Full disclosure, we are not big TV watching people. We have a tendency to turn on the tunes before we reach for the remote to the boob tube. All that said, because we were not one of the millions of fans that were watching and rooting for Josh and Brent who won The Amazing Race on CBS….Otherwise known as, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys”.
When we heard that they were two guys “who bought a farm and are sharing their experiment in living better lives, season by season, neighbor by neighbor.” We became fast fans. The farm is right here in the Hudson Valley….so not much of a stretch to file this posting under Woodstock Wednesday.
Today is an overcast day and it just seems like a perfect day to make this smoky tea!
Here’s a step-by-step photo guide to how we make African Smoky Milk Tea at home. (Full recipe at bottom of post.)
Obviously…be very careful when doing anything involving an open flame. And it’s probably not a good idea to let small children make this themselves. Unless you have a ready escape route and good insurance.
First you’ll need a heavy-duty thermos with tight lid, as well as a 1-2 inch thick stick of wood (We used applewood, since we are certain that there are no toxic compounds. But research online for other non-toxic woods if applewood isn’t available to you.) It’s important that the stick can completely fit inside the thermos, and the lid can bed screwed on with it inside.
First, add about ½ cup of room temperature water to the thermos. Next, insert the stick into the hot embers of a fire.
Once about 3 inches of the stick are flaming and glowing, remove from the fire and immediately drop – lit end down – into the water in the thermos.
Cap it quick! Swirl the thermos around for about a minute.
Once you remove the cap, smoke and stem will escape. Don’t do this directly under a smoke alarm.
Using a fine wire sieve lined with either a coffee filter or paper towel, pour the “smoky” water into a heavy saucepan. The filter will trap bits of soot and burned wood.
Add another cup of water to the smoky water, along with the tea and spices, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 4 minutes.
Add the milk and sugar, and bring to a simmer, just below boiling.
Once warm, strain through a fine wire sieve directly into mugs.
Prep time: 15 Min
Cook time: 10 Min
Total time: 25 Min
- 1 ½ cup water
- 2 bags of black tea (not herbal,) or 1 ½ tablespoons of loose black tea.
- 8 crushed cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick (or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- 6 whole cloves (or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves)
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 inch segment of fresh ginger, sliced thinly
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup sugar or honey
Follow instructions above for making “smoky” water. Heat the water in a heavy saucepan with tea, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns & ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer over low heat for four minutes.
Add milk and sugar (or honey.) Bring back to simmer (not boil) while stirring over low heat.
Strain directly into mugs and serve immediately. (Strained mixture can also be chilled and served over ice.)