Sunday, August 19, 2012

How Do I Brew Thee, Tea?

I have searched far and wide about brewing, nah, I just searched in the Internet about brewing tea. There are a lot of styles and ways but for me it only boils (pun not intended) down to two kinds: Boil then steep and/or boil-while-steeping.

A.) Boil then steep is more commonly done. You use teapots or other containers such as a coffee press.

1 - Boil water. No duh. Prepare your stuff while waiting for water to cool down by a few degrees.
2 - Pour water into your teapot or coffee press to heat it then dispose this water.
3 - Add teaspoons-full of leaves. One teaspoon for every person and another for the pot. (Actually this depends on you. I usually put 3 teaspoons all for myself, haha.)
4 - Pour the water and let your tea steep. (Check the steeping time below, depending on your tea.)
5 - Prepare your mugs/cups and then wait for your tea.
6 - Freaking enjoy your drink.
My Weekend in Venice tea steeped using the coffee press.

B.) Although less common, I prefer doing this because of the temperature, using our handy-dandy old school percolator. It works for black tea because as I have read it can be brewed in not just hot water, but truly boiling water.

1 - Put filtered water in your percolator. Oh God, don't use your socks in filtering water from the faucet.
2 - Add tea leaves (same for me, 2-3 teaspoons of leaves).
Teehee, yummy Chocolate Tea from TWG.
3 - Turn the stove on and watch the water boil and pass through the strainer/holder again and again.
Patience is a virtue.
4 - Let it cool for a while or you can pour your tea into your mugs/cups right away, if preferred.
5 - Enjoy your tea! Be careful though, this one's piping hot!

So a rundown of steeping time and temperature:

Black tea (as well as red/rooibos tea) - boiling water; 4-6 minutes
Oolong tea - less than boiling water (190F); 5-8 minutes
White tea - less than boiling water (180F); 4-6 minutes
Green tea - slightly cooler water (150-160F); 2-4 minutes
Herbal tea - can be steeped using boiling water; 5 minutes (but this varies as there are a lot of blends available)

You can check out this link for other ways of brewing, too. :)
Since we're here already, let's include the caffeine content of tea as well. A cup of the following has a range of caffeine (based from thefragrantleaf site):

Black Tea: 23 - 110mg
Oolong Tea: 12 - 55mg
Green Tea: 8 - 36mg
White Tea: 6 - 25mg

Although I basically have no idea how much caffeine those are, just think that drip-brewed arabica coffee has around 80-130mg of caffeine.Your herbal teas are pretty much safe from caffeine. So you can drink a lot of those to calm your nerves, or basically try sleeping instead.

If you want to enjoy your tea at night and still need your sleep, steep your tea in hot water for 45 seconds and then discard that. They said that 80% of the caffeine will be extracted within the first 30 seconds of steeping, so after throwing out the initial tea, add water to your leaves and brew again. :)

Monday, August 06, 2012

Alcohol Shelf Life - Expiration

So my friend asked me if alcohol expires. I initially told her no (unopened of course), I treat them just like chocolates. And yet I still had to search for it because I'm wired that way. So here's the best answer I got for one of life's FAQs, "Does alcohol expire?" This is taken from this forum.

And it is just plain sad. I've heard that I can't take alcohol in because I'm under antibiotic medication. Booooooooooo.

Guideline for Shelf Life

Here is a simple guideline for the shelf life of different types of alcohol:

Cream-based Liquors - these types of liquors can curdle from the heat, so normally do not last very long after being opened. You should always check to see if your Bailey's has curdled before drinking it and usually you should toss it out a few months after being opened and unused.

Bourbon - Since it has so much alcohol in it, normally you can keep it for years even if it has been opened. Normally the spirits that are pure alcohol can all stay in your cabinet for many years without going bad.

Rum, Scotch, Whiskey, and Vodka - These all have a long shelf life because of the high alcohol content in them. They will be even better if they are left unopened, but normally you can keep these for a few years once opened.

Wine - Once wine is opened, it is best to keep it for at most a week. Wine ages gracefully, however not once it is opened. It will have a very stale taste once it hits the one week mark, so it is best to toss it then.

Beer - You normally want to drink it before it gets warm, which means once you open it you generally want to drink it within a couple hours. So toss the can of beer that you didn't finish last night.

If you have opened, unfinished alcohol, do not fret. Just call a few friends to come over and your problems over alcohol expiring will be over in just a few minutes.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Let them drink Butterbeer!

No, still not writing about the Olympics (although I've been flooding Twitter about it). So instead, I'll just post random shizzles just like I normally do.

Well, well, well. When asked about the famous Butterbeer from the Harry Potter series, my friend and I were trying to win an argument if it's served cold or warm. Since we just like to throw quips and banters at each other, I know no one would win the argument. So I asked a teammate whom I know is really into Harry Potter if butterbeer should be cold or warm. She gave me the link to an HP-Lexicon and it says


Very popular drink served cold in bottles or hot by the mug ("foaming tankards of hot butterbeer") at the Three BroomsticksHouse-elves can get drunk on butterbeer, but it doesn't have that effect on humans (GF21).
Available at the Hog's Head for two Sickles a bottle (OP16).
How is butterbeer made and what does it taste like? When asked about this by "Bon Appetit" magazine, JKR responded: "I made it up. I imagine it to taste a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch."

So no one has an idea how it tastes like, save from the unabridged trilogy-worthy description that the author gave. Hence, the recipe that (which is a really good site) gave can still be legit! Yay! Now to ask my friend to recreate it.

Hogsmeade Butter Beer
makes 1 serving

1 can Cold cream soda
3-4 tbsp Caramel Syrup
Whip Cream

1. Pour cream soda and caramel syrup into a huge glass mug.
2. Stir well.
3. Top with Whip Cream.

1. You can add extra caramel syrup on top of whip cream for extra sweetness.
2. For real beer drinkers, mix 1/2 can cream soda and 1/2 bottle of light beer.

Another friend, Lance, tried to do a "muggle version" with homemade caramel, cream soda, light beer, and whipped cream. Then served it with Bruschetta (toasted bread with garlic, cheese, and olive oil). He noted that it tastes a bit like rootbeer float but has a sweet kick. @#%$^%&^%*$* I want one.