Many people think of tea lattes as hot drinks that should be enjoyed in cold weather or on cool mornings. Just as many coffee drinks are good over ice, so are tea lattes and they’re a great alternative to a regular pitcher of iced tea when you want a drink to cool down with on a summer afternoon. This Iced Lemon Tea Latte is one of my current favorites and was inspired by another summer classic: lemonade.
The lemon tea latte starts with a lemon-flavored tea. I used Cuppa Cakes Lemon Chiffon, which has a very clear lemon flavor in a mild herbal green tea base. I brew tea at double or triple strength for iced tea lattes, since you’re going to be diluting the tea quite a bit with both ice and milk. I brew the tea hot, add sugar and a touch of vanilla extract (a few drops of lemon extract can be added to boost the lemon flavor on a tea where it is not present or not prounounced), then pour it over ice and finish it with cold milk. It’s creamy, lemony and it has just the right amount of sweetness. I like to think of it as somewhere between lemonade and a milkshake – and for a lemon lover, it will be a instant hit.
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I am a big fan of Mint Juleps, a classic cocktail that is made with bourbon, sugar and mint. They’re usually found at the Kentucky Derby, where race-goers need a refreshing drink to sip while they are hanging out in the sun on a warm spring day. My only problem with the traditional julep is that the drink is quite strong and I need something that is going to last a little bit longer if I’m relaxing outside in the heat. My solution was to create a Mint Julep Iced Tea that is an even more refreshing take on the classic drink.
The drink starts with sweet black iced tea, poured over muddled mint and bourbon. Muddling mint is a great technique that is often used when crafting cocktails to release the oils in the mint leaves, and it works just as well in iced tea. It also gives the drink a nice look when it is served to have the mint leaves at the bottom of the glass. Bourbon goes very well with black tea and the mint makes the drink especially refreshing and palate-cleansing as you sip it.
This recipe is scaled to make one serving of iced tea. If you want to serve a crowd, I suggest starting with a large pitcher of sweetened black iced tea and then assembling the drink – adding the bourbon and mint to each glass – as you serve. And, of course, you can omit the bourbon for a refreshing minty tea if you want the idea of a julep without the alcohol, too.
Both coffee and tea pair very well with freshly baked, homemade muffins, but they don’t usually make their way into the muffins themselves. Coffee cake and coffee cake muffins, for instance, are not coffee flavored – they are just meant to pair with coffee. Coffee and tea can both be fantastic flavors for baked goods, muffins included, and you’ll get plenty of tea in these Chai Tea Muffins with Chai Streusel.
The muffins are made with strong chai tea, which gives them a black tea and spice flavor. I recommend brewing double or triple strenght chai tea for this recipe so that you get as much tea flavor as possible. That being said, the muffins are also packed with chai spices, like cinnamon, allspice, ginger and cardamom to ensure that you get a well-rounded chai flavor in every bite. They’re moist, tender and topped off with a spiced streusel topping that adds a nice buttery crunch, as well as a little extra spice.
As you might expect, these pair extremely well with a cup of hot chai tea or with a chai tea latte, but they also pair well with a regular cup of coffee.
Can you think of a celebrity with his or her own line of tea? No? The next time someone asks you that question – which I’m sure happens all the time – you can answer Oprah. Oprah has teamed up with Starbucks’ premium tea brand, Tevana, to create her own line of chai tea. The partnership was announced at the Starbucks annual meeting last week. Oprah is the first celebrity – and a very big celebrity at that – to really align herself with a Starbucks brand in this way, and Teavana is the first brand that she has aligned herself with so directly.
“I looove tea,” said Oprah Winfrey. “My daily tea ritual is a vital part of my morning. Savory and spicy chai, with its deep flavor, has long been a favorite of mine. When Howard Schultz offered to have me come into the Starbucks tasting room and create my very own tea blend, I thought that sounded like such a unique opportunity and fun to the tenth power.
Oprah herself created the tea blend Teavana’s head teaologist, Naoko Tsunoda. It has a base of black and rooibos teas, with spices that include cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves. It will be available as a loose-leaf tea and as a tea latte at Tevana stores before for Mother’s Day, so you can start looking for it in a few weeks. Proceeds from the sale of the tea will go towards the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, which provides funding for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls – South Africa and is dedicated to helping its graduates attend colleges and universities. The foundation will support additional youth education through Girls Inc., National CARES Mentoring Movement, Pathways to College and the U.S. Dream Academy. You can find out more details of the tea’s creation and these charities at Steep Your Soul.