Four Hot and Unpopular Drinks


Esther: Everyone who's an adult and the least bit cool drinks coffee. If you're extra enlightened, you also think Starbucks is pond scum, you drink your coffee black and you act like anything not freshly roasted will kill you (the freshly ground part is a given).

And then there's me and Bethany who have been excluded from mainstream society for individual reasons. We drink tea instead.

I for one happen to enjoy my exile into dry leaves. And so we bring you four of the delectable concoctions that currently tempt us.

Green Chai with Pumpkin Pie Spice and Cream/Eggnog

Make no mistake, besides the plausible antioxidant qualities of green tea...this drink is about as good for you as a giant gingerbread cookie. Although it should be lauded for keeping me from chugging large tumblers of eggnog.

If you are prone to sneaking christmas cookies and eating far more than you promised yourself you would. Let me introduce you to a satisfactory drinking companion.

1 bag of this



A couple seconds of this



A dollop of this


(or if you dont' like eggnog) Then this...


It's like a hug, an enticing book and a cozy day...all in one. Plus, it's might tasty, and is an elixir even the Grinch couldn't stay cranky with.


Bethany:

My top favorite tea drink is embarrassingly close to Esther's, perhaps the pauper lookalike or the country cousin.

The perfect cup of Genmai-cha

Start with the good old Japanese standard, genmai-cha.


I wasn't kidding about the pauper part; genmai-cha was supposedly invented as a way to stretch a supply of green tea by the addition of toasted brown rice. In my opinion, the rice gives the tea a deep, hearty flavor that makes it much more satisfying than plain old leaves. The fact that you can buy it dirt cheap and still delicious definitely is an added plus.


I make my genmai-cha a little differently from other teas. When I worked at a Japanese restaurant, we simply poured hot water straight through a strainer full of tea leaves into the pot. Tables we liked got fresh leaves..... most of the time people got pots full of steaming liquid that had been strained through very wet and used leaves though. Fun fun, right? (Good old behind the scenes info) Anyway, the first water through the fresh leaves is amazing, with a perfectly clear taste. So now I treat my genmai-cha like a rare steak, I let the hot water just barely touch it, but no lingering allowed. Definitely no soaking or steeping. The flavor is worth it, and the price is completely justifiable.

The tea is amazing on its own, but I'll admit I love it with a splash of.... milk. No frills, but hey, you can drink it all day with no apologies to either your tastebuds OR your arteries.


Esther:

I dance an ambiguous waltz with coffee and wine (both of which I do enjoy). I've never been able to tell you what I was drinking without much practice, book reading, and effort. All those subtle hints of caramel, oak, raspberries, chocolate...dark roast, nutty roast are not innately easy to pick up on. I have no doubt they exist and that connoisseurs can taste them, but some of us are making it up with all the subtlety of the Emperor who had no clothes.

I hope I'm not offending any tea lovers when I say this, but tea isn't nearly so profound and complex. English breakfast does not taste anything like Raspberry Zinger. Even my children can tell the difference between Country Peach and Constant Comment.

I think the variety is one of the things that makes tea amazing. Plus it's warm, and is a pleasurable way to trundle water to starving cells.

My other current favorite is White Tea With A Hint Of Peach. I have it in loose tea, Lipton, and some organic/breast cancer awareness version. It's not overly tangy, and tastes like a gentle summer day. I could (and do) drink gallons... plus it comes in shiny triangle tea bags, which are magical and extra thrilling.


Bethany:

Esther and her sophisticated anti-anise taste will hate this one, but oh is it yummy. Since my reaction to black tea is almost-but-not-quite as bad as my reaction to coffee, I can only drink a small cup or two of this at a time, but I do fully enjoy what little my body can handle. (For anyone concerned about the anise flavor, for some reason it tastes completely different from black licorice in tea, and I do have friends who hate the taste generally but love it in teas like this or even when it's more prominent as in the stuff Aveda offers)

The first time my friend mentioned to me that she loved That Tea, I must admit that I thought she was mispronouncing Chai tea. And since then I've had my fair share of being misunderstood as well, receiving cups of Chai instead, and having to convince skeptical baristas that it is on their menus.


Like Masala Chai, Thai tea is generally a basic black tea flavored with a variety of spices. You can start from scratch and toss in the spices yourself.... or you can pick up pre-seasoned bags at your local Asian market, tea specialty shop, or apparently Amazon.



In the opposite method of my genmai-cha, brew up a cup of tea so strong and hot it could fistfight with an energy drink. Add a ridiculous amount of sugar and coconut milk if you have it.


Condensed milk works as well, depending on your personal taste preferences. (If you don't mind the flavor of powdered creamer, which I don't, you can scratch all of the above and take the even easier route of simply dumping a packet of powdered tea into a cup of hot water. Did I say that?).


While many people drink it iced, I love it hot too. Mmmmm.

Esther:
It's true, I hate anise flavored things and I think Thai tea tastes like orange dirt with too much sugar. But in my family I am very very alone in that opinion. So don't take my word for it. It looks so pretty when you order it in a restaurant, all swirling and exotic looking. Every now and then I convince myself I must like it, so I sip it again only to be reminded it tastes something like liquid frog.

Try it and tell us what you think, and while you're at it, we'd love to hear any of your favorite hot non-coffee drinks.
7 sprinkles of fairy dust:

I'm a tea drinker too. I used to be strictly a chai girl but here in Peru I discovered Hierba Louisa tea which is lemon grass tea in the states. mmm it's very light and delicious, Now I drink it pretty much every morning


Such a great post! I just got a book at the library about tea. We've always been big coffee drinkers but we've been trying out tea lately. Thai tea is not something we've tried. Hmmm. :)


Alright, so first you taunt with this beautiful picture of a French press, then you make all these assumptions insulting anyone drawn to the beauty of that photo, then you insinuate that tea is less pretentious! I didn't even know that someone would infuse flavors in white tea. Spiced green tea? First you folks ruin alcohol, not satisfied you ruin coffee, now apparently y'all are moving on to tea. At least the name triple no-fat soy latte makes sense even if the drink doesn't, Chai Green Tea with Pumkin Spice? Yes, I'd like a Café Black Coffee with Frothed Milk and Syrup. *trudges off to get coffee and write more turgid comments*


Alright, read your post, it wasn't bad. I drink copious amounts of regular Lipton tea and have been going through this Peach Plantation tea from SC. Fav is Earl Grey and regular green tea. When I'm near civilization, I typically substitute the Lipton for cheep Chinese alternatives probably made in Vietnam or something. Love Indian spiced teas, but never drink them. Typically prefer not to have citrus components in my tea, love the berry junk though.


Yes, tea can be just as pretentious as coffee, but pretension about coffee is considered cool while about tea is considered nerdy. ;) (unless you are actually from England, in which case it's considered charming but somewhat old fashioned).
But you can probably chalk half of my grumpings about coffee up to my jealous bitterness. I do get a bit crabby that something that smells so good makes me so sick, even if deep down I don't love the taste. =P


I'm not a coffee drinker, but I like tea. (Unfortunately, by "tea", I mean southern sweet tea, not hot tea).

I really don't enjoy hot drinks unless I'm freezing and cannot find another way to get warm. Then I'll pour some hot chocolate or, if I'm feeling adventurous, some apple cider.

That being said, we stumbled across Esther's choice of peach white tea several months ago and have been incorporating a couple of bags into our usual iced sweet tea mix . . . it smells and tastes sooooo good. In fact, I'm kind of craving it now.


A brief comment on the black coffee. I'm baffled by that too, and I guess that there's a few reasons for it. I associate it with the crap coffee of work/old-timer style (uncool; and by work I mean like folders style), which is probably part of it. For me personally it's the cost, particularly if I'm planning on staying for a period long enough for refills. And obviously cost-consciousness is stylish in some groups and the rest just have a hidden economist in them who would pat themselves on the back for making the "correct" choice and won them one penny which they would then callously toss on the ground. This is going somewhere.

I'm also curious though what role the paradox of choice comes in, which is a random phenomenon of being unable to make a choice out of an endless variety and number of options. Not so much as to why they buy black coffee (especially when a few fast-food restaurants produce superior black coffee for less; I'm sorry, is that jab too coffee snobbish for y'all?), but that its stylish to be disgusted by the "decadence" of the plethora of options, and hence the black option becomes an unthinking response. Who knows?