Lu Ann Pannunzio: Tea can enhance a recipe and also help balance flavors

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Lu Ann Pannunzio is the author of The Cup of Life Blog & Tea-spiration Book. For her tea is not only about drinking. “You can cook with tea! I love sharing tea infused recipes on my blog because it’s a great way to get tea drinkers to try their favourite tea a different way.”

Who are you and what do you do with tea?
I’ve been a self-proclaimed tea aholic since I was about 7 years old! Today, I am the blogger behind The Cup of Life tea blog and author of the book Tea-spiration: Inspirational Words for Tea Lovers. The Cup of Life was started in 2011 and it is where I share my tea tips, stories, tea room reviews and tea infused recipes with fellow tea drinkers around the world. I am also a tea curator for a tea subscription box in North America.

When did your passion for tea start?
I started drinking tea when I was younger. I remember being so excited that I was finally able to join my mom and older sister during their tea time. I may not have been that experienced in tea and had lots to learn about the leaf then but I like to think my passion for tea started around that first sip.

Tea for me has always been so much more than a beverage. When I look back on my earlier moments with tea I always think about those who joined me at the tea table more than anything.

Tea means connection. I became more involved in the world of tea when I went away for college and started my tea blog, but if it wasn’t for those conversations shared over a cup of tea throughout my younger years I don’t think I would be so passionate about tea today.

What is so fascinating about tea?
There are so many things! But, I’ll narrow it down and say that one fascinating thing about tea is the variety available. I always try to convince someone who may not have had a great experience with tea before that they just didn’t drink the tea meant for them. I believe there is tea out there for everyone!

What is your favorite tea at the moment and why?
At the moment it is hojicha, but ask me tomorrow and it may change! I really enjoy using hojicha powder to make lattes and have fun creating different ones too like maple, salted caramel or peanut butter hojicha lattes. The powder offers a more rich taste that comes through the frothed milk nicely.

I also love being able to have these lattes later in the afternoon and not worry too much about the caffeine intact since it is fairly low.

Can you share one fun fact about tea most people don’t know?
My first thought was to say that all tea comes from the same plant as that is often something that surprises people at talks/workshops. But, I think my favourite fun fact would be that tea is not just for drinking!

I love sharing tea infused recipes on my blog because it’s a great way to get tea drinkers to try their favourite tea a different way or even try a tea they wouldn’t normally like on its own as an ingredient in a dish.

However, tea infused recipes are more than just iced teas, cocktails and lattes. You can cook with tea! Cooking with tea is a great way to get more from your cup as it brings unique flavours to savoury and sweet dishes. Tea can enhance a recipe and also help balance flavors. You can infuse a recipe with tea by adding steeped tea or even just the tea leaves directly to the mix.

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