Friday, August 28, 2015

Indian Food, Tea from Nepal, and "Unsweetened" Iced Tea

This is in part a review of a local Indian restaurant and partly a discussion of tea. My local Mensa group meets for lunch once a month at Salateen Restaurant in Southeast Houston near Ellington Field and Clear Lake.  They have an affordable and delicious lunch buffet with a variety of options. (In case you're curious about the menu, their website is

One of my group members is very particular about her iced tea. She hates iced tea from a concentrate, which is what most restaurants carry.  This restaurant is no exception; however, a few months ago there was a happy accident: the soda fountain dispenser was broken and there was no iced tea!  Wanting to make her customers happy, the owner very kindly brewed some of the special Nepalese tea that they use for the masala chai and made fresh iced tea!  The result was that my group member was VERY happy with the delicious tea and couldn't stop raving about it!  Now she asks for it every time we go, and she's gotten others in our group hooked on it.  Yesterday we went there again, and the owner recommended that we call ahead next time we come so that she'll have it ready and waiting for us when we arrive! How's that for great customer service?

Me? I like iced tea OK, but I'm a masala chai fanatic!  I absolutely love the masala chai here: it's strong, spicy and creamy, and I can add my own sugar to taste. They give you a pot of it, which works out to two cups: a generous portion compared to the other Indian restaurants in this area.

Below I've posted some photos of this delicious black tea from Nepal in its iced and hot forms.

But first, read this shocking information about most commercial "unsweetened" iced teas found in restaurants:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Turkish Tea

Last weekend I was feeling the need for copious amounts of caffeine, so I broke out the Turkish double-boiler teapot (çaydanlık) and the Turkish black tea that a friend had sent me from Turkey and made a big pot of dark, strong, steaming hot Turkish tea.  
Although it's not rocket science, it's a more complicated process than just throwing some hot water over a teabag.  First you have to measure the tea and rinse it in a sieve, then measure the water for both pots, bring the water to a boil, add the tea and water to the top pot, and steam it for 20 minutes.  The result is an incredibly strong brew that you dilute with the boiling water from the larger pot.  
Milk is not used in this tea, only sugar cubes.  This tea has a brisk (slightly bitter) bite that stands up to sugar. After two cups, I was jittery for the entire day, although I didn't regret it until it was time to go to bed! 
I had enough leftover "tea concentrate" that I saved it in the refrigerator and I've been using it to make tea the last two days.  Today I actually pulled out my beautiful Russian tea glass so I could drink it in style. (I do have Turkish tea glasses, but they are put away somewhere.)

Before I forget, I want to give props to this Russian lady living in Turkey for her entertaining and useful blog:

Hello and welcome to my tea blog!

Before I introduce myself, let me warn you that I am technologically challenged. I actually tried to start this blog on but was unable to get any photos to upload despite following the instructions. I am not having much luck over here on either: I keep getting error messages that my photos are too large.  Please bear with me! Yes, I know that's a cup of coffee in the current layout, but I had no luck uploading my tea photos.


Hello!  My name is Amanda and my company is The Tea Mistress, LLC.  I am certified as a Tea Master by the American Tea Masters Association and I've been in business since 2013 selling specialty teas, teaware, tiny teapot jewelry, and doing talks, tastings, tea and food pairings, lectures and tea parties.  I recently organized the first annual Lone Star Iced Tea Festival held in Houston, Texas on August 9, 2015.  I am the organizer of two tea meetup groups, Tea and Conversation with Friends (DFW) and Tea and Conversation with Friends (Houston area). I have so much tea in my kitchen that I have not even tried yet, and I thought maybe a blog would motivate me to taste and evaluate the teas.  I'm also going to review tea-related businesses (restaurants, cafes, tea rooms, tea shops, festivals and fairs) that I visit alone or with my meetup groups, and maybe post some articles too. We'll see where this leads!

I'll be reviewing some teas I sell, some teas that I've purchased as a customer, some teas I've received as gifts, and sample teas I've received at World Tea Expo or local tea festivals. I will disclose the origin of the teas in each review.

Oh...I'm on Facebook and Twitter too. I have an Instagram account, but haven't done much with it yet. That's on the to-do list as well.