BRRRR! How is the weather where you are?
Here..... well, its almost freezing! We seemed to have about a week of fall and then the winter switch got flipped. 30 miles from us it was snowing! Fall on the farm means getting ready for winter. We seem to be having troubles keeping up with that here.
This week though we brought in some herbs from our greenhouse and garden so that we could have some during the winter to use fresh in cooking and in making tea. Lemon balm, anise hyssop, rosemary and chamomile.
While at a second hand store I found these adorable tea cups with herbs all along them and thought what better use than to put herbs in them too.
Below is a short tutorial and video on how to make your very own! Just plant - even if its in a tea cup and in your kitchen. Its a space everyone can have a little living green in their home and there is nothing like fresh herbs in cooking or in your tea pot! Cheers!
Tea Cup Kitchen Garden
What you need:
1 tea cup, coffee mug, or small pot of choice
1 small plant per cup, mug or pot
1/4 cup or so of a well drained potting mix (something with peet moss and vermiculite is great!)
Handful of small gravel, small river rock or other similar material
1.) Fill container (cup, mug or pot) about 1/8 to 1/4 full of your rock of choice. The smaller the better. The rock is going to drain the water so that the roots don't sit in water and rot. Sand works also and some research also says that adding some activated charchol will really help with the drainage.
2.) Place plant on top of the rock inside your container of choice, making sure any roots are pointed downward.
3.) Add soil mix around the plant so that the plant stands up.
4.) Water a little tiny bit not more than 1 tsp for a small cup. Decorate the top with remaining rocks if you wish.
trouble shooting drainage issues
- Remove plant and planting material. Drill a small hole with a dremel and diamond bit. Repot as before. Make sure to put a plate or other water catch under your cup.
- Change up the soil adding more sand and peet moss to help with draining.
- Make sure your plant is the right size for your container. You may need a larger container or smaller pot.
The leaves are falling, the grapes are changing colors. The fall and Christmas decor is already in the stores. Wait! What? What is the date?!
While the official first day of fall is not until September 22nd (not too far off), down on the farm we are ready for this slower time of year to come. Summer is such a busy time on the farm planting and harvesting, trying to get our building project sealed up before the rains start and thankfully we don't have wood cutting on our list this year with the stash we have!
The local coffee shops are advertising pumpkin this and that, gingerbread is surely not far behind but you know what?! Its CHAI SEASON! While chai is the name for all kinds of tea in India, marsala chai is what us American's are familiar with. That spicy drink filled with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and other spices that warms us up in the cooler months and makes us all comfy cozy.
Back to those coffee shops... most pumpkin spice latte's are flavored with synthetically flavored syrups and the sweetner in them is usually corn syrup. Far from a health food! Along with that is usually added a conventional milk. Today we are going to turn this unhealthy drink into something very healthy by just changing up what we use in the recipe.
Brewing the tea
First stop on our recipe journey is to get our tea brewed. Our preferred way to brew loose leaf tea is by using a french press. Typically used for coffee, french presses are very simple to use. Simply place the tea inside the press, pour your hot water over the top and place the lid/press on the top to steep. (Check out the demo in the video below)
We are excited that we were sent a new french press to review called the Espro P3. The most common french press is Bodum, which we have many of, because they are the easiest to find locally. We also have a couple of others that are lower end and we use all 5 of them every week when we brew tea for our farmer's market tea tastings.
I was super impressed with the Espro 3! Mostly for 3 reasons:
1.) The Double Filter System - Typically a french press has one filter that is made from metal mesh and some times the tiny tea bits will sneak through there. The Espro has a double filter system and catches all of the smallest particles making it great for any kind of tea. I'm sure it would work with fine ground coffee as well!
2.) Lock- This lovely lock keeps the glass carafe attached to the exterior case and handle which is great for when it comes time to hand wash. We have broken many carafe's because they fall out during washing and hit the sink then shatter. This lock ensures that won't happen during washing.
3.) Double Thick Glass- The carafe on this french press has double thick glass which helps keep the tea warmer longer and makes it more durable if dropped. Ask me how I know that its more durable if dropped ;) Yep, I dropped it! Not on purpose of course but I was super glad to see that it held up!
Check out the Espro in our video review below and also on Amazon.
Yes these are affiliate links, they provide our family farm with a wee bit of income so we can continue to bring you great recipes and local teas! There is no additional cost to you, if you decide to purchase. Cheers!
Espro P3 Standard
Espoo Stainless Steel
Large Espro Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel Frothing Pitcher
Mix'n it up
Now that we have covered the WHY we are drinking the chai and the how of brewing the tea lets get on to the actual recipe, because that's what you all are here for right ;) Bring on the tasty yummy (and healthy) Pumpkin Spice Bullet Proof Chai.
Pumpkin Spice Bullet Proof Chai Tea
4 - 6 TSP Loos Leaf Chai
( Recommended Decaf Chai, Cherry City Chai and/or Gingerbread Spice)
2 TSP Butter from Grass Fed Cows, melted (also known as grass fed butter, no - butter doesn't eat grass.... why do I say that, because the Farmer asked me.)
2 TBL Organic or Homegrown Pumpkin Puree
2 TSP Organic Coconut Oil, melted
2 TBL Organic Maple Syrup (the real stuff from trees!) or Local Raw Honey
1 C. Grassfed Milk (no milk doesn't eat grass... the cows, they eat the grass and make the milk... vs grain fed. That reason is a whoooole other post... leave a comment if you would like me to write it.)
1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or to taste, see recipe below)
1.) Steep the tea (any way you like) in 12-16 oz of almost boiling water for 7-10 minutes.
2.) Add the pumpkin, maple syrup, butter, coconut oil and steeped (strained) tea to a blender.
3.) Blend on high for about 2 minutes (we used the hot chocolate setting on the Blend Tec) until fats have emulsified and mixed together with the other ingredients.
4.) Warm up milk on stove so that its warm to the touch but not boiling and turn the heat off before the milk creates a skin over the top.
5.) Froth the milk using an electric frother or by placing it in a clean french press and pumping the press up and down until frothed.
6.) Pour pumpkin mix from blender into a mug, top with frothed milk and sprinkle on Pumpkin Pie Spice. Enjoy!!!
Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
4 TBL Organic ground Cinnamon 1/2 TSP Organic ground Nutmeg
2 TSP Organic ground Ginger 1/2 TSP Organic ground Allspice
1/2 TSP Organic ground Cloves
Mix all the above spices together an store in an air tight container in a dark location. Should keep up to a year, if you don't use it by then!
Thanks for stopping by the farm and we will see you next week! Enjoy that cup of Pumpkin Spice Bullet Proof Chai!
P.S. Don't forget to grab our FREE Cooking with Tea E-book for more tea time treats!
Have you checked out our 10 Ways to Brew Loose Leaf tea? This video shows you one of those 10 ways as we brew up some loose leaf tea in a barn!
Welcome to this weeks Tisane Tea Tuesday featuring one of our herbal blends! Get to know the story of this tea and more about its herbal goodness! Just as a side note! This post may contain affiliate links. What that means is that by clicking on the link and making a purchase part of your purchase helps to support our little farm. There is no additional cost to you. Click here to read our full disclosure.
According to Wikipedia a tisane is an: "Herbal tea, or, more properly, tisane, is any beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water, and usually does not contain caffeine."
Many of our teas are made from herbs that are either grown on our farm, sourced from other local farms in Oregon or purchased from bulk herb suppliers that provide the best quality organic products.
Actual tea leaves do not come from herbs but from the actual tea plant called the camellia sinensis. While it is grown in the United States the bulk of it is grown in other countries. Herbs on the other hand may be grown all over and very easily (depending on the variety) and many of them make wonderful teas as well as medicines!
Feature Tisane of the Week
These week we are bringing on the spice with some Decaf Chai Tea! Chai is actually the normal name for tea in many parts of the world. Marsala chai is the term for the tea which many know of that is dark, black and has many spices including cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, ginger and a variety of other spices. The spices that are in marsala chai differ for every chai that is blended. Down on the farm, this farmer's wife is quite a fan of marsala chai but as caffeine is not my friend I sought to create the same lovely spiced tea without the caffeine. That brings us to our decaf chai. With all the same spices from marsala chai the black tea is traded out for some red vanilla like flavored rooibos that gives a very nice chai taste without the caffeine.
Down on the farm we love to drink our chai with some farm fresh, local, raw milk and a bit of organic maple syrup or local raw honey. Brew it up dark and add your warmed cream and sweeter of choice and you have one delicious, warming drink! Their are also health benefits to the herbs in this chai from the antioxidants in the red rooibos to the digestive aide that the cinnamon and other spices provide. This is an excellent choice for those winter days that leave you waiting for the bright sunny days of spring. When the warmer days come it would also be great blended with an organic ice cream and turned into a milkshake. Check out our marsala chai (caffeinated) here and our decaf chai here in our farm store. Now on to the tea time treats!!!
This Weeks Tea Time Recipe
Whole Wheat Cardamom Cookies
This Tuesday for tea time we enjoyed the farmer's favorite cookie, cardamom cookies. These are flakey and buttery, lightly spiced with fresh ground cardamom. Today we take this family favorite and give it a homestead twist. Swapping in some fresh ground, white whole wheat flour, farm fresh eggs and some organic sugar. A perfect tea time treat and it goes great with a nice cup of chai! Find the recipe below and enjoy some decaf chai or caffeinated marsala chai from our farm store!
Whole Wheat Cardamom Cookies
1 cup Organic/Grass Fed Butter
3/4 cup. Organic Sugar (or coconut sugar, skip molasses)
1 tsp. Organic Molasses (unsulphured)
1 pastured egg - separated
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups White Hard Wheat Flour (or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour)
1 tsp. organic cardamom powder (fresh ground is best!!!)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tbl. Organic Butter, melted & browned slightly
1 cup Organic Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp. organic vanilla
Blend together until creamy the butter and sugar (molasses too if using). Add the egg yoke (yoke only! a mistake I made once). Save the egg white for later. Also add in the vanilla, cardamom and sea salt. Blend together until incorporated. Last add the 2 cups of white whole wheat flour. Blend until evenly incorporated and then spread in a 10x15 UNgreased pan. Brush the egg white over the top of the cookie dough. We love this stoneware baking sheet! Bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour.
Cut cookies in 1 x 3 inch bars (or what ever size you wish!) Make sure to cut these cookies before they cool or it makes them hard to cut, they crumble and are hard to get out of the pan. While the cookies are cooling mix your melted/browned butter with the 1/2 tsp vanilla and organic powered sugar. Mix well and then drizzle over the cooling cookies and let set until cookies have cooled. Serve with a great cup of chai tea and enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by the farm! We will see you again soon!
The other day, it was a particularly warm day, we were inspired by one of our customers to make a cold version of our Peppermint Patty Tea. Until now it was most popular as a hot winter time tea because of the peppermint bringing thoughts of Christmas trees and candy canes. When our customer mentioned they drink it iced it put this winter tea into a new perspective. We decided to give it a try and the results were delicious! We hope you will agree.
BLENDED PEPEERMINT PATTY LATTE
1/4 cup Loose Leaf Peppermint Patty Tea
2 cups filtered water
2 cups ice
1/2 cup of milk (we used kefir for a probiotic kick!)
4-5 TBL raw honey (We love our local raw honey from Bee Line Honey Co.)
Add your 2 cups of filtered water to your tea kettle or pot and bring to a boil. Place your Loose Leaf Peppermint Patty Tea in a French Press (or use other steeping device) and add boiling water. Let steep for about 5-7 minutes. Once your tea has steeped strain into a blender (Vitamix or Blendtec works best). Add remaining ingredients starting with ice (it will help cool the tea down for blending) and blend until ice is chipped to your liking. Serve in a pretty glass, top with some cocoa nibs and fresh mint. Sip and enjoy!
Many people enjoy tea but they also enjoy it in many different ways! The most common, at least in the United States, are pre-made tea bags with crushed tea. This crushed tea is often from the 'bottom of the barrel' and sometimes can be old and not retain much of its health benefits or medicinal use which is what makes it so much cheaper than loose-leaf teas.
Loose-leaf teas are often fresher. Being whole they retain more of their properties and they can also save on packaging costs and waste. The taste is also much more flavorful compared to most pre-bagged crushed teas. Today we are going to share with you 10 ways that you can brew loose-leaf tea at home!
#1 - tea balls and sticks
There are a number of tea balls/sticks and single cup infusion devices. One of the most popular types are tea sticks, most commonly a spoon shape with a handle that pinches open and closed. Tea is inserted into the spoon and then the handle released and placed right into the cup for infusion then removed once infused.
Another type of single cup infuser has a metal net that sits inside your tea water while the handle and frame rest on your tea cup. The herbs are placed inside while they steep, then removed from the cup and the tea leaves are then disposed of.
These type of tea infusers come in many different shapes; round, hearts, tea pots, monkeys, fruits, and vegetables. They also come in a plain stick form where the herbs are put into the stick and used as a wand. Some are made from metal, others plastic and even bamboo. A tea enthusiast can search online and find one of these infusers in about every shape and size.
#2 - tea press / infusion pitcher
Our favorite way to infuse tea on cold days and when we are in a hurry for a large batch is to use our French Press (many other brands available, sometimes sold as a coffee infuser rather than tea). This heat-tempered glass container is used by placing in your tea leaves, adding hot water and then placing the lid on it and pressing the mesh down slightly while your tea brews. When ready to serve, the handle is pushed to the bottom keeping the tea leaves out of your water and allowing you to pour debris free.
A tea pitcher is also available which has a slot down the middle of the pitcher for your tea leaves. Once the water is poured into the picther and the water is infused, depending on your pitcher, the infuser is then removed or left in for continued infusion.
#3- By Candlelight
Sounds romantic doesn't it? There are many options out there which hold a tea pot or cup over a small candle that is then lit and that heats up your water and/or steeps your tea. All depending on which type you have.
#4- Stove top/Wood Stove
This tea is brewed by placing your tea in a pot on the stove top (or wood stove) along with your water and simmering on low for the desired amount of time.
A decoction is usually steeped for longer. With medicinal herbs this method is mostly used when roots are the makeup of the tea (it takes longer for them to infuse than leaves). The tea is then strained with a mesh strainer over a bowl or other vessel. The leaves/roots are discarded and the tea is enjoyed!
#5- Slow Cooker
This method is recommended for 8 cups or more of tea. Place 1 tablespoon of tea per 1 cup of water in the slow cooker. Placing tea in a muslin bag is recommended for easy clean up. Turn on low and let steep for up to 6 hours. Some have let this go over night but use caution as different teas may have various steep times. Remove muslin bag and serve, or if you choose to skip the muslin bag strain using a mesh strainer over a bowl. Return to slow cooker and serve! Great for parties and get-togethers.
This is our favorite way to make tea in the summertime! Using a half-gallon canning jar (or other similar container such as those made for this purpose with a spout for easy pouring) place 1 tablespoon of herb per cup of water in the jar. Place lid on top and set out in the sun for 5-8 hours depending on tea and preferred steep. Strain herbs using a mesh strainer (or place them in a muslin bag before steeping) and return tea to a clean container.
#7- electric coffee/tea pot
There are three great ways to use electric steepers for loose-leaf tea!
Several companies make an actual electric teapot that allows you to add your tea (like coffee) and turn on the tea kettle to brew tea.
If you have a basic coffee maker, such as our $10 most basic coffee pot using old-fashioned filters, add your tea (1 tablespoon leaves to 1 cup of water) in the paper filter. Add your water as you would for coffee, turn on the machine and let it do its thing.
Option three here is to use the single cup coffee pots such as the popular Keurig (K-cup) type machines. They have reusable filters available that will allow you to place your loose-leaf tea in the container and then run as you normally would.
#8 - travel infusers
A great option for those on the move: single cup, on the go infusers! A tea tumbler with an infuser built in that allows you to add your loose-leaf tea, hot water, and then take off. A great way to make your loose leaf tea portable.
Check out this new fast food version of on the go cups! It could be arriving in coffee shops soon!
#9- tea bags
The favorite of modern tea inventions, the tea bag! As mentioned before most tea in the States is sold pre-packaged in a tea bag. A great way to insure you still get the benefits of loose-leaf tea and the simplicity of clean up/disposal and use is to purchase one-time or reusable tea bags.
One-time tea bags vary from those you fill and then fold over your cup while steeping, to those that are ironed closed and used as the pre-filled ones you purchase at the grocery store.
Reuseable tea bags are usually a handy little sewn muslin bag with a draw string or some other closer that allows you to fill the bag, use, empty, wash, then reuse.
Either of these are great for keeping tucked in your purse or wallet for an easy on the go loose-leaf tea option.
#10 - cold infusion
Another prep-and-let-brew option similar to the slow cooker method but instead of using heat this method uses cold infusion. Using 1 tablespoon of tea per 24 oz to a 1/2 gallon canning jar (or infuser pitcher or other container and/or mesh bag for tea) and steep for 10 hours in the refrigerator. Strain using a mesh strainer and serve. (or remove infusing device if used).
What is your favorite way to infuse loose leaf tea? Tell us about one of the new ways you learned you can infuse tea that you might try!
Visit our farm store for our artisan loose leaf teas wether it be a traditional chai, a green tea or our local Oregon berry teas!
Download your free 10 Ways to Infuse Loose-Leaf Tea Printable HERE
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.
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