Tea

Let's Talk Tea: Class Recap by Caleb Savage

Let’s talk tea. Oklahomans love tea. Even as soda becomes less and less common in restaurants, you can almost always find tea on the menu served in two forms: black or sweet. In fact, it’s not terribly uncommon to go to a restaurant in our great state, order an iced tea and receive a sweet tea instead, but we aren’t here to discuss our state’s sugar consumption.

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Last Saturday we hosted our first tea class led by Aria & Caleb, examining the history and production of tea, discussing blends and single origin teas, and of course, drinking a lot of tea! We couldn’t have done this class without having an opportunity to talk to Sam Duregger at Woodshed Tea or serving fantastic teas from Urban Teahouse and 49th Parallel!

What is tea?

Tea comes from the dried leaves of the Camellia Sinesis plant, an evergreen with two main varieties. The plant is grown in places like China, Taiwan, Japan, Iran and Turkey as well as Sri Lanka, Kenya, and India. Countries like China & India have been cultivating tea for thousands of years, developing rituals, improving quality, and working tea into the culture of their communities.

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Plantation to Teapot

Since tea growing can be highly regional, it’s hard to set clear steps on how we get from plant to teapot. Practices on how and where plants are grown and how the leaves are dried and processed to be used for tea can be highly specific.

Tea leaves are plucked according to how the leaves will be used. Lighter teas are often younger while teas like Oolongs or Pu-erhs often use mature leaves. The leaves are then withered to lower the moisture content of the leaf to retain flavor and then the leaves will be rolled, oxidized, or fermented depending on their desired tea. Well-produced teas are then sorted removing inferior or smaller leaves and defects discarded.

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Current Offerings

You can always find a variety of teas in the shop as we always keep a black, a green, an Earl Grey blend (for London Fogs), a Chai blend (for Chai Lattes) and one or two seasonal teas! All teas can be served hot or iced.

October Special: London Fog by Caleb Savage

Jumping off of the Clarity secret menu and onto the specials list for the month of October, we’re featuring a classic tea latte next to the Pumpkin Spice Latte, the London Fog.

This classic Fall drink is made with Earl Grey tea from our friends at Urban Teahouse, our house-made vanilla syrup, and steamed milk.

Black Tea & Bergamot, a History

While the origins of Earl Grey tea are foggy at best, we do know that the tea in some form has been around England since the mid-1860s. Some believe the citrus extract, bergamot was originally added to lower quality teas to imitate the finer scented Chinese teas. The impersonation worked, as Earl Grey is now one of the most recognizable tea blends in the world.  

Earl Grey Tea (photo courtesy of Urban Teahouse)

Earl Grey Tea (photo courtesy of Urban Teahouse)

London Fog, a Latte Inspiration

A tea latte is similar to a café au lait or misto in which a coffee or tea is in equal proportions with steamed milk, as opposed to a traditional latte in which about 2oz of espresso is mixed with 10oz of steamed milk.

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Earl Grey tea is floral with traditional black tea notes and the addition of bergamot provides a sweet citrus note similar to an orange or lemon. In the London Fog, the vanilla syrup smooths over the bitterness associated with black tea and the milk provides a creamy warm texture that makes it perfect for fall.

Because of the drink's simplicity, we can make the London Fog anytime, so if you fall in love, we’ve got you covered!

June Specials! New Big Red Flavor and Return of the Cold Brew Lemonade by Steve Willingham

June is here! Time for new specials!

Last month, we brought back one of our favorites: Espresso Cream Soda. This drink started last year with the simple idea that espresso and home made cream soda go together naturally. It's sweet and creamy but foamy, kind of reminiscent of a root beer float.

We took that an extra step last month by using peppermint tea from Urban Tea House to add an extra layer of deliciousness. It was really exciting to play with this style of drink, so we decided this month would be a good opportunity to try something completely different. Instead of sweet or herbal, we went spicy.

Caleb created a recipe using another Urban Tea House tea, Rooibos Zanzibar, a tea we featured in February's Red Tea Latte. Obviously, it's a favorite of ours. The clove and cinnamon come out nicely, giving a cold refreshing drink a warm finish. It reminds us a lot of that classic drink, Big Red, so that's what we're going to call it.

We're also going to feature another popular drink from last year: Cold Brew Lemonade. You can check out last year's post for more info, but this is one you'll want to try!

 

May Specials! Espresso Cream Soda! by Steve Willingham

The Espresso Cream Soda is back!

This one was a favorite last year. We use a house made vanilla syrup, Heart's Stereo Espresso, sparkling water and organic cream to create a coffee cocktail that is sweet and balanced and ridiculously refreshing.

We've got a little something up our sleeves to expand on this drink in a couple of weeks. Can't wait to share!

As always, we have iced teas and cold brew this time of year. 

Right now we have a super tasty blend of Colombia and Ethiopia for our cold brew that tastes like cherry cola. It's perfect for hot days, and there are plenty of those on the way.

For tea, we've always got our English Breakfast black tea and Gunpowder green tea, but right now we're brewing Urban Teahouse's Rooibos Zanzibar. We were shocked at how amazing this tea is iced. Its spices come out strong, but it's still refreshing and sweet without any sugar added. It is definitely a good caffeine free option.

Oh, and don't forget about iced matchas! We always have Matcha Lattes on the menu, featuring Woodshed Tea's amazing matcha blend, but don't forget that anything on the menu can be iced, including matcha. It's sweet and savory, and when it's iced, it's reminiscent of ice cream.

May is an exciting time for us because we get to start making all our favorite iced drinks. Come out and try some!