Recipes, Tea Tricks

Green Tea... RIBS?

Original Image and Article Copyright THE WOKS OF LIFE. Re-posted with permission by The Daily Tea.

Original Image and Article Copyright THE WOKS OF LIFE. Re-posted with permission by The Daily Tea.

Jasmine, rather than your typical teabag green tea, is the star of these oven-roasted Jasmine Tea rub ribs. Not only is the meat brined in a tea mixture, but the tea is also incorporated into a tasty dry rub. This recipe uses Jasmine tea because of its delicate, fragrant, and floral flavor, but feel free to use your favorite green tea–as long as it’s good quality! This weekend during your weekly grocery trip, pick up some tea and a couple racks of ribs–this recipe is a must-try, and you won’t be disappointed!

Prep Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 5 hours, 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons dried jasmine tea leaves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 rack ribs (about 3 lbs)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons high quality jasmine tea leaves, ground into a powder in a blender or spice grinder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (add this salt only if your ribs are very meaty)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey, dissolved with 1 tablespoon water
  • A handful each of toasted sesame seeds and cilantro leaves

Directions:

  1. In a bowl or pitcher, combine the hot water, tea leaves, salt, and sugar.
  2. Let the mixture sit until it’s cooled and the tea has had a chance to steep. It should look very dark and strong.
  3. Put the ribs in a sturdy 1 gallon Ziploc bag, and pour in the brine mixture.
  4. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal.
  5. Put in the refrigerator to marinate for 3 hours. Don’t marinate for much longer, or it might be too salty.
  6. Take the ribs out of the bag and brush off any stray tea leaves.
  7. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  8. In a small bowl, combine the pepper, cumin, paprika, ground tea, and salt, if using.
  9. Brush the ribs thoroughly with a thin layer of soy sauce, and rub the spices all over the ribs.
  10. Transfer the ribs to the oven along with a small heatproof dish filled with water (this prevents the ribs from drying out).
  11. Bake for 1 hour, and brush the ribs on both sides with the honey water.
  12. Bake for another 30 minutes, brush with honey water again, and turn. Raise the heat to 375 degrees F.
  13. Bake for another 30 minutes, remove from the oven, and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro.

For more exciting tea-related content and recipes like this one, visit our friends at www.thedailytea.com and www.thewoksoflife.com


Organic Spring Jasmine

Notes: 

Organic Spring Jasmine is made of smooth China green tea leaves naturally scented by layers of Arabian jasmine buds. With an intoxicating aroma and a piquant yet rounded cup, Organic Spring Jasmine is our twist on a Chinese classic. 

Steeping Instructions: 

175° F 2-3 minutes

For best results, use natural spring water. 

Ingredients: 

Organic green tea and organic Arabian jasmine flower petals. 

Amount:
Quantity:
Add To Cart

Reviews

Feedback worth sharing...

Recently, we received a review on Yelp! which echoed a fairly common sentiment from some of our newer customers or those who don't really take the time to really understand our stance on providing an "alternative" to the other tea houses out there. We're not saying that it's necessary to know anything about us to enjoy our drinks but we suppose it does help to know a little about a business before patronizing it for several reasons. That being said, if we held fast to that thinking, we'd surely be shooting ourselves in the foot and likely would be losing customers hand over fist. After all, it's our job to provide delicious drinks and a pleasant atmosphere to every customer regardless of whether or not they know anything about us. While we certainly can't please everyone, we'll never back down from the challenge. 

So, on to the true purpose of this blog entry. Below, you'll see the recent review which was left on our Yelp! page from May 9, 2014. I guess it's public information so I don't see a point in trying to black out any of the info. I mean, if it's going to be credible, we should provide the actual source. After reading this reply, one of our owners left a very heartfelt reply to the reviewer and we thought this was a great opportunity to put it out there for those who might have similar feelings or thoughts about us. Read it over and let us know what you think. Are our efforts in vain or should we stick to our mission? You're the boss, so give us your feedback. 

Without any further ado, we give you the exchange...

THE REVIEW:

YelpReview.jpg

THE RESPONSE (from one of our owners):

I (our owner) learned the business in the Chinatown tea houses. There are several reasons why our drinks are more expensive and take a little longer to prepare. Before I get to those reasons, though, I'd like to thank you for your feedback as it is important for us to know how you feel when purchasing and enjoying our beverages. While we do have our reasons for doing things the way we do, we realize that those reasons are pointless if you, the customer, doesn't think it's worth it in the end.

As far as the time element goes, we take a lot of pride in using ingredients and methods which are not cookie cutter like they are in the majority of bubble tea shops. For instance, most places use a baseline recipe which is applied to a large majority of their drinks across the board - such as the common 1, 2, 3 approach of 1 sugar, 2 creamer, and 3 flavor. This makes the turnaround on drinks very fast but also makes all the drinks pretty standard. We, on the other hand, literally have a unique and totally different recipe for every one of our drinks. This adds a little more time to the prep but, in the end, makes for a drink made with more attention to detail and flavor combinations. 

And, finally, as for the cost, we realize that it'd be an easy cop-out to say that we charge more because we're the only place in Pearland, which we're not, and thus have a corner on the market. But, that's not the case at all. Our higher, but fairly competitive prices, are due to our ingredients. While most bubble tea places use liquid fructose or white table sugar for their drinks at a very low cost - somewhere in the neighborhood of $0.30 - $0.40 per pound - we use fair trade, organic evaporated cane sugar juice which is processed within 50 miles of our store. Our cost is about $1.15 per pound. We also opt to use as much fresh ingredient over powders as possible. Our commitment to offering better ingredients also extends to our modifiers as well with several organic creamer alternatives on hand which are great for our customers with dietary restrictions or health concerns.

So, you see, our reasons are a little more complicated than they might seem. We're constantly trying to improve on our speed of service as well as our pricing structure. Your continued support is greatly appreciated and your comments will definitely be taken to heart in our efforts to make your next experience a better experience. We're hoping that the shops in Chinatown will one day adopt our same passion and outlook to help bring better quality drinks to the masses. :o)

Tea Selection, Weather Pairing

Cold Mornings...

I live in Texas for several reasons but chiefly among them is the weather. I'm not a fan of the cold even in the slightest. Perhaps a little dip into the 50's or 60's every now and then isn't so bad for jogging but anything below that is just plain too cold for me. So, when the inevitable cold front comes through, I have to find ways to battle the chills.

This morning, I woke up with the blanket pulled up to my nose and it was only 44 outside. But, again, anything below 50 is C. O. L. D. cold to me; I must have lain there for a good 20 minutes before I finally coaxed myself out of bed. I knew I had to find some way to provide relief. A hot shower? That would require a brief moment of nakedness which meant being even colder. Throw my clothes in the dryer? That would require me to shower first which was already ruled out. A nice cup of tea? Oh yeah....

 

I ended up choosing the Ginger Hibiscus Assam Black Tea. It's strong aromatic presence was great for opening my eyes and the ginger was great for providing that warm sensation all the way into the belly. Some hot water and 3 minutes later, I had relief! 

Let me just say that I feel like a fool sometimes with all this tea laying around at the house. I mean, I really should make this my morning ritual more often. The amazing this about this particular tea is that the ginger is great for both cold and hot weather. When it's a thousand degrees outside - okay, maybe not a thousand but pretty close on some of those hot Texas days - the ginger's cooling crisp aftereffects leave me feeling refreshed.

Ahhh, would you look at me! I intended to write a blog entry on cold weather remedies and I ended up plugging summer. Ha! What can I say? I reallllly don't like the cold. I guess my mind is taking back to July in order to help me cope. What are some of YOUR favorite ways to warm up on those cold mornings?

Japanese Sencha

The other day, a customer came into the store to ask a question about one of the teas I had talked to him about a couple of weeks prior. He had been drinking genmai cha and was wondering what the difference was between that and the genmai hoji cha that we carry here at The Drink Station. Once I explained the difference, which is essentially just the addition of roasted green tea, he was intent on trying it. So, I whipped him up a cup so he could enjoy the aroma and he was instantly sold. He purchased 2 ounces of the genmai hoji cha to take home with him and was shocked at how much less expensive it was than the genmai cha he purchased at a competitor's store when it had so much more flavor. Well, the secret is in our packaging - we don't spend money on fancy packaging! It's all about the functionality and then we're able to pass the savings on to you, the customer, which helps us spread good tea to more people. Buuuut, that's not the purpose of this blog post. 

Once I packaged his tea and was about to hand it to him, I asked him if I could prepare him some samples to take with him. Usually, people are happy to take home as many samples as they can get away with but this particular guy didn't want any. He said, and I quote, "I got what I came here to get."  

But, of course, I cannot take no for an answer. So, I asked him if there was nothing else in our catalog that interested him. He said that he was only interested in the tea he purchased because it was a Japanese tea and he recently discovered that he liked the roasted Japanese teas. It was that moment that I knew I would have to force some of our Sencha onto him. I told him that he would likely enjoy the Shizuoka Sencha that we stock and I quickly packaged him a small sample to take home after explaining the differences between shaded and non-shaded Sencha varieties. 

I already had the tea sitting out so I decided to make myself a quick cup just to remind myself of why I just recommended the tea and also why I purchased it in the first place. Holy guacamole! That sencha was really remarkable. I mean it. It's amazing that it steeps so quickly yet has so much flavor which can be extracted over and over again. I drank the first cup rather quickly since I didn't have to wait for it to cool down and then made to cups of iced sencha to take with me on me errands.  

I was really impressed with the flavor of our sencha tea and see now why I purchased it in the first place! It may be light in color but it packs a ton of delicious flavor into the tea and the aroma. If I could only recommend one tea for this month, it would be the sencha which is strange for me since I'm such a fan of Taiwanese teas. I was so impressed that I apparently felt the need to blog about the experience. Haha I don't really have anything else to say about the tea other than it's really delicious. I hope you have the chance to swing by and try some or simply purchase a sampler or an ounce to experience it for yourself. Have a nice day! :o) 

 

 

Hanging out

So, this weekend I got the opportunity to hang out with a fellow tea shop owner. My new friend, Nick, from Minneapolis was down visiting in Austin so I drove up from Houston to meet him. We talked a lot about tea and I have to say that it was nice to meet with someone who was in the business.

Whenever I talk to other owners, I often get to share ideas with them and this was no different. While he didn't give me any ideas specifically, it did get me thinking about how I can improve our business and our relationship with our customers. So, I think I'm going to end up working on some tea of the month type categories for the website as well as come up with maybe a contest or two to help gear up some excitement around the wonderful teas that we have to share with you.

I invite you to hang out with me on the site as I start to implement some of these things. If you have any ideas or suggestions of your own, please feel free to contact us and I would love to take your input and actually apply it to our website. After all, our customers are our top priority!