You guys. Owning your own business is a lot of work. I mean. I love it. But. A lot of work. I don’t know what that means for my Life at the Dahl House Blog; it may continue to take a backseat for awhile longer? But, I needed a break from things for a little while today, so I thought I’d pop on and post something I’ve meant to share for ages!
WHAT GETS ME THROUGH THE DAY
So, what’s getting me through these crazy days? Well, I a lot of things I guess. First and foremost, the grace of God who has blessed me beyond measure. And then the love & encouragement of my husband; Brian is so supportive of Dahl House Designs, and that means the world to me.
But, certainly one of the things helping me enjoy the journey right now is tea; specifically the London Fog. A London Fog is a sweet & creamy tea latte, and I am madly in love with them.
A QUEST FOR THE PERFECT CUP OF TEA
Awhile back, I had a gift card for Starbucks and used it to try one of their advertised new hot teas- a London Fog. It was totally love-at-first-sip. For the last year or so, Brian has been going to our church most Saturdays to work on some renovation projects, and when I took over the Sunday School program, I started joining him. A stop at Starbucks became my weekly treat for getting up early on a Saturday, and it was magical.
I wanted the magic to happen every day, but there is no way my wallet could support a daily Starbucks habit (thank you, Dave Ramsy), so I decided to recreate my favorite hot beverage at home- and make it affordable enough to make it part of my daily routine.
There was some trial & error, but I finally found the perfect combination! Here are the secrets to “Katie’s Perfect Cup of Tea.”
A Way to Brew
When it comes to brewing tea, you have a couple of options. Many people use tea bags, and I certainly understand the appeal of that- they are neat & easy. However, for a number of reasons, I prefer to use loose tea leaves. First, it is a lot more affordable; my favorite brand (see below) is $.75 a cup if you use a tea bag but is only $.25 a cup using loose tea! It is also a lot easier to control the strength of your tea with loose leaves; I love a nice strong brew!!
If you do opt for tea bags, you don’t need to worry about this part… but if you want to save some money (in the long run), you’ll want to get something with which to brew your loose tea. There are TONS and TONS of options out there. I use the Teavana Perfectea Maker (16 oz), and it is wonderful!! It costs about $20, so it will pay for itself after about 40 cups of tea.
A Way to Froth
Oh, the vanilla flavored foam. One of the best parts of my London Fog experience. Like the many options for brewing your tea, you also have many options for making your froth. My mom recommended the (super crazy affordable) frother from IKEA. C’mon. It is less than $3 in the store (slightly more if you order it from Amazon- it is a Prime purchase!). I’ve had mine for about 6 months, and it is still working well, and I certainly won’t be heartbroken when I do have to replace it.
This paragraph contains an affiliate link; I will get a small commission if you purchase your frother using it.
Earl Grey Tea
Traditionally, London Fogs are made using Earl Grey, which is (most often) a black tea infused with bergamot orange. It is a little citrusy, and almost a little licorice-like? Often they will also have a hint of lavender in them as well, and I always enjoy those the best!
You can certainly use any brand you like, but my preference is Teavana’s classic Earl Grey. I super love the flavor/aroma of bergamot, and I’ve found this is the strongest concentration of all the ones I’ve tried.
(This may sound like an ad for Teavana; I promise, they have not compensated me in any way for this post- I just happen to love their products)
Milk or Milk Substitute
My go-to is straight up 2% cows milk; I’ve found less than 2% tastes like adding water, and anything more (like whole or cream) creates a fatty film in my mouth. Go with what you like best. I’ve also had one with vanilla flavored almond milk, and that tasted great too!
I like my London Fog on the sweet side, so I add about a teaspoon of plain sugar. I’ve never tried it with other sweeteners (I am allergic to honey, and usually try to steer clear of artificial ones)… but I am sure with a little experimentation, those could be good choices for you.
I believe Starbucks uses vanilla syrup in their London Fogs, and this would be a good choice if you have that on hand (keep in mind that since this is already sweetened, you might need less sugar!)… I usually just add 1 or 2 drops of pure vanilla extract to my milk to give it that warm vanilla taste.
LET’S MAKE SOME TEA!!
Finally, it is time to make your very own London Fog!! Here are the steps I follow when I am making mine:
1. Fill your kettle with water, or if you are like me and don’t have a kettle, just put some water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. FOR THE LOVE OF THE GILMORE GIRLS, DO NOT USE YOUR KEURIG TO MAKE TEA. Black tea needs nearly boiling water to brew properly, and a Keurig just doesn’t make water hot enough.
2. While the water is heating, add about two teaspoons (I use just slightly more than 2, but I like mine strong) of your tea to whatever brewing system you’ve got going. If you’re using tea bags, you can skip this step.
3. Add 1 cup (8 fl oz.) of nearly boiling water (ideally, 105 degrees, but I am never that specific) to your brewer or mug. Let the tea steep for 2-3 minutes; I typically let it brew for the full 3. Any longer than that and your tea will be undesirably bitter.
4. While your tea is steeping, add about a 1/8th a cup of milk to a saucepan (I empty out my water one and use it) along with a drop or two of vanilla extract. Use the residual heat from the stove to heat up your vanilla-infused milk and froth it up for about 30 seconds.
5. Remove your tea bag/your tea infuser, and add some sugar to taste. Top it off with your froth.
6. Drink. Be happy.
At first, this may seem like a lot of effort for an (albeit delicious) cup of tea. However, I find that when I am hitting my afternoon slump/motivation block, I really enjoy the ritual of making it. Stepping away from the computer for 10 minutes, and going through the motions of making the tea help calm me down… and then the caffeine gives me a little kick in the pants to get back to work!
It might not be for everyone, but this is certainly one of the highlights of my day and something that is helping me stay motivated & excited about what I do!
Do you have a favorite tea, or some tea tips or tricks?
More Happiness from Life at the Dahl House