See article text for which of these is which. (ETS images – montage by A.C. Cargill)

See article text for which of these is which. (ETS images – montage by A.C. Cargill)

Forget the teabag and steep your loose leaf tea in an infuser…or even in a strainer. Infusers are one thing. Strainers are another. But sometimes a strainer can double as an infuser. Honest! So how do you choose the one (or more) that’s right for you? Here are a few tips.

Mesh infusers

These are good for those teas where the tea leaves, herbals, and other items (flower petals, etc.) are fairly small. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Which you choose will depend on what you will use them in and your own personal preference. They are usually in two halves that are hinged together. And they often have a chain attached, while others have a handle.

Examples:

  • Heart Mesh Tea Infuser – Stainless steel. Fill with a spoonful of your favorite loose leaf, close it up, and steep just like a teabag. To clean, open it up, shake the used tea out, and rinse well. Measurements: 2.5 inches in diameter. (“A” in the image at right)
  • Snap Mesh Tea Ball Infuser – Stainless steel. Fill this ball with a spoonful of your favorite loose leaf, close it up, and steep just like a teabag. Dishwasher safe. Can be used with all loose leaf teas. Measurements: 6 inches L x 1.5 inches. (“B” in the image at right)

More solid tea balls and infusers

On these the holes are usually a bit larger and fewer in number. That means less contact of those tea leaves and herbals with the water. Unlike the mesh infusers, you will probably get a less intense steep. The larger holes also mean you need to use them with teas where the leaf pieces are larger (but not too large) and they don’t have other thing in them, such as lots of spices, that could leech through those holes. These also come in other designs, such as ones shaped like teapots.

Examples:

  • Mini Tea Ball – 1.25 inch – 18/8 stainless steel. Fill with a spoonful of your favorite loose leaf, close it up, and steep just like a teabag. Intended mostly for mug use. To clean, open it up, shake the used tea out, and rinse well. Measurements: 1.25 inches x 1.5 inches. (“C” in the image at right)
  • Tea Ball – 1.75 inch – 18/8 stainless steel. Fill with a spoonful of your favorite loose leaf, close it up, and steep just like a teabag. To clean, open it up, shake the used tea out, and rinse well. Measurements: 1.75 inches in diameter. (“D” in the image at right)
  • Snap Heart Tea Infuser – 18/8 stainless steel. Fill with 1 teaspoon of your favorite loose leaf tea, snap shut to hold your tea in place while steeping, dip into your teacup, and stir. Rinse with water and hang to dry. Dishwasher safe. Makes great tea party and bridal shower favors. (“E” in the image at right)
  • Teapot Tea Infuser with Caddy – Stainless steel. Teapot-shaped, comes with its own caddy. Fill halfway with your favorite loose leaf, close it up, and steep just like a teabag. The caddy acts as a drip tray. Dishwasher safe. Infuser Measurements: 1.5 inches x 1 inch, Capacity 1 teaspoon. (“F” in the image at right)

Mesh strainers

I’m one of those folks (and we are growing in number) who forego the teabag and steep the tea loose. So a strainer is a must, pouring from the steeping pot into the serving pot (my 2-teapot method as described here). You could also just strain into cups, especially if you are making a smaller amount, not the 6 cups (48 ounces) that we do. You can also put the dry tea leaves and herbals into the strainer and set it on the top of the cup filled with hot water and let steep that way. Here again the size of the mesh is important, with a finer mesh being needed for those teas ground to a finer dust.

Examples:

  • Mesh Tea Strainer – 18/8 stainless steel. Sits securely over your mug, allowing you to pour your hot water over it. The 1 inch deep fine mesh bowl catches even the smallest tea leaf. Dishwasher safe. Dimensions: 7.25 inches L x 2.5 inches W. Please Note: You will only receive (1) mesh tea strainer (not several as the photo shows). (“G” in the image at right)
  • Double Ear Conical Strainer – 18/8 stainless steel. The design allows for an even, more secure hold onto your mug. Dishwasher safe. Dimensions: 3 inches x 1.93 inches x .51 inches (“H” in the image at right)

Larger-holed strainers

Just as with tea balls, these strainers have larger holes and so should be used with teas and herbals that have larger pieces. These often have a matching dish for the strainer to sit in between uses.

Fortunately, the options of each are plentiful, with new ones coming out all the time.

Example:

  • English Tea Strainer – Chrome finish adds touch of elegance. Fits over the rim of your cup to catch loose leaves as you pour your tea. (“I” in the image at right)

Ditch the teabag

Go with an infuser or strainer. You will notice a true flavor difference that is sure to delight!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When we think of making homemade soup, we think of an all day task that requires several ingredients, including patience. Soup from a can or a box seems to be the simplest route to take. This recipe is one that takes no time at all and is far and away better than anything that comes from a can. Simple ingredients with such easy steps that make a hearty delicious soup. Not to mention with the added benefit of green tea. Just imagine a creamy bowl of tomato bisque soup accompanied by a melty grilled cheese sandwich and a hot cup of green tea.

 

Tea Tomato Bisque Soup (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Tea Tomato Bisque Soup (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

4 garlic cloves finely chopped
¼ medium white onion diced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a medium sauce pot cover and place over low to medium low heat for 20-25 minutes or until garlic is golden in color and onions are translucent with a golden hue.

1 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp green tea
1 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1-2 bay leaves
1/3 cup heavy cream

Heat the vegetable stock to 212°, steep the tea in it for 5 minutes. Place the tomatoes and the onion and garlic mixture into a food processor or blender, pulse until smooth. Place puree back into the sauce pot with the tea vegetable stock as well as the salt, sugar and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Stir in the heavy cream.

Recipe serves 4 people.

See more of Janet Sanchez’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Eight months gone and the ninth month of the year is beginning, a time for looking forward to cooler temperatures and the annual re-coloring of the foliage around us before it quits the branches and blankets the ground. Some teas and herbals to help you more fully appreciate this time of things falling:

5 September Teas to Fall For! (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

5 September Teas to Fall For! (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

 

1 Dessert in a Cup: Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu-erh Tea – Loose Leaf*

Pu-erh teas are in a class by themselves. They are what’s called “fermented” teas. The leaves are processed like a black tea (in this case) and then stored awhile. It gives them a somewhat unique flavor profile that many describe as “earthy.” This version adds in sweet caramel and toffee to combine with that earthy quality for a flavor that is sweet, burnt, and sugary – dessert in a teacup. This flavored tea also includes almond pieces, so if you have a nut sensitivity, this might be an issue.

2 Vibrant: PG Tips Vibrant Mandarin Orange Green Tea*

Part of that new line-up of teas from an iconic British brand. A top brand of tea in the UK, PG Tips is a Unilever brand. Their original special blend has been pleasing palates for over 75 years. In late February 2014 they added some updated blends and flavored teas to their line-up. This one is a natural blend of fine quality green teas from Kenya and Indonesia, this PG Tips green tea is bursting with vibrant mandarin orange flavor.

3 Crisp like Autumn Air: Apple Spice Flavored Black Tea*

Ceylon high-grown (5,500 feet elevation) black tea combines with apple pieces, cinnamon, blackberry leaves, safflower petals, and other natural flavors. The vapor-proof triple-layer bag seals in the aromas and flavors, so this tea arrives at your door with the freshness it had when it was sealed in that bag. This is one of my favorite Autumn flavor combos.

4 A Favorite Fall Flavor: Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai*

Pumpkin time is here again! This spiced Chai (the Hindi word for “tea”) will fill your senses with that wonder pumpkin essence. In addition, you will get the perfect balance of flavors of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Steep in water heated to a full boil for 5 minutes. You might want to add a touch of sugar. I like it with milk and sweetener.

5 Basic Black: Taylors of Harrogate – Pure Assam Tea Bags*

Some sources say this tea is grown from Chinese seeds, but that is not quite accurate. The Camellia sinensis assamica was already being cultivated and used to steep up a strong beverage when Robert Fortune was able to sneak plants and seeds out of China. The Brahmaputra River flows out of China into the state of Assam in Northern India and is partially responsible for the abundant crop and hearty flavor of this style of tea. While some tea growers have begun processing the leaves into orthodox black teas, green teas, and even white teas, the bulk produced is still CTC Assam, which is the basis for this tea. Malty, brisk, and full-bodied, this tea will be a real eye-opener in the morning. I enjoy it with milk and sweetener.

Hope you get to try some of these during September and get ready for the joys of harvest!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Here’s a quick quiz. It’s all of one question, so don’t be intimidated. What’s the best shape for a teabag? To the best of my knowledge – and not taking into consideration novelty type items – the most popular choices would be the standard rectangular teabag, the somewhat more modern round teabag, and the positively newfangled pyramid-shaped teabag.

PG Tips pyramid teabags (from the PG Tips official site)

PG Tips pyramid teabags (from the PG Tips official site)

If you keep in mind that one of the most important factors about your steeping teabag/gadget of choice is that it allows room for the water to circulate freely among the tea leaves, then that might give you a clue as to what the correct answer might be. My own vote would go to the pyramid teabag for the fact that it does seem to allow the water more room to circulate.

Which is apparently the correct answer, at least if we’re to believe a British group known as the Advertising Standards Authority, who describe themselves as “the UK’s independent regulator for advertising across all media.” They recently weighed in on a spat between two very well-known British tea companies and offered the opinion that the pyramid teabag tops round teabags.

The trouble started when one of the firms ran a TV commercial that touted the merits of their pyramid bags. The other company complained to the ASA, claiming that the commercial disparaged the company’s brand, as well as their round teabags.

In such a case, as the ASA notes, “The rules are also very clear about comparative claims. They are allowed but they must, of course, be truthful and fair as well as ensuring they avoid denigrating a competitor’s product or brand.” They ruled that company A proved their claims – and provided test results, to boot – regarding pyramid teabags and that they didn’t badmouth company B.

Which isn’t exactly definite proof that pyramid teabags are superior to the round ones (and by extension, the standard issue rectangular teabags) but’s it’s interesting to note nonetheless.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I used to wonder what it meant to “call on” someone and why there were front parlors and back parlors in old Victorian era houses. Then I watched the BBC series Cranford and light dawned. And tea played a part in the solution to the mystery, as you will soon see.

(via Pinterest, Yahoo! Images, and BBC site)

(via Pinterest, Yahoo! Images, and BBC site)

About Cranford

Elizabeth Gaskell had three novellas published from 1849 to 1858 about the fictional village of Cranford in England. The BBC One TV channel in England broadcast the series based on these novellas in November and December 2007. In May 2008 they were shown in the U.S. There was also a two-part Christmas special aired in 2009. What was the appeal? A glimpse into a time in the history of England that had charm and lots of human drama without a lot of gore, swearing, and high-speed car chases. It also didn’t have loud, wild music and lots of split-second cuts so you could barely follow what was going on.

And a lot was going on, mainly among the town’s single and widowed middle class female inhabitants; they were comfortable with their traditional way of life while placing great store in being proper and portraying an appearance of gentility. Part of that appearance was the receiving of “callers” (visitors) for tea in the front parlor (a word derived from the French word parler which means “to speak”). To make things run smoothly, they would take turns during the week being the receiver of these callers, and on the other days they would be the callers.

Another is keeping up appearances even when your finances take a downward turn. Miss Matty, a spinster in the village, suffers a financial loss, but her friends secretly help her with money (that they say is due to a bank error) that she then uses to turn her front parlor from a place to enjoy tea into a place to sell tea – she goes into trade, as the expression of the day went.

Scenes from the series (see image at right):

  1. Several ladies of Cranford keeping watch to see who would be calling on them for tea. Or are they just hoping to catch something juicy to gossip about over their cuppas?
  2. Miss Matty in her front parlor that gets turned into a tea shop.
  3. A tea party typical of the era and definitely not one that you can whip together without considerable advance notice.

The Front Parlor

In the days before TV and video games people used to visit each other in their homes. Certain rules got established over time. One such rule was to confine one’s visit to the special “caller” room, call the front parlor. It was usually kept in peak condition and well-dusted. There would be various knickknacks around. Behavior was strictly proper and congenial. And tea was served, rolled in on a trolley. All of this comes through in the Cranford series and clears up a lot of mystery for us modern day folks.

Modern Day Parlors

These days we have open floorplans and very casual attitudes. We still try to keep things congenial and mind our manners, but it won’t cause a village-wide scandal if we fall short on either account. At least, I hope not!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If you are looking to switch to tea from those other liquid substances (coffee, colas, etc.) but aren’t sure how to start or if you are just looking to expand your tea horizons, we have some ways for you to make some wise choices. It’s the Tea Decision Tree. Here’s how it works…

How do you choose the right cuppa! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

How do you choose the right cuppa! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Step 1 – Why Are You Drinking Tea?

Choosing between teas can often begin with why you are drinking tea. Decide which it is. Often it’s a mix of these.

  • Flavor – A very important part of anything we eat and drink.
  • Mood – Tea is the great uplifter yet soother.
  • Some hoped-for health benefit – Lots of claims out there, some are even supported by scientific evidence.

Step 2 – Choosing the Next Criteria

  • Flavors – bold, fruit, citrus, jasmine, mild, oaky, spicy, etc.
  • Mood – refreshing, soothing, something new
  • Health Benefit – digestion, energy boost, relaxing for sleep

Step 3 – Select One of the Options Presented

Depending on the previous choices you will have various options.

  • A bold and energizing option – English Breakfast blends of black teas balanced to stimulate you and your tastebuds.
  • A citrus option – Lemon-flavored teas often come to mind here, but try some Blood Orange Flavored Black Tea for a change of pace. It has an intense and flavorful fresh citrus character with a delicate sweetness reminiscent of freshly squeezed oranges.
  • For more mild and relaxing – Earl Grey, a blend of teas from India and Sri Lanka with flavoring from oil of bergamot (a small acidic orange).
  • Digestion – Pu-erhs have a reputation for aiding here, so you could give them a try. If you’re new to this style of tea, be prepared for something really different: an aroma and taste that some compare to soil or leaves decomposing on a forest floor. Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu-erh Tea is a great alternative with that toffee adding a sweet touch.
  • Relax and sleep – Chamomile herbal infusion.

Going for It!

Okay, you’ve got your options. Just make your choice, steep it up, and let that tea magic work on you.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

It has become customary to include a novelty tea infuser in each one of these reports whenever possible. So, with no further ado, here’s the latest and greatest. It seems rather appropriate for an object that’s dunked in water and is called a Deep Tea Diver Infuser.

I wrote about tea smuggling at this site not so long ago. It was once a significant problem, particularly in England during the times when exorbitant taxes on tea encouraged this sort of thing. I assumed that it’s not such a common problem today but according to a recent report in the Pakistani press “100 tons of smuggled black tea has been seized by the Customs Intelligence and Investigation” there.

What would five million teabags look like? Probably like a whole lot of tea but, to see it for yourself, you would have had to attend the grand publicity caravan held for the Tour de France recently. Where the well-known English tea firm Taylors of Harrogate gave out that many teabags, along with a mere 60,000 packets of sweetener to help “sweeten the deal.” That’s more than 200 miles of teabags if you laid them end to end. Not that you ever would.

Just exactly what does an exotic tea hunter do? It all sounds very Indiana Jones but, if you’d like to know the details, you can check out a recent Forbes article titled “The Adventures Of Exotic Tea Hunter Rodrick Markus.”

Is tea important to the British? Well, what do you think? From the Department of Research into the Blatantly Obvious comes the revelation that tea is indeed important to the British and is ranked as one of the three top-ranked staples of modern life, along with TV and T-shirts. Results varied depending on the age group of those surveyed and the survey itself was conducted by none other than the online auction giant eBay.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Many of you know that China is the home of tea. In fact, at one point in time virtually all tea drunk world-wide came from China. Eventually, growing tea expanded to northern India and is now is a wide variety of countries. But as the home of tea, China deserves a bit of special acknowledgement, especially their legends related to tea. We’ll start with one of the best known: Guanyin, also called The Goddess of Mercy (Compassion). (The legend of Shen Nong has been covered quite a bit in this blog already, so we shall omit it here and go to some you might not know about.)

Guanyin Iron Goddess of Mercy (Bodhisattva version) (Stock image)

Guanyin Iron Goddess of Mercy (Bodhisattva version) (Stock image)

Guanyin (Kwan Yin, Kuan Yin)

The goddess Guanyin, also known in English as the Mercy Goddess or Goddess of Mercy, is a bodhisattva. That means she has attained enlightenment yet chose not to enter nirvana until all beings on Earth have also attained enlightenment. She is also revered by Chinese Taoists as an immortal. In Chinese art, Guanyin is often depicted either alone, standing atop a dragon, accompanied by a white parrot, flanked by two children, or flanked by two warriors. Some Buddhists believe that when one of their adherents departs from this world, they are placed by Guanyin in the heart of a lotus, and then sent to the western pure land of Sukhāvatī. So she is sometimes shown standing on a lotus blossom (the traditional symbol of Buddha).

A goddess tea: Ti Kuan Yin Iron Goddess Oolong Tea – A distinctive light cup with hints of orchid in the flavor. Premium grade, at first bitter, then sweet, and finishes with a fragrance that lingers on your palate.

Dragons

Dragons show up a lot in Chinese legends and symbols. They are supposed to be able to transform themselves and so represent adaptability. But they also represent power, good luck, the natural world, and rule of the seas and skies. If they have 5 toes/claws, they become the emperor’s sacred symbol of imperial power and dignity and are one of the 12 Symbols of Sovereignty. The dragon is also one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. In ancient China, dragons were thought live in the mountains or in the seas and to speed across the sky with divine power. They can generally symbolize benevolence, prosperity, longevity, and the renewal of life.

A dragon tea: Nine Bend Black Dragon Tea – Full-bodied with burgundy depth and delightful oaky notes. One of the finest examples of a Chinese black tea available on the market and considered to be one of the luckiest teas in all of Asia.

Monkeys Picking Tea

Monkey-picked tea is one of those tales told to gullible outsiders. Or is it? Some swear that it’s true. The monkey is certainly an important part of Chinese legends and symbols and is one of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. It is also supposed to drive away evil spirits and can bring good fortune in officialdom. The picture of a monkey on a horse is a visual pun for the wish for an immediate promotion in official rank. The Monkey King was a fictional character in a Ming Dynasty novel (“Journey to the West”). The legend was part of the movie The Forbidden Kingdom, featuring martial arts movie legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

Jet Li as the Monkey King (via Yahoo! Images)

Jet Li as the Monkey King (via Yahoo! Images)

A monkey tea: White Monkey Paw Green Tea – Very delicate with an intense full green tea flavor. Made from the top two leaves and the bud of new season growth (late March /early April) that are gently and gingerly steamed and dried for an exquisite hand-made green tea. The dry leaf appearance of these teas is said to resemble a monkey paw.

The Oxherd and the Weaver Girl

The cowherd, Niulang was forced to leave home with only an old cow/ox (a former god sent to earth as punishment) for company. He met Zhinu, a beautiful fairy, while she was taking a bath on earth. They fell in love, married, had a son and daughter, and led a happy life. However, Zhinu was eventually taken back to heaven. The cow/ox said to make shoes from his hide and that these would take Niulang and his children to heaven. Zhinu’s mother was enraged and created the Milky Way to keep them apart, but magpies formed a bridge across it. After that, they were allowed to meet once a year on the 7th night of the 7th month (per the Chinese lunar calendar).

A love tea: Allegra Jasmine Burst Flowering Green Tea – Created as a tribute to the great cultural awakening of the Song Dynasty in China. A man, perhaps while sitting under a sweetly smelling jasmine tree, came up with the idea of scenting tea with the blossoms. This version delivers an intensely delicate infusion that fills the mouth with a bright jasmine character, and pale, grassy notes with a hint of sweet light honey. A wonderful sipping tea.

Wealth pots

These are symbols of good luck and wealth. Fill them with money and place them in the inner wealth corner of your house – southeast. Personally, we think that a pot full of tasty tea set on any corner of the table (or better yet in the middle to avoid any chance of it getting bumped off by elbows, etc.) is wealth indeed.

A wealth tea: Peony White Needle White Tea – A delicate lingering fragrance and a fresh mellow sweet taste with no astringency or grassy flavor. A clean taste faintly reminiscent of fresh apples with a refreshing and lingering flavor.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Our tea cooking adventure has gone decidedly French. With such hot afternoons, indulging in a well-made breakfast while basking in the sun sipping tea seems to be the perfect way to spend a morning.

Tea French Toast (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Tea French Toast (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

½ cup milk heated to 212°F
1 tsp Puerh tea
4 eggs
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1 tbsp melted butter (plus a few tbsp for cooking)
8 thick cut slices of bread

Steep the tea in the heated milk for 5 minutes. In a separate flat bottomed vessel whisk the eggs until scrambled. Add in cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg. Once the butter and milk have cooled slightly whisk in slowly to the seasoned eggs. Ensure all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

The bread chosen can be practically anything to please personal taste. In this case a store bought cinnamon loaf was used. Some suggested breads are Texas toast, cinnamon rolls cut in half, brioche, and apple bread. The single most important thing when making quality French toast is to use thick-cut bread. Approximately one inch thick is desirable. In addition, this is a recipe where the use of day-old bread is wonderful. The bread needs to have enough mass to absorb the egg mixture without becoming too soggy. Thicker bread will allow both the absorption of the egg mixture as well as still giving a crisper texture on the outside.

In a large skillet over medium heat melt enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Take a slice of toast and soak each side for a few seconds into the egg mixture. Place directly into the heated skillet. Do this for as many slices as the pan will hold. Cook about 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and a nice crust has formed. Serve this with syrup, fresh fruit, powdered sugar or anything the imagination wishes.

See more of Janet Sanchez’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

That is NOT a typo. We are not discussing how to make tea float (as in those little leaves or bits of leaf dust on the surface of the water). We’re also not talking about parades here. But we are discussing a rather unique dessert idea that is not a latté, not a smoothie, and not even iced tea. It is a tea float. You know, like a root beer float but with tea.

I usually leave the recipes to more able writers on this blog, but ice cream and me have been friends for decades now. Not just friends – more like bosom buddies, as in if ice cream is within arms’ length of me, it doesn’t have to worry about melting. It won’t last long enough for that. Time to introduce this good friend to another good friend: tea. You might say this is a twist on Thai Milk Tea or even Pearl Tea (also called Bubble Tea). Start with one that can go well with milk so it doesn’t clash with the ice cream and optional whipped cream (hey, there’s no sense in skimping here – if you’re gonna have one of these, you might as well accept that the calorie count will be a bit hefty, not to mention the fat content). If you’re a maraschino cherries lover (also optional), be sure the tea you select will go with them. So a fruit flavored one would very likely be out of the question. One thing to note: since you’re not using a carbonated beverage as the base, you won’t get some of that foaming action when you combine the ingredients.

1. Thai Milk Tea Float. 2. Green tea float. (From Yahoo! Images)

1. Thai Milk Tea Float. 2. Green tea float. (From Yahoo! Images)

My recipe:

  • Any black tea blend (my fave is English Breakfast Blend No. 1 Tea with Scottish Breakfast Tea being a close second) – steeped up double strength.
  • Put two scoops of vanilla ice cream in a 12-ounce glass.
  • Pour the tea over it (you can let the tea cool to room temperature or chill overnight in the refrigerator).
  • Top with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.
  • Enjoy! (the most important ingredient)

I am not the first one to have thought of this idea, though. There appear to be others thinking along the same lines, especially during these Dog Days of Summer.

Other recipes found online:

  • Turkey Hill Float Tea – A single scoop of ice cream in a separate compartment above the one that holds the tea. When the customer is ready to enjoy, he/she pulls a tab on the side of container, which allows the ice cream to drop down into the iced tea.
  • Cold Brew Tea-Time Ice Cream Float – In 2-quart pitcher, pour water over tea bags; brew 5 minutes, dunking tea bags occasionally. Remove tea bags. Stir in brown sugar until blended. Pour tea into four glasses and top with vanilla ice cream. Garnish, if desired, with whipped cream and serve immediately.
  • Green Tea Ice Cream Float – A Summer delight from Japan. Soft green tea ice cream in a cup of chilled green tea. The perfect summer coolant.
  • Creamy Ice Tea Floats – This recipe uses Thai iced tea as the drink’s base, instead of a carbonated pop drink.
  • Ice Cream Tea Float – Step by step photos to create the perfect cooling treat.

Lots more options are available. Choose your style and enjoy. It’ll be Fall before you know it with cooler temps ahead.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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