Lattes at Home (Without the Fancy Equipment)

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Whenever I’m feeling particularly fancy, I like to make myself a tea latte at home. There’s all sorts of fancy equipment that you can buy to make this easier, but what I use is a small mason jar with a lid. Seems deceivingly simple? Well, it is! Fancy drink made with not-so-fancy tools? An overall win, I’d say!

I have my tea steeping before I start on the milk. In the photos, this was a latte made with DavidsTea’s Pumpkin Chai. You can use any kind of tea to make your own latte! It works best if you mix in your sweetener prior to the addition of milk.

Pour milk into a microwaveable jar. I filled a 250ml (1 cup) mason jar approximately 1/3 of the way filled, and then screw on a lid.

Shake, shake, shake! As the milk becomes frothy, there will be less sloshing sounds from the jar. You’ll be able to tell when it’s done when the sloshing sound is pretty much gone. When you take off the lid, you’ll find that it’s filled with foam.

With the lid off, microwave the frothy milk for about 30 seconds. The microwave helps to set the foam so it won’t disappear as quickly.

I use a spoon to hold back the foam as I pour the milk into my tea, and then I use the same spoon to push all the foamy goodness onto the top of my tea.

Bonus Tip: Take a photo and share your fancy tea latte with your friends! Homemade lattes always seem to elicit positive feedback, they’ll never have to know you didn’t buy a milk frother!

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Autumn Tea Roundup

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I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but here in Metro Vancouver it’s gotten cooler and rainier over the last few weeks! The air has gotten a little bit crisper and the leaves are just starting to change a little bit. I know there’s been a lot of pumpkin spice all the things lately, so here’s a list of teas for a change of pace! Here are five teas I’ve reviewed before on One More Steep that I would recommend for some autumn time drinking:

DavidsTea’s Honeycrisp Apple

Murchie’s Canadian Breakfast

Tea Ave’s Oriental Beauty

DavidsTea’s Pumpkin Chai

PG Tip’s English Breakfast

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DavidsTea’s Countess of Seville

Countess of Seville by DavidsTea
Green Tea / Flavoured
$7.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

I was drawn to Countess of Seville in store when the salesperson told me that it was a green tea version of Earl Grey. Well, sign me up! It’s a green tea with orange and bergamot oil, so it does have an added twist from the traditional Earl Grey beyond the change in tea base. Countess of Seville has a strong citrus fragrance to it, it’s hard for me to differentiate the orange oil from the bergamot oil. It smells overall very fresh, light, and full of citrus flavour. The tea leaves are uneven in size, and the tea has dried blue cornflowers.

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The ingredients in Countess of Seville are: organic green tea, orange peel, cornflowers, orange oil, and bergamot oil.

Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Countess of Seville in hot water for 3 to 5 minutes. “Hot water” is 75-80°C (167-176°F) on their product page. I opted to steep for closer to 2 minutes 30 seconds, as I loathe over steeping green tea.

First Taste

Countess of Seville steeps to a pale yellow, and it has a very light, fresh citrus scent to it. When sipping the tea, I’m happy to report that there is a nice sweetness to the tea itself, and I don’t think that any added sweetener is needed for this one. The green tea base is pretty much lost with the orange and bergamot oils. Countess of Seville is a nice light tea though, thoroughly enjoyable and a pleasant cup. I would not opt to steep this one to the higher end of the recommended time range (5 minutes), I would consider that to be fair too long for a green tea and you’re likely to wind up with a bitter cup of tea.

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A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Countess of Seville and wound up with a muddled cup of tea that doesn’t have nearly the level of citrus punch as the first steep did. I wouldn’t recommend Countess of Seville for one more steep.

My Overall Impression

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I liked DavidsTea’s Countess of Seville.  I tend to really enjoy Earl Grey teas, and I did find Countess of Seville to be a nice cup of tea. I think it would be better if the green tea that was used as the base of this tea was more flavourful or stronger to balance with the citrus oils that had been added to it. Overall, I think that Countess of Seville is a nice tea and I would drink it again. It would be a nice tea option to have for a tea tasting party, I think, because not a lot of people would be familiar with a green tea version of an Earl Grey.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Ahmad Tea’s Earl Grey

Earl Grey by Ahmad Tea
Black Tea / Flavoured
£4.00 for 100g

This was a tea I received as a gift from a friend who went to Europe this year! It came in a cute souvenir-friendly tin. The pricing I found online was for the tea in a tin that was not illustrated as below.

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First Impressions

Ahmad Tea’s Earl Grey came in a delightful little tin that’s illustrated like a double-decker bus – complete with people and fun little details. The windows of the bus actually dip in a little, and some other details, like where the engine of the bus might be, stick out. The bottom of the tin is where there is information about the tea (the company, ingredients, and best before date). The tin itself seems to be quite air tight – the tea is loose in the tin and I cannot smell the tea when the tin is closed, an excellent design of the snug lid fit on this tin.

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The Earl Grey smells very strongly of the bergamot flavouring, which seems to overpower the black tea base. The tea leaves themselves seem to be generally quite small. The ingredients of this Earl Grey are: black tea and bergamot flavouring. The bottom of the tin states that it is “pure Ceylon tea packed in Sri Lanka”.

Preparation

I steeped Ahmad Tea’s Earl Grey in boiling water (100C/212F) for 4 minutes. If you are ever at a loss for how long to steep what teas, I do have a list of steeping times on One More Steep.

First Taste

Earl Grey steeps to a deep clear orange-brown. There’s a strong bergamot fragrance to the tea itself. I can definitely taste the citrus in the tea, and it is quite strong in flavour. I find that it does compliment the black tea base fairly well, although it could be a little bit less strong. I found that after adding a bit of sugar and evaporated milk, the bergamot flavour was toned down and I was able to taste the black tea base a lot more.

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A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep this Earl Grey, but found it to be significantly weaker. The first steep was the best, and I wouldn’t recommend one more steep for this tea.

My Overall Impression

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I thought that Ahmad Tea’s Earl Grey was just okay. I am usually a pretty big fan of Earl Grey teas – there’s just something about a good black tea with bergamot that makes me smile. While this tea was enjoyable, I found that the black tea itself was a bit lacking. This would likely be due to the fact that the bergamot flavouring is just so strong in comparison that there’s no competition between the bergamot and the black tea itself. I think this tea definitely benefits from having evaporated milk or cream, as it helps tone down the strong citrus flavours and allows the tea to actually make itself known.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

DavidsTea’s Mao Jian Jade

Mao Jian Jade by DavidsTea
Green Tea / Straight
$9.98 for 50g

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First Impressions

I am a sucker for straight teas, so I couldn’t resist when DavidsTea released this as one of their new straight teas. Mao Jian Jade is a pan-fried green tea, and Mao Jian is a well-known Chinese tea. The overall fragrance of this tea reminds me of seaweed, there’s almost this light saltiness to the scent of this tea, mixed in some salad greens. I love the look of it, the leaves themselves almost look like they’ve been twisted and left to dry. Mao Jian Jade is a pan-fried green tea from the Fujian province.

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Preparation

DavidsTea recommends steeping Mao Jian Jade in hot water for 2-3 minutes. Their website describes “hot water” as being 75-80°C (167-176°F). I used my Breville IQ Kettle‘s green tea setting which is 175°F, and steeped this tea for just under 2 minutes.

First Taste

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Mao Jian Jade steeps to a very pale yellow. There’s a light salty, vegetal scent to the tea when I inhale it. On first taste, I’m surprised by the light sweetness in the tea which pairs very well with the salty vegetal flavours that remind me a lot still of salad greens. There’s just this freshness to the tea that’s delicious. It’s a very delicate tea, for sure and I find that there’s zero bitterness. Green teas are often fickle when it comes to being steeped. If the water is too hot or if the tea is steeped for too long, it can become unpalatable. If you’re having trouble with this one, I would recommend using cooler water with shorter steeping times. The result of a well steeped green tea is second to none.

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A Second Cup?

Mao Jian Jade does very well for subsequent steeps. I got seven resteeps in before it became too watery. The second steep was the strongest, I found, with it being much deeper in colour. This tea does well without added sweetener, and I would not add a creamer or milk to it at all.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved DavidsTea’s Mao Jian Jade. I’m a huge fan of any tea that resteeps well and holds its own, which Mao Jian Jade definitely rises to the occasion. I found that the tea was very tasty, it’s light and has a beautiful flavour to it. The complexity of the sweet with the salty really adds to the experience of drinking this. As a straight tea, especially one that tastes good, it’s moderately priced and isn’t going to break the bank. I would strongly recommend resteeping this one throughout the day to get the most out of it.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.