Creating the Ultimate Holiday Tea Latte

I have had colleagues describe me as being a little bit extra when I talked about the tea lattes I’ve made at home for myself. A couple weeks ago, one of my fellow nurses was making a cup of tea during night shift. Which led me to talk about what I made the last time I had that tea (spoiler alert: it was delicious and over the top). I’m all about making my tea lattes pretty and pretty tasty, and this guide for the Ultimate Holiday Tea Latte is really no exception to that rule.

The flavour that I’m all about during the holiday season is peppermint. It is a very winter/holiday flavour that I think a lot of people are familiar with. I love peppermint in my black tea blends, in my hot chocolate, and in candy cane form. There’s just something quintessential about peppermint and the winter holidays and that’s why it’s the basis for my Ultimate Holiday Tea Latte. This article is more of a guide or a how-to instead of a recipe.

Ingredients for this Ultimate Holiday Tea Latte include:

Black tea (either straight or blended with peppermint)
Sweetener of your choice
Milk or dairy-free alternative
Decorations (crushed candy canes, coloured sugar, sprinkles)

To start, make a cup of strong black tea – I use a bit more tea leaves than I would if I wasn’t planning to add milk to it. You can choose a plain black tea, or a black tea blend that already contains peppermint (either in dried leaf or extract/natural flavouring form) and then steep in 100°C (212°F) water for 3 to 5 minutes.

If you’re using a straight black tea, you can add peppermint extract after the tea has steeped. A little goes a long way when it comes to extract, you’ll want to add 1 or 2 drops only. You can always add more extract if needed, but you can’t take away if you pour in half the bottle. Be like Scrooge when it comes to your peppermint extract and be stingy!

Add your sweetener, sweeten to taste and personal preference. I still have some peppermint flavoured agave at a big chain tea store, but you can use honey, sugar, agave syrup – pretty much anything your heart desires. You can read up on different types of sweeteners here. You can also flavour your agave or honey directly with peppermint extract if you’re going to be using it a lot (again, be like Scrooge when it comes to flavouring anything with extract!).

Froth up some milk. Use your preferred method – I use the mason jar method a lot because that’s the equipment that I have on hand. For a little bit of extra holiday cheer, you can opt to use eggnog or whipped cream. It’s a bit more calorie-heavy, but it is the holidays so why not indulge a little bit? Nobody is saying to drink it like this every day…. Or are they? (Side note: I was introduced to chai lattes made with eggnog this year and it is delicious and really tastes like the holidays in a cup, minus the fact that it’s missing peppermint.)

Top the frothed milk with crushed candy canes, coloured sugar, or sprinkles. This really helps set the mood, and make it all the more festive while really putting your tea latte at the top of its holiday game.

And if you’re feeling particularly generous, make a second cup to share. Happy holidays, tea friends!

If you happen to make an Ultimate Holiday Tea Latte that’s at the top of its holiday game, share it on Instagram and tag me so I can see! @onemoresteep #onemoresteep

DIY: Tea Advent Calendar

I have been on the hunt for the perfect tea advent calendar. While my local dollar store has a chocolate advent calendar for the low, low price of $1, there are many tea advent calendars available out there that are full of tea. Tea sachets, loose leaf tea, matcha – the sky is the limit, but there is no limit on price! I’ve come across tea advent calendars that vary anywhere from $35 to $150 (after currency conversion, although I did not take into account the shipping costs or potential customs & duties). But goodness gracious, I just don’t have it in me to drop $150 on a calendar, regardless of how good it may or may not be.

It may not surprise you that I have a lot of tea in my tea stash. So when faced with the idea of buying a $150 advent calendar, which was really enticing, it was pointed out to me that I had enough teas to come up with my very own custom DIY Tea Advent Calendar.

At first I protested, because there was just no way that I had 24 teas to have for the first 24 days of December. And then, upon reevaluation of my tea stash, I realized that I doth protest too much. I could easily come up with 24 teas that I would love to have over the course of the month. And that’s not even including the new-to-me tea that I purchased at the Vancouver Tea Festival earlier this month – should I be embarrassed at this point? Should I just embrace my tea enthusiast lifestyle? Anyways, I opted to do a 24 day Tea Advent Calendar because I’m going to be having Christmas morning at my parents’ house, and having tea with them (and they have a huge tea stash too! The apple does not fall far from the tree). I do love the idea of having a tea designated for Christmas morning, so if you’re wanting to do a 25 day Tea Advent Calendar that is totally okay too!

Of course, since I am putting together a tea calendar for myself, I know exactly what teas will be appearing throughout the month (if you continue to scroll down, I list out the teas that will be featured throughout the month of December – not in order).

For your very own DIY Tea Advent Calendar, you will need:

24 or 25 teas in sachet format or loose leaf
24 or 25 filter bags to fill yourself (if the tea is not in sachet format)*
24 or 25 envelopes
Number stickers, number stamps, or a marker
Holiday-themed stickers
Box or tray to hold everything

* If you’re going this route, don’t forget to include information about the tea on a piece of paper and tuck it into the envelope unless you’re into the idea of mystery tea! Some information you’ll probably want to know: type of tea, steeping temperature, steeping time. If the tea company doesn’t provide you with steeping instructions, check out my guide to Steeping Times for Different Teas!

I am using a mix of commercially made tea sachets and loose leaf teas. My first task was to decorate the 24 envelopes, because I consider that to be the more ‘fun’ aspect of this project. I stacked the envelopes and shuffled them with the number side facing down so I was blissfully unaware of which date I was filling. I stuffed the envelopes, sealed them with an appropriate holiday sticker, and then arranged them in numerical order. My DIY Tea Advent Calendar is now sitting by my kettle, waiting eagerly for December 1st so I can drink my daily cup of tea.

You still have time to put together your very own DIY Tea Advent Calendar! Or give as a gift to your favourite person! This whole process took me about half an hour – not including the purchasing of the tea.

If you’re short on tea, I recommend picking up a sampler box of tea sachets from your local tea shop or grocery store as it’ll help round out your 24 (25) teas. You can find envelopes, stickers, and markers at your local dollar store if you don’t have any on hand – or you can raid your favourite child’s arts & crafts box for the goods.

Continue reading “DIY: Tea Advent Calendar”