Latest Posts

Iced Spicy Blueberry Rooibos

Indredients:

1,125 L    Filtred water
575 ml    White Cranberry Juice (no sugar added)
12,5 gr    Blueberry Rooibos, certified organic and fair trade
4-5          Cinnamon sticks
15            Cloves
1/2          Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions:

In a large teapot equipped with a basket infuser, put the cloves and cinnamon sticks in the bottom of the teapot.   Put the blueberry rooibos in the basket infuser and set in the teapot.

Boil the water, pour in the teapot and set the lid on.  Let steep for 5 minutes.

When steeping time ends, strain out in a large juice jar, and let sit until completely cooled.

Once cooled, add the cranberry and lemon juice, refrigerate until chilled.

Ice Tea 101

Make ice tea as nothing complicated; even you make a mistake here and there, you will always get a better ice tea when making it yourself from good loose leaf tea, than if you make it from the powdered stuff from the store, which contain a great deal of added sugar and artificial flavour. It can be a fun parent-child activity that your kids will love to be involved.

When gets time of making tea, two components always come together: good quality loose leaf tea and water exempt of chlorine. While choosing good quality loose leaf tea and filtered water, you put all chances for success on your side.

All tea types make good ice tea, although subtle white tea taste can be lost while adding fruits, juice and sweetener.  Black tea is always one of the favorites, but green tea and oolong tea make great ice tea as well. Don’t forget the Rooibos and fruit blends, they are great caffeine free alternative for the whole family.

Water has major impact on tea taste. If your tap water smells chlorine, you should use a “Brita” type filter or use bottled spring water. Remember: great tasting water makes great tasting tea.

Six rules to make the perfect ice tea:

  1. When brewing pure tea (without flavoring), use 10g of loose leaf for one liter of water at room temperature.
  2. If your recipe contains fruit juice, use 15g of loose leaf per water liter.
  3. If you like your tea stronger, add more leaves; never steep longer than recommended, this would allow the tannins to develop too far and to create bitterness. For a lighter taste, shorter the steeping time; do not reduce the recommended leaves quantity.
  4. Use good quality and healthy sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, agave syrup or brown rice syrup. For a low calories tea use Stevia, which is more natural than the other brands. For best results, make simple tea syrup by mixing one part of water to two parts of sweetener, mix well and bring to boil for two minutes. The light syrup dissolve much better in cold tea.
  5. Always let the steeped tea completely cool down before to put it in the refrigerator; this will reduce the chances that your tea gets cloudy and/or bitter.
  6. Only use 100% natural fruit juices, not made from concentrate (organic preferably). Frozen juices are good alternative. Why ruin a good quality tea with artificial flavour?

Three methods

Brewed at room temperature

This method is the one who gives a well-balanced, tasty and beautiful clear tea.

 Tea type  leaves/ 1 L water  Steeping time  Note
Pure black tea (without flavoring) 10g Overnight (at least 8 h)
Pure green tea (without flavoring) 10g Two to four hrs Taste the tea after two hours, and then each half hour, until you get the taste you want
Flavored black tea 15g-20g One hour
Flavored green tea 15g-20g 30 minutes This is good for white and oolong tea as well

In all cases, once steeping time ends, strain out the leaves, add other ingredients and refrigerate.

Brewed in hot water

This method is faster but can result in a cloudy and bitter tea

Tea type Leaves/1L water Steeping time Note
All tea types 8g Follow instructions on your tea tin If you add fruit juice, use 12g to 15g of loose leaves.

Let completely cool down, add other ingredients and refrigerate.

Brewed in the refrigerator

This method is recommended with Japanese green tea, Rooibos, fruit and herbal blends

Tea type Leaves/1L water Water temperature Steeping time
Japanese green tea 10g Cool 3 hours in refrigerator
Rooibos* 10g 95°C 5 minutes
Fruit blend* 10g 95°C 5 minutes
Herbal blend* 10g 95°C 5 minutes

*Rooibos, fruit or herbal blends: Once steeping time ends, add one cup (or so) of ice cubes and fill in the one liter container or jar with cold water; refrigerate until ice cubes have completely melted. Strain out the leaves and add other ingredients.

If you have a Hario Filter-In bottle, you don’t even have to strain out the leaves.  You can add the other ingredients with the ice cubes and keep everything in your bottle; it is so easy!

This summer, check my blog regularly for ice tea and tea mocktail recipe

Little tasting guide for new tea enthusiast

I sincerely believe that brewing and tasting tea is not that complicated. All you need is a vessel (preferably a teapot, but it is not required), a kettle (or a little saucepan, a stove or a warmer unit), filtered water and good quality loose leaf tea; of course, a moment to relax and appreciate the aromas and flavours, along with the relief and enjoyment that brings you that beautiful beverage.

Foreword :

A beautiful tea always looks good in the cup, smells good up close, taste good on tongue, feels good in the body and always put you in a good mood.

To successfully perform your steeping, here are some advice to keep in mind:

  • Whatever vessel you use, teapot or other, ensures it does not keep odours. Certain materials retain odours that could spoil your tea.
  • Also, you want to make sure the vessel is big enough for the quantity of leaves you’re steeping. Keep in mind that tea leaf triples its volume while steeping.  If you use a teapot or cup with an infusing basket, the dried leaves should not fill up more than one-third of the room. If not, the leaves will not get enough rooms to expand and release their flavours.
  • While using tap water, it is highly recommended passing it through a charcoal filter, like Britta would work and will not be that expensive, to get rid of chlorine and Fluor. You can also use bottled water, if so; choose one with pH as close as possible to 7.
  • Follow the brewing instruction on water temperature and steeping time for each type of tea. A too hot or not enough warmed water will give flat and off liquor without flavour and aromas. If steeped too long, the liquor will get bitter and astringent more than it should, whereas short steeped liquor won’t deliver all its flavour.
  • The water temperature, WHAT A HEADACHE! If you consider drinking tea on a regular basis, and that you’re willing to spend money on expensive premium loose leaf tea, let me suggest that you buy a specialty tea kettle with temperature control by tea type. They cost around +/- $100, but believe me it does worth it. If you don’t want to spend that money, here is what you can do :
  1. Bring water up to boiling point. NEVER LET BOILING GO ON AS OXYGEN WILL GO OUT. At that point it will get to 100ºC.   There, the bubbles get to surface without explode and make splashes.
  2. Once boiling is done, the water temperature will drop off about one degree every minute (take off or lift the lid).
  3. To go faster, use a cooling pot, preferably one with a spout such as measuring glass cup, pitcher or other. Once in the cooling pot, the water temperature will drop off 10 º C. and then, one degree every minute.
  • Finally, for an optimum result, warm up the teapot and the cups with hot water. Throw off the water prior to pour the leaves into the teapot. Put the lid on and let the leaves warm up for a minute. This will wake up the aromas; lift up the lid halfway and sniff the aromas, put the lid back until you pour in the water. Throw off the water from the cups prior to pour in the liquor.
  • It is important to stop the steeping process as soon as the time goes off. If you use a teapot with an infusing basket, take it off right away. If you steeped the loose leaves directly into the teapot, pour out all the liquid into the cups or another teapot (that has been warmed up) and put it on a warmer. Use a strainer to filter the leaves.
  • If you keep your tea on a warmer or into a thermos, be advised that non oxidised or lightly oxidised teas such as white, green and some oolongs, will get bitter and astringent past two hours. Black teas are more stables and can stand up to three or four hours.
  • Before your first sip, appreciate the aromas. Smell the perfumes released from the cup.
  • Look at the liquor colour.
  • Taste the liquor. Get it through your mouth while slurping it with a bit of air. Let it go all around your mouth from under your tongue to your palate and taste all the flavors before to swallow. Then, exhale a bit of air from your nose to your mouth and once again, taste the flavours that will seem different.
  • Finally, smell the aromas that are released from your empty cup.

Let me suggest that you keep record of you tasting notes in a little book. Write down the supplier, the date of purchase, the harvesting season, and the growing altitude. Along your tastings, you will get to know your preferences. Be curious, make search about each tea. There are lots to learn on their origin, history, terroir, production and different brewing styles (Gong Fu Cha, Sen Cha Do) and accessories…

Enjoy many Zen moments while drinking good tea!