The soothing effect of a cup of tea

Tea for me is intimately linked with the British. Afternoon tea is a wonderful thing. Tiny sandwiches with the crust cut off, cucumber of course but also egg and watercress. Buttery scones with lashings of clotted cream and jam, delicious pastry and oh yes, a glass of champagne! I had the most amazing afternoon tea at the Chesterfield in Mayfair, London.  It had everything and more, a great selection of teas and the most wonderful staff that made our afternoon a lovely experience. Having moved to the UK I did discover that it isn’t at all as common to go for afternoon tea as I thought, but it doesn’t stop this nation from loving their tea. They love it so much that they consume no less that 60.2 billion cups each year. Compare this to “only” 70 million cups of coffee and you get the idea.

 

It would be easy to think that tea is quintessential British but it comes from China and according to a legend the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, in 2737 BC, sat under a tree when leaves fell in to boiling water and this was the start of tea drinking. Tea made it’s way here in the 1600 century, imported by the British East India Company and having been embraced (with a few hickups such as heavy taxes) ever since.

 

There are a lot of teas to choose from and Dragonfly Tea sent me four different kinds to test and review. I haven’t been paid or influenced, the opinions are my own. I love a good cup of tea but I also like to use tea in recipes and took it as a challenge to see what I could come up with.

 

The first tea I used was the Skinny Dragon, a Pu’er tea. Pu’er tea is tea put through a complex process of gradual fermentation which gives it a very distinct flavour. It is said to aid digestion and has lovely earthy notes. A cup after a heavy meal is delicious. I brewed some tea and used it as a liquid to boil pearl barley and it was a brilliant combination. The Pu’er tea added a deep flavour and the earthiness went very well with the wholesome flavour and texture of the barley.

 

16Jan_Pu'erTea

 

 

The second tea was a classic Earl Grey, one of my absolute favourite teas. I love it plain with a spoon of demerara sugar. I don’t drink as much black tea as green but this comes out, especially when I feel cold, wrapping my hands around it sitting under a blanket whilst warming up. It does the trick every time. Bergamot oil makes this tea so distinctive in smell and flavour and I thought I would pair it with orange to make a glaze for my duck. I cooked crispy duck legs and smothered them with the glaze and I have to say it was quite a treat!  See recipe here.

 

13Jan_EarlGrey

 

13Jan_GlazedDuck

 

The third tea I tried was Moonlight Jasmin tea. Jasmin tea is a fragrant tea from China. Tea leaves are harvested in the early spring and stored until the late summer when fresh jasmine flowers are in bloom. Dragonfly’s jasmine flowers are picked in the cool of the night when the blossoms open and the tea scenting takes place. I had so many ideas of what to do with this tea, besides drinking it that all I have had time to do so far is to boil rice in it and I highly recommend adding 2 tea bags when you are cooking the rice for extra flavour.

 

JamsineTea

 

 

The last tea is a Mountain Honeybush tea. The honeybush grows only in small areas of South Africa and it smells of honey. The tea is naturally sweet with a very vague note of bitterness. It is a great tasting tea to just drink and you won’t need any sweetener. I had a whole chicken for Sunday lunch and decided to see what I could do with the chicken and the tea together. I opted to make a dry rub with the honeybush tea mixed in to it. I then added the tea to the stuffing and also brewed tea to keep the chicken moist whilst cooking. I absolutely loved it, the tea gave the chicken an unusual and fragrant note. You can see the recipe here.

 

17Jan_HoneybushTea

 

17Jan_RoastedChicken

 

 

Dragonfly teas have a depth of flavour. Their philosophy of “slow” tea is lovely. They work to support sustainable methods of tea cultivation and processing as well as small production growers, making their teas even more delicious.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Comments
12 Responses to “The soothing effect of a cup of tea”
  1. dosirakbento says:

    My favourite teas include Earl Grey and Jasmine, I usually drink at least both on any day!
    I use green tea to make Ochazuke but will try it with Jasmin instead as it sounds quite nice 😊.
    I’ve also noticed that afternoon tea is often more for special occasions (and tourists), maybe partly because it can more or less replace a meal given all the food… it seems more of an indulgence. But a cream tea (tea and scones -with jam and cream of course) feels more like a smalller treat so can be enjoyed more often 😛

    • petra08 says:

      hello!
      I agree that cream tea is more common. I love afternoon tea, it is such a lovely invention isn’t it? Taking the time and simply enjoy a whole afternoon, lingering over lovely tea! But I agree with you, it is a whole meal on it’s own!
      I have never used green tea making Ochazuke, that sounds delicious. I love cooking with tea! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. I drink more coffee than tea but do love a good cup of tea almost daily, usually in the afternoon. Never tried dragonfly tea but I have heard of it. My favorite is Earl Grey, Will need to check out Dragonfly if it is available in the US.

    • petra08 says:

      hi Suzanne
      I drink more tea than coffee but usually both every day! If you can’t find Dragonfly let me know and I will post some to you! 🙂

  3. Loretta says:

    A great post on teas Petra. I remember when we first came to this country (USA), we had to actually say we’d like “hot tea”, or else we’d have got an iced tea, which is very popular here in the USA. Also, it’s not very common to drink tea with milk and sugar here, so you need to specify that you’d like milk and sugar, or else they’d just serve it with lemon. Different customs from different parts of the world eh! I love those cream teas in England, they are to die for :). My fav is Earl Grey too 🙂

    • petra08 says:

      Hi Loretta
      Am so glad you like it 🙂 Tea is an essential part of my every day! Ice tea is also good but not quite the same, I agree with you! There is something so lovely about a cup of freshly brewed Earl Grey. When did you move to the USA? Apologies if I have missed it on your blog! I love how I have meet so many new people, and fellow foodies thought this blog! 🙂

      • Loretta says:

        I love teapots and tea cozies too, but they aren’t too popular here. I left England in 1975, moved to Canada (where tea is also appreciated), then to the USA about 35 years ago. I grew up in Kenya, and was born in India. However, I was 3 years old when my family left India, so I did not live there for too long. You’re right though Petra, I’ve just enjoyed meeting so many folks via the blogging world. There’s just so much to share and learn, it is quite amazing!

      • petra08 says:

        Wow! The name of your lovely blog makes total sense now! What an interesting life. I love the US for holidays and I still have friends there from spending a year there a long time ago. 🙂

      • Loretta says:

        Where did you spend time in the US Petra? And where are you in the UK now?

      • petra08 says:

        hi Loretta
        How is your Friday?
        I spent a year in a small town called Clarksville Tennessee. I went back there last year and I have to admit the mullet seems to still be in fashion in some cases! It was so different from Sweden I think I had a bit of a culture shock (then them re myself as well) but it was fun and I learnt so much.
        I am living not far from Dover in a town called Deal. It is picture perfect and I just love it! Where are you based now? 🙂

  4. pinkiebag says:

    Great post, earl grey has been a long time favourite of mine.

    • petra08 says:

      hi Chloe
      Thank you for stopping by and am glad you like the post! Earl Grey is a wonderful tea and also one of my favourites 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: