the subject bar, but please pretend to be really stunned for my benefit. I can wait. Thank you.
Red bush is a rooibos, or red tea, which means it is caffeine free. It’s got a lot of warm red fruit taste to it– strawberries and raspberries. It tastes a little gingery to me, too, but the other people who have tried it say it’s completely in my head. Teas of this classification are supposed to help with allergies and stomach “issues”, so I drink it any time I sneeze, just to be on the safe side. Allegedly, it also has antifungal properties, but I haven’t delved into that because…ew.
But! Even if it isn’t somehow a miracle bev, it is really tasty, so you should try it. It’s $12 for 3.5 ounces and is available right here.