When we visited Taiwan we had a go at making traditional Hakka Tea. Inspired by its ingredients, sesame seeds and peanuts, we thought we’d try them in our new layered 5D chocolate cremino style. Beipu is our smoky, peanuty eastern surprise with just a tiny pinch of saltiness and a hint of nutty crunch.
Inspiration for this chocolate
When we travelled around Taiwan back in January 2020, we accumulated so many different new flavour ideas. Apart from “Taipei” (Four Seasons Oolong Tea) that we added to our collection earlier this year, another flavour originated from the Hakka Tea which we discovered in the town of Beipu in Taiwan.
Beipu is considered as the centre of Hakka culture in Taiwan. Who are the Hakka people exactly? They are an ethnic group from southern part of China but they are widespread in the Far East but you will also find Hakka people all around the world.
Hakka people make up of about 15-20% of the population in Taiwan. One of their special drinks is the Hakka Tea, or “Lei Cha” (which means “pounded tea” literally). It is rather interesting as it’s not just made from tea leaves – but instead the tea leaves are pounded with nuts, seeds, herbs, grains (e.g. rice) and even spices, using a wooden pestle and a specific mortar, until the mixture becomes a paste, and then hot water is added to make it into a drink.
When we were in Beipu, we visited a tea house and we had a go at making Hakka Tea from scratch. As you can see from the picture above, two main ingredients are sesame and peanut. Other ingredients include some tea leaves, and then green tea powder and then some rice also – apparently every household has a different recipe and list of ingredients for their own Hakka tea!
It’s quite a lot of hard work making Hakka Tea by hand, and we spent well over 45 minutes pounding and grinding the mixture down to a paste form. Here’s a short video of Russell making the Hakka tea – this is after about 10 minutes of work!https://www.youtube.com/embed/BLX56-GZRKQ
And the end product? Once the mixture turns into a paste, then water is added to create the Hakka Tea. However, it is not smooth like a normal tea – instead it has a consistency and texture of a finely grounded porridge. It’s actually rather filling, and is served at mealtime – we have tried drinking it for breakfast and just a cup or small bowl of Hakka tea would be as filling as a bowl of porridge.
Because of this tea-making experience, we have decided to name our new chocolate “Beipu”, and we have created a dual-layer cremino-style chocolate: One layer is black sesame in white chocolate, and the other layer is peanut in milk chocolate. Unlike a classic cremino style where the nut paste is completely smooth, our black sesame layer does have a slightly grainy texture to it – it’s a reflection of the texture in the Hakka Tea.