Iced Chai to go!

Steep good black tea, I used Tetley, with spices for refreshing chaiThere is nothing better than a nice, icy coffee or tea to beat the heat and feel like a treat. If you are like many of my dear friends and colleagues, you may love nothing more than an iced chai latte. Darlings, did you know each serving has from 150 to 260 calories – maybe more — depending on where you buy them and what size you order. And do you ever buy a small eight-ounce iced drink? I do not. But, then again I drink my tea black with lemon or nothing but ice. 

And the price can break you if you drink them regularly, at anywhere from $3 to $4 a pop. Now, I’d never advocate giving up the pleasures of lingering at a good café with a friend. But why squander your money for a fattening, pricey scoop-and-run beverage. You can make your own; it is snap. My friend Malti makes the best chai anywhere. She should. It comes from India as she does — not Seattle!
 
Here is a simple recipe:
Boil a small pot of water with:
2-3 slices of fresh ginger root
4-5 whole pepper corns
4-5 coriander pods
2-3 while cinnamon sticks
2-3 whole cloves
Boil for five minutes and then infuse 2 tea bags and steep.
You can also add the spices to the top of an ice tea machine and steep.
 
Sweeten to taste with any sweetener desired.
Try Stevia Extract for a natural no-calorie option.
 
You can be a purist and heat or steam your milk before you add it to the drink, or just add cold milk. Try it both ways and see what you prefer. If you heat 1 cup milk for 3 minutes in a microwave in a 2-cup glass measuring cup, covered with plastic wrap or a wet paper towel, you can quickly and easily achieve a close substitute to steamed milk. Be very careful not burn yourself! This is the perfect time to use the steamer on your espresso machine!
 
If you use hot steamed milk, pour it straight down into the tea for a pretty effect.
Brew the tea to be very strong, as milk will dilute it. I use two bags and steep it for 4 minutes but no longer, as it will get bitter. Add hot steamed milk or cold milk and pour over ice. Enjoy!
 
This a lovely cold drink to carry in a thermos bottle or large refillable coffee cup. It’s refreshing all day long.
 
You can also choose the type of milk: no-fat, low fat, soy, or almond. Check the calorie-count. If you really miss the flavoured syrups that are often added to these drinks and can afford the calories, you can buy a whole quart or liter bottle of the best quality at gourmet grocery for $5 to $7. I encourage you to learn to drink them without the syrup, if it is a daily indulgence. After all, I really do like it best icy cold and unsweetened. Give it a try!
 
It is interesting to note that “chai” simply means tea from Russia to China. In India, “chai” or Marsala tea as it is properly known, is black tea flavoured with cinnamon, clove, cardamom, black pepper, and clove.
 
Make a big pot and enjoy it hot or cold all day. Fill your thermos and go!
 
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Tips about tea

Festive Christmas tea, a favouriteHave you ever wondered what makes fine tea different from what you find on supermarket shelves? Do you know how long to brew fine teas? Tea has become as important as coffee, perhaps more so. Many of us drink it for the health benefits. When my husband and I entertain, we often serve fine herbal teas after dinner; our guests request them. I also enjoy blended flavoured teas such as Kusmi’s Christmas Tea, for special occasions. I love the spicy, sweet aroma. It’s also a special treat I can enjoy all season without guilt, as it does not have a single calorie. I like to share it with my special friends too.
 
I interviewed tea expert Sylvain Orebi,the owner of Kusmi Fine Teas, to get the scoop on tea drinking. Don’t miss a word of our exclusive interview, and learn to be a tea maven too!
 
DD:  Why is green tea an antioxidant?
SO: As any vegetal element, tea leaves contain nutrients called flavonoids which are antioxidants. They are water soluble, which makes it great for tea drinkers.
 
DD: Do black teas also have health benefits?
SO: Black tea also contains a large amount of anti-oxidant but a bit less than green tea due to fermentation.
 
Sylvain OrebiDD:  What is red tea? Does it have health benefits?
SO: This plant actually belongs to the acacia family and is completely different from traditional “Camelia Sinensis” tea, except for the way it is prepared and consumed.
This little bush exclusively grows in South-Africa and is harvested during the summer; it is then, just like black tea, fermented – which gives a dark red colour – and then dried in the sun. The longer the infusion, the stronger the taste – although it does not become pungent because it does not contain any tannins. It is also totally caffeine-free, said to have anti-spasmodic and relaxing properties, and contains a fair amount of antioxidants.
 
DD:  Does decaffeinating tea affect the flavour?
SO: No, this process does not affect the taste.
 
DD:  You give different brewing times for different Kusmi teas. Why is this important?
SO: This is important because black leaves deliver their flavours after 3 to 4 minutes, and green tea after 2 to 3 minutes. If you brew green tea too much longer, it could become pungent, although Kusmi Teas are carefully selected to be quite smooth and light.
 
Temperature can also alter the taste and suppress some of the well-being factors of teas. For instance, green tea should brew at 75°C (or 165°F); in case of higher temperature, its flavour diminishes as well as its amount of natural anti-oxidants that are very sensitive to high temperatures.
 
DD: What are “wellness” teas?
SO: Wellness teas are a new line of blends that not only contain tea, but also plants known for their natural well-being properties. For instance, Detox is made of green tea, but also Maté – a tonic plant popular for its richness in vitamins, minerals, caffeine and anti-oxidants – and lemongrass, a plant well-known for its tonic and digestive effects.
 
DD: Kusmi makes beautiful seasonal and specialty teas such as Christmas tea and Imperial Label tea. Can you explain how a seasonal tea is created?
SO: Creating a seasonal tea or an exclusive blend is a very long process that is quite comparable to making perfume. It really starts with a concept; what does this tea mean to the people who are going to drink it, as well as a list of desired ingredients. Then it takes a few weeks or months to find the right blend of tea leaves, the right flavours and the perfect balance of all ingredients. To create Imperial Label, especially made for Kiehl’s, I spent weeks reinventing ancient Russian sbiten and matching the taste to Kiehl’s Imperial Body Balm.
 

 

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A Spa-licous brew

Kusmi Detox Tea is the perfect summer brew. It’s a light blend of antioxidant-rich Brazilian mate, Chinese green tea, and lemon grass. The delicious brew with will give a you a delightful perk without the harsh jitters of too much caffeine. Green  tea — with its delightful lemony scent — soothes and regenerates

Kusmi Prince Vladmir Tea --The canisters are so pretty

Kusmi Russian Blend teas for the holidays. But you may also want to treat yourself to some special tea this summer. Kusmi has a selection of elegant and eclectic teas. The 140-year-old company makes such classic favourites as Anastasia, a black Chinese tea scented with citrus and bergamot. There is also Prince Vladimir, a black Chinese tea, spiced in the Russian tradition. All of these teas served hot or cold are refreshing all summer long. I particularly enjoyed spiced tea iced . It is delightful alone or with sweets.
 
 
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Iced chai or green tea latte to go

 Iced chai or green tea latte to go

Enjoy a refreshing chai in minutes!The weather has turned warm and lovely and there is nothing better than a nice icy coffee or tea. If you are like many of my dear friends and colleagues, you love may love nothing more than an iced chai latte or iced green tea latte. Darlings, did you know that they range in calories from 150 to 260, depending on where you buy them and the size you order. And do you ever buy a small eight-ounce iced drink? I do not. But, then again I drink my tea black with lemon or nothing but ice.
 
And the price can break you if you drink them regularly at any where from $3 to $4 a pop. Now darlings, far be it from me to advocate giving up the pleasures of lingering at a good café with a friend. No, I am talking about squandering money regularly for a fattening, pricey-scoop-and-run beverage. You can make your own, it is snap. After all, my friend Malti makes the best chai anywhere. She should, it comes form India as she does, too — not Seattle!
 
You can be a purist and heat or steam your milk before you add it to the drink or just add cold milk. Try it both ways and see what you prefer. If you heat 1 cup milk for 3 minutes in a microwave in a 2-cup glass measuring cup, covered with plastic wrap or a wet paper towel, you can quickly and easily achieve a close substitute to steamed milk. Be very careful not burn yourself! This is the perfect time to use the steamer on your espresso machine too!
 
If you use hot steamed milk pour it straight down into the tea for a pretty effect.
Palanquin Spiced Tea is sold in India to make Marsala, or what we call chai here. It is available in most Indian shops and is very inexpensive. There are many brands of chai tea in most markets now. I really like this one. It is inexpensive and spicy. In India, Marsala or spiced tea is brewed in hot milk. I use water and suggest you do too, and then add milk. Sweeten the hot brewed tea to taste, using sugar or the sweetener of your choice. Splenda, honey, or Stevia all taste fine. I like it unsweetened. I find the spice makes the sweetener unnecessary. Whichever you choose be sure to dissolve it in the hot tea.
 
Brew the tea to be very strong as it will be diluted by milk. I use two bags and steep it for 4 minutes, but no longer as it will get bitter. Add hot steamed milk or cold milk and pour over ice. Enjoy! This a lovely cold drink to carry in a thermos bottle or large refillable coffee cup. It’s refreshing all day long.
 
You can control the calories by the sweetener you choose and the amount you use. You can also choose the type of milk: no-fat, low fat, soy or almond. Check the calorie count. If you really miss the flavoured syrups that are often added to these drinks and can afford the calories, you can buy a whole quart or liter bottle of the best quality at gourmet grocery of $5 to $7. I encourage you to learn to drink them without it, if it is a daily indulgence.
 
 
It is interesting to note that “chai” simply means tea from Russia to China. In India “chai’ or Marsala tea, as it is properly known, is black tea flavoured with cinnamon, clove, cardamom, black pepper, and clove.
 

 

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