Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Today’s Tea Leaf Reading: Opinionated Opinions

For my very first post I promised I wouldn’t rant about US tea (wussy) versus UK tea (able to withstand a Buffalo NY winter). So I think we should establish the definitions of “rant” and “opinionated opinions” for the purposes of this discussion.


Opinionated opinion: 

Civilized, I say, like a High Tea. 

Second, I want to establish my preference for tea as a jumping-off point: Strong and straight. No additives. I like tea that slaps me back.

So let’s get green tea out the way: I never touch the stuff. I tried steeping it for the recommended three minutes: Flavored water. I tried steeping it longer: Bitter flavored water. The same for white tea and flavored green tea. 

Thank you, no.

Onto black tea: Yes, please! 

That is, UK black tea. PG Tips and Yorkshire Gold are my current favorites. They stand up to boiling water and make it obey. 

I will make one US tea exception: Bigelow’s Constant Comment. Love this tea so much! One whiff of the aroma and I’m thinking sunny fall days and the scent of fallen leaves.

But the two major US brands, Lipton and Nestea, hot or iced? Thank you, no. Plain Pure Leaf and Snapple are passable, but oy the sugar in any of their flavored versions. I swear my teeth wave a white flag of surrender whenever I try one.

Herbal tea deserves a mention. I’ve tried Teavana’s teas and they’re interesting but pricey. I reserve them for gift-giving. Celestial Seasonings Peppermint however, is nectar of the gods. It stand up to lengthy brewing and is the most refreshing hot tea ever. (I said this was a post full of opinionated opinions.)

Oregon Chai is another nectar of the gods. It’s sweet but the pepper and other spices mitigate the honey and sugar. 

I’ve made my own chai mix because I love playing with different spices. It’s the only use I have for instant mass-produced plain tea.

Speaking of chai, chai scones are the best of both worlds. A good cup of tea deserves a good scone, I say.

Chai Scones(adapted by me from the Basic British Scones recipe on allrecipes.com) 
Ingredients2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 pinch salt. 1/4 cup shortening, 1/2 cup Oregon Chai tea concentrate, 2 tablespoons milk  
DirectionsPreheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil sprayed with cooking spray.Sift the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into a bowl.Rub in the shortening until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the Chai concentrate and milk to make a soft dough.Turn onto a floured surface, knead lightly and press out to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 2-inch rounds and place on the prepared baking sheet.Bake 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are light brown and tops aren’t squishy when poked. Serve with butter or clotted cream.

All y’all are welcome to use the comments to try to convince me standard US teas aren’t a waste of time and boiling water. I’ll be over here, slathering clotted cream on a fresh scone.


  1. I LOVE pg tips, if I am not brewing looseleaf black I go for that or Twinings Irish Breakfast. 2 tea bags at a time.

    Green tea is wonderful, I love it. especially with a little matcha added in.

  2. Teavana is where I'll shop when I marry for money. As for herbals, I only buy Traditional Medicinal because someone on the internet said it was the purest. So it must be true. But for health reasons, I'm not drinking black or green right now which is some kind of betrayal of my DNA.