A lighter, milder morning brew is gaining popularity in America. Tea is a $10 billion business and we’re consuming more and more of this smooth, fragrant drink. Black tea, Camellia sinensis, is the most popular type and accounts for half of all tea consumed in the country. Black Assam tea is named after the Northeast region of India where it’s grown. Cool, arid winters, hot humid summers and consistent rainfall render Assam a perfect and prolific place to grow the perfect black tea.
Leaves are harvested and withered, then the leaves can be left whole and rolled or undergo a cut-tear-curl process. Finally, leaves are left to oxidize and dry to develop characteristic flavor and aroma. A cup of tea has about a third less caffeine than coffee and contains catechins and epicatechins; flavonoids that can help decrease inflammation. Most black tea is drunk iced, but there are so many ways to enjoy it hot, especially as the weather cools. What better way to share this dark, malty, smooth tea than to share some wonderful preparations for hot tea.
The perfect, steaming cup of tea, three ways:
The Classic, British Cup of Black Tea
- Porcelain cup (ceramic is your next choice)
- Hot water (96 degrees Celsius to be exact)
- HQ Organics Express Organic Black Assam Tea
- Milk and sugar to taste
Use the best water you have and boil to temperature. Pour water into porcelain cup (porcelain holds the optimal temperature) with tea and steep to perfection for 2 minutes. Remove tea, add milk and sugar to taste then drink, savor, relax.
Royal Milk Tea
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 heaping teaspoons HQ Organics Express Organic Black Assam Tea
- 1/2 cup milk
- Sugar or honey to taste
In a small saucepan, add warm water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water is boiling, add tea leaves and reduce the heat and simmer for 1-1/2 minute to 2 minutes. Add milk and slowly bring just to simmer. Meanwhile, keep your serving cup nice and hot with hot water (drain the water before you serve tea). When the tea is about to boil, remove from the heat and pour the tea through a tea strainer or fine mesh strainer and into your serving cup. Serve with sugar or honey and sweeten it to your liking. Sit back and chill.
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 10 whole cloves
- 6 cardamom pods
- 6 cups cold water
- 6 tablespoons HQ Organics Express Organic Black Assam Tea
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
Combine first 5 ingredients in medium saucepan. Using mallet or back of large spoon, lightly crush or bruise spices. Add 6 cups water; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pan, and simmer gently 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and steep 5 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add milk and sugar. Bring tea just to simmer over high heat, whisking until sugar dissolves. Strain chai into the teapot and serve hot. Settle in and enjoy.
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Tea can be used to flavor many dishes but here’s something that’s not just delicious but different and beautiful to serve. Tea eggs, also called marble eggs are scented with earthy and malty black tea and sweet and licorice-like star anise. The eggs are cracked and the tea stains both the shell and the cracks to a marble-like finish. This high-protein snack is available in stores, restaurants and street vendors all over mainland China, but you can make it at home.
Chinese Tea Leaf Eggs
- 8 eggs
- 2 pods star anise
- 1 tablespoon coco aminos (or substitute with soy sauce or tamari but don’t add the salt)
- Black tea
- Himalayan pink salt
Combine all ingredients and water in a pot and boil for 7 minutes. Remove eggs and crack them with the back of a spoon. Let them cool, refrigerate overnight in water and boil again the next day for another 7 minutes. When you peel the shell it has a cool cracked effect.