We all have our recipes, but one that I love, is the brewing of a pot of iced tea!!
Not one my Mum ever made, not really something that I believe anyone did in Australia, way back then. A cup of tea was a revival enough and of course still is. In our land come evening, perhaps a cold beer, did the trick.
Well times have certainly changed and a fresh cooling drink, non-alcoholic, quite often is enough, especially on a week night.
I started looking at beautiful cool drinks of iced tea! Something I could prepare and put in a jug and well, there it would be, waiting for me after work, during those awful hot sticky days.
I found a recipe which looked pretty nice, forgive me I don’t know where, but I modified it to suit me and really made it mine!
RECIPE : ICED TEA
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 stick lemon grass, break to bruise
3/4 cup water
Bring to boil in small saucepan until sugar dissolved, remove and let cool.
Fun part! Choose tea bags of your choice. I like 4/5 strong tea bags plus, maybe 2 peppermint/ mint and 2 lemon tea bags.
More if you like of whatever combination you like, has to be what you will enjoy and what will satisfy.
Blend teabags in hot water and allow to brew, then add together with cooled sugar mixed liquid, discard lemon grass, or leave in, if you like and add water, pour mixture in to a beautiful clear jug and pop in fridge.
I like to add slices of lemon and a little bit of mint into the jug and there, a beautiful refreshing drink to enjoy after work, in a tall glass, with ice!
I like the story that I have read in books and articles on the internet, about a man drinking his cup of boiled water, when some leaves from a nearby tree fall into his cup changing the colour of the liquid. Such an incidental event, that changed the world and created a beverage that is second only to water and so began the journey of tea which we enjoy and drink today.
This event, according to legend dates back to 2700BC and the man? Emperor, Shen Nung. The tea tree or plant is called, Camellia Sinensis. The Emperor felt restored after drinking the tea and it became, initially used for its medicinal qualities and then enjoyed just for the pleasure of the brew.
China enjoyed their tea for centuries, prior to the West knowing anything about this delicious drink. During the Tang Dynasty ( 618-906 Ad). Tea became established as the traditional drink of the Chinese.
It followed, that it became a part of the Japanese culture, after it was according to history, introduced by travelling Japanese Buddhists monks studying in China.
Well there you are and Europe lagged well behind. The Portuguese, were bringing tea home through their missionaries and traders, but the Dutch, were the ones to really start commercially importing this wonderful brew.
And to England!
What brought it to England? Well, in the reign of Charles, the Second, (I have researched a little more and he was a much loved and popular King and though he had no legitimate children of his own with his wife Catherine Braganza, he had many illiigiitmate children, many that he recognised as his own) . He was known as the ‘Merry Monarch’.
His new wife, Princess Braganza, from Portugal, loved tea!. She arrived with a trunk of it and so it became very fashionable, in the 1660’s, to drink a brew of tea!
Once countries across the world became aware of this precious commodity, there followed much intrigue and clandestine activities in the desperation of countries across the globe wishing to obtain the seeds and the plants and the tea itself, for themselves and their countries.
Tea was much sort after, people became rich from the earnings of ‘the tea’, but only the rich could afford to sip this special brew, so it became a symbol of wealth and prestige and privilege.
There were excessively high taxes on the import of tea and of course there ensued a huge industry in smuggling tea, which went on for decades until the tea tax was virtually abolished, making tea an affordable drink for all.
There are many plantations across the world now, after China, Japan, India, Ceylon now known as Sri Lanka, and followed by, although perhaps not in numerical order, Indonesia, Kenya, Australia forgive me, so many more!
Because of the diverse regions that are now growing this beautiful shrub/tree, we enjoy a great range, in depth and in flavour in the world of teas.
China: is the largest producer of green and black tea.
India: examples of her tea, Assam and Darjeeling, both well known teas and named after the areas they are grown in. Assam, northern, either side of the Bramputra River and Darjeeling, at the foot of the Himalayas. (At least 70% of their tea is actually consumed by India.)
Indonesia: Java and Sumatra their teas; soft and subtle.
Kenya: East and West of the Highlands, strong and spicy.
SriLanka: the teas can be strong or light, depending on where they are grown.
Well it is the start to my journey, sharing my knowledge as I learn and most of all appreciating, not just the tea but where it came from and the history that travels with it.
To the pleasure of Tea!
(My sources for above information about tea: Wikipedia and UK Tea & Infusions Association).
How would I manage without my first cup of tea in the morning!.
It just doesn’t bear thinking about!
Sometimes I go to bed thinking about my cup of tea on waking and well, Mmmm……. what shall I have with it!
I know l feel so much better after I have sipped and enjoyed my first cup, (mug) of this beautiful brew. It replenishes me, makes me feel whole again and if I over indulge, (God forbid!) Well I am renewed with two cups of tea and a poached egg on toast. Yum!.
My love of tea goes back to my Mum and Dad and so often this is the case, don’t you agree? Isn’t it the same with all of us! We inherit a love of things, that really when we think about it, have been a part of our childhood, our growing up, without even consciously realizing it and this relates also to our taste in foods and drinks.
Mum was never a great cook, I believe she never actually liked cooking, but she was very aware of giving us healthy, if not quite plain food and of course when we were considered old enough, tea. Now I wonder what we did before we were offered tea, well I shall have to ask my Big Sister! Water, of course, milk, yes, I always loved a big glass of cold milk and a couple of granita biscuits, with cold butter on them as an after school treat!
But oh, hang on, Mum was into fruit drinks, came in a can way back then, no sugar added! Her favourite was pineapple, I can still taste it, cold and with ice!
Gosh did we love getting to Nana’s house and having Fanta!
My Website is about the history of tea, the rituals of tea, now and in the past, the varieties of tea, the benefits of tea, recipes with tea and just the pure love of a good cup of tea, enjoyed in good company and the love of a beautiful cup, full of this very special liquid to enjoy it from.
I hope you enjoy my Website and my journey about, ‘all about tea’!
I welcome your feed back and will delight in your shared memories, your experiences and your love of tea.