Each time I have a Tea Love talk, I am always amazed listening to myself and hearing how far Tea Love has come. It just astounds me.
This past Saturday, Tea Love had another talk in conjunction with author Ovidia Yu (one of the sweetest people I’ve met!). Ovidia met me in my boyfriend and me in my hometown of Cranford, New Jersey, and we trekked to Voorhees to talk at the Camden County Library -Voorhees Regional Branch. I started the talk, telling everyone about tea culture and tea facts in China, Japan, and Singapore. She wrapped us up by talking about tea culture in Singapore, elaborating on some interesting tid bits from a first-hand perspective. From there, we all drank matcha tea, pulled tea (which everyone kept referring to as “chocolate tea”), and munched on some Asian-inspired goodies.
I saw some people from my previous talk at the library, which was wonderful! We talked about what they liked, what they didn’t like, their experiences since my last Tea Love talk, and just life in general. As I talked and explained both Tea Love and my life to people, I was slightly floored.
Tea Love started as a result of me not getting a particular job that seemed highly promising. While I had a job, this one was in my field of interest, would have paid very well, and meant working in the City, a huge perk. When I was informed I did not get the editing position that I applied for, I was a bit downtrodden. After all, an English major who has been out of a job for over a year after graduation is never anyone’s cup of tea. Throw on top of that that quite frankly, I have never been without a job in my life, and the pain was there.
Rather than sulk, I decided to start a blog and decided to dedicate it to tea. Initially, I heard all sorts of weird reactions (and still do when people learn about my blog). “How much can you even write on tea?” “You’re talking about the drink, right?” “Um… do you sit at home listening to classical music on weekends too?” But now, since 2011, my readership has reached over the thousands, I have working relationships with various vendors, my Facebook page is doing well, and I even got to do a talk with an esteemed author.
So, I guess in a way, I am thanking everyone for making Tea Love truly what it is today. I never run out of subjects, and everyone always has such a unique perspective on tea. And of course, I receive so much support from my family, my friends, and my boyfriend that it warms my heart more than a nice cuppa :-)
So thank you all so much <3 And now, for the “chocolate tea” recipe that was provided at Saturday’s Tea Love talk:
Spiced Tea Tarik (Marsala Tea Tarik)
Recipe provided by Ovidia Yu, author of Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials
‘Teh Tarik’, Malay for ‘pulled tea’, is a favorite old time Singapore roadside drink, so called because it appears pulled between cups as it is dramatically poured between them to cool it and create its characteristic froth. Masala chai or ‘spice tea’ is another popular drink seasoned with a combination of ‘warming’ spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, fresh ginger, fennel seeds, peppercorn, and cloves. Some claim marsala tea stimulates the circulation while calming the digestion and easing sore throats and cold symptoms, but you really need no excuse to enjoy this sweet spiced tea, and it is even more enjoyable as a pulled tea.
These local teas are traditionally made with tea dust—the ground up remains of broken leaves.
Ingredients (for 2 cups):
- 4 Tbsp powdered black tea (use 2 teaspoons of leaves or 2 tea bags if you can’t get tea dust)
- 4 Tbsp condensed milk
- 2 tsp sugar (or to taste)
- Any combination of 2 or more of the following spices (lightly crushed in a mortar or under a rolling pin): 1 tbsp of cardamom seeds, small piece of fresh ginger, 1 tsp black peppercorns, 2 or 3 cloves, Stick of cinnamon, pinch of fennel seeds
- Boiling water
- Have two mugs or jugs ready—at least double the volume of the tea you are making
- Pour boiling water over your tea and spices in one mug and leave to stand for 3 minutes
- In the meantime, put the sugar and condensed milk in the other
- When the time is up, pour the spiced tea through a filter into the mug of milk. Now you are ready to ‘tarik’ or pour the hot tea from one mug to the other with some distance between the 2 cups, until it becomes thick and foamy. In the hands of experienced street vendors, this is performance art
- However, if you don’t feel ready to take part in one of the region’s ‘teh tarik championships’ (measuring the greatest distance pulled without spilling), then you can put your condensed milk into a jar, add your hot tea, close the jar, and shake until you get it foamy. It will do you just as much good with much less mess!