Ceylon Infused Old Fashioned

You may or may not be surprised but I infused my fav ceylon with my fav, bourbon! I then made an old fashioned because I needed a fancy drink that day! 

1904-2018-07559184910242501.jpeg

Let me back up, the idea had always intrigued me but I was given the extra push by my friend Lu Ann from The Tea Cup Of Life who infused oolong into her wine! I saw it and thought how cool it was but how I didn't have wine nor did I really like wine. I decided that the obvious choice was bourbon and that why not infuse my everyday tea with it, ceylon! 

Something important to note, aromas are so important when drinking and the fact that my ceylon tea has bergamot oil in it, is a game changer!

I wanted to wake up the tea leaves before infusing the bourbon so I ran warm (not hot) water over them. You should be able to see just like with another black tea especially, some of the warm liquid showing color of the leaves. If the water is coming out of your strainer clear, turn up the heat of the water a little bit. 

 For comparison from left to right: Brewed ceylon, non infused bourbon, Ceylon infused bourbon

For comparison from left to right: Brewed ceylon, non infused bourbon, Ceylon infused bourbon

Next I simply put about a tablespoon of the leaves into the pot and covered it with bourbon. For a drink like Bourbon, I didn't use a lot of alcohol because it's not like wine where you can fill your glass to the top and drink it. I simply poured enough bourbon to cover the leaves. This also proves for a very strong infusion so if you want it less potent, decrease the amount of tea leaves. 

I left the leaves and bourbon to mingle all night and in the morning when I took a small sip, BAM ceylon flavored bourbon. I think that they two flavors paired well with each other and that's why it's so successful. I also think a puer would be ideal for a darker liquor like bourbon. 

1904-2018-07539183013479168.jpeg

 

I had this strong infused bourbon and thought that it was perfect for an old fashioned. Throw some bitters and brown sugar in a glass then add the infusion! I decided to garnish it with a date because the normal orange rind would interfere with the flavors. Taking nibbles of the date between sips was also delicious! 

1904-2018-07549184037636459.jpeg

Puer Ice Brew

I'm a hot tea drinker through and through. Around DC, summer can be brutal. Oh, it's 90 degrees outside and with humidity making it 110 degrees? Yeah, still sipping on my hot tea. In the summer the heating up of my body by the tea actually turns into a cooling sensation and It feels nice. 

I know that Iced tea is a big thing but I'm truly not the biggest fan! I still enjoy iced tea of course, but I will always choose hot over iced. I always strive to bring on content that is wanted though and I know so many people love iced tea! I wanted to try a new way of brewing so I started digging. 

I found an article on Bon Appetit that mentions kouridashi, a Japanese ice brew method. It was difficult to find other sources on this, mostly search items brought up Japanese ice brew coffee. I decided to follow the general directions in the article and see if I liked the result. 

I decided to use the puer from Yunnan Sourcing that came in my sipsby box. The article mentioned "specialty" teas and I know they meant green teas but I wanted to experiment with puer. Essentially, instead of using water you allow the tea to brew as the ice melts. 

1704-2018-071940044845499042.jpeg

I used one of those large ice cubes that are often used to make drinks, I happened to have a round mold but a square would be even better !

1704-2018-072040046063406699.jpeg

Pour about a tablespoon of your leaves into the container on the ice an it's ok to let it fall around the ice. Take a little bit of water and pour it into the tea pot to start the melting! You could use a few drips for a stronger brew or use up to 1.4 cup of water. I used room temperature water. 

Now, we wait. 

1704-2018-072440050258900030.jpeg
1704-2018-071840043791348470.jpeg
1704-2018-071740042719636022.jpeg
1704-2018-072740052504364508.jpeg
1704-2018-072240048048119041.jpeg
1704-2018-072840053563050862.jpeg
1704-2018-071640041596876335.jpeg

SO....this is really cool! First, I didn't think that the tea would get as dark as it did! I generally prefer the ripe puers because they often have darker steeps but for a raw puer, this color is pretty on the mark! 

I didn't keep track of time strictly but this definitely took a few hours. I think you could probably speed up the process by adding more water at the start but then your tea wouldn't be as strong. 

The flavor was very fresh! It was refreshing and got the flavor of the tea really well. In terms of practicality, I wouldn't use this method often or if I was short on time but it was definitely a fun experiement! 

Together for H2OPE Water Challenge!

Join me!

I have the pleasure of being a Together for H2ope ambassador to bring awareness around clean water access! I want to share with you what the program is about and what I will be doing to raise awareness. I'll be doing a small water challenge and because it's very simple and easy I hope that you'll join me! 

First, check out what Numi Foundation is doing with their Together for H2ope program ! Here is a video about their work in Madascar, they are also working with communities in India and soon in South Africa as well! 

My Challenge

Water is essential to tea and I also know that if clean water is limited, tea is a luxury. Residents in Capetown, South Africa are being limited to 25 litres a day which is about 6.6 gallons. Let's round up to 7 gallons and keep that in mind. That's 7 gallons to do all your essential daily tasks, as you can tell that's not a lot. In other places, even here in the US the access to clean water is either not there or scarce. Here are some common water statistics to keep in mind: 

  • In a normal shower, about 2 gallons is used every minute. So even a "quick" 10 minute shower is using about 20 gallons. 
  • Older toilets can use 3.5 - 7 gallons with every flush. Newer toilets are being regulated to use less than 2 gallons per flush. Think about this in terms of how many times you use the restroom in a day. 
  • Most high efficiency washers use 15-30 gallons per cycle. 
  • Leaving the water on while brushing teeth could us up to 5 gallons of water

In relation to this 7 gallons, I want to track how much water I use in my daily tea brewing (2-3 times) and how much water I drink. These are two things I find essential to my life and want to see how much water I would have left to wash clothes, use the restroom, shower, cook etc. 

Will you join me in tracking your water for tea and drinking?! I would love to read you results! I will post mine here and on instagram. Please feel free to share your results in a comment on this post, email me hello@teathoughts.com or if you share on instagram make sure to share to tag me @teathoughts and use #4H2OPE ! 

Here are some of the amazing companies that contribute to Together for H2ope:

Numi Organic Tea We strive to foster a healthy, thriving global community while bringing you the purest, best-tasting organic tea. In partnership with Numi Foundation, Numi Inc. P.B.C. helps fund and administer Together for H 2 OPE programs around the world.
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest


Stasher Fun. Functional. Reusable. Responsible. Stasher’s 100% pure platinum food grade silicone bags
are the healthy alternative to plastic. Stasher contributes a percentage of sales to Together for
H 2 OPE.


Jeremiah’s Pick A simple concept: “Right Roast. Right Taste.” Starting with the finest green coffee beans,
personally selected by Jeremiah. A portion of the sales of Jeremiah’s Pick Rescue Organic Cold
Brew Concentrate goes to Together for H 2 OPE.


Sevenly Outfitters for World Changers! Sevenly has raised awareness, followers, and $5 million of
funding for the world's greatest causes since 2011 – by making and selling the best advocacy
apparel and accessories on the planet.


Mud Love Clay creations made to spread hope and show love, from handmade mugs to jewelry. Every
product you purchase provides one week of clean water to someone in need.


Hand-in-Hand Hand in Hand creates sustainable, vegan and palm oil free essentials for a clean life + a clean
conscience. For every product purchased, Hand in Hand donates one bar of soap and one month
of clean water to children in need.


Janji Janji is a running apparel company dedicated to fighting the water crisis. Each piece of apparel
has a design inspired by a country and proceeds from each pair funds organizations dedicated to
those who lack basic access to clean water.


LifeStraw Innovating water filter technology that provides safe drinking water globally. LifeStraw is an
award-winning personal water filter, designed to provide you with clean water in the harshest of
conditions.
 

Bangkok Chai Sugar Cubes

Chai Sugar.

Have you ever seen fancy sugar cubes?! Different flavors and shapes? I've been sent some and I've also seen them sold at a bunch of places. It's a simple way to make tea time fancier!

After researching how they're made, I decided that the Bangkok chai I got in my sipsby box would be perfect because it's not your typical chai blend! This chai blend from Kleff tea has Black tea, cinnamon bark, ginger root, cardamom pods, lemon grass, dried coconut in it!

In my recipe I mention using up to one tablespoon of tea. You may need less than this but definitely not more than this! I didn't actually measure the amount I used completely but it wasn't a lot. What I did was added a tiny amount of tea then I would mix, mix, mix and see how much more I needed. I read somewhere that it should be like damp sand, not wet sand and I think that is a great way to think about it!

1403-2018-045869502466316597.jpeg

Probably the most important note, MAKE SURE YOUR TEA IS COOL. If your tea is hot, it will melt the sugar and all you will have is sweetened tea! I crushed up some of the chai and put it in the sugar as well to give it a fun look but this is not required!

1403-2018-040769511020360605.jpeg

I used this mini donut tray that I have for baking but you can use anything! These are quite large for a sugar cube so I would suggest finding a small candy mold if you can. 

1403-2018-045769501176272483.jpeg

The best tool that I found for packing these is my hand! Get your fingers a little sugary so that you can really put pressure on the sugar and pack it in!

1403-2018-045669499945499776.jpeg

I put my mold near my heater to speed up the drying process but you don't have to! Smaller molds will definitely be ready quicker. 

1403-2018-045569498773368786.jpeg

These are super cute and fragrant! I think they would be a great gift as well :) 

1403-2018-040669509872925241.jpeg
1403-2018-040569508603782429.jpeg
afternoon tonic (1).jpg

Afternoon Meditative Ginger Tonic

Mocktail!

I love making tea cocktails but I also realize that not everyone drinks alcohol. I also realize that even if you do drink alcohol, sometimes it's nice to have a fancy drink. I received some meditative mind tea in my sipsby box this month and oh man, this is some of my favorite tea! 

2402-2018-124826178548858958.jpeg

The combination of white tea, jasmine tea and rose buds and petals creates a lovely blend. The tea smells beautiful and has an all around calming nature. I decided that this would definitely make a great afternoon tonic but it needed a few things!

2402-2018-124626176222711251.jpeg

I added ginger because I thought it would go well with all the ingredients and give it a little spice to help energize you. I also added a bit of honey to make is slightly sweet as you'd expect a fancy drink to be! The drink will be topped off with seltzer water to add some fun fizz to the experience! Finally, I added an orange peel garnish for fun but you can also dunk the peel in the drink and give it a little orange flavor as well!

Honey is totally optional and feel free to use whatever type of sweetener you'd like to suit your tastes!

I have this fun glass tea pot that I brewed all the ingredients in together so that they could mix well. You could use a tea pot of any type of bowl that can widthstand heat!

2402-2018-124426173783087450.jpeg

This tea doesn't need to brew for more than 2-3 minutes. Feel free to let it brew a little longer for the ingredients to mix but not too much longer because the longer you brew the more bitter the tea may become. I did ginger slices but I think grating the ginger may give the drink even more of a kick! 

2402-2018-124726177390971563.jpeg
2402-2018-124026169987951461.jpeg

After you strain the tea, make sure you let the tea cool before adding it to your glasses!

2402-2018-125326182376808488.jpeg

I filled my glasses about 3/4 of the way with tea and then the rest with seltzer water and added a garnish on top!

2402-2018-125426183499215259.jpeg
2402-2018-124126171227755940.jpeg
afternoon tonic.jpg

Chai Cookie Sandwiches with Cinnamon Buttercream Filling

Oh my Chai. 

Soooooo, I know those butter cookies with the heart cutouts and jelly centers are a popular choice on valentine's day but I decided to go a different route...chai! I posted these cookies on my instagram on 2/14 without the recipe because I mentioned how it was "selfish" baking aka I didn't take a lot of photos and I didn't write the recipe. I made a batch of these to give out to my family, friends and coworkers on valentine's day. After asking on instagram if people would be interested in the recipe, all the YES PLEASE comments convinced me to write it up!

1902-2018-111522937332723783.jpeg

Something to note about cutting shapes with this dough, it's not easy. There is a high butter content in this dough so it's very soft. I used flour on the rolling pin, work surface and the dough itself to make rolling this dough out a little easier. Even with the flour, you have to be very careful when working with this dough so that it doesn't break! If you want to avoid the hassle, I would suggest balling up small amounts of dough and gently flatening them (not all the way) to make the two halves of the sandwich! 

1902-2018-110122923112894621.jpeg

In terms of your choice of chai, it's up to you. Remember that when you infuse tea in butter It really gets the flavor of whatever tea you're working with! For these I used a chai I had which is a white chocolate pumpkin chai, the pumpkin flavor came through well. If you need a reminder on how to infuse the butter with tea, it's very simple! Melt the butter in a pan, once it's melted take it off the stove and place your tea in the butter. I like to keep the tea in the butter until it's fragrant! Strain your tea and then let the butter solidify, I find it useful to put in the freezer to make the process faster. 

1902-2018-112022942133034562.jpeg

Don't throw away your tea leaves after you strain the butter! What I did to get this fun texture is took some of the leaves, chopped them up fine and threw them in the dough. Be careful to take out any hard chunks like cardamom, pepper etc. This is totally optional but I thought it added a pretty design to the cookies!

These are the heart shaped cookies I made on valentine's day, very festive! Making the heart shapes was definitely easier than making the teapot shapes!

1902-2018-111722938860707168.jpeg

Just for reference, in one of these batches I used bread flour because it was all I had and all I did differently was use 2 egg yolks instead of one egg, the cookies were just as good and soft :) 

1902-2018-111922940449015708.jpeg

Did I mention that the best part about these cookies is how soft they are?? It's very easy to take a bite out of them! No crunching here!

1902-2018-110622927779200400.jpeg

I wasn't specific about the filling because everyone has their own preferences. I beat the butter then gradually added cinnamon and powdered sugar until it was stiff enough to stay but not runny when spreading. If you get to a point where you overdid the sugar and it's too stiff, add a tiny bit of milk of your choice to loosen it up. 

1902-2018-111222933602310138.jpeg

I was a little lazy with the designs, I had on hand these store bought frosting that come in an easy squeeze bag and used that to make the swirls on both sets of cookies :) 

1902-2018-111022932184518889.jpeg
chai cookie sandwiches (1).jpg

Yaupon Infused Cinnamon Rolls!

Tea Rolls.

So as you might have noticed, I don't do a lot of bread type baking. There's a simple reason for that, I'm not very good at it!! I one time made a braided pesto loaf and it was really good but all other attempts at bread have been failures. 

DSC_0080.JPG

I really wanted to infuse the yaupon I had into bread because I think it has a great flavor for bread. With Valentine's day being tomorrow I thought I would try a fun heart shaped bread. Essentially, I brewed the tea and let it cool down slightly until it was warm and used the warm tea as the base to put the yeast in!

DSC_0078.JPG

Enter the idea for cinnamon rolls! I modified a recipe from Paula Deen that seemed simple upon searching with tea and also slightly different ingredients. 

DSC_0087.JPG

One thing that I've often gotten wrong with bread is the rising of the dough. This is probably an issue with the yeast but I was never really sure what I was doing wrong. I knew this would be different because at every step, the dough was looking and feeling the way it should!

DSC_0084.JPG
DSC_0465.JPG

I cut the dough into regular slices and used some of those but to make the heart I just unrolled one side and pinches the bottom to make the point. 

DSC_0470.JPG

I think the next time I do this, I'll put something in the little space of the heart to keep the shape better. 

DSC_0476.JPG

FINALLY! These came out well and they tasted pretty good! I would mention that I feel as though I didn't put enough filling in the middle and would be more generous the next time I make these!

These cute harry potter pusheen toppers are made by the lovely Ali from paperlypress. I thought they were such a cute addition to the rolls. Check her out for all your party supplies needs!

DSC_0478.JPG
DSC_0487.JPG

I didn't include the glaze in the recipe but it's just a mixture of powdered sugar and almond milk until I got a good consistency! 

Copy of Blueberry Basil.jpg

DIY Tea Scrubs

Tea Scrubs!

Valentine's day is coming up and handmade gifts are a great way to show someone you love, that you care! If you're stuck on what to make, check out these two types of tea infused scrubs that are easy to make, with simple ingredients !

1002-2018-115956434928411274.jpeg

I have two different versions of scrubs that vary in ingredients and with tea!

1002-2018-115656431866089505.jpeg

The first scrub combines salt and sugar and a rhubarb & ginger tea! Rhubarb and ginger are both great ingredients that can help skin. Rhubarb has antibacterial and anti fungal properties. Ginger is also said to help with evening skin tone and improving elasticity! 

1002-2018-115356429405402579.jpeg

I had this manuka honey and decided to use it instead of regular honey. You're welcome to use regular honey as well! Manuka honey has all sorts of benefits like treating acne and eczema! 

1002-2018-114956424711624352.jpeg
1002-2018-112356105062333586.jpeg

One of the most important parts of this recipe is to let the tea cool completely before mixing it in. If the tea is too hot, the sugar and salt will dissolve and lose the rough texture that helps with exfoliation! Feel free to put more tea than I used in the scrub but just know that the scrub might be a bit more water like as opposed to a scrub.

1002-2018-115456550558249512.jpeg
1002-2018-115856555174370031.jpeg
1002-2018-115956556209179146.jpeg
1.jpg

This seconds scrub uses only sugar and 2 types of tea! I received these teas from kailo tea. Kailo tea puts loose leaf and a capsule of vitamins in a tea sachet so you're taking in tea and vitamins at the same time!

1002-2018-115756433526704348.jpeg

The two teas used were Wake up and Zen out tea. The Wake up blend is green tea with vitamin B, C and D. The Zen out blend is herbal tea with vitamins C, D and magnesium! I brewed these two teas together so that they become mixed when I include them in the scrub. 

1002-2018-115256427693431746.jpeg

The rosehip and vitamin E oils give this scrub a lovely scent and added skin benefits!

1002-2018-115556551939600553.jpeg

Again, make sure to let the tea cool completely before mixing it into the sugar.  

1002-2018-115756553968793313.jpeg

Make sure that the scrub clumps a little bit, so that it will be effective!

1002-2018-110256558619406645.jpeg
1002-2018-113256114869829935.jpeg
2.jpg

Shiitake Mate Body Oil

Tea Skin Care!

Hi lovelies! I'm back with another diy beauTEA recipe! I was again looking through my little book of recipes and I noticed one about body oil and wanted to give it a try. At it's core, doing these beauty products are very similar to cooking. I'm looking for a way to infuse tea!

DSC_0060.JPG

The base oil for this is sweet almond oil...don't panic! I found it at marshalls/tjmaxx and honestly there were so many bottles and I actually saw it in a bunch of other stores so you shouldn't have trouble finding any! The original recipe infuses the almond oil with a bunch of flowers and herbs. I've infused the oil with shiitake mate tea! I'm not a fan of tea bags for drinking and if you're like me I highly suggest using them for cooking and diy recipes like this! The clean up will be much easier and there will be no need for straining!

DSC_0062.JPG

I've been seeing mushroom teas around for a while and they have many health benefits which I wasn't surprised about but I was surprised about their skin benefits! Shiitake mushroom have anti microbial properties and selenium which can help decrease acne. The zinc content can also help promote better skin healing! 

DSC_0064.JPG

This is a super easy DIY, especially because the "hardest" part is infusing the oil! I suggest using a double boiler but if you don't have one I think the best thing to use is a heat proof glass bowl that fits on a pot. The most important part of this recipe is to not let the oil burn, which can easily be accomplished by keeping the heat low and checking on it as it infuses!

DSC_0071.JPG

I additionally added in vitamin E and lavender essential oil which promote better skin health but you are welcome to switch these out for other oils that you prefer! The nice thing about the sweet almond oil is that it has a beautiful fragrance so this body oil doesn't smell like mushrooms, it smells sweet !

DSC_0068.JPG
DSC_0065.JPG

Keep in mind that this is not lotion, this is OIL so you don't need to spray a lot of it. You can spray a little bit and it goes a long way! I think this is best to put on before bed or if you want to knead or massage a part of your body part. 

DSC_0078.JPG

Places like your heels, hands, elbows etc that can easily get dry are perfect target areas for this body oil! 

DSC_0080.JPG
Copy of eye pads (1).jpg

DIY Under Eye Pads

BeauTEA recipe! 

New year, new blog topics! I got a magazine for Christmas with lots of homemade soaps, scrubs and other things. I've been looking at the ingredients to see what they are made up of and how I can incorporate tea!  

After doing a little research on liquorice and peppermint, I was pleased to see that both ingredients are said to have great skin benefits! I saw in several different places that Liquorice is actually used to help decrease dark circles under your eyes! 

1501-2018-05423372169561027.jpeg

This tea includes both ingredients so I decided to use that for my base. The recipe in the book used rosewater and on a quick trip to marshalls I found rosehip oil which is said to help fight wrinkles, perfect! In my recipe I say you can use either rosehip oil or rosewater but I actually used a bit of both. These two things give the eye pads a wonderful smell!

1501-2018-05343363834437124.jpeg

When brewing your tea, make sure that you let it cook before adding in the oil and rosewater. 

I would suggest cutting the cotton rounds into both wide and thin crescents. The wide ones can also be great to incorporate the tops of your cheeks!

1501-2018-05403369554894570.jpeg

When it comes to using the oil, I think it's actually best to use enough so that the mixture is fragrant so feel free to stray from the recipe here.

1501-2018-05303360236133427.jpeg

I let the pads soak in the mixture for 10-15 minutes then gave them a little squeeze and put them in a freezer bag. 

1501-2018-05463375411630089.jpeg

Keeping these cold is important because they are way more refreshing that way! If you want to use these in the morning, keep in mind that you'll need to let the pads thaw a little bit before using them so make sure you leave enough time! 

Also, a mistake I made was stacking them. They will thaw easier and keep their shape better if you put them in a bag in a single line. 

1501-2018-05413370913538892.jpeg

I used them this morning when I first woke up and I loved the sweet smell and the cooling sensation. I've tried a lot of under eye pads before and these were actually not that bad! Will these completley get rid of dark circles? I can't guarentee that, but they will leave your skin feeling cool and refreshed!

eye pads.jpg