Saturday, December 30, 2017


[Note: this post is an edited repeat of a Pairteas Facebook post from the past—hope you enjoy it, and hope you and yours experience fulfillment and happiness throughout 2018 and beyond!]

...Of course tea is not exactly champagne! 
But for those of us who, like me, can't tolerate alcohol and are thus tea-totalers, is there a tasty tea-based alternative?

Think I may have found it—try it and let me know what you think!

• Started with the question: what is the flavor profile of champagne? According to, champagne has flavors of citrus fruits, white peach, white cherry, almond, and toast (yeasty).
• In addition it has (of course) alcohol, which comes across on the palate as "acid" and, depending on your genetics, "bitter." How to get a similar profile? 
• Amazingly, you can get there by using white tea: white tea actually has a number of chemicals with peach, cherry, almond, and bready flavors, the latter thanks to its long withering. In addition, it has about half the catechins of green tea, so is decidedly less bitter, though some bitterness can be present.
• Next, we need the carbonation. At first was thinking about getting a sparkling alcohol-free apple cider—there are a couple of chemicals in white tea with an apple-like flavor—but champagne isn't apple-y to me, so I nixed that idea. 
• Instead I took myself to our local gourmet store to find a fizzy drink that wouldn't be too sweet, and found Juniper Berry DRY. To find out more about this exquisite sparkling soda, which you can get on Amazon, go to: Juniper has some of the chemicals such as alpha-terpineol and cedrol, that match chemicals in the white tea and activate the cool/cold receptors (think of the coolness of walking through a pine forest). While champagne appears not to have these particular compounds, it does have compounds that activate the cool/cold receptors. • Remembering that champagne also has a peach aspect, and that I wanted to cut the sweetness of the soda and the tea and add a tiny bit of bitterness, I also got some Fee Brothers peach bitters (

Here's the recipe:
• Bring 18 oz (half liter) of water to 170ºF (I checked with a food thermometer, but you can guess the temp because tiny bubbles start to appear, at least at my altitude which is 1700 ft). Add the water to 8 grams of white tea (I used a Bai Mu Dan), brew for 60 seconds, and remove the leaves.* This yields a rather dark tea (see photo below), but it will soon be diluted!

• Either let the tea cool down or be sure to put a metal spoon in your glass, then pour equal amounts of tea (first) and sparkling soda (second).
• For each 4 ounces of the tea/soda combo, add two dashes of peach bitters (or more, to taste). 

The picture below shows the result. 
Sorry it's not in a champagne glass—when I tool the picture I was in down-sizing mode, and couldn't reach my supply! Note that the tea soaked up some two ounces of the starting water!

Oh, and the bubbles don't show up in the picture, but the tiny bubbles are there...

=>> While you can still taste the tea very gently, the overall flavor and aftertaste is remarkably like champagne, and it feels so very festive!!! 

Enjoy! and my very best wishes for a joy-filled 2018!

* This short brewing time and low temperature means that fewer catechins enter the brew. Should note that Friend of Pairteas Kristin van Eetvelt brews her white tea at around 170º F as well, but lets the steep last 15 minutes or so as the tea cools. Haven't tried this method with this "champagne" recipe, but the result with a silver needle white tea (no additions) was deliciously comforting on the cold snowy night when we shared the tea.

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