January Is National Hot Tea Month
And that means you should jump on the bandwagon forthwith. I completely forgot until this exact moment that National Hot Tea Month was a thing, even though I blogged about it years ago with a few recipes. Things may have changed but I still love tea and need an semi-exhaustive list of recipes to try.
This is my blog. I do what I want.
So if you’re looking for tea recipes galore or you just want to learn a bit more about tea to look smart at parties, dive in!
What Kinds of Teas are There?
If you know nothing about tea – and aside from English Breakfast and chai, most of us don’t – start here.
Camellia sinensis is the evergreen plant known for producing most of the teas you know and love. It’s a native of China, where there is the longest tea traditions and recipes in the world. Suck it, England.
This plant is responsible for white, green, black, oolong, and pu-erh teas. The only difference is the processing.
White tea is the “purest” form, unfermented and the least processed. It produces the lightest color and flavor and can also be the most expensive. It is normally the buds that are used in quality teas, but the leaves can also be used and are generally used more in cheaper white teas.
Green tea is the next “purest” tea and one you are probably familiar with. It is mostly unfermented and creates a green colored brew. It is known for it’s slightly bitter and grassy flavor as well as apparently curing all known ills. Cancer, acne, male pattern baldness… whatever. Read the studies.
Matcha, or green tea powder, is also common. You can also easily spot it in coffee shops as it’s usually a distinct and appetizing baby shit green. Seriously, think Exorcist pea soup green.
Black tea is the most common tea, hot or cold. It is also known as red tea in China because it produces a reddish brown brew. The English Breakfasts, Earl Greys, and iced teas of the world rely heavily on this tea. Though it may not have as many antioxidants as green tea, it will still probably add 40 years to your life. This fully fermented tea also has three times more caffeine and an in your face flavor from the full fermentation.
Oolong tea is a semi-fermented tea with a fruity and sometimes smokey flavor due to the processing. It is some of the most expensive tea. Due to the complexity and delicacy of the flavor, many people recommend not drinking it with extras like milk, sugar, or lemon.
Pu-erh tea is another black tea, but it stands out as being fermented twice. It’s then allowed to mature where it often grows a layer of mold, giving it a strongly earthy flavor. Due to this, it’s often used medicinally as it’s a great digestive aid and, you know, can taste like dirt. And mold.
Rooibos tea is not from the same plant as above but from South African red bush leaves. The leaves are often ground down or bruised after harvesting and then fermented. There’s also a “green” version that is not fermented, but both are caffeine free and have a nutty, slightly sweet flavor.
Mate tea is made from the leaves and twigs of the South American yerba mate plant. It’s dried, aged, and then usually ground down. Many people call it the coffee lover’s tea because straight mate is bitter from the tannins and is usually sweetened like coffee. Traditionally served with a metal straw in a gourd, it touts numerous health benefits.
Herbal tea and tisanes is usually not “tea” in the strictest sense. It is usually an infusion of herbs, flowers, or spices in boiling water. Loosely speaking, tisanes are stronger infusions that trap natural oils in the drink itself and is usually used for health reasons, while herbal teas are generally more common as tea substitutes.
A note on chai tea
Tea is actually called chai in many countries (India, Turkey, ect) with the same pronunciation and different spelling. Since it actually means tea, calling something chai tea is essentially calling it tea tea.
It’s like ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine and people still say ATM machine which in long hand is automated teller machine machine. Just FYI for if someone looks at you like you’re an idiot, you can assure them that yes, you are an idiot, but an informed idiot. Recognize.
Also, what we call Chai is usually a tea blend. Usually black, though sometimes green, tea with whole spices. It’s delicious and nutritious (probably) and I’ve got a recipe for you below.
Okay, almost all teas come from the same plant except mates, rooibos, and herbals. Those last three aren’t considered real tea by boring purists.
Ready to get tea-faced?
I thought so, you dirty thing. Here are some tea recipes to get you tea’d-up and I’ve listed them by type. The things I do for you people…
White Tea Recipes
This refreshing and healthy mango peach iced white tea recipe from The Scrumptious Pumpkin looks like the perfect picnic tea for beautiful summer days.
This mint lime tea cooler recipe from Baked Bree is another great summer drink you can enjoy year round. It uses white tea and mint to create a concentrate that you bulk up later with sparkling water for a fizzy drink akin to a virgin cocktail.
Green Tea Recipes
Shareba from In Search of Yummy-ness tried Padma Lakshmi’s Fairy Water recipe to great effect. The green tea base showcases fresh fruit and cinnamon sticks.
And now for something completely different. Golubka Kitchen created this truly unique rosemary white hot chocolate milkshake with… wait for it… green tea. Right?!
Remember pea soup green? Well here it is. This green tea latte via Just One Cookbook uses matcha to get the flavor and distinctive color.
This green tea cheesecake from Bonbini! is more than you might expect. As a Japanese style cheesecake, it is the light and fluffy cousin of the dense cheesecake you might be used to and flavored with delicate green tea powder.
Black Tea Recipes
Oh, Starbucks. How I love thee. How I hate your prices. Little Ms Robinson’s fixed that with her Starbuck’s black tea lemonade copycat recipe. Get your fix for WAY less.
Spiced black tea with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pomegranate juice is a sure way to warm you up.
If this doesn’t look delicious to you, then I don’t know how to help you. Thanks to Bakers Royale, I have something to dream about tonight. Namely, this black tea cake with blackberry lime jam and honey whipped cream.
And just in case that wasn’t enough, here’s a black milk tea and honey pound cake from Lady and Pups. It’s been tested numerous times and includes imperial and metric conversions plus troubleshooting tips!
Oolong Tea Recipes
Are you kidding me? This decadent recipe from Adventures in Cooking creates some truly divine looking oolong donuts with a milk tea glaze. Sign me up!
This pumpkin spice kicker using oolong tea looks like a Fall harvest in a cup. From Against the Grain.
Arnold Palmers always sound like something that you can’t drink unless you’re getting your social security, but every year when they’re popular again you can catch me chugging them down. This sparkling strawberry oolong Arnold Palmer fits nicely into my wheelhouse thanks to The Woks of Life.
Pu-erh Tea Recipes
This is a simple way to enjoy pu-erh tea for those of us who have no idea how to make it. From The Misadventures of One Super Grover.
The vanilla tea’puccino with pu-erh tea is the best of both worlds for tea and coffee lovers alike. From Zain Saraswati Jamal.
Rooibos Tea Recipes
Not only is this rooibos tea punch packed with antioxidants, it’s also heavy on the peach, mint, and yes, vodka. A tea punch after my own heart! Via Simply Delicious.
Okay, maybe I’m cheating just a little, but I make the rules around here. This rooibos chai shows you the versatility of the tea. It’s also a great “shot” for lattes as well. Via Divine Health.
Hot tea is so 1400. This rooibos tea and honey ice cream is nutty, sweet, and creamy – everything you want from a good cuppa made into ice cream heaven. Recipe from Drizzle & Dip.
Mate Tea Recipes
The yerba mate latte is not only fun to say, but promises to be delicious. Recipe via We Like It Raw is also very healthy and, you guessed it, raw.
This yerba mate frozen latte is the best alternative to “oh, I want a latte but I’m sweating through my windbreaker.” You’re welcome. Via the Huffington Post.
Well, I cheated once so I’m doing it again. This yerba mate chai is heavier and just as delicious. Recipe via In Sonnett’s Kitchen.
Herbal Tea and Tisanes
This cinnamon apricot tea from Yes, I Want Cake is a little sweet and a little spicy. Maybe throw in a little pepper too!
Canarino tea from Kitchen Culinaire only takes three ingredients and one of them is water, but look how good that looks!
Rose petal tea is about the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen – perfect for a fairytale table. Via Eggbeater.
Maybe your father didn’t smell of elderberry, but you can! If you want the weirdest introduction to a teaparty ever. This elderberry tea recipe is from Fresh Bites Daily.
Seriously, tisanes are just so photogenic! This roasted apple and rosemary tisane from Simple Bites looks almost too pretty to drink.
And okay, Chai Tea Recipes
Ready to start making your own chai? Start with this easy chai tea latte recipe from The Thermo Queen Blog. When you’re ready, dial back the milk for a simple cup of chai tea, no latte required.
Ready for a decadent treat? This salted caramel chai tea latte recipe from Kitchen Nostalgia looks like it just might fit that bill nicely.
Spicy hot chocolate tea… sounds interesting right? It’s basically chai hot chocolate and I’m all over this! From Owen Family Six.
This ginger cardamom tea recipe from Sharmis Passions is a riff on the classic chai.
And More for Fun
This is one of my absolute favorites and a necessity every time I eat thai food, so give this thai iced tea recipe a whirl. I know I will! From White on Rice Couple.
These green tea and white chocolate cookies from Salu Salo Recipes promise to be sweet and chewy – the perfect addition to your afternoon tea.
I didn’t list this with the chai recipes because it doesn’t have any tea, but the similar spices certainly make this chai spiced white chocolate fudge appealing!
This cinnamon chai banana bread recipe from Sumptuous Spoonfuls looks perfect with a cup of, you guessed it, tea.
The London Fog latte is a classic tea recipe that you can now make at home thanks to Gimme Some Oven. I’d also love it if you could get back to me with a recipe that makes Earl Grey not taste like soap.
How do you take your tea?
Do you like yours creamy and sweet? Maybe a bit floral and light? Or how about baked into a dessert? Let us know in the comments!