Whether you’re a casual tea drinker or ardent enthusiast, recipes and gadgets to take your sipping experience to new heights
by Chef Peter Botros
A BETTER CUP
Tea leaves are pungent and complex, and steeping with loose leaves generally offers a far more flavorful and luxurious sipping experience than prepackaged, single-use bags. Loose-leaf teas also give the drinker the opportunity to concoct their own blends and are usually available in a wider range of exotic flavors. All you need is a simple tea infuser to take your favorite cup to the next level. Typically crafted of mesh wire or perforated metal, infusers keep all the leaves contained while you steep, bringing the high-end tea house experience into your own kitchen. Because they are reusable, it’s a great way to cut back on waste, too. This stainless steel infuser from Tea Forte is a thrifty $14 on Amazon.
Named after the 19th-century British prime minister Charles Grey, Earl Grey tea is a breakfast table staple and one of the most commonly consumed tea varieties on the planet. The classic recipe blends black tea leaves with the floral notes of bergamot oil, rounding out the tannins for a refreshing, delicate sip. The tea packs a ton of health benefits: both black tea and bergamot citrus are loaded with antioxidants, which eliminate free radicals and boost the immune system, especially during the colder months. The tea also boasts anti-inflammatory properties to aid in digestion and soothe stomach muscles. Pro tip: add a touch of vanilla to complement the florals.
MATCH MADE IN HONEY
Though delightful on its own, Earl Grey tea isn’t merely for sipping. Its bright, floral essence pairs beautifully with myriad flavors, from chocolate cakes to citrus overnight oats. Below find one of my favorite Earl Grey-infused recipes based on the popular Italian sweet cream dessert, perfect for brightening up a winter day.
EARL GREY PANNA COTTA WITH CITRUS & HONEY
• 5 Tablespoons Earl Grey Tea (preferably loose tea)
• 1 Cup Milk
• 5 Teaspoons Powdered Gelatin
• 1 Quart Heavy Cream
• 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
• 2 Vanilla Beans, Scraped
• 1 Cup Dry Roasted Pistachios, Shelled
• Orange Blossom Honey
• Citrus Segments
Mix gelatin in milk until fully dissolved, and let stand for five minutes. In a medium saucepan, heat cream, sugar, vanilla bean, and Earl Grey tea. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Quickly strain out tea and vanilla bean and immediately stir in the milk/gelatin mixture. Mix until dissolved and smooth. Pour mixture into a mold or mason jar and refrigerate for 2-4 hours or until completely set. Serve with roasted pistachios and fresh citrus segments. You can use oranges, tangerines, mandarins, or any sweet citrus. Drizzle with orange blossom honey for additional pops of flavor.
Chef Peter Botros
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