Tea Time

When is the last time you had a great cup of tea?  For me it was just this morning as it has been for just about every morning since I discovered the wonders of loose leaf tea.  My favorite teas tend to be green tea and how lucky that the scientific studies show it has such great health properties.  Just between you and me, I would drink it anyway because I love the taste.

Here is one of my early favorites:

Earl Grey Green Tea

This was my first love of loose leaf teas. It has this amazing citrus aroma that provides a gentle sweetness to the oolong tea. I have tried many other green teas but I still love  Earl Grey Green’s flavorful aroma.

Jasmine PearlOne day I ran out of my Earl Grey and tried this Jasmine Pearl tea. Prior to trying this one, I found Jasmine teas okay, but they did not pull me away from my one true love of Earl Grey. One sip and I was head over heels in love with this tea. I especially like the little rolled up balls and count them out into my tea strainer for each cup. My little dogs love it too and each morning they wait patiently for their tea ball. We all agree this tea tastes fantastic.

My Mighty-Thai Tea Recipe

One of my favorite teas is the kind of tea you get from Thai restaurants, simply called Thai tea (not to be confused with Chai tea, which is totally different). I have often had it as an iced tea and love the look of the bright orange tea sitting atop the creamy milk. It also is typically very sweet and I estimate it has about a billion grams of sugar, or at least that is what it tastes like. I wanted to make some at home, but when I looked for it in stores I came up empty. Finally I found it on-line, but it was these packages of pre-mixed low quality tea with questionable contents that include an orange dye to give the tea its characteristic color. Those recipes also call for sweetened condensed milk and since I have been avoiding adding sugar to my drinks I was searching for an alternative. After a lot of looking around I finally created my own version of Thai tea. Here is my recipe for a great tasting and healthier Thai Tea.

For my recipe you will need the following ingredients, but of course feel free to modify. After all, creating your own blend is a lot of fun.

1. The Assam Black tea. You basically want a very high quality black tea because the higher the quality, the better the taste. I like the flavor of this one.
2. The Earl Grey black tea will lend a bit of citrus to the blend.
3. Star Anise is one of the key ingredients for Thai tea. You will crush this pod, or if you prefer, purchase star anise already powdered.
4. Cardamom is a wonderful spice that imparts a lemony flavor and is one of the key ingredients to Thai tea. I prefer this already ground, but if you wanted you could get the intact pods and grind them yourself.
5. I went back and forth between using vanilla beans and grinding them into the tea blend versus using a liquid vanilla extract. I think the extract imparts a greater flavor to the tea. But be sure to choose an extract versus imitation vanilla.

In addition to the above ingredients you will also want either cream, half and half or sweetened condensed milk, depending on your preference. Here is a summary of the ingredients and the amounts for each 12 oz serving of hot Thai tea:

  • 1/2 TBSP of Assam Black Tea
  • 1/2 TBSP of Earl Grey Black (or green) Tea
  • 1 crushed pod of star anise seed
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 5 – 10 drops of vanilla extract
  • sweetener (sugar, stevia, or sweetened condensed milk)
  • cream or half and half

Place the Assam and Earl Grey teas along with the crushed anise seed and ground cardamom into a Pyrex measuring cup. Add 1/2 cup water. Heat in microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and let stand. Place a desired amount of cream or half and half in a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup and add a cup of water. Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes. When the cream/water mixture is finished, strain the tea mixture into it. Add 5 – 10 drops of vanilla extract and sweeten to taste. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy.

It is not exactly the same as the restaurant style of Thai tea I enjoy, but I love the taste, the aroma as it is brewing and I love that the ingredients are fresh and totally free of obnoxious dyes. This will work great as an iced tea, just add a little more of the ingredients per cup to counter the diluting effect of the melting ice.

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