Autumn might be drawing near, but the Beijing sun is still as hot as ever. A day out under the sun by your nearest pool – or even just in your garden – requires hydrating refreshments to keep from getting hot and bothered. As China is famous for its fragrant teas, what better way to relax in Beijing than with a home-brewed iced tea in hand! From Iced Matcha Smoothies to Lemon & Honey Green Tea to the classic Milk Cha, here’s a list of recipes perfect for getting you through the sweltering heat.
I found experimenting with teabags that the bitter taste that normally comes if you leave the bag too long in boiling water doesn’t come through in cold brew tea – leaving the bags in water overnight in the fridge. apart from the matcha, pu’er and milk cha recipes, the teas here are made cold brew and should have to bitter aftertaste. For tea enthusiasts less lazy than I am, one tablespoon of looseleaf tea is approximately the same strength as one teabag (I normally use Twinings). However, different brands and the age of the tea will vary – you just have to experiment a little!
matcha smoothie (Serves 2)
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon matcha powder, 1/2 cup [coconut]milk, 1 frozen banana or 1/2 a diced mango, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence, 1/2 cup ice
Blend on high for 30 seconds – a minute. Add more ice or water if needed for preferred consistency.
* do not add the frozen fruit but use 1 cup milk of choice and 3/4 cup ice for matcha latte instead of smoothie.
* matcha powder is probably easier and cheaper to buy online than in stores, unless you bring it home from Japan! Taobao has the advantage of receiving your order within 2-5 days – many other online stores will take longer. However, be careful of matcha powder with added sugar or sweeteners: look for 100%matcha in ingredients.
lemon&honey (serves 4)
Ingredients: 1/2 lemon juice + zest, 1/4 cup honey, 3 loose/bag pure green tea, pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
Add 1/2 cup boiling water to lemon juice and honey mixture and mix well, leave to cool. mix with 5 cups water and the teabags and leave in fridge to brew overnight. Strain teabags and serve with ice.
jasmine rose (serves 2)
Ingredients: 2 jasmine green tea bags, 1/4 cup dried rose buds (available in most Chinese tea stores), honey to taste
add dried rose buds, teabags and 3 cups water to jug, leave overnight in fridge to brew. strain teabags and add honey to taste.
* Jasmine green tea can be found
apple&mint (serves 4)
Ingredients: 1 thinly sliced apple, mint sprigs, 3 green teabags
Peel and thinly slice an apple (discarding core). Add 5 cups water, handful of washed fresh mint leaves and green tea bags. brew overnight in fridge. strain mint and teabags to serve.
pu’er pear (serves 4)
Ingredients: 3 pu’er teabags, 1 sliced asian pear, juice of 1/2 fresh lemon, goji berries (available in most Chinese supermarkets as well as Jenny Wang/Lou)
Peel and thinly slice 1 asian pear. add 5 cups boiling water to medium saucepan. add 3 pu’er tea bags, the sliced pears and tablespoon dried goji berries. Slowly bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often (longer if you want it stronger). Leave to cool and then refrigerate overnight, adding more water if needed. Strain the teabags as well as pears and goji berries to serve if you don’t feel like eating your tea!
earl grey (serves 4)
Ingredients: 4 earl grey teabags (i normally use Twinings teabags, available in DD’s Markets and Jenny Wang’s), 1 orange/lemon, sugar syrup to taste
Grate the orange or lemon zest and thinly slice. Add 1/2 cup sugar to a saucepan and 1 cup water. Heat and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Keep in small pouring jug and cool. Add 4 earl grey teabags to 5 cups water as well as the citrus fruit zest. Brew overnight in the fridge and serve with sliced citrus and sugar syrup to taste.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup condensed milk, 2 cups lowfat milk, 6 bags strong black tea, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (100% vanilla), brown sugar or 100% maple syrup, to taste
Add low fat milk, condensed milk and vanilla to saucepan. Bring to boil and add 6 bags strong black tea such as english breakfast or assam. Reduce heat and simmer until the strength of the tea is to taste, around 15-20 minutes but can be for longer (add water or brown sugar if needed). Leave to cool, strain the teabags and store in fridge for up to 2 days.