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Tea-off this monsoon!

Tired of your everyday brew? Try these new flavours instead.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2012 15:53 IST
Bhairavi Jhaveri
Bhairavi Jhaveri
Hindustan Times

In part two of our series on unusual teas, we teach you how to brew your own cup and where to buy one infused with wine. Food blogger Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal also shares a few recipes you can rustle up at home.

Where: Temperance Deli
Taste of: China
Floral teas are the most soothing, and extremely light on the palate. This one sees actual dried rosebuds floating inside a tea pot.

What’s brewing?
For most first-time green tea drinkers, this dried rosebud tea with its pale colour will seem nothing more than a cup of hot water. But let the buds steep longer, be generous with your rosebud portions, and then gradually a sweet taste will linger at the back of your palate. Since it’s non-caffeinated, you can have it any time of the day or night.
Price: Rs 100 for one tea pot
Call: 98203 87694 Indigo Deli

Taste of: Sikkim

The tea menu here features a sublime bouquet of flavours that can be had all day.

What’s brewing?

Sikkim First Flush (SFF) was a tea that was earlier preserved for royalty due to its unique flavour. It’s a beautiful black tea with floral infusions straight from the Valley of Flowers. If you like your cup of chamomile, you’ll surely fall in love with this one. Green Tea with Madagascar Vanilla (GT) uses the green tea Matcha powder with the world’s best vanilla from Madagascar to create a smoky, scented tea. Zen Garden (ZG) is a superlative white tea, perfect after meals. White teas are known to have the highest amount of antioxidants and are subtly flavoured. This one has lovely orange, lime and cinnamon notes. Throw in a cinnamon stick for extra measure.

Price: Rs 155 (SFF), Rs 195 (GT) and Rs 260 (ZG) per tea cup.

Call: 2643 8100 / 4366 6666

There’s wine in my tea!
Lots is common between these two drinks — the soil, elevation, cultivator, the season all play a role in the flavours produced by both wine and tea. The two have many variations in price and processes within each category and type, and the tasting sessions of both are elaborate and meticulous. This monsoon, tea importers Chado Tea have launched a special exotic range of wine-flavoured teas that are perfect for the cool weather. Some of the varieties include White Champagne Raspberry, Assam Jungle Cabarnet and Sicilian Vespers. Infusing the white and black teas with floral and fruity notes using safflowers, cinnamon and chrysanthemums, the range carries all the goodness in flavour of wine blended with the strong and robust flavours of tea.
The range will be available at Chado Tea, inside Bombay Store, Fort, from the third week of July. Currently, it is available on order on 3216 4466.
Price: Rs 960 for 100 gms

Chai, why
Here are two innovative chai recipes and one chai-based dessert recipe by Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal, chief foodie, A Perfect Bite Cook Studio.

Rose-lavender pepper kehwa
Roses and lavender are valued for their digestive properties and the pepper works to improve digestion as well as keep colds and coughs at bay. Ideal for a post-dinner dessert tea option as there are no stimulants of caffeine in it.

* 2 tbsp / 30g sugar
* 1 tsp / 15g rosebud tea/dried rose petals or lavender
* ½ tsp / 6g white pepper, crushed coarsely
* 1 tbsp pistachio or cashew flakes (depending on the flower you are using)

* Combine roses/lavender and crushed pepper in a mortar and pestle and crush together.
* Add the sugar and powder to a coarse powder.
* Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and take off flame.
* Add the flower sugar to it and mix well.
* Allow to steep for 2 minutes and then savour hot.
* Add pistachio flakes to the rose version and cashew to the lavender version to garnish.

Masala chai crème brûlée
* 4 large egg yolks
* 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 2 chai masala bouquet garni
* 1 (1-inch) chunk ginger
* 4 teaspoons demerara sugar
* 1 teaspoon chai masala

* Preheat the oven to 300F degrees.
* Place 4 ramekins in a roasting pan and pour hot water in the pan to halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
* Combine the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks, mixing well.
* Place the cream and the bouquet garni in a saucepan and heat to the boiling point.
* Take it off heat and let the flavour infuse in the cream for about 5-10 mins.
* Pour the cream into the mixture in a slow and steady stream, whisking constantly.
* Strain the mixture.
* Pour 1/2 cup of the mixture into each ramekin. Cover with aluminum foil.
* Bake until the custard is set, about 35 minutes. Alternatively, you can even steam it in a steamer.
* Allow to cool and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
* An hour before serving, combine the demarara sugar with chai masala and sprinkle a teaspoon of this mix on each custard.
* Using a blowtorch melt the sugar with a flame until golden brown, or broil with bowls about an inch from the flame for 30 seconds.
* Cool to room temperature before serving.

Spearmint tea
You can make this tea by placing a few sprigs of fresh spearmint in a glass and pouring boiling water over it. Spearmint is an excellent remedy for ailments such as headaches, fatigue and stress, as well as for respiratory and digestive problems. You can also use this syrup in other recipes like desserts and cocktails.

* 2 cups water
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 packet fresh spearmint

* In a 2 litre capacity saucepan, place sugar and water and bring to a rolling boil.
* Ensure all the sugar is dissolved and take off flame.
* Add spearmint leaves, cover and leave to steep till completely cool or overnight.
* Store covered for up to 3 weeks or chilled, up to six months.

Get it right
How you brew your tea makes all the difference.
* Never add tea leaves to boiling water. Let the water cool down for a few seconds, and then add about 2 gms of tea leaves (for one cup).
* Cover the container and let it steep for some time.
* Some teas can be steeped for longer (4 minutes), while others need to be served instantly (1 minute).
* Store tea leaves in aluminium or glass containers, because they tend to react with metal and turn acidic.

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