Monday, May 3, 2010

Enjoying Tea & Scones

Allison at A Tasteful Garden shared a recipe for scones she found at and has had success with. Her post was featured in the Foodbuzz Top 9 today.

She mentions the experience of having dry tasteless scones. Whether they were made poorly or day old I can certainly say I have had this experience as well. I won't even profess to have made them well, although I have only tried a couple of times.

Tea comes to mind with the mention of scones and to pay homage to this classic pairing I will offer a couple of tea suggestions and preparation tips. Several books from my reading list these, as part of my sommelier training, have information about and from tea sommeliers which is very intriguing and worth closer study.

The traditional pairing would be an English Breakfast Tea, a blend of black teas often Assam and Ceylon. Black teas should be prepared using boiling (212F) water and steeped for five minutes for a full bodied and great tasting cup of tea. I personally use a small metal tea ball with two pieces that fit together. This can be used to place the loose tea to avoid tea leave in individual glasses. One teaspoon (thus its name) per 6-8 oz cup of tea is recomended. Tea can be made in this way in a pot for multiple servings or in a single cup.

The quality of the tea used does matter, and I am not tea expert or a tea snob, so buying loose tea of this type even from the local specialty food or coffee shop should provide a better cup of tea than the mass produced selections from the grocery store. Buying from a specialty tea merchant will most certainly be better and cost more.

Another recomendation is an Oolong tea, and specifically the Ti Kuan Yin variety, which should pair well with a range of of desserts. If peaches, apricots or apples were used in the scones instead black currants this match would be further enhanced. Oolong tea should be steeped in 190F water, higher than for green & white teas, but less than black teas speaking to its position in between the two. Steeping time should be between two and nine minutes depending on variety and desired taste. Formal preparation of Oolong tea has a fifteen step highly visual and ceremonial process to it, something I aspire to see one day. Preparing as I have described here is all that is needed for enjoyment. One teaspoon per cup is the recomended measure to this type of tea as well.

Whether you are having a tea party or a nice quiet moment to yourself a nicely brewed cup of tea and a scone will definitely bring a smile.



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