Rose Congou by Perennial Tea Room

Today’s cup of tea is @perennialtearoom Rose Congou. Tea growers used to cut rose blossoms from plants near the tea fields and sprinkle them into the tea, creating a delicate and aromatic cup. These days, Chinese black tea (Congou) is scented with rose during the drying process, creating a floral, sweet cup. This loose tea also contains dried rose petals, which adds a pretty pop of color to the leaves. Smooth and wonderfully scented, I enjoyed the cup quite a bit. The tea would hold up well to a bit of milk if you like your tea that way, but I usually avoid diluting the flavor. Either way, if you have an opportunity to order from Perennial Tea room, I would certainly add this to your cart to enjoy.

Lu Yu by La Via del Tè

Let’s talk about oolong teas. The varying degrees of oxidation produce teas that have characteristics of black and green teas, without being either. Oolong teas are also traditionally rolled or curled into tight balls or strands. Because of the varying ways to handle the tea, its flavor can be wide ranging from floral to vegetal, and sweet to smoky. ‘Lu Yu’ is a white and oolong tea blend by La Via del Tè, a company based in Florence set up in 1961. The packaging is a stunning gold and red, and further review of the tea drew me right in. The oolong tea is blended with ‘silver needle’ white tea (clearly standing out in the pictures) and also includes raspberries, rose petals, and mallow flowers. It’s a really beautiful tea, and the aroma is summery and strongly fruity. The taste is more balanced, without being too sweet in the way the scent comes across. Once again, this is a tea I cannot wait to try iced, although it was wonderful hot as well. We will be looking at some more oolong teas and blends as there are some really fantastic ones out there to sip and savor.

Easter 2020: What we did for a low-key celebration

Easter was a quiet affair this year. Usually, I hold a family brunch party with an Easter egg hunt in my backyard for all the kids. But this year there’s just a lot of eating happening at home. I mean, breakfast, elevenses, second breakfast, luncheon, snacks…you get the point. But afternoon tea – that’s my favorite! @whittarduk Afternoon Tea is a tasty blend of black, oolong, and green tea, scented with bergamot and jasmine. It contains pretty rose petals, with an uplifting scent. The rich, aromatic tea paired with some lovely Whittard Earl Grey shortbread biscuits equals perfection! Buttery, crisp, and infused with bergamot, I can see why they have won awards. Since Easter is going to be a very quiet, intimate celebration this year, I set up a lovely Easter-themed afternoon tea for my two little boys to enjoy. While they attacked the assorted treats, I enjoyed the fun tablescape (these tins are absolutely gorgeous) while savoring my afternoon infusion. When I don’t know which type of tea I’m in the mood for, this blend covers so many bases. Oolong, green, floral, bergamot – all are present. Give this a try and you won’t be disappointed!

Kashmiri chai (aka Noon chai / Gulabi tea)

One of the first videos I made, I wanted to capture the coolness of a gorgeous, pink Kashmiri chai! Of course, there was only one small problem. I had never had Kashmiri chai, and in the middle of a pandemic, where was I going to go to find it? ‘Noon chai’ or ‘Gulabi (pink) tea’, is not an everyday drink, but as most things that take time and patience – a treat to enjoy. The addition of salt and baking soda makes the tea a little savory, and turn into that pale pink color I got. I can see why this tea is reserved for special occasions. Starting with a base of green tea (Kashmiri tea is best, but if you can’t find it you can use a high-quality green tea, as I did) the brew contains traditional chai ingredients such as cardamom and cinnamon, but the addition of salt and star anise adds a unique flavor.

This was my first time making it, and I think the chai came out pretty well for a beginner – lucky me! The color of the finished tea was a muted pink, which I think is more natural than the infused hot pinks that contain dyes or beetroot powders to give it a color boost. The smell and the flavor of this tea was divine. Traditional flavors blended with savory tones and fortified with crushed pistachios, this won’t be my last time making Kashmiri chai. My little guys were excited to drink the tea as well, probably because I myself was gleefully hopping around after it was completed. One point to note – I didn’t capture it in my video, but I did add a spoon of raw sugar to the milk once boiled. The saltiness of the tea was still present, but the sugar balanced out all of the flavors really nicely (and I don’t usually sweeten all of my home brews). Garnished with dried rose petals and crushed pistachio, I could gaze at this cup for hours! Enjoy my quick video showing how this all came together. If you give this a try, let me know. It is worth the time and effort!