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Make a Brew the Manly Way! A Guide to Cowboy Tea and Coffee 🤠

We’re blessed with a plethora of coffee and tea brewing contraptions now that it might seem scary to think about making a cuppa with diddly squat 😱 Relax, it’s not like this has never happened to anyone before!

In fact, coming up with ways to make coffee and tea with next to nothing isn’t so hard. Cowboys in the Wild West managed to do it, and today we’re looking at the inventive brewing methods they came up with.

For the average cowboy, tea and coffee is an essential pick-me-up to stay alert at night and to energise in the morning. At the very least they have a pot, water, and a fire. And something to brew up of course. Other things that come to hand can be used to help, but it really is all about doing it with the bare essentials.

Cowboy Tea – The Spinning Method

Our personal favourite here at Doubleshot is the spinning method. It’s definitely one for all you wannabe John Waynes out there. A method that requires skill, has an element of danger, and when pulled off right will deliver some real cowboy kudos. So here it is:

1. Place your pot of water over the campfire and wait for it to boil.
2. When boiled, take it off the fire and add your loose leaf tea.
3. Steep your tea leaves for up to five minutes (depending on the desired strength).
4. Hold the pot by the handle and stand up straight in a clear area. That shouldn’t be so hard to find in the wild west. Just watch out for the cacti.
5. With the pot held at arm's length, spin around in a circle.
6. Spin progressively faster while avoiding spilling the boiling tea (and the risk of third-degree burns).
7. The centrifugal force should then pin the leaves to the bottom of the pot, or you’ll get so dizzy you fall over, spill the tea, and fail (quite likely if you have the same degree of hand-eye coordination as us).

All clear? Great, now over to you!

Cowboy Coffee – The Stirring Method

You could try the spinning method to make coffee too if you like (in fact, do). Or you could give the stirring method a go. Besides from the obligatory pot, water, and coffee, the only other thing you need is a spoon. If you’re all out of spoons, you might have to improvise. A toothbrush handle could work quite nicely, or better yet, your soon-to-be-burnt finger is perfect! Here’s a rundown of what to do:

1. Boil your water in a pot over the fire.
2. Once boiled, let it stand for a minute before adding the coffee.
3. Stir it up!
4. Leave it alone! Just ignore the coffee and water for two minutes. Go throw some horseshoes or something!
5. Stir it up again!
6. Keep the pot perfectly still for two minutes so the coffee grounds sink to the bottom. If they float, you have done something seriously wrong!
7. Now carefully drink that fresh brew without agitating the grounds, or pour very gently into cups if you have them.
8. Don’t drink the last bit unless you want a mouth full of used coffee grounds.

It really doesn’t get much simpler than that!

More Ways to Brew Like a Cowboy

So, those are two of the most basic ways to make tea and coffee with minimal gear. But there are a couple of other ways you can try to improve your brew with items you may have handy.

If you’ve just fried a few eggs for breakfast you might want to give the eggshell method a go. Simply crush up those eggshells and mix them up with your ground coffee before adding to water. The eggshells will help to pull the coffee grounds down to the bottom of the pot and hold them there. Your coffee may have faint hints of egg, but what do you expect when making coffee out in the Wild West?

All out of eggshells? Maybe you packed one too many pairs of socks in your bag? If the answer is yes then you’re in luck! A clean sock works great as a makeshift brew bag.

Just put your ground coffee or tea leaves in the sock, and then dunk that sock in your pot of freshly boiled water. Leave it in there for five minutes and hey presto, no coffee sludge or tea bits in your cuppa! A dirty sock without any holes will work just as well, that is if you don’t mind some funky flavour in your morning brew and not the good kind.

That’s all we’ve got for you right now, but if you’ve been improvising with making tea and coffee then we want to hear from you! Add your cowboy-inspired methods in the comments below.

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Know Your Tea! Black, Green, White, Yellow… What’s The Difference?

What do you really know about tea? If you’ve ended up here then chances are your tea knowledge is lacking somewhat. We get it, you want to find out more about that lovely brew you enjoy sipping every day. What type of tea is it? Is it even tea at all? Rest assured, after reading this you’ll know your tea just as well as you know your coffee!

Tea or Tisane? It’s Not a Trick Question!

Let’s clear one thing up straight from the get-go. If a ‘tea’ is not made with actual leaves from the  Camellia sinensis plant, then technically it’s not a tea at all. “No way!” you might say, but it’s true. 

Nowadays the word tea is attached to all sorts of beverages, from a warm cup of chamomile to a bottle of iced hibiscus and vanilla. But these herbal and fruit infusions are exactly that, an infusion. And that’s where the word ‘tisane’ comes from, it’s French for infusion. Who knew such a fancy word could mean something so simple?

But enough of this pedantic examination. Who even says tisane anyway? Apart from the French of course. The way it is, everybody (including us at Doubleshot) use the word ‘tea’ to describe all sorts of crackpot and mind-blowing brews, so let’s stick with it! (If you have an issue with our use of the French language, please contact our French correspondent Monsieur Je ne parle pas Français for more information.)

Just How Many Types of Tea are Out There? Here’s Six to Start!

So, let’s move on to the different types of teas out there. Besides from the plethora of infusions (including your rooibos and yerba mate!), all teas begin life as the same humble leaf, painstakingly clipped from the very tips of the branches. Once these have been harvested from the Camellia sinensis plant, what happens next determines what type of tea it becomes. So without further ado, we’re going to look at the six main tea variants – GET EXCITED!!!

White Tea – Virgin Brew

The least processed of all the teas, white tea is simply left to dry after it has been picked from the plant. It has light and delicate taste when unchanged by any other flavours. A cup of white tea will also deliver the highest concentration of antioxidants to the drinker when compared to other tea types.

Just be careful not to guzzle it down all at once to grab those oh so delicious antioxidants. After some personal experience, rather wait for it to cool down a bit. Anyone have some good burnt tongue remedies?

Green Tea – Wellbeing Booster

The perennially popular green tea is highly regarded as a beverage packed full of health benefits. Once the tea leaves have been plucked they are quickly steamed or fired at a high temperature, then rolled or pressed. Many different subtle flavours are achieved with slight changes in this process.

Know your tea

If only your life were as grand as that of the humble green tea leaf. After a long day of some very productive photosynthesizing, being plucked and placed in a steam room and then a complementary massage. Life could not get better for this green guy. 

Oolong Tea – Caught in the Middle

Sitting in between green and black tea, oolong tea is often described as partially oxidised. But what does that mean? Well, for a start it’s not French, so you don’t have to revert back to Monsieur Je ne parle pas Français for any help with this one. In fact, this is actually more on the sciency side of things. Essentially, the leaves are bruised a little before being subjected to the heating process.

Know yoru tea

In other words, this tea is as nerdy as it gets! Just like your quintessential geeky nerd from school, who loves science and gets beaten and bruised on the daily, this tea is a geek reincarnated into the perfect beverage. There’s a whole spectrum of different oolong teas, with lighter and darker ones, ranging from floral to nutty tastes.

Black Tea – Your Classic Cuppa

If you’ve only ever tried one type of tea, chances are it is black tea. If this is the case, you really need to expand your horizons! This tea type is fully oxidised, so there’s no heating process like with green and oolong tea. The leaves are cut, rolled, and dried, a process that helps to draw out rich flavour, ranging from malty Assam to fruity Keemum.

Yellow Tea – The Golden One

Yellow tea has much in common with its green-coloured compadre. I mean if you look past the little bit of blue in his family tree from way back when, then they are basically the same!

Yellow Tea

The leaves are subjected to heat soon after being picked, but at a lower temperature and for a shorter time than green tea. The big difference is the wrapping. This involves the leaves being bundled up in a cloth or sometimes paper and left to ferment slightly before being dried. 

Pu-erh Tea – Aged Like a Fine Wine

Also called fermented tea or simply dark tea (but not to be confused with black tea), pu-erh tea is the result of a microbial fermentation process. And once again we’re back to the science! The tea leaves are steamed and packed together, then micro-organisms grow throughout the trapped moisture and react with chemicals within the tea. Fermenting can last anything from a few weeks to years depending on the desired taste!

And There’s Even More to Tea Than This…

We’ve just skimmed the surface of the wonderful world of tea here. In fact each one of these different types of tea deserves its very own write-up. But hopefully you know more now than you did five minutes ago when you arrived 😉

If you’re intrigued by what we do here at Doubleshot, check out our Brew Guides. It’s where we let our tea alchemist minds run wild and share the very best of our concoctions with like-minded people just like you!

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What is Chai Tea, and Why That Makes No Sense…

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Every Chai lover has a story of when the bug first bit them. For some it’s a mother special comfort tea, or the visits to a happy, rotund auntie. For others, it was born in the buzz of street food vendors, and the sizzling clay cups poured by a chai wallah. For me it is London. London you say? That doesn’t sound very authentic. Where is the street market? Where is the adventurous tourist praying for death, as his stomach tries to wrestle itself away from him in search of a toilet? Nonetheless chai will forever be linked with London for me. Newly married, on honeymoon, walking with a fresh young wife and a steaming cup of chai latte along the overcast edge of the River Thames. It’s a hard memory to beat.

So, what is this magical marvel that has so indelibly imprinted into my memory, pushing aside space reserved for a now spicier spouse? Let’s start with the obvious.

Chai is the Hindi name for tea. Chances are the Hindi speaker taking your order for chai-tea is smiling at you out of sympathy. Not everyone was made to be a Microsoft engineer, she is thinking. Tea-tea is not a thing. Flex your barista muscle by order a masala chai instead. “Masala” being a spice mix.

But scoring that date with her will need a little more street cred. Let’s break down a list of spices you might find in a typical chai masala blend. That way you can soud either like a champ or chump- depending on how tall you are – when you suavely ask if she uses Sri Lankan cinnamon or Casia bark in her chai. Traditional blends are regional and often familial.

Most blends begin with green cardamom. Its perfetly ok to leave it at that, and many versions do so. Other popular spices include ginger, cinnamon, pepper, fennel, cloves, anise seed, star anise, mace, nutmeg, cumin, coriander seed, almonds, saffron, chilli and lemon grass. Some more modern twists include rose petals, orange peels, cacao, vanilla and liquorice root.

The quality of the spice, ratios and selection thereof are the difference between the Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Olivera of chai. Freshness is key, and worth the effort to secure. You can try livening older spices by pan heating them and grinding them before use, but there is only so much gallop you can get from a dead horse. Sourcing and choosing between a wide range of varieties of each of the spices is one of our ongoing challenges. Even when they are in peak freshness, different varieties of and origins of each spice can have a massive impact on the end result.

Let’s not forget the “chai” part of masala chai. Traditional Chai is brewed with a strong black tea, typically an Assam, but green tea is also used in regions such as Kashmir where lighter aromatic marsala blends are favoured. The native Indian tea varietal associated with Assam (Assamica ) is particularly well suited for masala chai, as its robust character and bold colour are not diminished by the addition of spices and milk. It is worth noting that true tea, tea derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, has caffeine. Assamica varietals are known to have higher levels of caffeine than their cousins. Because of its brisk and bold character, Assamica and its hybridized offspring are commonly grown throughout regions outside of India, particularly in Africa. So, when selecting a tea base for your masala chai, you may want to broaden your scope of options. We use one of Malawi’s treasures, the Satemwa tea estate, as the base of our chai concentrate and our loose-leaf versions.

Masala Chai is traditionally brewed in hot milk and served sweet, but has made its way to the west in a number of formats, not the least of which being the spicy chai latte.

Enjoy a perfectly balanced spicy chai with our artisanal chai concentrate. Perfect for professional environments as well as home application. We use premium spices and tea to create a harmonious, full flavoured chai, without the effort. Or you can enjoy the ritual of chai preparation with our loose-leaf chai tea, or our sticky chai tea blends.

Artisanal Chai Concentrate