This week begins the first of a series focusing on teas. Each week I'll be looking at a specific variety of tea and in doing so I welcome any great stories you want to share about your love for tea and recipes that have been collecting dust in your cupboard. Let's fade to black! Black Tea:
The most popular and traditional of teas in the West, black tea is a staple. From Southern- style sweet tea in the United States to the traditional 'cuppa' in England, black tea is all the rage with more exciting blends than ever before. Recently it was discovered that black tea is packed with as many antioxidants as green tea making it a great alternative for people who don't enjoy the grassy taste of green tea.
So what is tea exactly? Well, to put it simply all tea comes from the Camilla Sinensis plant and if it doesn't it simply isn't tea.
Black tea is green tea when the leaves are left to oxidize and ferment. This process removes the grassy taste of green tea and makes for a tea that is versatile and can be enjoyed spicy or sweet.
I personally love it spicy and sweet so I make a homemade chai concentrate that I know you will love:
1 tablespoon of black peppercorns in a tea bag
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger in a tea bag
1 tablespoon of coriander seed in a tea bag
1 tablespoon of cardamom seed in a tea bag
1 tablespoon of cloves in a tea bag
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean split open
2 tablespoon of whole cane sugar*
Place all the above ingredients minus the Assam tea into a pot with 4 cups of water (spring water is ideal). Bring to a boil (212F); add Assam tea and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove Assam and other ingredients and you have your chai concentrate!
Serve as a cold tea or hot tea.
In preparing my cuppa chai I do 1 third concentrate and 2 thirds milk (dairy milk or non-dairy milk). Remember to steam/warm your milk gently with chai concentrate when serving it as a hot drink. I'm partial to almond milk or hazelnut milk!
*Stevia can be substituted here