Foothill dining: Tea is beyond soothing

By From page B2 | December 16, 2013

teaHorchata ChaiOver the last five years, tea has become the new “it” beverage among Americans, especially in California. Thanks to health benefits and the wide variety of herbs and flavors, tea and tea latté offerings now rival coffee drinks at major retail chains.

With the arrival of the fall season, the time is right to explore new and exciting tea trends. Enter Bay Area-based tea sommelier, Christopher Coccagna. The young, ingenious sommelier has partnered with the California Milk Processor Board, the creator of GOT MILK?, to provide beverage enthusiasts with innovative takes on teas with milk.

From cambrics to cocktails and everything in between, Coccagna’s tea drinks are perfect for the cooler months and for entertaining this holiday season.

“Tea is a lot more versatile than we imagine,” said Coccagna, owner of T-WE TEA. “There are incredible varieties and flavors. Add milk, and tea becomes creamy, rich and even exciting. My recipes are perfect for any time of day, whether to be enjoyed alone or with friends.”


Horchata chai martini
Serves four


8 cardamom pods
1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup prepared Slow Simmered Chai, cooled
Rum — horchata cream liqueur
Ground cinnamon, garnish
Star anise pod, garnish (optional)

Place 4 cardamon pods and 1/2 tablespoon of ginger in shaker, muddle until cardamom seeds are separated from husks and ginger is juicy. Add 3 ounces rum-horchata liquor, 4 ounces of Slow Simmered Chai and 2 ounces of whole milk with 1 scoop of ice to shaker. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into martini glasses in two equal parts. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top and float star anise to garnish. Repeat process for two more martinis.


Matcha green tea latté

Serves one

1/2 tablespoon Japanese matcha green tea powder
1/2 tablespoon very fine sugar or favorite sweetener
1 cup 2 percent milk
2 ounces water, near boiled

In a cup, mix matcha powder, sweetener and water. Use a milk frother to whip ingredients together and create a frothy green top. Heat milk, frothing as it heats. Pour milk into green tea.


Lavender London fog latté
Serves two


2 tablespoons loose leaf Earl Grey black tea
1 cup whole milk
2 cups cold water
3 tablespoons lavender vanilla simple syrup*
Organic lavender blossoms to garnish

Bring water to a boil. Place tea in a tea filter or tea ball, add to the water and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea and stir in lavender vanilla simple syrup. Warm milk and use frother until milk is rich and foamy. Fill cup with 2/3 tea and top off with warmed milk. Sprinkle lavender blossoms on top to garnish.

*recipe available on


Slow simmered chai
Serves 6


3 cups water
5 cups whole milk
Sweetener (honey, sugar, brown sugar or agave)
4 tablespoons loose-leaf chai tea blend*

In a pot, add milk, water and chai tea blend. Bring the mixture almost to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally (simmer longer if a stronger herbal flavor is desired).
Slow cooker alternative — add all ingredients and slow cook for 4-8 hours. Strain mixture. Sweeten to taste. For an instant warm party punch, just add spiced rum.
*recipe available on



Cinnamon rose latté

Serves two


2 tablespoons bold black tea
1 tablespoon cinnamon chips or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 cup whole milk
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoon rose water*
Honey or agave nectar
Rose petals and cinnamon sticks to garnish

Bring water to a boil. Fill tea filter/tea ball with the black tea and cinnamon and add to the water. Let steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea and stir in honey or agave nectar. Warm milk and use frother until milk is rich and foamy. Fill cup with 2/3 tea and top off with warmed milk. Add rose petal and cinnamon stick as garnish.

*recipe available on


Good night tea with milk
Serves two


2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon honey
Herbal blend (dry or fresh)
2 tablespoons chamomile flowers
1 tablespoons lemon balm
1 tablespoon rose petals
1 teaspoon lavender blossoms
1 teaspoon jasmine flowers

In a small pot, add milk and heat on medium heat until almost at boiling, stirring often. Add herbal blend to your tea infuser (or large tea bag filter) and submerge into milk. Lower temperature to low and simmer for 15 minutes (simmer longer for stronger herbal flavor), stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and stir in honey.

To learn more about the GOT MILK? Tea Lattés campaign visit

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