Avert your eyes, if you must, and move on to the next paragraph, but I’m going to kick off this installment of the tea book column with a book about coffee. Gasp. It’s called Coffee Gives Me Superpowers: An Illustrated Book about the Most Awesome Beverage on Earth and it’s by Ryoko Iwata. I mention it not to quibble with the idea that coffee is the most awesome beverage on Earth (though I certainly disagree) but to note that it might be interesting to see a similar volume – one that’s “full of infographics, quizzes, and other fun and interesting facts” – discussing the wonders of tea.

I’m not well versed when it comes to the later Disney characters, but I gather that young ladies of a certain age might be familiar with one named Sofia the First. In the interests of getting those young Sofia fans on the right path (of tea drinking) at an early age, I’ll direct you to the teacup-shaped Sofia the First: Sofia’s Cup of Tea, which hits the stores early in 2015.

Sofia the First: Sofia's Cup of Tea (via Yahoo! images)

Sofia the First: Sofia’s Cup of Tea (via Yahoo! images)

In the same vein is the Hello Kitty: Tea Party Set, which rolls out this September and which “has a chunky eight-page board book and 15 puzzle pieces to match to the spaces on the book pages, as Hello Kitty gets everything ready to host a tea party for her friends.” Also up in early 2015 is yet another book for those who fancy fiction with a tea-related theme. It’s called The Traveling Tea Shop, by Belinda Jones, and concerns the adventures of the assistant to and the host of a tea-themed TV show.

If it was a real TV show, they might want to keep in mind a nonfiction tea book that’s also coming out in 2015. It’s another entry into the increasingly crowded field of tea cuisine books and it’s called Steeped: Recipes to Infuse Your Day with Tea, by Annelies Zijderveld. As the publisher’s description puts it, “tea is also very of the moment, and rising ever-higher in the food world, starring in Martha Stewart’s Jasmine Shortbread Sandwich Cookies, Food 52’s Darjeeling Tea Pain Perdu, and the Beard Foundation’s Tea Sorbet.”

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.

Monk’s Blend is great when chilled or with ice. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Monk’s Blend is great when chilled or with ice. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

You’ve no doubt heard of the Dog Days of Summer. But what about the Dog Days of Tea? No? Well, let me enlighten you. First, a bit about what the Dog Days of Summer are.

Date-wise, these Dog Days occur mainly in the months of July and August here in the Northern Hemisphere. They are typically the warmest and often the most sultry days of the year. The name “Dog Days” comes from Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (big dog). This star is so bright that ancient Romans thought that, like the Sun, our planet was heated by it. In Summer, Sirius rises and sets generally at the same time as the Sun does. So, it seemed that the extra heat during these days came from this “dog star.” The period of time (20 days before and 20 days after the conjunction) are named “dog days.” after that star. Generally, this is from around July 3 through about August 11. The extra heat, though, comes from the earth’s tilt on its axis.

So, what are the dog days of tea? These are the days when iced tea reigns supreme. Of course, the ice doesn’t last long in such high temperatures, so you need lots of it, which also means that you need to steep the tea up a bit extra strong. The melting ice will dilute the tea to a fairly tolerable strength.

Some of us are totally committed to hot tea, so our Dog Day Tea Time is held indoors where a sufficiency of air conditioning is available. And since, like many others, we consider a generous supply of scones, biscuits, and other goodies to be proper accompaniments, this is another reason to stay indoors. It avoids bugs (especially wasps and bees) being attracted to our feast and helps keep our appetites sharp.

When the cooler temperatures return in the Fall, we can once again contemplate that nice outdoor setting for our tea time. Until then, we’ll stay safe and cool indoors. Enjoy!

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.

As someone who prefers tea without milk, I consider myself an impartial observer when it comes to that apparently contentious matter of how to actually combine tea and milk.

Milk first, stir - perfect! (screen capture from ETS video)

Milk first, stir – perfect! (screen capture from ETS video)

As a brief aside I’ll note that as I was looking into this matter I came across the phrase “have you milked your tea?” Which dates back to at least 1877. It seems like a term you might use on the farm, but it’s actually just a quaint way of asking if someone has added milk to their tea. Or vice versa.

According to a study that took place about a decade ago, the Royal Society of Chemistry determined that milk first was the way to go. The reason, according to a researcher, “If milk is poured into hot tea, individual drops separate from the bulk of the milk, and come into contact with the high temperatures of the tea for enough time for significant denaturation – degradation – to occur.” The same British paper that reported on this study also allowed readers a separate forum to weigh in on the issue.

More than a half century earlier, in 1946, a prominent British tea lover and writer named George Orwell took the tea first road. He noted in a famous essay about tea, “I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.”

About a decade earlier than that, scientist Ronald Fisher devised a somewhat famous mathematical experiment to test the assertion of a lady who “claimed to be able to tell whether the tea or the milk was added first to a cup.” Which has more to do with math and probability than with tea but it’s interesting to note even so.

According to some accounts none other than Queen Elizabeth is an adherent of the tea first school of thought, which would be appropriate given her social standing. As the story goes, milk first was a popular tactic for those drinking tea from poor quality china cups that often couldn’t stand up to hot tea. Of course, poor quality china is not an inconvenience the Queen and others in the upper classes have to concern themselves with. Thus the English writer Evelyn Waugh is said to have coined the phrase “rather milk in first” as shorthand for referring to the lower classes.

It’s hard to say exactly when the tea/milk controversy got its start. But one could speculate that it goes back to a time when tea, once a rare and expensive commodity, became more affordable and thus could be consumed by people who had to make do with second rate china.

As for the notion of combining milk and tea, many note that it was mentioned as early as 1680 by a French aristocrat, who claimed that another French noblewoman came up with the idea. Which doesn’t take into consideration that, sometime around 1660, not all that long after tea came to England, tea pioneer Thomas Garraway noted that the tea of that era was sometimes “prepared with Milk and Water.”

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’ve started noticing a trend in the logos of many online tea vendors. They are looking a lot alike, more so than usual. Design tends to go this way. Some of you might remember the 70s styles and color palettes (things like avocado, harvest gold, and chocolate brown). Then there was the 80s, the 90s, and so on. I found 6 that featured teacups, steam, and possibly a tea leaf that were pretty much in the same style and with similar colors.

Teacup logos for various online tea vendors (composite of images online)

Teacup logos for various online tea vendors (composite of images online)

They’re all great. They all say “tea” loud and clear. And they have the essentials stripped down to their simplest form. In one of my design classes years ago, we called this “essentialism” – using a minimum of visual information to convey the image of an object. You can clearly see that teacup. The steam is also quite recognizable. The tea leaves are fairly obvious, especially to anyone familiar with where tea comes from. Several look like they were done by the same design.

The vintage designs had a lot more detail, like this one:

Vintage tea tin with a rather elaborate design. (From Yahoo! Images)

Vintage tea tin with a rather elaborate design. (From Yahoo! Images)

The additional detail doesn’t necessarily tell you more about the product, but it does convey a very different feeling. While the more essentialist (or minimalist) ones above say “tea,” the older one conveys a whole feeling of warmth and comfort. Both are fine but different – yesterday with its simpler lifestyle but more detailed imagery and today with a lifestyle crowded with movie downloads, social media, video games, sports events, and tons more, that cries out for a bit of simplistic design. Gee, sort of a yin-yang thing.

Of course, The English Tea Store, owner of this blog, has a more complicated logo that includes a reference to something fairly but not exclusively British: a coat of arms and a shield. And there’s a teapot on the shield. They leave the rest up to you.

By now you’re wondering where this is all leading. Well, no where, actually. The designer in me just wanted to point out the similar designs I was seeing and share the joy!

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.

In the U.S. a large percentage of folks drink both coffee and tea. A lot of them see tea as that beverage for when they are sick (remember that seen in Working Girl where Harrison Ford is offering a passed out Kathy Griffin some tea just because that’s what would sound good to him when he was in a similar condition?). Or they confuse herbals such as Rooibos and chamomile with true tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. But I propose, with a slight bit of prejudice as one who is devoted to tea and avoids coffee, that tea should be the drink of choice even for that morning wake-up cup. Here are a few reasons why:

Which gives the better uplift? (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Which gives the better uplift? (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

1 Coffee is not exactly a beautifier

Ask any dentist, and he/she will tell you that coffee, especially when drunk straight (without milk), is a teeth stainer. Now, in fairness, some teas can stain, too. Those strong black teas (when not drunk with milk) will stain. And I can’t advise you to use spent coffee grounds on your eyes to reduce puffiness the way you can use spent teabags.

2 You’ll spend more time in the…uh…privy

There is some research showing that coffee can cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). So, you could find yourself seeking out facilities with increased frequency. Of course, both tea and coffee are said to be diuretics (but some debate that claim), but add IBS on top of it… plus, the whole diuretic thing is questionable, which leaves just IBS to worry about, which is quite enough.

3 A caffeine seesaw

You get that initial jolt of caffeine with your morning cup. You float along on it awhile and then… CRASH! You suddenly feel down and need another cup. Or a donut. Or both. Anything to get you back “up.” The caffeine has other affects: shakiness, concentration problems, an increased chance of a heart attack. And the caffeine levels in coffee are on average about twice what they are in tea. (Espresso is even higher.)

4 You can experience symptoms when stopping drinking coffee

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration generally considers caffeine to be safe and not truly addictive the way that various controlled substances are, you can still get used to it and experience some physical symptoms when you stop drinking coffee: headaches and a general feeling of irritability.

5 Not nearly as social as tea

There is just something about tea that coffee doesn’t have, at least not for those of us a bit more inclined to such things: the social event. There is Afternoon Tea, High Tea, Elevenses, and so on. There is the Buckingham Palace Garden Tea Party. But you see no such equivalents for coffee. Yes, there’s the coffee klatch, but other than that, coffee is that cup in the morning, the shot of espresso after a gourmet meal, that cappuccino in-between. With tea you steep a cup or a potful and enjoy it either with a good book, your latest knitting project, or while watching a movie, or you enjoy some with friends, often at the nearest tea room.

If that’s not enough to convince you to drop the coffee and stick to tea, then consider that tea has greater longevity, having been consumed by humans for about 1900 years longer than coffee. Enjoy!

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.

The general consensus these days is that tea is not bad for you – and there is a fair amount of evidence that it might even be quite good for you. There are exceptions, of course. Like the woman who drank excessive amounts of iced black tea over many years and suffered some unpleasant side effects. But if consumed in moderation – or even moderate excess (guilty) – you could do a lot worse than tea.

But the idea that tea was a healthy drink was not always thus. From the time that tea came to Europe in the early seventeenth century there were those who praised it, but there were also those who cautioned against the ill effects that would surely result from consuming it. This sort of thing was still going on in 1833, when a certain John Cole, of London, penned a paper called On The Deleterious Effects Produced By Drinking Tea And Coffee In Excessive Quantities.

He goes on at length – nearly five pages – and, for obvious reasons, we’ll focus on his thoughts regarding the perceived evils of tea. Early on, Cole, a medical man who read and debated the pros and cons of his paper in front of the London Medical Society that year, sums things up by noting that tea seems “to have the power of reducing the constitution.” He does note that this is the result of “excessive” consumption, but doesn’t define what that means. I personally don’t consider my 6-8 cups per day to be excessive but some might.

Cole goes on to describe some of the supposed ill effects of tea, such as a gnawing in the stomach, a feeling of fullness in the neck and a flushed face and sparkling eyes. And that’s not the end of it. Next up are a number of case studies. Several of these look at women aged 25-40, who were experiencing mostly stomach problems, supposedly from drinking tea, and one unfortunate woman who “suffered sudden attacks of Insensibility” after drinking tea.

Which sounds like grim enough stuff. But over the years I’ve been writing about tea I’ve come to learn that the tea of yesteryear was frequently adulterated, sometimes with mostly innocuous substances and other times with more scary ingredients. Which leads one to wonder if tea was really the culprit in these cases or not.

In any event, if you’d like to read Cole’s letter in its entirety, go here.

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.

The British have lots of articles about how to steep the perfect cuppa tea. But more and more things are changing in the UK, with the gongfu style of tea steeping becoming better known. Here in the U.S. there seems to be more interest in it, too. For you busy folks, though, it can seem a bit daunting…and time-consuming. Time to get your gongfu simplified.

Traditional cups without handles for your gongfu tea time. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Traditional cups without handles for your gongfu tea time. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Strictly speaking, gongfu is not a ceremony but a method of doing something (not just steeping tea). The term generally means “done with skill,” and can be applied to any activity or endeavor. Many people want to enjoy their teas using the gongfu (kungfu) method of tea infusion but tend to think it’s too involved or confusing. It can be if you follow all the details, but you don’t have to go to that extent. Keep it simple.

Gongfu tea time in 6 easy steps

  1. Gather Your Arsenal – In this case it’s the tea of your choice; a vessel for infusing that tea (usually a small clay teapot or gaiwan); enough fresh water (not hard or distilled); a kettle to heat the water; a heat source; 3 or 4 small cups; a pitcher (optional) for straining the tea liquid into before pouring into the cups; a tray or something to catch drips, spills, and overflows; and a clean cloth to wipe up spills.
  2. Infuse the Tea – Warm the steeping vessel with a little hot water and then pour it into the cups to warm them and then discard it. Add dry tea to the vessel; infuse for the amount of time needed for the tea you’re using.
  3. Serve the Tea – If you chose to use a little pitcher, pour the tea from the vessel into that and then into the cups. Otherwise, pour the tea into the cups.
  4. Appreciate and Savor the Tea – Sip the tea with a slurping action; this will pull in some air and also spread the liquid through your mouth, then swallow. This is where slurping is perfectly acceptable and actually desirable.
  5. Wrap Things Up – Check out those tea leaves after the steeping is done and letting your guests do the same. Handmade teas are often made of full leaves, tight buds, or leaf-bud sets that fully expand during the infusions – you sure don’t want to infuse teas like these in those infuser balls or some type of bag.
  6. Clean Things Up – This is probably the most important step. Clean teawares will be ready for the next use. Just be sure to do it properly. No soap on the Yixing teapot – it’s porous clay and would absorb the soap. Let the clay teapot air dry thoroughly before putting it away. Sterilize utensils with boiling water. Wash the cups, tea tray, etc., and let them air dry or dry with a soft cotton towel.

The above is a very paired-down version and will help you enjoy those premium teas better. Here are a few to try this way:

Happy steeping!

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.

Teabag and useful but annoying string. (stock image)

Teabag and useful but annoying string. (stock image)

Let’s put aside for now the matter of whether tea bags are a good thing or not. Some would say they are, and others scorn them. But the fact is that there are plenty of tea drinkers who use them. Probably all of whom have experienced that nagging problem of the tea bag string that escapes from its designated spot outside the tea cup and ends up in the tea.

It’s a problem that has inspired a significant amount of innovation and gadgetry. As I noted in an article here last year, some of the gadgets devised to get around the problem included the Tea Bag Buddy and the Tie Tea Cup. The Washington Post even deemed the problem significant enough that they compiled a list of suggestions from their readers of how to get around it.

But wait. There’s more. Of course there’s more when it comes to those pesky tea bag strings. This Tea Bag Cup Lid patent was filed for in 2007. It resembles the Tea Bag Buddy mentioned above in that it somehow attaches the tea bag to the lid and, as the application says, “a resilient stopper (38) is disposed within the access opening in the lid, holding the tea bag string (36) between the stopper and the access opening, permitting the tea bag (22) to be initially immersed in hot water within the cup for brewing with the capability of retaining the tea bag string when the tea bag is manually drawn upward away from the tea after brewing. The invention allows brewed tea to be consumed through the lid body without of removing the tea bag until any time after drinking the brewed tea.”

Here’s a patent awarded a year earlier for an “an improved tea bag has a pouch containing tea and a string connected to the pouch. A securing element is connected to the string. The securing element is releaseably attachable to an object such as a tea cup or tea pot.” Or you could try a 2003 patent from Germany whose name describes exactly what it sets out to do – Elongated Handle With Slit for Holding String of Tea Bag Has V-Shaped End to Slit to Facilitate Insertion of String Into Slit

Here’s a rather intricate patent from 1967 for a Teabag Dipper that doesn’t seem to attack the string problem head on but solves it anyway. It’s described, in part, as “a teabag dipper in the form of a saucer for a teacup combined with a receptacle and provided with an arm to which is attached a teabag which, by rotation of a crank mounted upon the arm, can be transferred from a position whereby the teabag is dipped into the water in the teacup to a position whereby the teabag is dumped into the receptacle for disposal.”

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.

While we debate whether or not to slurp or point our pinkies, folks around the world engage is some rather unique tea customs. Several of these make the aforementioned behaviors seem quite tame. Others are rather sweet. And still others are ones that sound quite intriguing. Get ready for a Phileas Fogg style journey – from the comfort of your computer – to far off lands and even some pretty close by.

 Sharing a bowl of tea. (Screen capture from site)

Sharing a bowl of tea. (Screen capture from site)

Wuyi Women Sharing Tea

The news item that inspired this article is about how women in the Wuyi Mountains of Southeast China share tea, drinking from a big bowl together. No dainty teacups as were used in the court of Queen Victoria. No little sipping cups like those used through many Asian countries. We’re talking a big bowl – big enough to stick their whole face in. All the easier to lick up the last drop, maybe! Their tea parties are women-only, with each hostess doing her best when its her turn to outshine the hostesses before her. They toast various things with tea instead of champagne and serve local dishes that include tofu and peanuts. Quite a fun time!

Doing It the French Way

The French pastry is said to be what makes the French art of tea quite unique. The pastries are themselves so fine as to be an art form, and have been even before tea drinking came to France via the Dutch. These delectable delights are perfect complements to the many tea styles now enjoyed there. In fact, the French are said to have “a tea for every occasion, mood, event or even time of day” and are served in the thousands of tearooms spread across the country.

When Tea Isn’t Tea

Filling a teapot with other substances, usually of an alcohol nature, isn’t new. During the Prohibition Era in the U.S., it was fairly common practice and came in handy if the “gin joint” got raided. Another area, though, where this practice was common was in Soweto, South Africa, during the apartheid years. They would have parties featuring “Soweto tea” – a clear beer reserved for whites. It was bottled very distinctly and so was very apparent to police patrols (who certainly had better things to do, but that’s another story). To disguise it, the owners of the local “shabeens” (taverns or speak-easies as they were called here) would pour this beer, superior in taste and quality to the sorghum beer the locals were allowed, into teapots. Having a cuppa was a very different affair than would be expected by the unitiated.

Tea-rrific Customer Service in Japan

The Japanese are famous for their politeness, gestures of respect, and bowing. When you go shopping, these will all come into play. After you buy something, the cashier/clerk follows you outside. For us Westerners this can be a bit unnerving, leaving us thinking that we might be about to get mugged by their accomplice. But have no fear. They are just being polite and appreciating your business. Once you are outside they will bow and offer you tea and cookies, something unheard of elsewhere in the world.

Taking the Bridal Shower a Step Too Far

The Scots are a hearty breed, as anyone who has watched “Braveheart” can tell. But they also have some rather…uh, weird customs. While a bridal shower for most of us is a fun party with lots of gifts being “showered” on the bride, in Scotland things go a bit differently. The bride undergoes a somewhat distasteful type of shower, involving anything gloopy and disgusting such as custard, eggs, tar, and yes – tea! In this “attire” her family then parade her through all the local pubs. Why they do this is a bit of a mystery. And why include tea? Sigh!

Putting Up with Us Strange Yanks

British ex-pats (those who moved here from the UK) and visitors really have a time of it putting up with our cretinous ways, especially when it comes to tea. One remarked: “…tea, every time I offer, people expect herbal tea or that chai stuff, and have it either plain, with lemon and or sugar, and look aghast when it’s plain ole PG tips served with milk…..anyone else get that?” Yes, it seems to be fairly standard – at least until they meet me. I have put a smile on more than one Brit’s face when I happily accepted that PG Tips with milk and sugar.

Fattening Up Your Tibetan Tea

When you live in a climate that tends to be fairly chilly most of the year and/or where the food supply is less than overwhelming, having some extra fat in the diet is a good thing. This would likely explain why Tibetans add yak butter to their hot tea. The yak is a fairly important animal to them, supplying a lot of needed resources, and this butter is one of them. Preparation is fairly simple: brick tea (tea where the leaves have been processed and then pressed while wet usually into a brick shape) is boiled in a large pot until the desired strength is reached, the tea is strained into a wooden churn, more boiling water plus salt and yak butter are added, these are all churned to a smooth and even consistency, and then it is poured into a kettle to be reheated and then served.

Afternoon Tea Time Tipples

Something I find rather strange and a bit ironic is the increasingly common serving of alcoholic beverages (wine and champagne usually) with Afternoon Tea. I say ironic because tea rooms had replaced pubs and taverns in the UK and other parts of Europe as tea became more popular. The tea rooms were seen as more proper and alcohol-free environments for women especially to be out in public. Now, though, the teetotaler event is becoming the tippler event.

All of this sort of makes your family look normal, doesn’t it!

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.

There are so many delightful ways to enjoy strawberries and whip cream, this recipe is sure to top that list. The wonderful honey notes in Golden needle black tea give the whip cream that certain je ne sais quoi. Place all that goodness in a chocolate cup and perfection is created.

Tea Strawberries and Cream in a Cocoa Cup (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Tea Strawberries and Cream in a Cocoa Cup (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

3 plus 2 tbsp cups heavy cream
1 tbsp Golden needle black tea
1 tbsp water

Heat water to a boil then pour over the tea leaves. Allow the tea leaves to absorb most of the water. Add the plumbed leaves to the heavy cream. Allow it to steep in the fridge for 2-4 hours.

5 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar

Beat with an electric mixer until the whites form soft peaks. Set aside.

8 oz semisweet chocolate pieces
2 tbsp tea cream

In double boiler or a small pot partially filled with water and a small metal bowl over the top place the chocolate over medium low heat. Allow it to melt then stir in the tea cream.

5 eggs yolks
1 cup sugar

Beat egg yolks ands sugar with an electric mixer until a pale golden color and thickened. Blend in the chocolate mixture until combined.

1 ½ cups flour
½ cup tea cream

Add in the flour and cream slowing just until blended. Once Blended add in about ½ cup of the whipped egg whites and blend to combine. Now fold in the rest of the egg whites taking care not to over mix. Using a greased muffin pan place the batter about 1/3 of the way up each cup. Place in a preheated 425°F oven for 6-8 minutes. Take another muffin pan and grease the underside of the pan. Yes, the underside. After 6-8 minutes the batter should have risen a little and should be partially cooked. Place the underside greased muffin pan on top and press down lightly. Just enough to cause the batter to rise up the side of each cup a little. Place it back into the oven and cook for another 6-10 minutes. Remove top pan then remove the cake cups from the bottom pan and let cool. Recipe makes 12 large cups or 24 small.

16 oz washed quartered strawberries
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Beat the remaining tea cream, sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixer to stiff peaks.

Place a few strawberries into the chocolate cup, place a dollop of tea whip cream on top and top with a few more strawberries. To make it a bit more decadent drizzle with chocolate sauce.

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.

Categories

Explore our content:

Find us on these sites:


Follow Us!     Like Us!     Follow Us!     Follow Us!     Plus 1 Us!
Follow Tea Blog on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Tweet This!    add to del.icio.us    add to furl    digg this    stumble it!    add to simpy    seed the vine    add to reddit     post to facebook    technorati faves

Copyright Notice:

© 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.

Blog Affiliates

blogged
Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory

Networked Blogs

%d bloggers like this: