Browsing articles from "February, 2011"
Feb 28, 2011

Orange Chai Tea Latte

Orange Chai Tea Latte

A tea latte is not just tea with milk in it. It’s a strongly brewed tea with hot, steamed milk added and they’re usually served lightly sweetened. Unlike regular coffee lattes, tea lattes open up dozens of flavor possibilities because you can make them with just about any type of tea. A London Fog tea latte, made with earl grey tea, is a great choice, but when the weather is cold I like to make my tea lattes with something a little spicier as the base.

This Orange Chai Tea Latte is made with chai tea and a little bit of orange zest to give it a bright, fruity note. You can use any type of chai tea that you have – I used Zhena’s Gypsy Coconut Chai in this batch because just about any kind will work well. I simply poured the hot tea over some freshly grated orange zest and let it steep for about a minute. This released some of the oils of the orange and added some extra flavor to the tea. A little orange extract will work if you don’t have a fresh orange on hand, but orange juice isn’t a good option as it might curdle your milk. Strain the orange zest out before topping the latte with steamed milk. I sweetened my tea latte with a little vanilla syrup, but there is so much flavor in here that you almost don’t need it at all. The orange goes perfectly with the spicy chai flavors without overwhelming them. A twist on top gives the whole drink a nice orange scent before serving.

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Feb 24, 2011

Coffee and Chicory, and how they go together

Cafe du Monde Coffee and Chicory

Chicory is a type of bushy plant that has many culinary uses. The leaves of many types of chicory are used as salad greens, and the roots are dried and ground up for use as a coffee substitute. The root is commonly cultivated in parts of Southern Europe, where it is a readily available and inexpensive coffee substitute, but the most notable example of chicory for many Americans is the signature coffee of Cafe du Monde‘s chicory-spiked coffee so popular in New Orleans.

Just as many plants and herbs besides tea can be brewed like tea to become herbal tisanes, chicory brews similarly to coffee. It has waxed and waned in terms of popularity over the years, but enjoyed periods of great popularity during times of depression or when coffee was scarce. This was particularly true in the South after the Civil War, when it was used to bulk up existing coffee supplies. It became very popular in New Orleans even after regular coffee was widely available again and definitely has its fans – like the famous Cafe Du Monde – to this day.  Chicory has a somewhat licorice-y flavor to it, although fans will often praise its smooth, chocolaty notes and the way that it rounds out a very strong cup of coffee (especially when accompanied by a plate of Cafe du Monde’s popular beignets).

Feb 22, 2011

Leaning Tower of TEAsa

Leaning Tower of TEAsa

I love to travel and an definitely drawn towards items that have a little bit of a travel slant to them… or in the case of this Leaning Tower of TEAsa, a very literal slant! This cute tower of Pisa-inspired item is actually a tea-for-two set that includes a tea pot and two cups. The top of the tower is actually the lid of the teapot, which makes up the base of the tower. The pot also comes with a removable brew basket inside.

I wish I could find one of the pictures I took years ago when I visited the tower of Pisa myself, so I could compare the “real thing” to this version, but that would involve a serious search through many boxes of pictures and old photo albums – activities best saved for a rainy day. I didn’t buy any tourist trinkets at the time to remind myself about the visit, assuming that photos would be enough. Photos really are a great way to remember a momentous trip or occasion, but adding a tea set like this one to the kitchen just might be an even better daily reminder.

Feb 13, 2011

Starbucks offers “bean-back” refund on Via purchases

starbucks via

Starbucks has really been trying to push the retail sales of their new instant coffee product Starbucks Via. I am a big fan of the stuff, as I really like the flavor – especially compared to just about all of the competition – and use them regularly when I travel. But for your average drop in Starbucks customer, there might not be a huge incentive to try the Via when you can just ask for a tall drip. Starbucks is hoping to change that by offering a “bean-back” guarantee. Anyone who purchases a package of Via in the next 7 months and is dissatisfied with it, can simply fill in this form and receive a free 12-oz bag of House Blend ground coffee. You do have include the UPC with your form, and it appears that you also need to be a US or Canadian resident. It’s not a bad incentive, considering that a pack of Via is probably less expensive than the beans are. And if you like Via and fill in the form anyway, I won’t tell. Just keep in mind that the offer is only good once per address.

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