Monday, June 18, 2012

Colombian Sugar Cane Tea

I had a new tea experience over the weekend. After my daughter's year-end dance recital on Saturday, a few of the families went to Bogota Latin Bistro for brunch. I've been to this friendly, tasty place a few times but never noticed an interesting item on the menu- Aguapanela, Colombian Sugar Cane Tea. I had no idea what it was, but of course I had to try it! This drink is served hot or iced, and I went for the cold version.

It looked like iced tea, so I was expecting something similar to southern sweet tea. The first sip actually reminded me more of Sujeonggwa, a cinnamon punch I've had at many Korean restaurants. It was thick and sweet with notes of citrus and cinnamon. A tasty drink, but a bit too cloying for me. It's called a tea, but there isn't any Camellia Sinensis involved. It's made from panela, crystallized unrefined sugar cane, along with lemon and hot water. It's strange that my drink had a strong taste of cinnamon, which isn't listed in any of the recipes I could find for this drink. But it is in many other Colombian beverages, so perhaps this is the restaurant's twist on a classic.

This isn't the kind of thing I'd drink on a regular basis, but it was a fun learning experience. As an iced tea, it is a sweet energizing drink.

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