Entry: A Tea Epiphany Tuesday, June 22, 2004

I think I mentioned yesterday that I love tea. I especially love flavored black teas. Chai is one of my favorites -- Republic of Tea has an amazing chai, and Stash Tea makes a great one, too. Stash even makes an "extra spice chai," which is amazing, but hard to find. I'm not a fan of that powdered, over-sweetened, syrupy chai mix. Or the stuff you sometimes find in a machine next to the over-sweetened, syrupy "cappuccino" at convenience stores. I like to brew my own, and add milk and sweetener to my taste.

On a recent trip to Boston, I had "frozen chai" at Tealuxe in Harvard Square. I had no idea what I was getting when I ordered it, and it cost a fortune, but I had to see what it was all about. It turned out to be a mixture of iced chai, milk, sweetener, and ice pureed up in a blender. It was pretty damn good.

As much as I love chai, my favorite tea in the whole wide world is Republic of Tea's Blackberry Sage tea. Daydreaming about smoothies last weekend, and thinking back to that frozen chai, I had... yes... a culinary epiphany! I wanted to combine the best of both worlds and make some sort of tea smoothie. My original idea involved raspberries, but then it dawned on me that it absolutely had to contain blackberries, just like my favorite tea. So here is what I did this afternoon: I brewed some strong-ish plain black (decaf because it's late in the day for me!) tea -- six bags to four cups of water. I let it get to room temp while Kev and I went out walking and shopping. When we got home, I put two cups of the cooled tea, one cup of soy milk, and one cup of frozen blackberries in the blender and whizzed it all up. I love to use soy milk in smoothies -- it adds a richness that cow's milk just doesn't have. I poured the blend into my new cheap-but-cute plastic smoothie glasses (purchased this afternoon at BB&B, of course!) and immediately realized that I hadn't put in any kind of sweetener. I usually make fruit smoothies with a frozen banana as a base, so they rarely need any sweetener. It just didn't occur to me that these would need some! Upon tasting, though, it occurred to me immediately. I quickly stirred some Splenda (my best friend!) into each drink.

Success! The flavors of the tea, the berries, and the milk are all present, with none overpowering the others. The only thing I wasn't totally thrilled with was that they weren't quite as slushy as I wanted them to be. The berries were frozen when they went in, but the tea and milk were both at room temp. Next time I will freeze either the tea or the milk in an ice cube tray first... that should solve that problem! Oh, and hopefully I'll remember to put sweetener in the blender, too. It will mix in a bit more easily!  =)

Tea is such a Zen thing. I think it's only appropriate that it is the star ingredient in my latest epiphany, and I love that the smoothies turned out to be as good as I'd hoped they would!


June 23, 2004   08:24 AM PDT
Dear "me,"

There's a little bit left over in the back of the fridge. You're welcome to it! =) And too bad the stripes on the cups don't show in the photo...

~ K
June 23, 2004   08:07 AM PDT
It was really tasty. I'd like another. The cups are cool, too. Very photogenic.

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