Warmer weather in the U.S. usually means iced tea, sweet tea, and a tea drink that is growing in popularity here (as well as in Europe). It is sometimes called “bubble tea” and sometimes “pearl milk tea” (or “boba milk tea”). Having spent many years as a technical writer where the difference between “hit Enter” and “press the Enter key” were important (especially since some people take things rather literally), I’m going, just for the fun of it, to pick apart both names. Sit back, relax, sip your tea, and take a linguistic journey.

True bubbles in tea (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

True bubbles in tea (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A bubble is a filmy substance or one that is fairly elastic but with good atomic bonds that forms a sphere around some air. Soap bubbles, chewing gum bubbles, and carbonation bubbles are some examples. So are those little bubbles on the top of your tea (hot or cold) when you pour it fast. Here’s the definition on Thefreedictionary.com. (I simplified things for this article.)

A pearl, in contrast, is solid. It is also spherical (sometimes). True pearls are those iridescent beauties created by clams when some irritant gets inside their shell. We call various things “pearls” since (a) they are spherical and usually about the size of a salt-water pearl (fresh-water pearls are more irregularly shaped), or (b) because it’s more poetic and/or colorful than saying “sphere” or “ball.” Would you like to drink a tea named “Dragon spheres” or named “Dragon pearls”? As is often the case with marketing, words matter.

Based on the above, I’m thinking that “pearl milk tea” is a more accurate term. But wait, there’s more to this.

My guess (and one supported by various online sources) is that the term “bubble tea” is a mispronunciation of “boba.” Of course, it could just be that someone thought it seemed more fun and whimsical to say “bubble” than “pearl.” Or it could possibly be another of those translation mix-ups. The English language has around 100,000 words, or so it is claimed by many linguists, and many of these words are subtly different to us but translate as meaning the same thing in other languages. When going from those languages to English, therefore, they are presented with a host of options and do their best to pick the right one. Not always successfully. Based on the mispronunciation theory, “bubble tea” is just as accurate as “pearl milk tea.” No easy answers, darn it!

What Those “Bubble Tea” Bubbles Really Are

Pretty simple here. They are chewy tapioca balls. The Chinese slang term for them is bōbà (波霸) meaning “large breasts.” Seriously! I couldn’t make up something like that if I tried. Tapioca is a starch from a plant that originated in Northern Brazil called Manioc (Manihot esculenta). It proved so popular, that the plant was soon being cultivated throughout South America. Traders and explorers brought some of these plants with them to other ports of call in the West Indies, Africa, Asia, the Philippines, and Taiwan. The Taiwanese were the ones to start using it in this tea-based drink (usually Taiwanese black tea). Milk, fruit, and ice are other common ingredients, with a wide variety of flavors available. Green tea versions have become popular, too, as people started touted green tea as healthier than black tea (the jury is still out on that, with some recent studies supporting the claim and others contradicting it).

Bobas in tea – the real source of the name “bubble tea”? (From Yahoo! Images)

Bobas in tea – the real source of the name “bubble tea”? (From Yahoo! Images)

No matter what you call it, give some a try as warm weather approaches. It’s sort of a drinkable tapioca pudding that has tea in it. Wow!

For more information about bubble/pearl tea, see these articles on our blog:

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A great tea from India: Darjeeling (ETS Image)

A great tea from India: Darjeeling (ETS Image)

So which great people throughout history drank tea and which did not? This is hardly the place to do an in-depth review of the topic, but we can be pretty sure about the tea drinking habits – or lack thereof – of certain great historical figures based on where and when they lived. It’s likely that Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and William the Conqueror never drank tea, simply because they lived in Europe long before tea is known to have been introduced there.

Then there are those historical types whom we might expect to be tea lovers but who weren’t. Take Gandhi, for instance, who lived in India, a country that by the time he lived was already a powerhouse of tea production. Though Gandhi was once a tea drinker, he came to believe that tea was an intoxicant and that the tannins it contained were bad for health. Thus he gave it up. Take a look at his tea-free ginger lemon alternative at his grandson’s web site.

Another great head of state, Winston Churchill, apparently was not all that enamored of tea either, according to the National Churchill Museum, who claim that he avoided it. He tended to forego that time-honored ritual of afternoon tea and apparently preferred to drink something with a little more of a kick than tea.

Like the English, the Russians were hardly slouches when it came to tea drinking and even gave the world a tea prep gadget known as the samovar. So perhaps it’s not surprising that Russian dictator Vladimir Lenin was a tea drinker. As a contemporary biography recalls, black bread, tea, and porridge was a common meal for Lenin and in the those early violent days of the revolution he often drank his tea without sugar as a measure of solidarity with the rest of the population.

Then there are our presidents. As this page on presidential eating habits recounts, tea and coffee were served at breakfast in the household of our first president, while Jefferson apparently bought some of a tea he sampled in Amsterdam to take back home. Mary Lincoln is known to have served tea and cakes to her guests while Rutherford B. Hayes mixed it up, with a cup of coffee at breakfast and one of tea at lunch. As for Honest Abe Lincoln, one legend recounts that when he was a storekeeper in his early days, he walked a great distance just to make a customer’s tea order right.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The chawan was in fashion, out of fashion, and is now back in fashion here in the West (Europe and North America). All over the course of a mere three or four centuries. If you’re thinking of buying one or more, there are some things to consider first. Actually, three things top my list of what to look for when buying that chawan.

First, some basic info. A chawan is a small bowl (no handle) used for sipping tea. When tea first came to Europe such small bowls and handleless sipper cups came with it. Tea being enjoyed mainly by the very rich (due to the high cost and risk of bringing the tea to them), they sought a more genteel (and less finger scorching) way of imbibing that wonderful tea liquid. Ceramists in Europe were able to figure out how to attach a handle that would stay cool and attached to the cup all at once. From that point, the chawans and sipper cups were passed over in favor of these new-fangled cups. Today, though, with teas like matcha and the gongfu style of tea steeping gaining in popularity, the chawan is becoming more popular.

To me, the top one is best from a practical basis, but the others are aesthetically pleasing. (From Yahoo! Images)

To me, the top one is best from a practical basis, but the others are aesthetically pleasing. (From Yahoo! Images)

1 Basic shape

Some chawans are too tall and narrow and shaped more like a sipper cup. They need to be shorter and wider. Some are too straight-sided for my taste versus having a more flared out shape. This is not just a matter of appearance but of practicality since the more flared design is better at allowing a slight cooling of the tea liquid so you can enjoy it more fully. Scorching hot tea will burn your tongue and reduce your ability to enjoy its various flavors and aromas. Some of the shape is determined by which tea you will be having in it. A matcha chawan, for example, needs room for that chasen (tea whisk).

2 Good size

No handle. So you’re going to be holding your chawan either cupped in your hand (if it’s cool enough or if you have fingers made of asbestos), with a small cloth under it like in chanoyu, or by the rim which is my usual method. One good reason to have a chawan that is large enough for you to pour enough tea for a good bit of sipping and yet have the liquid low enough so that you can hold it by the rim.

3 Aesthetic qualities

Let’s face it, tea is a sensory experience. The aroma of the dry tea leaves, no matter what form they are in, draws us in. Then of the steeped liquid where the aroma and flavor are closely linked. And the sight of both dry leaves, liquid, and steeped leaves can add to that experience. The teawares are just as important in these respects, a fact that is evident based solely on the endless designs of teapots, teacups, tea boats, and more, that are available. Chawan glazes centuries ago were often dark in color since the lighter tea liquid was supposed to show best against it. I, however, prefer a white interior so that I can see the true liquid color, part of that sensory experience with tea. And luckily today you can find plenty like that.

Happy shopping!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

by Guest Blogger Sarah Rosalind Roberts

Whether you are a frequent tea drinker or a one-a-day type of person, you will undoubtedly have come across unsightly tea staining on the inside of your cup.

A bit of milk in your tea reduces staining. (ETS Image)

A bit of milk in your tea reduces staining. (ETS Image)

This is caused by the tannin found in the tea leaves, leaving behind a brown residue in your mug. It’s a source of anguish for the avid tea drinker, but fear not, it’s nothing to worry about as tannin is a naturally occurring compound.

It’s worth a mention that the longer you brew your tea, the larger the amount of tannin that is produced. If like me living in London you live in areas with hard water, you’ll find this also affects the levels of tannin and consequently staining in your mug.

Regardless of where you live or how you drink your tea, follow these four simple steps to achieve a perfectly, pristine teacup:

1 Prevention

If you live in a hard water area, as mentioned above, invest in a water filter to give you a better quality cup of tea. This will help minimise staining, though it won’t get rid of it completely. Another top tip that helps in hard water areas is to make sure you get rid of the lime scale build up in your kettle – there’s no need for expensive cleaners as a white vinegar and warm water soak will work just fine.

2 Timing

Don’t be lazy! Clean your cup as soon as possible after drinking, allowing as little time as possible for the residue to settle. This small bit of effort will save a lot of effort in the long run.

3 Soaking

If you’re mug is particularly stained, to the extent that you’re questioning whether or not it was always brown on the inside, grab some leftover washing powder or washing tablets. While you’re there throw in your teaspoons as well, as I’m guessing they’re probably tea stained too, and leave to soak in warm water overnight. You’ll be blinded by how sparkly this leaves them!

4 The Old “1, 2″

Lastly, give it the salt ‘n’ vinegar treatment – mix these two ingredients into a paste and rub with a sponge scourer to get rid of those ghastly stains in no time.

It’s amazing that all the tools you need to eliminate tea stained mugs, are likely to be found in your cupboards, so don’t leave it too late!

See also:
Do You Really Need to Clean Tea Stains Out of Your Teapots?
5 Reasons You Should Clean Your Tea Cup or Mug Between Uses

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There are lots of tea blogs, lots of tea professionals advising on this and that about tea, Facebook groups about tea, tweeters on Twitter focused on tea, and more, and many of them talk about how you should do this with tea and that with tea. But is there any real “should” in tea? Well, yes and no.

Some say you shouldn’t put milk in your tea. Others say you should. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Some say you shouldn’t put milk in your tea. Others say you should. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

The Should Nots

You definitely should not ditch whatever grocery-store bought teas you have and go spend hundreds on those rare teas that those experts rave about. For one thing, the cheaper teas can be a lifesaver when you need a quick cuppa just to keep going. For another, you can always use those teas for other things such as to help with puffy eyes or as cleaners around the house.

You should also not rush to buy the latest trendy tea or something that celebrities like Lady Gaga are drinking unless you just like spending money on things that you most surely won’t like. Just because a celebrity likes something doesn’t mean you will, but it also doesn’t mean you won’t either.

The Shoulds

When you try a new tea for the first time, learn a little something about it so you will get some idea of what to expect in terms of taste and aroma, even though your experience may be vastly different from what the vendor describes. Follow the vendor’s infusing recommendations (and the vendor “should” supply this information to their customers). Taste the tea liquid (a good mouthful or two) after infusing and before adding milk, sweetener, lemon, honey, mint, etc. Often, you may prefer the tea as is and may even be surprised by this, especially if you are used to drinking teas with lots of flavorings added. This could lead you to explore more of the world of fine teas.

General “shoulds” for teas include using the best water quality you have available, cleaning your teawares in-between uses, and taking your time. Water is the key ingredient in any tea and should never be distilled or sterilized water since it will infuse a flat-tasting liquid. The chlorine/chloramine in most municipal water systems in the U.S. also causes problems, affecting the taste and aroma of your tea. Clean teawares prevent one tea ending up tasting like the tea you steeped just before that. If the earlier tea was one of those flavored teas using something strong like cinnamon, your Ti Kuan Yin could end up with a cinnamony character. And as for time, even if you are having a tea that steeps in a very short time (some need only a few seconds), take your time to sip and savor and let a tea’s aftertaste take over.

The biggest “should” is that you should get the most of out your tea. I know that earning the money to buy those teas can be rather strenuous these days. So, get the most for those tea dollars spent.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There is no shortage of legends about our sixteenth president, Mr. Abraham Lincoln. You probably heard a few of them in school when you were growing up. One persistent tea-related legend is the notion that he once said, “If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.” It would take a better researcher than I to determine whether Lincoln actually said this, though I’m a bit dubious.

Civil War era Small tin tea or coffee pot (From Yahoo! Images)

Civil War era Small tin tea or coffee pot (From Yahoo! Images)

But it’s a witty thing to say, regardless of who said it first, and it’s as good a way as any to introduce an article about tea drinking in the United States during the Civil War. Which was still going fairly strong at that time, mind you. Some people seem to have the perception that after the Boston Tea Party Americans abandoned tea drinking, never again to touch a teacup to their collective lips. But that’s not so.

Tea drinking was affected during the Revolutionary War, however, as I noticed recently when writing about a tea-related book that was published just as the Civil War was getting started. It recalls that during that previous conflict those who preferred not to drink tea for political or other reasons turned to something called Liberty Tea, which was made from the leaves of a plant called loose strife.

While there’s a popular notion that the old American favorite – iced tea – didn’t appear until the early twentieth century, it was a tradition that was actually in place by the time of the Civil War and probably had been for at least several decades. Though for an army on the march in the 1860s the availability of ice could be a bit spotty, to say the least.

Also, depending on which side you were on, the availability of tea itself might have been a bit spotty as well. While this list (PDF) of Civil War foods lists coffee and tea as staples for both sides it indicates that supplies of coffee for the Southerners were affected by Union blockades, which suggests that tea might have been similarly affected. Coffee substitutes were common during this time and here’s a recipe for Blueberry Tea that’s said to date from the Civil War era.

If you’d like to get some idea of what type of tea might have been consumed in the United States during the Civil War era you might want to try a commemorative tea (American Civil War Gunpowder Tea) offered by noted tea person Bruce Richardson, who was profiled at this site previously. His tea would have been similar to the tea that might have been consumed by some of the masses of troops who occupied the area around Richardson’s Elmwood Inn, in Kentucky. Gunpowder is a type of green tea of strongly flavored green tea that’s shaped into small pellet shapes.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Cultivar or varietal? It’s all tea! (Stock image)

Cultivar or varietal? It’s all tea! (Stock image)

The world of tea is full of all kinds of terms, many that are bandied about willy-nilly and not used correctly. Not long ago an attempt was made to clarify using “cultivar” versus “varietal” when talking about tea plants. Now, I’m all for going for such clarity, but I think the very short article didn’t go far enough and still left a big gap in readers’ knowledge. Time for a closer look.

What Is a Cultivar

This is pretty simple. There are many definitions online, and some go into great depth regarding every aspect of this term horticulturally speaking. Here’s a pretty simple and straightforward one:

cul·ti·var (kŭl′tə-vär′, -vâr′) n. A race or variety of a plant that has been created or selected intentionally and maintained through cultivation. (From Thefreedictionary.com)

More facts about cultivars:

  • The word “cultivar” [short for “cultivated variety”] was coined in 1923 by Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858–1954). He stated, “I now propose…cultivar, for a botanical variety, or for a race subordinate to species, that has originated under cultivation; it is not necessarily, however, referable to a recognized botanical species. It is essentially the equivalent of the botanical variety except in respect to its origin.”
  • Officially, a cultivar must be distinct, having characteristics that easily distinguish it from any other known cultivar, and under repeated propagation these characteristics must be retained.
  • The origin of “cultivar” is based on a need to distinguish between wild plants and those with characteristics due to cultivation.
  • Example of correct text presentation: Cryptomeria japonica ‘Elegans’ (the scientific Latin botanical name is in italics, and the cultivar name is in single quotes).

What Is a Variety

You probably noticed that the word “variety” is part of the term “cultivar.” Here is a good definition I found online:

…a “variety” (sometimes abbreviated “var.”) arises naturally in the plant kingdom, and plants grown from its seeds will typically come out true to type. … When a variety is named, it appears differently than a cultivar name does. Rather than being presented in single quotes, it is italicized and in lower case — just like the species name, which it follows. (From Landscaping on About.com)

For the tea plant, we have Camellia sinensis (the main plant), Camellia sinensis var. sinensis (China), Camellia sinensis var. assamica (Assam, India), Camellia sinensis var. parvifolia (Cambodia), and Camellia sinensis var. japonica (Japan). There may be others.

What Is a Varietal

Time for finding out what a “varietal” is. Here is a typical definition I found online:

adj. adjective – Of, indicating, or characterizing a variety, especially a biological variety. (From dictionary.search.yahoo.com)

Therefore, calling something the assamica varietal is correct usage. It’s simply short for saying Camellia sinensis var. assamica (where “var.” stands for “variety”). And, as that other author said, calling something the Tieguanyin varietal is improper, since it is a cultivar, but I have to disagree that saying “Tieguanyin is a varietal tea made from the ‘Tieguanyin’ cultivar” is a correct usage of the term “varietal.” And I’m not sure where the author got that definition of “varietal.” It certainly differs from the ones I found (dozens, all saying virtually the same thing).

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea Sub Yellow (screen capture from site)

Tea Sub Yellow (screen capture from site)

When it comes to offbeat Beatles-related merchandise, Beatles hair spray has to rank pretty high on the list. But of course this site is all about tea, and so it’s only fitting that we make reference to a few tea-themed items. There’s a Yellow Submarine tea infuser, for example.

To top that, one well-known tea company came up with a tea they call Beatles’ Blend. Though their web site no longer lists it as being available and doesn’t indicate what it had to do with the Fab Four, another source offers the original description for the blend, “A classic twist on Earl Grey black tea, Beatles Blend black tea hearkens back to the roots of the Beatles’ homeland. We start with traditional Earl Grey, and then add in a rich, malty tea from China, reminiscent of an English Breakfast tea. We balance the blend with an Indian tea that speaks to the Beatles’ avid fascination with and travels to India. Finally, we top it off with a twist of jasmine culminating in a blend destined to become a star.”

To go even one step better than that, a New York-based tea house came up with a special Peace & Love Tea a few years back to commemorate the observance of Ringo Starr’s seventieth birthday (feeling old, Beatles fans?).

To judge by their songs, tea was indeed one of the Beatles favorite drinks. As one might rightly have suspected, given that they were a quartet of British lads, after all. According to Martin Lewis, who claims to be one of the world’s leading Beatles historians, references to tea turned up in more than a dozen Beatles songs, including five that were recorded during one three-month period in 1967 alone.

References to tea in Beatles songs even turned up in the post-Beatles years and one of the most notable of these was Paul McCartney’s (that’s Sir Paul to you) 2005 track, English Tea, which was a tribute to…that’s right. As for John Lennon, some decades after his death his widow wrote in a New York Times piece about his tea prep and drinking habits and discussed the questions they had over whether the tea bags should go in before the hot water or vice versa.

If there is still any doubt that the Beatles were a proper bunch of tea-drinking British lads, then let the photographic evidence on this page be the final word. After all, fifty-plus photos of one or more Beatles drinking tea makes a pretty good case.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Teapots, teacups, sugar/creamer sets, and other teawares can tend to build up in your home. They deserve better than to be shoved into cupboards or stacked haphazardly on shelves. They deserve to be on display where they will add to the ambience. Here are three ways to maximize that quality:

A media shelf unit better suited to teawares. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A media shelf unit better suited to teawares. (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

1 All together in a special place

My mother had a hutch cabinet. It was a base cabinet with drawers and a separate shelf unit on top. Here she displayed varied and sundry dishes. Many people today use this type of cabinet for their teawares. Depending on which pieces you have and how many, you can probably fit them all on the hutch part so they are neatly displayed, not too jumbled or crowded. One thing to be careful about here is not having the pieces touching so one doesn’t scrape another. Another thing is making sure they are securely in place, especially if you are in earthquake country or live near well-used railroad tracks. You might have to consider a glass-doored display cabinet instead. Another option furniture wise is a media shelf unit. We bought a sizeable one for our various music and movie discs (and VHS tapes since it was that long ago) but found that it was better for our collection of teacups and mugs and smaller teapots.

Mix it up by putting some teapots on a bookshelf along with some books. (stock image)

Mix it up by putting some teapots on a bookshelf along with some books. (stock image)

2 Spread around here and there

Not everyone has a spot in the house or apartment or condo for a large display cabinet or shelf unit. So, some teapots here and a few teacups there are a great idea as long as they are safely perched to avoid hazards such as leaping kitty cats and kids running around, plus those train tracks and earthquakes. Shelves mounted fairly high on the wall come to mind here, but you’ll not have easy access to those teawares. Smaller wall-mounted display shelf units with or without glass doors are another option. If you have bookcases in your house, you can reserve a shelf or two or even put some books in with those teawares.

3 Arranged by themes

Asian, English bone china, transferwares, floral patterns, or various color collections (all robin’s egg blue, for example) are just a few options here. The Asian theme could include a tea boat/table, a tea pet, a bamboo plant or maybe a bonsai, your Asian style teapot (cast iron, Yixing, kyusu, etc.), and even some of your tea implements such as a chasen (whisk for matcha). The English bone china theme can include pictures of British scenes, various icons such as their flag and a statue of Big Ben, along with those teawares. Any subject of interest to you from butterflies to space travel can also serve as a theme here since teapots come in a seemingly endless array of design styles, with more coming daily.

Make your home a delight for yourself and others by displaying those wonderful teawares!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When thinking of indulgence, what comes to mind but chocolate of course. Velvety chocolate enhanced by tea encased in a buttery pastry covered with sweet whip cream. This is a recipe sure to be devoured as soon as it is made.

Tea Chocolate Cream Pie (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Tea Chocolate Cream Pie (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

3 cups milk
1 tbsp black tea (chai would work well also)
5 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sugar
4 tbsp cornstarch
8oz quality semisweet chocolate (use a high cocoa content product 50% or more)
1 tub or can of whip topping
1 ready to use pie shell

In a medium sauce pot heat the milk to 212° (boiling), and steep your tea in it for about 3-5 minutes. You will need a double boiler or a pot fill 1/3 with water and a metal bowl to set on top. Place the water base over medium heat and bring to a simmer. In the top bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. The mixture will be crumbly and a bit dry. Make sure it is thoroughly mixed. Place the bowl on top of the heating water base and put in the chocolate.

When the chocolate starts to melt whisk the egg mixture and chocolate together then slowly whisk in the tea milk. Once the mixture is completely blended and resembles the consistency of hot chocolate, pour out the water from the base and pour in the chocolate mixture. Bring the chocolate mixture to a boil, this will thicken it to a pudding consistency. Once thickened remove from heat, place in a bowl with plastic wrap directly on the top of the chocolate mixture and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until cool.

Once the mixture is cooled spread it into your prepared pie shell. Spread the whip topping over the top with an offset spatula or pipe on with a piping bag. To garnish use a vegetable peeler and shave a chocolate bar. Sprinkle the shavings over the top of the pie. Allow the pie to set up in the fridge for at least one more hour before serving.

This same recipe can be used to make a lovely mousse by simply whipping up 1 pint of heavy cream into whipped cream and folding it into the cooled chocolate mixture.

See more of Janet Sanchez’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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