Warm Lemon Tea

Let’s talk tea and in particular Lemon Tea. There are very few things that bring that warm and fuzzy feeling – and warm lemon tea is one of them. I used to drink only chai. You know the brewed black tea with milk and brown sugar… and then I met Paul. He used to like chai but he loved  a lightly brewed black tea with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of honey (I use squeeze because he squeezed his way into my heart one lemon at a time and how ‘dash’ing he looked everytime I saw him). Oh sorry! This is a recipe blog! Ok so let’s get back to the point.

Warm Lemon Tea. I have experimented with this for many years… literally since I married Paul! However, I like one set of flavours and for Paul, it is a completely different set of flavours. In the Venn diagram of our lemon tea, the common area is limited, which is strange because in most other areas, we are very much overlapping.

Lemon Tea is actually nothing but tea with lemon juice added. But it is how we brew the tea that can make a whole lot of difference. The first 3 minutes of tea leaves being brewed releases caffeine similar to coffee but if you throw that out and brew the tea for the second time, you will be releasing tanine which is very calming.
Since you also don’t want a dark tea which can be bitter, you can achieve a brew which is both calming and light, by following my basic recipe below.

In a pot of boiling water, add in 2 Tablespoons of black tea.
Allow this to continue boiling, lowering the flame only slightly for 3 minutes.
Sieve this tea – you can keep the first boil for making chai or you can throw it out – entirely your choice.

Now in a pot of boiling water, put the tea leaves back in.
Allow to simmer until the colour is golden brown then sieve.
Add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice into this and sweeten to taste – I love brown sugar for the caramelly taste it infuses.

If you are using green tea, you can omit the step of using secondhand tea leaves.

So now to add the flavours – shall we go with my favourites first?
Thank you! Because when you see his choices which include gin and vodka, you will probably never get to reading about the ones I like.

1Tablespoons used tea (see above)
1 Mug water
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
zest of 1 lemon
Vanilla Sugar to taste

Recipe for vanilla Sugar
In a small canister I put caster sugar
I scrape 3 vanilla beans and I add the pod and the scrappings into the sugar.
Using dry finger tips, I rub the two together lightly
I just close the canister complete with the scrapings and the pods. The flavours will continue to infuse and the flavour will intensify.

The method is usually the same:
Boil the water – do not over boil as you will be left with much less than a mug if you do.
Add in the tea leaves and the lemon zest.
After about 2-3 minutes, you can sieve the tea.
Add in the lemon juice and sweeten with vanilla sugar

For this I just bring a mug of water to boil with 1 inch grated ginger,
then add in
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon Honey (or a bit more)
Cover until it is cool enough (still warm though) to sip

For this I chop an apple (cored and deseeded of course) – skin can be left on
and add the apple and the grated ginger into the water and bring it to boil together, allow to cook for another minute or so
Then switch of the flame and go back to the basic process – of course sieving out the apple and  tea
You can add a bit of cinnamon to the tea or you can use a cinnamon stick to stir your hot tea, slowly infusing the flavour into the tea
Sweeten with either vanilla sugar or honey.
If you wish to garnish with apple slices, use fresh slices and not the ones from the boil.

Now let’s talk about Paul’s choices – you will note that all the recipes of his preferences start with HOT instead of WARM – besides everything else we also like different temperatures for the first sip of our tea!!

1 Mug Water – boiled with second tea and 1/2 inch grated ginger
Put it in a mug, add
2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
sweeten to taste – he likes raw honey
Use a cinnamon stick to stir

We also have small bottles on our breakfast counter, which are filled with powdered turmeric and cayenne pepper. He adds any, either or both if he wishes to.

Basically the same. Boil the water with the  mint, lemon zest and the tea leaves.
To garnish use mint sprigs – the ones you have boiled will have turned brown so please use fresh ones

…and now to turn that into something he LOVES…
Make a mug of Lemon Tea the usual way – adding lemon zest and a bit of mint.
Now you want to add a shot (or two) of vodka into this. I am told it’s amazing and it’s supposedly better than the gin equivalent.

There is yet another recipe  which is very famous in Calcutta or Kolkata as it is nowadays called. Paul has a sister who lives in Calcutta and she was very excited to know her brother enjoyed lemon tea and wanted to make an ethnic Calcutta lemon tea for him. He didn’t really go for it but she loves and you might too!

In this case we are going to start with
2 Tablespoons or less Sugar
4 cups water

In a saucepan, add the sugar and top with water, watch it until the water forms bubbles, immediately add the tea leaves. Just simmer for a minute or it will turn bitter. Add in 2-3 Tablespoons of lemon juice.

Sieve it and add 3 Indian spices which you will be able to buy at any Indian store
1.   A generous pinch of dried ginger powder
2.  A less generous pinch of black salt (it smells until you put it in the hot tea)
3.  A pinch of jaljeera which is a cumin blend.

The caramel colour of the tea will change into a more yellowish colour.
Serve immediately.

All these recipes are “serve immediately” so take your time to enjoy the tea and when you are done, do come back and let me know if you enjoyed it!