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Hot water + ______ = a nice drink

Well, now that the weather is getting warmer, this means that the office is getting colder... WAY too cold, in fact! Since everyone else seems to be eskimoes and enjoy it, I wrap up in my blanket and drink hot drinks... yep, that's right, even in August! I've been trying to drink less caffeinated drinks and less dark drinks (trying, being the key word), so I was thinking of some good combos that I could make up at home. The first thing I thought of was hot water steeped with a little bit of honey, lime zest, and grated ginger, so I'm going to give that a shot this week. Anyone have any other interesting ideas?

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  1. ... with Japanese Umeshu (sweet plum wine). I do a half-half ratio and it's fantastic!

    3 Replies
    1. re: foodslut

      Might want to pass on the wine at work... might lower the work productivity:)

      Cinnamon stick added to the steeping would be tasty. Even a little black peppercorn--you've got something very close to chai.

      I've been drinking more rooibos, honeybush and hibiscus at work. All without caffeine all have some of their own sweetness.

      1. re: drmimi

        Yeah, I have a hard enough time staying awake at work without wine!!

        1. re: drmimi

          I was also thinking about steeping a cinnamon stick. Perhaps combine with cardamom? And/or just a hint of vanilla?

          I'm a big fan of steeping ginger root, though I have a bad habit of including a bit of brown sugar.

      2. How about Raspberry and Rosehip Tea by Taylors of Harrogate? It's really delicious (I get 50 bags for appr $8-9). It's delicious hot or cold. In summer I make pitchers of it to keep in the fridge. At work I have it hot, or if I forget about it or get called away, it's delicious at room temp or cold. Has a nice clean taste. Highly recommend it!
        http://www.amazon.com/Taylors-Harroga...

        1. A handful of dried cranberries infuse nicely into hot water (I find it's plenty sweet without any additional sweetener, since the dried cranberries usually have some sweetener added) A couple cloves or a cardamom pod makes it kind of nice (though maybe a little christmas-y?)

          I make ginger tea with honey too, but prefer to use sliced ginger so I can strain it out more easily (gets a bit overpowering to have the pieces, if your ginger is potent)

          If you live near a japanese or korean supermarket, pick up some roasted barley and you can make some big jugs of barley tea-- good hot or cold...

          And for a salty rather than sweet drink, umeboshi tea is one of my all-time faves:
          http://www.mitoku.com/recipes/index/u...
          (The recipe uses kukicha, which has a small amount of caffeine, but less than others; you might be able to use decaf green tea instead)

          11 Replies
          1. re: another_adam

            I've seen big cellophane bags of tea and apparently barley at the Asian market - how do you make it?

            1. re: waver

              If it's a big bag of roasted barley (mugi in Japanese, bori in Korean), take a handful of it and put it in a pot, pour about four cups of water in, bring to a boil and then let steep for a while. (You can simmer it while it steeps, or just turn it off and let it sit). Strain into a pitcher and serve hot, or cool and serve chilled. Adjust the size of the handful and steeping time until it's done to your liking!

              1. re: waver

                You might be talking about genmai cha, which is green tea with roasted brown rice in it...I'm drinking it right now!! It's delicious and toasty tasting.

                1. re: prunefeet

                  I love that tea. It's surprising how roasted brown rice adds that extra flavor. Darn, there's a great word in Taiwanese for it but there's not one in English but it has to do with extra good scent/taste/aroma.

                  1. re: prunefeet

                    Just to clarify: it looks like we're talking about two distinct things (barley tea, which has nothing but barley, and brown rice tea, which is normally mixed with green tea) Looking back at waver's question, it might indeed be referring to brown rice (genmai) tea. (Not sure if the tea and barley being referred to were in the same bag, or different bags) Both are nice, but brown rice tea has caffeine, which the OP was wanting to avoid.

                    There are lots of other great "relatives" of both types; Korean markets often sell corn tea in addition to barley tea, which is sort of like drinking a nice hot mug of popcorn :) Like genmai chai, there is also houji cha (another roasted tea), and lots of variations. (Tthe differences in taste can be quite subtle.)

                    1. re: another_adam

                      Thanks Adam, I would like to try some more of these roasty tasting teas. I'm not mad about sweet or tart teas these days...by the way, genmai cha has caffeine but not a lot.

                      1. re: another_adam

                        well, I'm definitly going to try both, but indeed the stuff that grabbed my attention was a combination of things in one bag: tea leaves and I guess rice. Do I prepare the same way as you said for the barley?

                        1. re: waver

                          For genmai cha, just steep as any other green tea (in a bag or in a mesh filter, or in water and then pour through a strainer) Some get a bit bitter if you steep too long, so be sure to test from time to time during steeping to figure out how long to steep it to your liking!
                          Barley tea can be steeped for a longer time, or boiled in the water for a while. (Since it's a grain, it's more robust and takes more to extract the flavor than from the tea leaves)

                  2. re: another_adam

                    I have to ask because I am so curious. What does roasted barley "tea" taste like?

                    1. re: QueenB

                      Hmmm, it's a little hard to describe. Roasty and toasty and kind of .... clean and refreshing. I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't like it when they encounter it, so you are probably fairly safe buying some to try, if curious :) (There are also packets in tea bags for more convenient preparation, which are totally fine but sometimes not quite as nice a flavor)

                      1. re: QueenB

                        I've enjoyed it since I was a teen and friends introduced me to it, but my friend had it for the first time recently and was disgusted. He asked for ice water and was given iced barley tea. He drank it, but after dinner complained that if he'd wanted dirty barley water he would have asked for it.

                        It tastes like grain cooked in water. If you can imagine horchata without sugar, or like soy milk without sugar, you won't be far off.

                    2. I was thinking about some herbs too... maybe something with lavendar or rosemary or sage? Might be too strong, but I could not let them steep as long...

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Katie Nell

                        Here's a recipe for Sage Tea from Herbs in the Kitchen:

                        1 qt water (it specifies spring water)
                        1/2 c. packed fresh sage leaves
                        3 Tb sage honey
                        1 lemon or lime
                        Bring water just to boil; pour over sage. Stir in honey and lemon or lime juice (to taste). Steep about 20 minutes. Strain.

                        1. re: debbiel

                          watch out for sage (as well as other flowers such as chrysanthemum) teas- if you have hayfever, you could end up a itchy eye, runny nosed. I found this out the hard way this weekend taking "throat coat" tea. Forget to look at the ingredients- sage is one of my nemesis

                      2. Someone recently gave me some TJ's ginger spread and it is wonderful in hot water with a squeeze of lemon or lime - and maybe even a little honey.