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Monday, January 31, 2011

Cinnamon Spice Tea

Once upon a time my mother discovered the most wonderful tea in the world: Market Spice Tea, which comes from Pike Place Market in Seattle. For a while it was sold in a little tea shop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but eventually disappeared and my mother was driven to write to the company and start ordering it in bulk herself so that she and my dad could continue enjoying their nightly cup of tea after dinner.
Fast forward about 15 years and I'm out in Montana, away from the taste of home. I discovered the SECOND-best tea in the world-- Good Earth's Sweet & Spicy Original Caffeine Free (which actually does taste different from the caffeinated version because it uses rooibus tea as the base, and the caffeinated version uses black tea). This was great news for me...until two weeks ago. I ran out and the nearest store that sells it is half an hour away and I had nothing else on my list to warrant the drive. A week later, I did my shopping a day early, without properly filling out my list...AND THE TEA WAS FORGOTTEN! This will likely be the longest week of my life. Last week I at least had some other flavors to keep me company. This week, my cupboard is empty.
So I did what any rational human would do. I went to the cafeteria and stole a plain lipton tea bag. Then I came home and googled recipes. And now, I must share my discoveries with you.
The necessary ingredients are as follows:
A tea bag, an orange, and some form of cinnamon. You'll also need a mug and a grater. A toaster oven, funnel, and coffee filter also come in handy.
  1. Grate the peel off the orange. I used the biggest size grater, because I've seen big chunks of orange rind in teas before and I didn't think it would get too bitter. It didn't! 
  2. Lightly grease the little tray that fits in the toaster oven, and spread out the orange peel on it. I used two oranges and got about a tablespoon from each. 
  3. I toasted at about 250 degrees for 20 minutes (ish). 
  4. Boil some water. I wanted to test ground cinnamon and cinnamon extract (because the recipe called for crushed cinnamon sticks, but I didn't have any), so I used 1 1/2 cups water total
  5. In the measuring cup is the water, the tea bag, and 1/2 tsp orange peel (which is really hard to measure, so just guess!)
  6. In each cup is 1/16 tsp of either ground cinnamon or cinnamon extract
  7. Once the tea had steeped a little bit, I split the tea between the two mugs
  8. The ground cinnamon was better, but was WAY too weak, so I dumped all the tea back into the measuring cup and added another 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon. Then I microwaved it to get a little more flavor out of it.
  9. Lastly, I used the funnel and coffee filter to strain out the ground cinnamon and orange peel.
The verdict: I need to get some cinnamon sticks. I'm sure the taste will be way better. The tea was still a LOT weaker than the world's greatest Market Spice Tea, but it was close enough to keep me from crying! Next time I might add even more orange peel, and possibly in bigger chunks, including more of the white from the rind. I'll keep you posted on the developments, but won't post a recipe till I get it right!

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