A cuppa for everyone…

By A. Jafri
Tue, 05, 21

On the occasion of International Tea Day, celebrated annually on May 21st, this week You! rounds up some interesting and special hot and cold brews for you to try...

world tea day

For most of us, our day doesn’t begin unless we’ve had our steaming cup of tea. Tea isn’t merely a drink; it is an excuse to share great thoughts with great minds. It is a way to express love and have a heart-to-heart with friends and family. It is a hug in a cup when it’s too cold outside and a cure for your tired bones and a throbbing headache.

Along with health benefits, tea represents togetherness in countries around the world. Whether it’s a karak doodhpati, a nice Ceylon tea or a refreshing ginger tea, there’s a cuppa for everyone.

The United Nations celebrates International Tea Day annually on May 21st. The Day promotes and fosters collective actions to implement activities in favour of the sustainable production and consumption of tea and raise awareness of its importance in fighting hunger and poverty.

On the occasion, this week You! rounds up some interesting and delicious teas that are well-loved and worth trying if you haven’t already...

A steaming cuppa of happiness

Take a wander into the aisles of tea and find yourself a brew that you fancy.

Masala chai: Owing to its taste and aroma, masala chai is well-loved in Pakistan but also gaining a lot of popularity around the world. For this tea, you would need an array of ingredients such as: a small piece of fresh ginger, green cardamom pods, 1-2 cloves, a cinnamon stick, a couple of black peppercorns for some heat.

Heat up about 1½ cup of water in a pot on medium-high heat for around 2 cups of chai. While the water is heating, grate the ginger into the water; crush spices using a mortar and pestle to release its flavour and aroma and add in pot. Reduce heat to medium and bring the water to a boil. Now add the 2 tsp of tea leaves and let it boil for a minute. You can also add sugar at this time or add it in the cup when serving. Now, add ¾ cup of milk and stir it in. You can cover the tea until it boils or let it boil uncovered, but keep a close eye as it can overflow easily. Once it’s done, strain the tea a cup and enjoy.

Kashmiri chai: A traditional milky tea from the region of Kashmir, this tea is enjoyed at every special occasion and especially when the weather gets a little chilly. It is a tea that requires labour of love but it’s totally worth it.

In a medium size saucepan over high heat, add three cups cold water, 2 tbsps of tea leaves (Kashmiri Chai or Pure Green Tea), ¼ tsp of sea salt, ¼ tsp baking soda, 5-6 cardamom pods, a whole cinnamon stick and a star anise. Bring the tea to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Let it cook for 20 minutes (tea will reduce significantly).

After 20 minutes uncover (you will already notice a slightly pink hue to the tea). Add the remaining cup of cold water and whisk vigorously. In this case, the best way to do this is to continuously pour it from one saucepan/pot to another. Do this at least 12-15 times. You will immediately start noticing the tea becoming more and more pink. Once this is done return to original saucepan, add 3 cups of whole milk and 3 tbsp of sugar (or to taste). Bring the tea to a boil and then reduce heat to low and let cook for 7-10 minutes. Sieve the hot Kashmiri Chai into your favourite tea cups and garnish with crushed almonds and pistachios.

Matcha tea: If you’re not familiar with matcha, it has been the cornerstone of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries, but it recently became popular because of its health benefits.

To make this tea, you would need a tsp of matcha green tea powder, 2 tsp sugar, 3 tbsp warm water and a cup and a half of hot milk. To prepare, spoon the matcha green tea powder and the sugar into a mug or cup. Add the warm water and mix with a whisk until it is a smooth dark green paste to ensure no lumps form. Also, this isn’t the circular whisking required for making baking recipes or scrambled eggs. Instead, whisk vigorously from side to side – either directly back and forth or in a zigzag pattern – to evenly disperse the powder in the water and create a foamy layer on top. If you whisk in a circular motion, your tea won’t foam.

Warm the milk in a small saucepan and pour into the mug until nearly full. (You can use cold milk for an iced latte as well.) Use a whisk to mix the paste and milk together until smooth and light green in colour. If you so wish, you can add a few sprinkles of matcha green tea powder on the top for garnish. Or you can also replace the sugar for honey or maple syrup.

Iced teas to enjoy in the summer

While there are many who don’t mind hot beverages in summertime, there are some who stray away from it. So, if you are one of those who love having tea but can’t enjoy some because of the sweltering heat, here are some iced teas that you can try…

Apricot Lemonade Iced Tea: This tea has a tangy flavour from lemonade, apricot nectar and mint. For this recipe you would need; 4 cups of water, 7 tea bags (an apricot Ceylon tea, maybe), 1 cup sugar, 1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate (partially thawed), a cup of chilled apricot nectar, ice cubes and mint sprigs.

In a saucepan, bring four cups water to a boil; remove from heat. Add tea bags; steep, covered for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags and stir in sugar until dissolved; cool slightly. Transfer to a pitcher; cool completely. Add lemonade concentrate and nectar to tea; stir in four cups of cold water. Serve over ice with mint.

Touch-of-Mint Iced Tea: A great alternative for soft drinks, this will also be refreshing with the mild flavours of lemon and mint.

For this recipe, you’d need six cups of boiling water, four tea bags, a cup of fresh mint leaves, ¾ cup of frozen lemonade concentrate, ice cubes, lemon slices and some additional mint.

In a heat-proof bowl or pitcher, pour boiling water over tea bags; cover and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and let it cool for 15 minutes. Add mint; steep for 5 minutes. Strain. Add lemonade concentrate; stir well and refrigerate. Serve over ice; garnish with lemon and mint if desired.

Holiday Wassail: This tea is deliciously fruity and citrusy, which is surely going to give you that summer feeling.

For this recipe, you’d need four cups hot brewed tea, a cup of sugar, around four cups of cranberry juice, four cups of apple juice, two cups of orange juice, ¾ cup of lemon juice and 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches each) along with 24 whole cloves, and an orange (sliced).

In a large kettle, combine tea and sugar. Add the juices, cinnamon sticks and 12 of the cloves. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Serve warm or cool. Garnish punch bowl with orange slices studded with remaining cloves.

Iced Raspberry Tea: Frozen raspberries lend fruity flavour and lovely colour to this pretty iced tea that’s good throughout the year. Although, you can switch the raspberries with any other berry if you prefer.

For this tea, you would need one and a half cups of sugar, four quarts water, a pack of frozen unsweetened raspberries (around 1½ cup), 10 tea bags, ¼ cup lemon juice and some fresh raspberries and lemon slices for garnish.

In a Dutch oven over high heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Remove from heat; stir until sugar is dissolved. Add raspberries, tea bags and lemon juice. Steep, covered, for 3 minutes. Strain; discard berries and tea bags. Transfer the tea to a large container or pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice. If desired, serve with raspberries and lemon slices and enjoy!