Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Peaches vs Dairy
On the Vancouver wet west coast, there is a lot of rain. One might saw you could also go to a beach, and say there is a lot of sand. The first probably being truer.
Oh....I wish I could go to that beach. A sunny beach. A sunny warm beach with none of this whishy washy rain that might turn to snow but just remains cold and slushy.
So, what do you do when it is cold and miserable and you are craving the warm days of summer? Well, try drinking a summery tea for one thing! My boyfriend and I were at a small grocery store, and saw this lovely peach of a tea: Stash's Peach Black Tea!
Upon finding this tea, I was intrigued. It is a black tea, and you can add dairy and sugar to black tea. Could it be added to this tea?
Any tea drinker out there has added milk/cream to a nice cup of tea, and found it curdled up at the top at least once in their life. I personally had this experience with a blueberry herbal tea, and my mother made me drink it anyways. Even as a young girl I knew you could never put dairy in a citrus tea/tisane as that was just asking for it to chunk up, but blueberries?
(just a refresher, herbal teas aren't actually teas because they don't include the plant camellia sinensis—or tea. They should be called tisanes.)
Now I am no science teacher, and neither will I give you a science lesson, but I will say milk curdles because of the acidity in the blueberries, and that changes the pH in the milk/cream and causes it to coagulate.
In fact, all these fruits are acidic, and will most likely cause you milk/cream to curdle: apples, blueberries, cherries, grapes, grapefruit, nectarines, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, and raspberries.
Another thing will cause dairy to curdle is pouring it right into boiling water. The heat will do the trick, even if you have a regular old black tea. If you find this a problem, add your milk/cream first, and add the boiling water slowly to gradually warm it up.
If you aren't putting milk into boiling water, you are drinking a regular old black tea, and it is still lumpy, then your milk/cream is bad. For goodness sake, throw that dairy out!
Now if you do make the citrus tea mistake, and you see your tea curdled, you can do one of three things:
1) Throw it out and start again. And this time, don't add any milk! Or use whole milk/cream, as it has a higher threshold for clumping.
2) Scoop out all the curds you can see. The milk/cream hasn't gone bad, just changed consistency. Water still tastes the same frozen, doesn't it? You might have to keep scooping throughout your drinking experience.
3) Just drink it all. The texture will be off, you might have to chew your tea, and you might not want to drink blueberry tisane ever again, but it won't kill you.
Well you might have noticed peaches in the list of acidic fruits. If you had a herbal tisane full of peaches and added milk/cream, it would curdle. But a black tea is a different sort of beast. To a point, you can add dairy to black teas and not have to worry about the consequences. On the other hand, some very bitter teas, or a strong Earl Grey(with the bergamot oils) will curdle milk.
Indeed, I was very curious about this tea.
Upon opening the box, I grew concerned. Ever open a bag of peach candies? That overwhelming PEACH smell? That's what greeted my nose. The smell was strong, but would it curdle the cream?
I made two cups, added sugar, and poured the cream in. It swirled, and twirled and mixed perfectly. No curdling! Got to love the black teas!
As for the actual tea? Well, it wasn't nearly as strong tasting as it smelled (they never are). By the time I put cream and sugar in it, it smelled like a peach perfume. Depending on the person, I suppose that could or could not be appetizing, The peach taste was there, but on the whole I think it would have made a better tisane.
What I am absolutely sure about, is that this tea would make an amazing iced tea come summer time. Oy.
Maybe I just need to go to a warm sunny beach now, and bring some Stash's Peach Black Tea with me.
Tea available at most grocery stores!