4 Ways to Brew Chai

Some of the most popular varieties of tea we share with you, our wonderful customers, are chais. This Indian variety of tea is strong on the spices and has become a firm favourite worldwide due to its great taste and the benefits of including the spices in your day. Today we are sharing 4 great ways to brew up chai.

Please note – we love our Green Chai as much as you do, but to get the best flavour out of it, follow the modified instructions in the sections below! The unmodified instructions will work well for black tea chaos and rooibos chais,

First up –

1. Chai Tea

Grab your teapot (or mug and infuser), your tea and put the kettle on to boil. Place 1 teaspoon per 250ml of water in your infuser for your cup or pot and place it in the pot or cup (if using a teapot, give your teapot a rinse with hot/boiling water before adding your infuser). Pour over the hot water, and allow to brew for 5-7 minutes – a slightly longer brew allows the chai flavours to really come through in your finished cup. After your tea is brewed, remove the leaves and add milk and honey as required!

How easy is that!

For Green Chai: Follow the same steps for the black chai, but only use 80-85oC water to ensure the green tea remains fresh tasting, not bitter. We do not recommend adding milk to green tea, but honey would be a lovely addition.

Vanilla Chai

 

Our Vanilla Chai – one of our black tea chais, perfect for making as a straight tea!

 

2. Chai Latte – on a stovetop

Lattes can be made with any of our chais, except green chai (which doesn’t suit milk).

Gather your tea, milk of choice (cow’s milk, soy, nut milk or coconut!) a pot for the stove, as well as your serving pot or mug and a tea strainer. Pour the required amount of milk into the stove pot and add in the chai tea. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes. The chai and tea will need longer than the standard brewing time to allow the flavour to come through the milk, so this is a grew time to practice some patience! To keep you busy, if you’re serving in a pot you can give your pot a hot/boiling water rinse while waiting. When your chai is done, pour into your cup or pot through a strainer, and serve!

 

And for the fancier home-brew option:

3. Chai Latte – with steamed milk

For those lucky enough to have a coffee maker or individual steam wand at home, you can create cafe-style chais very easily!

Gather your pot for brewing the tea, tea strainer, milk of choice, chai tea and steaming device. Place the required amount of tea straight in the pot, then steam your milk in the milk jug. Pour the hot milk over the tea leaves in the pot, saving the foam for serving. Leave the chai for 10-15 minutes to brew to allow the flavours to come through the milk. To serve, pour through a strainer into a tall glass, top with the foam and a sprinkle of cinnamon or chocolate powder. Yummo!

Indian Chai

 

 

4. Iced Chai

What?! A savoury iced tea?! What’s the crazy lady thinking!

I know, that’s what I first thought when I heard of the idea of icing chai, but it definitely works! Its also the best way to continue enjoying your chais in the heat of Australian summers. Best of all, using our rooibos chais means you’re getting a nice hit of hydration at the same time! Perfection in a cup!

Iced chai can be done with any type of chai tea, but our Rooibos Chai or Rooibos Vanilla Chai will give you a refreshing brew.

Grab a tall glass and fill with ice. Pop it in the fridge until the tea is brewed. In a cup/mug, put twice the usual amount of tea in your infuser and add in the hot water (80-85oC for green tea, boiling for black chai, rooibos chai or straight spices). For the tea, if you have a large mug you usually use and would put 1-1.5 teaspoons of tea in your infuser, this time add 3). If you like a bit of honey in your chai, add it in now to allow it to dissolve in the hot water. Leave the tea to brew for 7-8 minutes. While your tea is brewing, grab you glass of ice from the fridge. Discard your infused leaves when the tea is brewed, then pour directly over the ice. Add a splash of milk into your chai if you want and enjoy!

You’ll want to give this one a go, it completely transformed my views on iced tea!

We want to hear from you – share your chai creations with us in the comments or over on Facebook!

Tasmanian Wildlife Range

We have a very exciting collaboration to share with you today. We’ve been working with Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to develop 3 new teas to team up with our Tassie Devil Tea to be part of our brand new Wildlife Range! While you’re already familiar with our Tassie Devil Tea, read on to become acquainted with our new blends:

Eastern Grey Kangaroo Tea

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Like its namesake, this tea is strong and not to be introduced to the faint hearted. With a hint of smokiness, this Earl Grey blend is for those that love a firm wake up!

 

Sugar Glider Blend

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This blend is made with child-friendly rooibos and foods that sugar gliders love to eat – apples, sultanas and other fruits. Perfect for our younger customers and those on the go. This blend is delicious hot or cold, and naturally caffeine free.

 

and of course,  Wombat Tea
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A unique treat, much like spotting a wombat in the wild! This is a medium bodied black tea with Tasmanian dark chocolate cubes (just like wombat poo!).

 

The most exciting thing about this collaboration is the Chari-tea component. From the sale of each of these teas, 50c will be donated to the Bonorong Wildlife Hospital, which will be helping heal the sick and injured native animals of Tasmania. This hospital is a unique creation of Greg Irons, Managing Director of Bonorong – nothing like it exists in Australia! Bonorong will not only be assisting wildlife in a way they haven’t been able to be previously, but having a permanent hospital site means they can be involved in other projects, such as assisting in research for the Devil facial tumor which is decimating the population.

 

Best of all, this allows you, our customers, to support this fantastic organization just by drinking some delicious teas (and eating square chocolate “wombat poo”).  The teas will be available for purchase through our website, at Salamanca market, and of course from Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. We hope to have many of our other wholesale customers also wanting to support the Wildlife Hospital by selling these teas at their café, restaurant or providore.

Refresh

Hey there tea fans! Who has had a relaxing Christmas break? Or maybe its been jam-packed – with socialising, some festive drinks, and one too many slices of cake. My gut knows how you feel! So today, I’m going to run you through a few teas that can help refresh and revitalise your insides after some well-earned indulgence. All of our herbals below have one benefit in common – caffeine free hydration, which will bode well for anyone who has eaten too much Christmas ham in our warmer climate in Australia. This is even more so for Rooibos, which I’ll also talk a little about too – perfect for natural hydrating! Let me know in the comments below if you have tried any of these and which is your favourite after a big night out or satisfying meal.

[Read more…]

Ice Ice Baby

Oh, yeah, the one you’ve all been waiting for – how to make iced tea at home!

 

If you’ve seen iced tea in the shops, and had a look at the ingredients, you’ll notice that actual tea is pretty far down the list. Which for a tea-nerd like me, just doesn’t cut it. If I’m after iced tea, I want there to be tea in that. And pretty much nothing else. So home made it is!

There are two main methods for icing your tea, which I’m going to show you today in this post, and one more I made up myself! I’ll also talk you through the best things to do with your tea, and additions you can make to it to have a super tasty chilled tea, or to make it beautifully presentable for your silly season party. I promise by the end of this post you’ll think its so easy you won’t know why you didn’t try it before!

Alrighty, lets get cracking with the iced brewing methods. [Read more…]

Back in Black

Howdy all! Did you enjoy our first post? Today, we’re back with perhaps the most well known of the tea varieties (certainly in Australia!) – Black tea.

As we discovered in our last post, black tea is one of the varieties from the camellia sinensis plant. It is perhaps the most well known of the tea plant varieties, being grown and imbibed in the UK, Europe, North America, Australasia, India, China, Sri Lanka and Africa (this list is certainly not exhaustive!). The making of your morning cup of black tea isn’t as simple as just picking the leaves, though, there’s a few key steps to making the brew we all know and love. [Read more…]

Welcome to our blog!

Hey there, tea fan! Today we’re launching our new blog, where we’ll be discussing  all things ‘The Art of Tea” – you’ll find out some more about our signature blends, the best way to get a perfect cup every time, the best gadgets for tea brewing, as well as meeting the hard-working team behind your favourite tea company!
Salamanca BlendMount WellingtonTasmanian Green Tea

Some of your favourite blends, and ours too! L-R: Salamanca Blend, Mount Wellington Blend, Tasmanian Green Tea [Read more…]

Can I decaffeinate tea myself?

YES. It is possible to prepare ordinary tea so as to remove most of the caffeine from the finished product. Caffeine is very water-soluble, more so than many of the flavour components in tea. So a very brief infusion can remove much of the caffeine while preserving flavor.

Here’s how to do it: boil enough water for twice as many cups as you intend to drink. Pour the normal amount of water over the leaves, then infuse for twenty to thirty seconds. Pour off the resulting brew and discard, retaining the leaves. Bring the water to a boil again and pour it over the same leaves, this time infusing for the normal three to five minutes. This infusion should be caffeine free.

Can I buy decaffeinated tea?

Tea is available that has been decaffeinated but unfortunately the quality is compromised. It is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to remove caffeine from tea without degrading its quality.

Does drinking tea during pregnancy affect the baby?

Questions surrounding caffeine intake and risk of miscarriage and health of the fetus continue to be raised by pregnant women.

A study published in the journal of American Medical Association found no evidence that moderate caffeine use increases the risk of spontaneous abortions, growth retention or account for other factors. Another seven-year epidemiological study on 1,500 women examined the effect of caffeine, during pregnancy as well as on subsequent child development.

Caffeine consumption equivalent to approximately 3 ½ to 5 cups of tea per day had no effect on birth weight, birth length and head circumference of the baby. A follow-up examinations at age’s eight months, four and seven years also revealed no effect of caffeine consumption on the child’s motor development or intelligence.

A number of factors influence the metabolism of caffeine and the individual’s response to caffeine indigestion. These include pregnancy, age, sex, body weight, diet, exercise, and stress smoking and alcohol consumption.

Pregnancy hampers caffeine metabolism. For example, in non pregnant women the break-down of half of the caffeine takes an average of 2.5 – 4.5 hours, 7 hours during mid-pregnancy and 10.5 during the last few weeks of pregnancy. As caffeine retention is longer during pregnancy, women sensitive to caffeine may be affected. As a result a moderate consumption of approximately 3-4 cups a day, is recommended for women during pregnancy.

Does green tea have the same caffeine level as black tea?

Green tea, as well as oolong, white tea, & black tea, are the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis. Caffeine is naturally occuring in the Camellia sinensis, however the caffeine (or theine in tea) is a third to a half the amount found in a standard coffee. Black tea has more caffeine than green tea, and green tea has more than white tea varieties. White tea has minimal caffeine. Oolong has between green and black teas in caffeine content.

Unlike the rush and crash from caffeine in coffee, it is claimed that 80% of the caffeine in tea remains unabsorbed by the human body, yet it can have a number of benefits such as stimulating the nervous system & improving circulation.

Theanine  in high quaity green teas can also improve mental cognition, lift the mood, and increase brain seratonin and dopamine levels.

How much caffeine is there in tea?

Caffeine from natural sources has been consumed and enjoyed by humans throughout the world for centuries. The widespread natural occurrence of caffeine in a variety of plants undoubtedly played a major role in the long-standing popularity of caffeine incorporated products, especially the beverages.

The human body requires a certain amount of caffeine and research indicates that up to 8 cups of tea daily will not have any detrimental effect on the body. The species or the variety of the tea plant determines content of caffeine in tea, as it is a genetic feature. Camellia sinensis has caffeine levels of approximately 2.5 % to 4%. However the distribution of caffeine in the plant depends on the part of the plant it is derived from and the conditions that the plant is grown in.

The quantity of caffeine in tea, on dry solids basis, is more than the quantity of caffeine in an equal weight of dried coffee beans. However, as a result of getting more cups of tea from a unit quantity of black tea than from an equal quantity of ground coffee beans, the quantity of caffeine per cup of tea is less than the caffeine in an equal cup of coffee.

Excessive caffeine is said to have adverse effects on the human system and brewed tea has only half the caffeine levels in brewed coffee. However, it is important to note that research proves that the presence of caffeine in tea does not produce unhealthy results due to its combination with tea polyphenols.

What are the effects of caffeine?

Since it is a stimulant, caffeine increases alertness and quickness of response, and often briefly improves mood. It is a mild diuretic. In large doses, it can produce jitters, anxiety, and insomnia. As with any stimulant, the period of enhanced alertness and heightened mood is generally followed by a period of depressed mood and ability.

What is caffeine?

Caffeine is a stimulant drug found in tea as well as in many other natural substances. Coffee is better known as a dietary source of caffeine (and the source of the name ‘caffeine’), but tea contains a significant amount of the drug.

How do I make iced tea?

Iced tea is a staple of American Southern life; it is very popular throughout much of the United States , enough so that it is now being marketed in cans and bottles.

Good iced tea uses a decent brand of black tea which is then cooled (either in a refrigerator or by being poured over ice). Some people add sugar others don’t. Some people also like to add lemon.

Iced tea is very easy to make. Infuse a strong concentrate of tea (i.e. much less water than you would use for that amount of leaves) and add it to cold water to the right proportions. The better the quality of the tea, the better the iced tea will taste. It’s probably a good idea to use a strong-tasting tea that can stand up to the cold. Assam , for example, makes terrific iced tea.

Should I put milk in my tea?

If you like!

The classic additions to black tea are honey, milk, sugar and lemon.

You should NOT add anything to green or oolong tea; they are meant to be consumed as is.

How do I use a tea ball or infuser?

 Put one teaspoon of tea in the infuser (make sure you do not overfill the infuser as the water needs to be able to circulate around the leaves and the leaves will swell to double their size)

Put infuser in a cup and add freshly boiled hot water. You will see colour in the cup almost straight away but you should continue to infuse for 3 – 5 minutes to get a full flavour

How much tea should I use?

For black, green and oolong tea use one teaspoon of tea per cup. No need to add “one for the pot”

For white and herbal teas start with one teaspoon and increase to two teaspoons according to taste.

How do I make tea in a teapot?

How is tea produced?

The first step in tea production is the harvest. Most harvesting is still done by hand, which is very labor-intensive but a better result is achieved as the picker can choose the high-quality tip leaves and leave the coarser leaves toward the bottom of the branch.

The harvested leaves can be processed in two ways: CTC or orthodox.

CTC, which stands for “crush, tear, curl,” is used primarily for lower-quality leaves. CTC processing is done by machine; its name is actually fairly descriptive. The machines rapidly compress withered tea leaves, forcing out most of their sap; they then tear the leaves and curl them tightly into balls that look something like instant coffee crystals. The leaves are then “fired,” or dehydrated.

Most tea connoisseurs are not very interested in CTC tea, since this process does not allow for the careful treatment that high-quality leaves merit. But CTC has an important and legitimate role in the tea industry: since it is a mechanized process, it allows for the rapid processing of a high volume of leaves which otherwise would go to waste. It is also good for producing a strong, robust flavour from leaves of lesser quality; in fact, for many varieties of leaf CTC is the preferred processing method.

The orthodox method is a bit more complex, and is usually done mostly by hand. The process differs for black, green, and oolong teas. The basic steps in the production of black tea are withering, rolling, oxidation, and firing.

First, the leaves are spread out in the open (preferably in the shade) until they wither and become limp. This is so that they can be rolled without breaking.

Rolling is the next step. This is rarely done by hand any more; it is more often done by machine. Rolling helps mix together a variety of chemicals found naturally within the leaves, enhancing oxidation. After rolling, the clumped leaves are broken up and set to oxidize.

Oxidation, which starts during rolling, is allowed to proceed for an amount of time that depends on the variety of leaf. Longer oxidation usually produces a less flavorful but more pungent tea. Many texts refer to the oxidation process by the misleading term “fermentation.” However traditional and evocative the term may be, I think it is best avoided. Oxidation of tea leaves is a purely chemical process and has nothing to do with the yeast-based fermentation that produces bread or beer.

Finally, the leaves are heated, or “fired,” to end the oxidation process and dehydrate them so that they can be stored.

Oolong is produced just like black tea, except that the leaves are oxidized for less time.

Green tea is not oxidized at all. Some varieties are not even withered, but are simply harvested, sometimes steamed, fired and shipped out.

Tea seems to quench thirst, why is that?

A perhaps unexpected benefit of tea drinking is the resulting increase in water consumption, which protects against dehydration. Since caffeine is a mild diuretic, the benefit is not quite as great as drinking plain water; but it is real nonetheless. Two cups of tea are approximately equivalent to one cup of plain water in their hydrating effect.