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The Champagne of Teas: Darjeeling Tea

October 14, 2021

About Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling tea is an incredible and complex tea. Grown in the Darjeeling region of West Bengal, India, it is unlike any other tea. With its unique natural flavor of Muscatel, it cannot be replicated anywhere else! Just as the word ‘Champagne’ signifies sparkling wines that come from the Champagne region of France, in the world of tea the word ‘Darjeeling’ denotes tea from the district of Darjeeling located high in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. There are 87 “tea-gardens” in this tiny region that create the tea equivalent of an appellation of French wine. The sub-tropical, high altitude conditions, the slightly acidic soil and the climate that alternates between sunny to frequent cloudy periods, all contribute to the unique taste of the tea in this area. Another reason Darjeeling Tea is considered the champagne of tea is because of its distinct aroma and taste of muscatel and floral notes, along with hints of stone fruit.

Darjeeling Tea Flushes

From left to right: First Flush, Second Flush and Third Flush

Darjeeling tea has three main flushes. What is a flush? A flush, simply put, is when the tea plants grow new leaves after a dormant period. Like most plants, Darjeeling tea goes through phases of growth and dormancy. 

The first flush:

This is the first growth after dormancy. These are usually harvested from the end of February to mid April. This stages goes by “Spring Flush” or “Easter Flush”. This is typically the best flush of the growing season as the leaves are still tender and said to contain the most antioxidants. This flush of Darjeeling tea also has the shortest shelf life; a few months at most. 

The second flush:

The second flush happens after the dormant stage following the first harvest. These tea leaves are picked from late May to mid June and produce an amazing, well rounded, mature and fruity flavor. This round of tea produces a flavor that pairs perfectly with afternoon tea snacks like scones and tea sandwiches. This flush is controversial to tea drinkers to where some say it is the lowest quality flush and to some, it is all they drink!

The third flush:

The third flush is referred to as the “Autumn Flush”. This flush has large leaves that are dark in color. Careful tending of the garden after the Second Flush is a must to prepare for this flush. Weeding is essential as is a good fertilizing since the tea plants will do most of their growth during Autumn. The leaves produce a very dark leaf that steeps up a full-bodied and naturally fruity flavored tea. This flush yields a nice round taste, quite suitable as a breakfast tea and stronger than the Second Flush.

Preparing Darjeeling Tea

What is the best way to prepare Darjeeling Tea?

Darjeeling tea falls under the black tea category. Darjeeling should be made with water brought to a rolling boil (205-212° F). Using one rounded teaspoon of loose tea for each cup required. Darjeeling should be steeped for 3 minutes. Once the ideal brewing time has been reached, the leaves should be removed to prevent further steeping. 

Darjeeling tea is best enjoyed in the morning or early afternoon since it does have caffeine. 

Decant and enjoy!

Uncategorized Tea Recipes Tea-Infused

7 Tea-Infused Cupcake Recipes for the Holidays

December 12, 2017

With Hanukah and Christmas right around the corner, it’s time to get in the kitchen and bake something delicious for that party you’re hosting or the gathering you’re attending.  A good host provides plenty of options, and a good guest never shows up empty-handed.  We’ve got you covered either way.  Bake one or all of these tea-infused cupcake recipes and you’ll be providing party guests with a unique, satisfying dessert that makes for a memorable, merry experience:

1. Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream

This recipe from Foodie With Family infuses cupcake batter with earl grey tea. If you want extra earl grey flavor, the author recommends replacing the heavy cream in the buttercream icing with earl grey-infused milk. Moist cupcakes topped with fluffy icing? Party hit, coming through!

2. Green Tea Cupcakes

This recipe from Honest & Truly packs green tea flavor into each cupcake and into the matcha buttercream frosting that gorgeously crowns each one. The author says the cupcakes themselves have just “a hint of green tea flavor, but nothing too overwhelming,” and that each cupcake is “moist without falling apart.” The frosting recipe calls for room temperature butter, matcha powder, vanilla bean paste, salt, milk, and powdered sugar. Make extra and use it to top cookies, cakes, or brownies!

3. Blueberry Cupcakes with Lemon-Tea Infused Frosting

This recipe from Comfortably Domestic packs juicy blueberry puree into the cupcake batter, and tops each cupcake with a lemon tea-infused icing. For the icing, the author used three Celestial Seasonings’ Lemon Zinger tea bags, but you can swap in your preferred brand. The tea bags join cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract to make a delightfully sweet and creamy topping. Garnish with blueberries for extra credit.

4. DAVIDsTEA Forever Nuts Apple Crumble Cupcakes

This recipe from Bite Me More uses DAVIDsTEA’s Forever Nuts loose leaf as one of its main ingredients. This tea has pieces of apple, almonds, cinnamon, and beetroot all jumbled together for a fruity, nutty flavor. Cool brewed tea is whisked into the cupcake batter.  Cream cheese frosting and an almond-cinnamon-sugar crumble topping finishes things off with sweet flavors and plenty of texture.

5. Earl Grey Vanilla Cupcakes

This recipe from My Second Breakfast uses earl grey tea in four ways: it’s steeped in milk, steeped in water, ground and rubbed with sugar, and flavors the frosting. If you’re a fan of earl grey and vanilla, this is the recipe for you!

6. Matcha and Raspberry Cupcakes

This recipe from Katie Cakes is almost too pretty to eat—almost. Conscious that matcha is very earthy, the author decided to balance matcha out with raspberry jam in this recipe, concluding that “It worked perfectly–matcha and raspberry are a match made in heaven.” These cupcakes are decorated with green tea pocky sticks and freeze dried raspberries for pops of color and crunch.

7. Ceylon with Vanilla Tea Infused Cupcakes

This recipe from We Are Tea makes vegan cupcakes with the tea seller’s Ceylon with Vanilla Tea, a Ceylon black tea scented with vanilla oil. The cupcake batter calls for flour, coconut sugar, almond milk, coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar, among other ingredients, while the frosting stays vegan with ingredients such as coconut cream and vegan butter.