Steeped Snacks & Sips


Summers are meant to be savored. With our evenings and weekends often bursting with impromptu backyard soirees, we’re always seeking sips and snacks to have on hand. After awhile, though, your average burger or hot dog gets boring. Consider swapping your staples for these tea-infused twists on classic summer dishes. Elevate basic crostini with a vibrant matcha dusting. Give cucumbers the cold shoulder and opt for juicy summer peaches pickled in a Formosa Oolong brine. Whisk in the bright bergamot of Earl Grey tea, lemon zest, and roasted garlic to create a homemade aioli that calls for double dips of crisp vegetables. Muddle and mix earthy rosemary, malty Assam, rich honey, and a pop of fresh lemon juice for an iced tea lemonade that might just become your go-to refreshment when it’s hot and hazy. Introduce your skewers to the sweet side by layering peppery basil and luscious watermelon that’s delicately drizzled with a full-bodied Assam black tea simple syrup.

Best of all, bits and pieces of these bites can be made ahead so that you can keep your cool and spend less time in the kitchen. Pack everything in a cooler for on-the-go dining or simply serve under the twilight sky and soak in the happiest hours with friends. Just be sure that your companions bring their adventurous appetites.

Watermelon & Basil Skewers with Assam Simple Syrup

Basil may be a savory star, but its earthy and subtle peppery flavors balance the luscious watermelon and sweet, malty Assam syrup.

Makes 8 skewers


  • 2 tablespoons Assam black tea
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cups watermelon, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn into 1-inch pieces

Special Tool: 8 skewers

Bring water to a boil and brew the Assam black tea for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves and add the brewed tea to a small pot on the stove. Bring the tea to a rolling boil and stir in sugar until it has dissolved, approximately 2 minutes. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

On 8 skewers, alternate the watermelon cubes and basil leaves. When ready to serve, spoon Assam black tea simple syrup over each skewer.

Tip: Do you have extra syrup left over? Use it to sweeten iced tea or spoon over shaved iced for a chilled treat.

Matcha & Goat Cheese Crostini

While a thin baguette will do, opt for a small whole-wheat bread loaf for larger, more substantial slices to provide ample room for the juicy orange segments.

Makes 8 large crostini (if using a thin baguette, be sure to add additional slices)


  • Small bread loaf, 8 half-inch slices
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 5 oz goat cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
  • honey, for drizzling
  • 1 orange, peeled, pith removed and segmented

To make the crostini, heat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice loaf into 8 half-inch pieces, place the slices on a baking sheet, and drizzle both sides with olive oil. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until slightly crispy (note: You can make the crostini ahead and store at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days).

Let crostini cool slightly, but top with goat cheese while crostini is still warm for an easy spread. Gingerly sprinkle matcha powder on the goat cheese to create an even dusting. Drizzle with honey and top each slice with one orange segment.

Tip: To preserve the bright green matcha color, sprinkle right before serving.


About Author

Alexis Siemons is a tea consultant and writer living in Philadelphia. She is certified in the Foundations of Tea (Level 1 & 2) by the Specialty Tea Institute, a division of the Tea Association of the USA. As a tea enthusiast, she writes about her steeped adventures on her website and blog, teaspoons & petals, teaches a series of culinary tea classes, and develops tea-infused recipes for restaurants. She also consults with tea companies, developing tea programs and creative marketing strategies. Her recipes and stories have been published in Anthology Magazine, Grid Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, Kinfolk Magazine, Remedy Quarterly, Women's Health Magazine and Design*Sponge.

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