Beyond soothing: Tea drinks turn decadent and exciting

Over the last five years, tea has become the new “it” beverage among Americans, especially here in California. Thanks to their health benefits and the wide variety of herbs and flavors, tea and tea latte offerings now rival coffee drinks at major retail chains. With the arrival of the fall season, the time is right to explore new and exciting tea trends. Enter Bay Area-based tea sommelier, Christopher Coccagna. The young, ingenious sommelier has partnered with the California Milk Processor Board, the creator of GOT MILK?, to provide beverage enthusiasts with innovative takes on teas with milk. From cambrics to cocktails and everything in between, Coccagna’s tea drinks are perfect for the cooler months and for entertaining this holiday season.

Matcha Green Tea Latte
Serves: 1
Ingredients:
1/2 tablespoon Japanese matcha green tea powder
1/2 tablespoon very fine sugar or favorite sweetener
1 cup 2% milk
2 ounces water, near boiled
Directions:
In a cup, mix matcha powder, sweetener and water. Use a milk frother to whip ingredients together and create a frothy green top. Heat milk, frothing as it heats. Pour milk into green tea.

Lavender London Fog Latte
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons loose leaf Earl Grey black tea
1 cup whole milk
2 cups cold water
3 tablespoons lavender vanilla simple syrup*
Organic lavender blossoms to garnish
Directions:
Bring water to a boil. Place tea in a tea filter or tea ball, add to the water and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea and stir in lavender vanilla simple syrup. Warm milk and use frother until milk is rich and foamy. Fill cup with 2/3 tea and top off with warmed milk. Sprinkle lavender blossoms on top to garnish.

Cinnamon Rose Latte
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons bold black tea
1 tablespoon cinnamon chips or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 cup whole milk
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoon rose water*
Honey or agave nectar
Rose petals and cinnamon sticks to garnish
Directions:
Bring water to a boil. Fill tea filter/tea ball with the black tea and cinnamon and add to the water. Let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea and stir in honey or agave nectar. Warm milk and use frother until milk is rich and foamy. Fill cup with 2/3 tea and top off with warmed milk. Add rose petal and cinnamon stick as garnish.

White Russian Caravan
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons Russian Caravan black tea
1 cup of water
1 cup whole milk
Vodka
Coffee liqueur
Directions:
Boil water. Brew tea in water for 5 minutes. Cool tea in refrigerator without diluting with ice.
In a martini shaker, combine 4 ounces of cold tea, 4 ounces of vodka, 2 ounces of coffee liqueur and 1 scoop of ice. Shake vigorously 10 seconds. Pour evenly into four highball glasses with 2-3 large ice cubes. Float 2 ounces of whole milk on top of each cocktail.

Vanilla Mint Cambric
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons loose spearmint/peppermint tisane
1/2 inch piece vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons honey
Directions:
In a small pot, add milk and heat on medium heat until almost at boiling, stirring often. Add tisane herbal blend to a tea infuser (or large tea bag filter) and submerge into milk. Add vanilla.
Lower temperature and simmer for 20 minutes (simmer longer for stronger herbal flavor), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in honey.

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