Why go with just the standard drink offerings? These suggestions will offer guests a bit more exotic options to flavor coffee and tea, or offer up a beverage they haven’t tried before. They also come in pretty packaging, to add a certain sense of style to the scene.
This creamer puts other creamers to shame. Leaner Creamer is a blend of healthy ingredients, designed to work in harmony with the body’s metabolism. The four main ingredients: Coconut oil aids healthy functioning of the thyroid and endocrine system; Citrus Aurantium enhances stamina; Hoodia Gordonii suppresses hunger; and Green Tea Extract is used for weight loss and to treat stomach disorders. Bet you never expected to see those ingredients in a coffee creamer!
Despite its healthy base, it will have the same appeal as those creamers with lots of chemicals added. You will just love the taste. I’ve become addicted since trying the Original. The aroma gently teases your nostrils as you sip, with hints of vanilla and a touch of sweetness. They offer a range of flavors, including Hazelnut, Indulgent Mocha, Birthday Cake, Creamy Caramel, and Luscious French Vanilla, all with the same base ingredients in powdered form. $15. for 280g. Comes packaged in a sweet glass bottle, which can be refilled with the less expensive pouch, $12. for 280g. leanercreamer.com
Flying Bird Botanicals
Flying Bird Botanicals is driven by their love for plants, healing, the ritual of enjoying a deliciously brewed cup. Their beautifully packaged teas and hot chocolate would make a welcome addition to any dessert buffet. This company chooses community and quality over profit, and works with organic farmers locally and abroad. In the hot cocoa category, you can choose from six of their delicious varieties—for a nice change of pace. Cacao Chokola (adds red chilies), Cacao Dulce (the sweetest one), Cacao Especial (uses heirloom cacao), Cacao Lavender Mint, Cacao Vanilla Orange, and Cacao Vanilla Rose. $10.75 for 4.5 oz can. $16. for 9 oz can. If you have trouble deciding which flavor to choose, then opt for the Chocolate Lover’s Gift Box, which offers four flavors for $42.
In the matcha category, one of my faves is the Golden Coconut Chai, a blend of coconut, turmeric and chai spices and Ashwagandha root (an Indian herb meant to maintain youth, mentally and physically). You will definitely be serving a healthy and absolutely intoxicating beverage in a class by itself. $19.50 for 60g. flyingbirdbotanicals.com
This brand is elegance personified—the packaging foretells the superior drinking experience to come. In all their varieties, Tea Forté works directly with growers to produce a definitive expression of each tea on their roster, which represent less than 1% of teas worldwide. So you know you will be savoring a rare, cultivated experience.
They offer wonderful gift sets that you can proudly display on your dessert buffet. Two new flavors caught my eye. First, influenced by my love of anything with coconut, is the Coconut Matcha. The ying yang flavors of earthy matcha and sunny coconut is slightly sweet. I like to mix this with a little of the Leaner Creamer Original (reviewed above) and a touch of sugar, delish. $20. for 30g, about 12 servings. Another something a little different, is the Vanilla Veda Chai, which is a sweet and spicy mix, chock full of classic spices, like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, licorice, clove, and black pepper—with a soothing vanilla for balance. $18 for 120g. teaforte.com
With nut milks all the rage, enter the noble macadamia nut. Their four varieties of macadamia milks are made with raw—never roasted—nuts, producing a product to cherish. Coming in at 70 calories for a cup, much less than dairy, the Original is made with macadamias, cane sugar, calcium, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, vitamins and some natural thickeners. If you don’t want the sugar, then go for the Unsweetened, at 50 calories for 8 oz. Type in your zip code to find a health store near you to purchase. Also available at Walmart and Whole Foods, and on amazon. milkadamia.com
A simple, no-fuss beverage that delivers a powerful, tasty, after-dinner treat. Just add boiling water to unlock the magic. The sweetness is already incorporated. Nature’s Guru Instant Masala Spice Chai blends fresh black tea leaves with a harmony of spices from India. Nature’s Guru has a passion for creating innovative health and wellness products, incorporating fresh superfood ingredients in sustainable packaging. All products are considered to be organic or all-natural and gluten-free. Comes in a party-size 500g resealable bag. $10.99 naturesguru.com
Little Fluffy Head Cream Cheese Tea
This beverage is a dessert in itself—a mix of whipping cream and bubble tea, topped with crumbled sweets. I got these recipes from Little Fluffy Head, a tea creamery in LA, that offers distinctive flavors to add a bit of holiday cheer to boba tea. If you’ve never had boba tea (or bubble tea), it’s just brewed black tea with tapioca spheres added. The boba adds a gelatinous, chewy texture, and the attractive appearance of black polka dots. (You can find boba at most Asian grocery stores or online.)
Get inspired by this cafe’s holiday drinks. Heavy creams sits on top, and is strained as you sip the tea through it.
• Pumpkin Spiced Creme Brulee Milk Tea (recipe follows): They serve this one both hot and cold. Basically, boba milk tea is topped with whipped creme brulee, pumpkin spice, and finished with a sprinkle of graham crackers.
• Candy Cane Cheese Milk Tea (recipe follows): A delicious swirl of boba milk tea is paired with whipped cheesecake cream and topped with crushed candy canes.
• Wake up Call: Earl grey rose tea is whipped with a tiramisu cream.
• Hot Cheese Rose Tea: Decadent creamy cheese is paired with a freshly-brewed hot rose tea.
Candy Cane Cheese Milk Tea
MAKE THE CREAM BASE
9 TB whipping cream
3 tsp milk
1/2 oz cream cheese
a pinch of salt and sugar
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl then whip together using a hand mixer until the texture is thick.
COOK THE BOBA
1 pkg boba
1/4 CUP turbinado sugar
Cook boba according to instructions. While boba is boiling, create a simple syrup by adding 1/4 cup of the boiling water to the sugar. Drain boba in colander and rinse with cold water. Add the cooked boba to the simple syrup and let sit for 15 min. (see a video of this)
MAKE THE TEA
1 black tea bag of your choice
Brew a cup of tea, add the boba. Add some ice to cool it down. Layer the cream on top of milk tea. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy canes.
Pumpkin Spice Milk Tea
MAKE THE CREAM BASE
12 TB whipping cream
4 tsp milk
1 oz egg custard instant mix
pinch of pumpkin spice
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip together using a hand mixer until the texture is thick.
MAKE THE TEA
1 tea bag of your choice
cooked boba (see recipe above)
Brew a cup of tea, add sugar to taste, and the boba. Add ice to cool it down. Layer the cream on top of milk tea. Sprinkle with crushed graham cracker.