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It's not "life's illusions", but "life's infusions" that I recall!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Perfect Proper Cup of Tea

This is a subject I have avoided.  Most long time tea drinkers have their favorite brewing methods and it would be presumptuous of me to instruct them on the "How To's" of steeping tea! And I guarantee there are probably as many techniques for the "perfect cup" of tea as there are tea drinkers!

However, if you are new to the world of "loose" tea...tea that doesn't come in a bag with a little string and tag attached...then perhaps a few helpful hints will insure your success.

***Use loose tea*** Usually loose tea is better quality than tea in a tea bag.  Broken leaves or leaf "dust" is what goes into tea bags.

***Add tea to teapot***Using an infuser or tea filter measure about one teaspoon per cup into the teapot.  If you have a 4 cup teapot, you would add 4 teaspoons of tea.  I usually add a little extra because I like a full bodied tea. You will have to experiment and decide how you like your tea. In some tea circles the loose leaves are deposited directly into the teapot and a strainer is used when pouring the tea into a cup.  I prefer the filter or infuser method...much easier to clean and the tea doesn't become bitter.

***Water and Time*** Heat the water to boiling for black tea & steep between 3-5 minutes.

Cool water slightly for Oolong tea and steep between 2-5 minutes.  Oolong can be steeped again using the same leaves.

Cool water to about 180 degrees for green tea. Steep between 2-4 minutes.

If you are using a white tea you only need the temperature of the water to reach about 165 degrees and steep it  between 3-7 minutes.

If you use water that is too hot for green or white tea, it will become bitter.

Milk, lemon, or sugar can be added if you desire.  Milk is not generally added to green, Oolong or herbal teas.

Store unused tea leaves in an airtight container.

And now you have one method of making a perfect proper cup of tea!  Make a pot of your favorite tea and enjoy!


Happy Infusions,



Friday, May 14, 2010

Award Winning Chocolates....Lillie Belle Farms

Traveling north on I-5 we took a short detour into Central Point, Oregon.

Being a chocolate lover, it is difficult to drive past a sign like this without stopping!


The factory-retail store is an inconspicuous looking building.


Inside though, there is a multitude of incredibly finely crafted Artisian Chocolates.  Over 60 different flavors of caramels, truffles and bon-bons!

Owner and Master Chocolatier, Jeff Shepherd uses organic raspberries, strawberries and marionberries which are grown on his family's farm only a coulple of miles from the store.

We purchased several wonderful chocolates. My Sweet Husband chose a Chilpolte Ganache, a dark chocolate infused with smokey hot sweetness of chilpolte pepper.

I picked three little "chocolate cups".....


A dreamy Lemon Buttercup....tart fresh lemon buttercream in a white chocolate cup.

Maker's Mark Cup..................decadent cup filled with pecan butter, dark chocolate and Maker's Mark

Whisky ganache topped with a large caramelized pecan.

Margarita Cup........................margarita buttercream in a dark chocolate cup with "salted rim".

I managed to arrive home with the chocolates untouched.  But once I made a pot of tea....oh I savored every morsel of chocolate with every sip of tea!

Chocolates and tea are perfect companions!

If you aren't heading North any time soon, you can order these award winning chocolates on line.


Happy Infusions.....enjoy with chocolates!