It's Tea Time...Again!
I haven’t had hot tea in six months. Yes, you read that right — it’s been that long because of my food allergy elimination diet. I went from someone who has had high tea in London, loves to indulge in afternoon tea in the U.S. and drink at least a cup a day at home to someone who refuses to drink it because I couldn’t stomach the thought of tea without lemon (I’m allergic to citric acid). But, that closed-mindedness is now over. Because I missed the soothing nature so much, it became my mission to find a way to drink tea without lemon. I started my process by googling alternative flavors to add to tea. I decided to try milk — not sure why I never tried this before because it is always a part of tea service — and chocolate. Yes, chocolate. Full disclosure here, I am a chocolate lover but I was a little alarmed and slightly turned off when I read this suggestion, but I was willing to go on this journey anyway.
Backstory: I don’t drink milk on its own or even with my morning cereal (yes, I eat dry cereal … don’t judge me). So, I went into this just knowing that I would not like it. I tried milk with Harney & Sons Earl Grey Tea … it was tolerable — but it also wasn’t something that would satisfy my craving. Then I tried 1 teaspoon of milk and 2 teaspoons of sugar with Harney & Sons Royal English Breakfast, and I loved it! I read the tea tin and sure enough it says that this tea is best served with milk and sugar. Never in a million years would I have thought that milk in my tea would be something that I could actually enjoy, but I was pleasantly surprised.
I started off by trying Harney & Sons Peppermint Tea w/chocolate. My thought process here was that I love peppermint patties, so maybe this wouldn’t be so bad. False — it was tasteless and the appearance wasn’t appealing either. It looked like dirty tap water. Then I tried Lipton Black Tea w/chocolate. This wasn’t horrible, but honestly it tasted like a watery hot cocoa. If I want hot cocoa, I will just make hot cocoa — no need to waste a tea bag. As much as I love chocolate, I think it’s safe to say that this just wasn’t my cup of tea.
I didn’t read online that vanilla extract would be a good addition to hot tea, but I thought I would just experiment. The key with vanilla is not to add too much, so I only added ¼ teaspoon to Harney & Sons Royal English Breakfast Tea to be safe, as well as 2 teaspoons of sugar. This concoction wasn’t too bad, but I knew it could be better, so I added 1 teaspoon of honey just to see what that did to the flavor. These ingredients created the perfect cup of tea — it was like Christmas in a cup.
The Moral of the Story
The lesson I learned from this tea challenge is that even though you’re allergic to a particular ingredient, substitutions should be your friend in food prep. You might just discover something satisfying and delicious. I did.