I’ve had a lovely and complex relationship with tea for as long as I can remember. Growing up, we usually had iced tea with dinner. Occasionally I would drink hot tea but it was not, as yet, my “thing”.
During college I took part in a mission trip to Moldova, where we had hot tea with slightly Americanized European breakfast every morning (they fried us eggs to go with the typical cheese/bread/meats spread each day, because they were insanely hospitable and “know Americans like to eat eggs with breakfast”). Which was a beautiful experience (if you’ve never had a European breakfast, I highly recommend it. Immediately and often). The summer of the following year I did my internship with a ministry that worked on an Apache reservation in Arizona. Which naturally meant (along with a brief Diet Coke habit I’m happy to have kicked relatively quickly) a LOT of iced tea. Like all day. Every day. (I don’t know if you’ve heard, but summer in Arizona isn’t the most chill experience.)
From then on tea was definitely my thing. In every way possible. Every kind of tea at every temperature is welcome and requested.
I’ve always had a soft spot, though, for Earl Grey. Hot. (Or iced, actually. Even lukewarm. Just throwing one out there to my fellow nerds.)
I’ve sampled every brand and kind of Earl Grey I can get my hands on (and you may have noticed I’m the kind of person who goes to tea festivals and seeks out hippie stores, so there are a lot of options to get my hands on). Right now, my favorite is Stash’s Double Bergamot Earl Grey.
It’s everything the name suggests: bold, full flavored, dark, comforting, energizing, freaking beautiful. It’s great with breakfast or a pick-me-up snack in the early afternoon (around 3 I have to switch to decaf or herbal because no one wants to see LB on full caffeine for that much of the day).
As a bonus, it’s particularly good for making Earl Grey hot chocolate with (just try it. It will change your life):
Option 1: you can just brew some Earl Grey and mix hot cocoa mix into it.
- Bring around 3-4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan of relative good size (not a huge stock pot, but not a handled small version, either. I use what I think of as our potato pot, but if you’re not from Idaho like I am that might not be a thing/make any sense). Turn it off and toss in a couple of bags of Earl Grey. Let it steep while you complete the following two steps.
- In a small mixing bowl, begin to mix 1/4 cup of honey (or more to taste; I like my drinks not to be super sweet) with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 4-6 tablespoons of cocoa powder. You’ll reach a point where you can’t really incorporate them any further.
- At this point, add a teaspoon of vanilla and a few teaspoons of water (until you can mix it all together).
- Remove the tea bags from the pot and scrape the cocoa concoction into the Earl Grey. Turn the burner back on to low-medium and pour in enough milk for it to look your preferred shade of “hot cocoa-y”.
- Heat it to your preferred drinking temperature and enjoy.
If you make this, let me know how you like it!
Do you have a favorite homemade hot cocoa recipe?