Tea with Miss T: Pomegranate Lychee Red Tea

Pomegranate Lychee Red Tea, originally uploaded by Ayala Moriel.

Our children learn from watching what we do more than any other way. Some habits and behaviours are just inevitably ingrained in us and we can't change much about them. Other things we pick up on the way and pass on to our kids as part of our daily routines - and what and how we eat plays a big role in family interactions.

So imagine how hard I was laughing when as a reflection of my elaborate tea parties, my daughter began throwing her own daily ritual tea every afternoon. There were a lot of treats around the house back than and they consisted of quite impressive menu for a couple of weeks. But after the holidays were over, the ritual stuck and every afternoon when little miss T comes home from school she immediately rushes into the kitchen, boils a kettle of tea and gets the pot ready, with... fruit!

First it started with blueberries and coconut, and than it became more and more elaborate. I would add the tea leaves, because otherwise it would just be half-cooked fruit juice diluted in water. Some of the inventions are quite out there - and others don't quite work.

This one turned out magnificent, and so I decided to start sharing with you daily teas that turn out here on SmellyBlog. As it turns out, in Asia, brewing fruity teas is widespread custom (bubble tea, anyone?). So miss T is certainly on to something...

In the picture above, is a lychee congou tea brewed with about 2 Tbs of pomegranate seeds. The sweetness of that particular pomegranate made it really delicious. Pomegranate could be rather sour when brewed.

Recalling Loquats, Discovering Lychee

Walking by Stanley Park's Pitch & Putt the other day, I stumbled upon a blooming bush from the Fabaceae family.
And like I do with most flowers I’ve never seen before, I usually give them a little shake with my nose and say hello – just to learn if they have a scent or not. As it turns out, these nice yellow clusters, the size of lilac’s own blooming clusters, had a very familiar scent.

Many people can recognize a scent right away if they smelled it before. They may not be able to describe it or identify it, but it’s as if the molecules of the scent attach themselves to some part of our brain that they’ve stirred before, and zoom straight in there like magnets. Most people, however, will experience the olfactory equivalence of “a the tip of the tongue” phenomenon: the know it, but can’t name it. A perfumer, however, will most likely be able to recognize the scent right away or within seconds.

While I can’t identify the botanical name of this flower for you right this second, I could tell you instantly that they smelled of ripe, sweet, juicy, fragrant, organically-grown and not-over watered loquats! And to be perfectly precise, ones that were picked and peeled on a cooler spring day (perhaps early morning), rather than warmed-up by a hot April sun (which would have bring their sweetness into a jam-like density).

For a girl who grew up spending most of her spring break stapling brown paper-bags around loquat clusters (to hide them from the greedy birds!), I can tell you that nothing can be more disappointing the market or store bought loquats. They just won’t cut it.

And what’s the lychee got to do with that, you may ask? Well, It will only serve you right to share you this little odd piece of information that I just discovered last weekend: I discovered lychee in one of my perfumes!

One of the things I like the most about interacting with customers directly in events and markets is, that I can gain some of their insights into my scents and get another perspective in a most spontaneous and honest manner. Jenny, one of the two talented fashion designers of Two of Hearts, was visiting me last Sunday at Porotbello West and as she was browsing the perfume collection, she tried Cabaret. Her immediate reaction was “lychee!”. And when I smelled it again, with that notion, I could not for the life of me understand how come I did not make that connection earlier.

That being said, the power of suggestion should not be underestimated. For example, beginner perfumers are warned of an effect called “tunneling” when they create a perfume to match an existing one (a task equivalent to requesting a musician to play a tune “by ear”). The danger in doing so is that tunneling gives one the impression that the two resemble each other more than they actually do.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Geranium-Lychee Iced Tea

As promised, my recipe for a most refreshing and exotic iced tea that will help you cool off in this unusual heat wave that swept British Columbia this July. We consider anything above 10 celsius is "beautiful day" and anything around room temperature as "hot". So you can imagine we are not quite set up for 30 celsius and over (today is expected to go as high as 32!).
Using a high quality tea is key to the success of this tea. I prefer to use Inner Alchemy's Moonbeam Glory, which is quite fancy and a beautiful tea on its own rights; besides the delicious lychee, it also has dried wild blueberries in it and natural flavour of black currants, wild blueberries and blackberries. But if you can also use a high quality rose or lychee congou (it is not easy to come across the real thing but well worth the search).

2 tsp. Lychee or Rose Congou
1 Liter boiling water
3 tsp. sugar (optional)
1 Liter lychee juice (I use Dewlands' Litchi juice, which is sweetened only with white grape juice and is yummy!)
2 Freshly picked pelargonium (geranium) leaves. Rose geranium or lemon-scented geranium is the best

Bring water to a boil. Steep the tea leaves for 5 minutes. Sweeten with sugar if desired and bring to room temperature. Add the lytchee juice. Rub the geranium leaves slightly between your palms to release their aroma and add to the juice and tea. Refrigerate and serve with plenty of ice for a cooling and energizing summer drink. I took this to the beach yesterday in a thermos with lots of ice and it was fantastic!

Tropical Tea Party - The Beverages

Although a tea party, the beverages were not restricted to tea only. Here is what we had:
The Charisma house blend of jasmine green tea, osmanthus blossoms and freshly picked herb from my patio - spearmint, lemon verbena and lemongrass!

Magnolia Oolong Tea - one of my favourites, from Murchie's.

Iced tea - of Lychee Black Tea (I used Inner Alchemy's Moonbeam Glory, which also is flavoured with other berries), only slightly sweetened and mixed with lychee juice and a couple of fresh lemon-geranium-leaves (also from my patio!). A full recipe will be posted here at a later date.

Coconut Milk + Lychee Juice was another refreshing drink, although without any tea involved.

And of course - tea tasting from my line of teas.
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