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From Upton with Love and Lore

Posted on 02/01/2024

Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate the ones we love, and adorn them with gifts of flowers, candy, and of course, TEA!

We sometimes tend to think that Valentine’s Day is a holiday created by greeting card companies but, believe it or not, this holiday has a unique legend. Back in Roman times, Emperor Claudius II reigned the Roman empire in 268 AD. This particular emperor was very invested in feats of war, successfully keeping the Goths, a Germanic people, at bay and defeating them, which earned him his surname of “Gothicus” (conqueror of the Goths).

His mindset was to keep young warriors focused on fighting. He believed that love would create weakness and distraction, so he banned marriages for those in his military. However, love is too powerful a force. Valentine, a religious leader of the time, secretly married many a happy couple, despite the emperor's decree. However, this did not go over well with Emperor Claudius II. We now honor Saint Valentine every February 14 as the martyr of “love conquering all.”  

On Valentine's Day, we also think of the historic and fictional great loves: Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, and Bonnie and Clyde, however, many of us may not have heard of the Sri Lankan legend of the Lover’s Leap Estate.

In the story, a royal prince got irrevocably lost in the jungle when a young woman from a nearby village found him and helped him find his way home. They fell in love and, due to complications because of the prince’s royal status, they were forbidden to marry. They ran away and chose to spend an eternity in each other's embrace. The waterfall and the tea estate at Lover’s Leap are named after the star-crossed lovers and their legend.

Here at Upton Tea Imports, we are happy to offer you a premium offering from the legendary estate, Lover’s Leap OP Ceylon.

We also have an indulgent selection of teas to make your favorite Valentine feel cherished.

  • Cacao Kisses Colombian Black Tea: Cacao husks and nibs, from small chocolate producers in the Tumaco region of Colombia, are blended with bold, dark brown leaves to create this unique, naturally flavored selection from Colombia. Sweet notes from the black tea base provide the perfect accent for the rich cocoa flavor.
  • Congou Rose Tea: High quality Chinese black tea is lightly scented with rose petals, creating a naturally aromatic, sweet cup with a very subtle hint of rose.
  • Earl Grey Lavender Black Tea: In this naturally flavored Earl Grey selection, the strong Ceylon black tea base is well balanced with notes of lavender and bright bergamot.
  • Rote Grütze: Rote Grütze, or Red Groats, is a sweet fruit blend, originating in Denmark and northern Germany. This naturally flavored herbal is a delightful melange of grapes, elderberries, blueberries, and hibiscus. A hint of sugar cookie sweetness complements the tart fruity flavor. This refreshing, caffeine-free beverage tastes great hot or iced.

On that note, I am delighted to share with you this month's tea recipe! With the inspiration of Valentine’s Day and fine chocolates, I’d like to present our Cacao Kisses chocolate cupcakes topped with Rote Grütze buttercream frosting. This recipe is an enticing combination of sweet chocolate and a whisper of tangy fruity goodness!

Cacao Kisses Chocolate Cupcakes with Rote Grütze Buttercream Frosting

Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • 3 TBS of TSA5: Cacao Kisses Colombian Black Tea
  • ½ Cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 TSP salt
  • 2 TSP baking powder
  • ¼ TSP baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 TBS butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ TSP vanilla extract
  • Muffin tin (preferably non-stick)
  • Optional: muffin cups (if you want to get super decorative, a Valentine’s Day theme would be ideal)

Cupcake Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Spray a 12-count muffin tin with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Combine your dry ingredients by whisking the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa powder together.
  3. Crush the Cacao Kisses tea leaves into fine particles and add to dry ingredients until well dispersed.
  4. In a separate bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar.
  5. Add one egg and continue to mix.
  6. Add milk while mixing.
  7. Add another egg.
  8. Add vanilla extract until the batter looks silky.
  9. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling each muffin cup three-quarters full.
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Let them cool on a wired rack for 10 minutes.

Rote Grutz Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:

  • 10 TBS (1 ¼ sticks) of butter, softened.
  • 15 grams Rote Grütze
  • 2 2/3 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar

Rote Grütze Butter Cream Frosting Instructions:

  1. Grind the Rote Grütze as fine as possible.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter with a mixer.
  3. As you beat the butter, alternate adding a little sugar and a little of the Rote Grütze.
  4. Keep alternating until you achieve a fluffy buttercream frosting.
  5. Frost your cupcakes.
  6. As a festive decoration, garnish with some Rote Grütze tea, if desired.
  7. Enjoy your cupcakes with those you love!

May your Valentine’s Day be full of happiness, fine tea, delectable sweets, and spent with those you treasure!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Upton Tea!

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