Saturday, April 26, 2008

Biscottea


Biscottea are "traditional" Scottish shortbreads baked with various teas and tissanes, Earl Grey with Darjeeling, Chai, Honey Bush, Blueberry White Tea, and Mint. Tea in food is nothing new, and I am often skeptical, having only a passing, professional interest in these items as they come into the store, often with propaganda concerning "health benefits." Blah blah blah.

But these were awesome.


The chai caught my intention first. It tastes like chai, more so than what passes for chai at places like Starbucks. You can taste the spice combined with the creamy, buttery goodness of the shortbread.

The Blueberry was my second favorite, with an intense blueberry flavor that's more vibrant and realistic than you would often find in a blueberry flavoured something-or-the-other.

The Mint is a bit...different, and the Earl Grey and Honeybush were both good, but the Chai and Blueberry impressed me the most.

My Own Masala Chai.

I have oft wanted to dabble in making my own chai, and these cookies inspired me to finally give it a shot.


I chose to use Teance Golden Yunnan as the base tea (this was a mistake, but I'll get to that in a bit). For 16 oz of chai, I used 4 g of tea, 1 g each of cloves, cardamom, and pepper and a cinnamon stick. I have no idea what I'm doing, so it seemed like a good start.

I expected the worst, but it didn't turn out all that bad, mostly just too mild. I think a pure/mostly bud dian hong isn't strong enough to stand out, and the Teance is more subdued than most. Next time I'll use Rishi's.

No one spice stood out. I'll definitely use more pepper and cinnamon next time, and I may leave the cardamom out and add ginger. I'll post periodic updates as I try new blends.

15 comments:

Lewis said...

It's a unique pleasure to be surprised by a new post while browsing your blog. It's happened on a number of occasions, which must mean I spend too much time here.

Tea Escapade said...

You are certainly adventurous! I've never contemplated making my own teas... chai or otherwise. Keep me posted on how it goes.

The Biscottea sounds delicious. As Chai is one of my favorite teas, I would love to try the Chai flavored Biscottea.

Brian Lavelle said...

Nice post, Alex. I'd like to try and find some of those Biscottea in this country. I've meant to write for some time to say how much I enjoy your blog. Like lewis, I always find it a pleasure to see a new post.

But surely shortbread is traditionally Scottish, rather than Irish... ;-) (not that my Scottish pride is wounded at all!)

Laurance said...

We're the tea lovers in Seattle who came up with the idea to create Biscottea and spent the last 4 years researching how to bake organic tea into Scottish style Shortbread.

Thanks for discovering us - we launched the brand 8 months ago and have been overwhelmed by great responses like your blog.

We have also had some interest from the UK and should be selling there by the end of the year.

There is a basic website:biscottea.net that needs much updating and will get updated as soon as......

Cheers

Laurance Milner, Issaquah WA

Space Samurai said...

Thank you, Lewis and Brian, compliments like that make doing this blog a pleasure.

Yes indeed they are Scottish, that was my mistake. I've had Irish on the brain lately with various classes at work, Irish Beer, Irish Cheese.

Laurance, you made a damn fine product. I'm not usually impressed with this kind of thing, but these are great.

Lewis said...

Alex, I was disheartened when I read that you weren't going to be posting as much anymore, but am very much relieved to see this hasn't been the case (and now I can't even find that post, so hopefully you've changed your mind!).

There are some fantastic tea blogs out there, but yours resonates with me in a way all its own. I haven't really commented much before, but I always look forward to your posts. I recently took some time to read through all of them, and your progression in terms of tea awareness and photography were great to see (and I love coming for the ride).

Tim Girvin said...

What a lovely spot, this blog. Meanwhile, right now, here in NYC | Tribeca, I'm thinking about tea and Biscotea. Perhaps an espresso and those lusciously meltable biscuits. More importantly, Laurance is the real thing -- his story is true, his fascinations happily and soul fully committed. That is -- it ain't some falsely invented notion, but genuine and passionately innovated. Besides that, really wonderful people, as well -- having met them both on some flight to fancy food (an trade show or event), Anaheim.

Great people. Great ideas. Grand outcomes. More here: http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2008/07/07/smallb4.html

Here's to great things that are true.

Tim Girvin | girvin@girvin.com | NYC | www.girvin.com |
http://blog.girvin.com/

MrsFrenchTeachersHusband said...

Chai and Rishi in the same blog entry...I've seen your previous review of their wonderful tea. I must say I've been a coffee fiend for the past 8 years and just wandered into a new tea store in our area. My first try was the Rishi Masala Chai...I've been looking for that kind of complex flavorful, strong chai forever. I'm going to keep reading your blog as I learn more about tea. I think there is more to tea than coffee or chocolate (my previous tangent). Thanks for encouraging me to go deeper into the tea adventure.

lesley said...

Alex, I found your blog last night and really enjoyed reading your Chai tea adventure. Your pictures are great! I like my Chai a little on the hot side with more pepper. I'd like to weigh in on the Biscottea Shortbread too. My favorite is also the Chai followed by Blueberry and Earl Grey. The Honeybush and Mint...interesting. Although the mint is growing on me probably because I like mint to begin with! If you can't find them in stores, I've found some vendors on the internet...shop.com, teapotsnmore, thepleasuresoftea, alsosalt. There are a few more if you google biscottea. Kudos to Laurance for making a cookie just for tea lovers. And kudos to Alex for an enjoyable, unpretentious blog. Cheers!

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Excellent post! I'll do my best effort to improve that recipe because this dish is one of the best, specially if you use Blueberry with passes and chai. Thanks for sharing all this with us.

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It is a great product, it was for a long time one of my favorites products for breakfasts.

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