Saturday Morning Tea

Rooibos Chai Dry 07-19-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! This afternoon I’m flying out to Michigan to visit my family for 2 weeks. One of our favorite activities for a lazy afternoon is to go to the bookstore and browse the stacks, my parents with their decaf Cafe Mocha and me with my Chai Latte (5 pumps!), iced in the summer and hot in the winter. As you probably know from reading my tea posts over the years, my tea preferences tend to be straight tea leaves rather than the flavored kind but there’s just something about the combination of the spices in Chai that I find yummy and comforting. So, why limit my Chai enjoyment to the occasional trek to the bookstore or cafe when I can make my own right at home?

Rooibos Chai Steep 07-19-14

As I like to drink my iced Chai latte in the evenings as well, I’m using Rooibos Chai as my “tea” choice. In this selection, cardamom, citrus peels, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, star-anise, and cloves have been mixed in with the Rooibos. I started my iced Chai journey last night by adding one tablespoon of Chai to 8 ounces of cold spring water. To make my measuring easier, I mixed my ingredients in a small Pyrex measuring cup. I placed the measuring cup in the fridge and then removed it this morning when I was ready to create my latte. You want to steep your tea leaves in cold water for at least 6 hours and then strain into your favorite glass.

Rooibos Chai Strain 07-19-14

In talking to an Indian gentleman I used to work with, Masala (“mixture of spices”) Chai (Hindi word for tea) is traditionally made in a big pot on the family stove, simmering an assortment of aromatic spices on hand with black tea leaves and buffalo milk. With cardamom usually being the primary spice, Masala Chai can also contain cinnamon, cloves, ginger, peppercorn, star anise and nutmeg. As chai, or tea, has been historically considered a medicinal beverage in India, the addition of warming Ayurvedic spices adds to its healing properties.

Rooibos Chai Milk Agave 07-19-14

I like to add milk, agave nectar and ice to my Chai. How about you?

Rooibos Chai Glass 07-19-14

Mmmm, so refreshing!

I hope that you’re cooling off during these hot, hazy summer days with an iced cuppa. See you in 3 weeks!

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”   ~John Keats


Saturday Morning Tea

St ames Estate Ceylon Dry 07-05-14

Good morning, dear tea friends! And a Happy 4th of July weekend to my US friends. It’s a clear, bright day after a soggy 4th of July yesterday. Hurricane Arthur reached his outer fingers towards New England as he moved northwards and we got soaked. Firework celebrations got rescheduled, and it turned out to be a good day for the ducks and the gardens.

This morning’s tea is a black tea from Sri Lanka, specifically from the St. James Estate in the Uva district of Ceylon. The “Pekoe” style leaf has been rolled into loose pellets, giving an interesting shape to the dry leaf.

St James Estate Ceylon Steep 07-05-14

I have read that the southeastern Uva province is the second least populated of Sri Lanka’s provinces, with only 1.1 million people. They have two main agricultural crops there: tea, grown in the hills, and sugar, grown on the plains. The St. James tea garden is located in the Malwatta Valley in that province.

I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. This tea has that comforting “tea” aroma, what most folks associate as a tea smell. It’s what you can smell if you ever came to visit my company. People walk through the front door and always remark, “It smells SO good in here!”

St James Estate Ceylon Wet 07-05-14

While the dry leaf has a grayish cast, after steeping, the wet leaf unfurled slightly to reveal large, chocolate-colored pieces of broken leaf.

St James Estate Ceylon Teapot 07-05-14

The rich amber tea liquor has a sweet fragrance and a smooth, rich flavor with whispers of rose and toast. When I brew this tea again, I’m going to push the brew time to 5 minutes and see if I can coax more briskness into the flavor. No need for milk and sweetener, this tea is wonderful straight up.

St James Estate Ceylon Teamug 07-05-14

There’s nothing like a delicious cup of tea to start a beautiful day.

Until next time, dear friends, enjoy your tea!

“Liberty is the breath of life to nations.”  ~George Bernard Shaw