18 January 2015

Chocolate tea

The lovely folks at Big Tree Farms in Bali show how this cacao fruit transforms into...

...cacao nibs by taking out the beans from the inside and processing them.

When I started this blog, I had a dream to create an entire line of cacao-based ‘chocolate teas.’ And while that dream never came true, I thought I’d share some tips for creating your own chocolate teas at home.

Cacao nibs are a great ingredient for making indulgent, dessert-flavored tea blends. I first started including cacao nibs in my chai mixes years ago and quickly invented a rooibos and cacao-based ‘cherry chai’ mix that I craved every evening. Cacao nibs also pair well with tisanes like peppermint, spearmint or hibiscus - just be sure to use about twice the amount of cacao nibs to your tisane per serve (ie 1 tsp peppermint to 2 tsp cacao nibs).

Highly recommended after a big meal or whenever you’re craving some guilt-free ‘chocolate’.

04 January 2015

Tea made from antlers

No, not from an animal, but I did think that initially!
As part of an international ‘tea swap’, the lovely Nicole at Tea for Me Please sent me a sample of Finlays Malawi Specialty Tea made with White Satemwa Antlers. And where do these ‘antlers’ come from? Instead of using the camellia sinesis leaves, this tea is made from the stems of the plucked shoots.

This tea was a bit tricky to measure with a spoon, so I simply grabbed a small handful of ‘antlers’ and steeped for 2-3 minutes at 85C (or until it reached a nice golden colour).

The flavour of this tea is like nothing I’ve had before, with strong floral notes that explode on the palette without leaving any bitter aftertaste. A second steeping created a lighter and more refreshing taste, but just as enjoyable to drink as the first! Who knew ‘antlers’ could taste so good!