Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Comfort of Cambric Tea

Nothing beats curling up on the couch on a rainy (or sunny) Sunday afternoon with a warm pot of Cambric Tea. What’s Cambric Tea you ask? Cambric Tea is an American term to describe a hot drink made with milk, water, sugar and a dash of tea. The name is taken from a lightweight fabric called Cambric, which is white and thin—just like the "tea." As a toddler, my mom would make me Cambric Tea by pouring a small amount of good old Lipton Tea into a cup and adding lots of milk and a spoonful of sugar. I really wanted coffee, but I’m allergic to it (and all legumes), so I would just pretend my Cambric Tea was coffee. I make my Cambric Tea now by steeping Earl Grey in a mixture of hot lowfat milk and water. You can make it with whole milk or half and half for a more decadent and yummy drink. Here’s my recipe:

Cambric Tea for Two
2 cups milk
2 cups water

2 Earl Grey teabags

2 or 3 teaspoons of sugar (to taste)

Place the cold milk and water in a saucepan and bring just to the boiling point. Be careful and watch it, so it doesn’t steam up and boil over the pan. Then add the teabags and cover with a lid. Let it steep about 5 or 10 minutes. Remove the bags and stir in the sugar. Pour into a teapot and enjoy your Sunday!


I.M. Coggins said...

Thanks for the description and recipe! I just had my first cambric tea yesterday at a local coffee shop. I am a longtime tea drinker and afficionado, but, oddly, I'd never heard of a cambric tea! I'll try it at home using your recipe, but I'm wondering, are there other non-chai mixed tea drinks out there that I still haven't heard about?

David said...

Thanks for the recipe. I would always get this drink at places like Starbucks but I never quite knew how to do it myself. It is also great if you use flavorings like vanilla.

Kamilah said...

Coffee isn't a legume. It's not an actual bean. It's the seed of a fruit.
Sorry if you think I'm being pedantic. Coffee upsets my stomach too, probably because of tannins. I prefer chai instead, which is sort of like this cambric tea. Anyway, thanks for helping me learn what cambric tea was.

mhw said...

It strikes me as odd to make a milk-based drink with Earl Grey tea. A delicately flavoured tea such as Earl Grey would be greatly altered, and, I think, greatly for the worse, by adding milk.

On the other hand, since this "cambric tea" seems to be more a hot sweetened milk than a tea as such, it may work. I shall have to try it when I'm next in need of comforting milkiness.

Jim K. said...

The burgamot flavor is not
affected much by the milk,
but the black tea is, so it
makes it even more candy-like.

I remember cambric tea and toast
after flu-bugs when I was very
young. Relaxing.

Jim K. said...

ah yes..chai is similar..
the tea is light and further blunted,
the clove and other spices carry
on through the milk and sugar..

Peggy said...

I grew up in the 1950's drinking Cambric tea, just as you describe it, with my great grandmother. Although she was born in San Francisco in 1876, her afternoon tea ritual was a family thing...both of her parents having been born and raised in England. I have passed the tradition down to my children and grandchildren. The only difference...we use more sugar. Even when I make a strong cup of tea, I usually add some milk.

Anonymous said...

My family is from PEI Canada and when we make it instead of tea we use a drop of vanilla. I grew up on this and it is delightful

Anonymous said...

My mother first made this for me after the birth of my first child. The winter was a cold one, and because I was nursing, coffee and tea were off the menu. She made it for me with approximately equal amounts of water and milk, sweetened with a bit of honey or sugar, and flavored with vanilla and a dash of cinnamon. Yummy! On a cold day, I still enjoy it to this day as do my now adult children

Anonymous said...

My Mother always made Cambric Tea for me when I was not feeling well. At age 70, I still enjoy a cup to warm the cockles of my heart.

Anonymous said...

As a child, 70+ years ago, my mom would make us Cambric Tea. I thought it was something she made up since she didn't want to give us strong tea or coffee. We were always happy with it. And to this day, if a tea bag isn't available I just say " don't worry, I'll make cambric tea" Today I decided to google it and see if anyone else had it as a child. Woe! Was I surprized to see it dates back to 1850s

Phil DuFrene said...

I remember my grandfather taking this to the bush to work back in the 1960s in central Minnesota...he was 80+ and was clearing land by hand for farming.

I never learned to like straight coffee so when am offered coffee I request they make "Cambric Coffee" instead. Love it!

Maria Forte said...

Thank you for this post. I hadn't thought about this in years but talking to a friend the other day, cambric tea came up. I wasn't even sure it was a real thing or just something my grandmother had made up. Your post was a happy surprise when I googled. Exactly as I had it as a child.

Sarah Chaprobin said...

I am allergic to all legumes too! It's not often you come across a fellow legume allergy sufferer. Peas, lentils, beans, cashews, peanuts, all of them are off my menu. But I'm not allergic to coffee. it's not a legume.

Betty Elaine said...

My mom gave us cambric tea. I thought she had made it up. I decided to see if i could find a definition and lo and behold here are all these people who have had cambric tea too! Our tea was just boiling water, milk, and sugar. we kids loved it. I wanted to tell my granddaughter about this tea. I did not think anyone drank it anymore.Brings back sweet memories.

miporsche said...

I grew up in the 60s drinking Cambric Tea. My parents drank brewed tea (rarely coffee). Our version of Cambric contained no tea, just warm milk, hot water and honey or sugar. At age 13, on our birthday, we would get our first cup of real Liptons Looseleaf tea with our parents. We were allowed to have tea after dinner from that day forward, and converse with the adults. I was child number 6 of 7, so there was great anticipation as each one before me started the tea ritual.