Cheese Tea. It’s Real, It’s Available at Steap Tea Bar, and It’s Quite Good.

Tony Gemignani of Tony's Pizza Napoletana worked with Steap Tea to create this mascarpone sensation.

Emil DeFrancesco of Steap, a tea shop on Sacramento Street, began with a pop-up at master pizzaiolo Tony Gemignani‘s shop. Exposure to imported Italian ingredients got him thinking of how to approach “cheese tea,” a trendy beverage from Asia, in a new direction.

The “cheese” (basically a savory whipped cream made with mascarpone and sea salt) (Peter Lawrence Kane)

But first: cheese tea. It might sound a little like sprinkling pre-grated bits of quattro formaggio into your oolong, but cheese tea is more like a Creamsicle. It looks almost like a foamy beer. (DeFrancesco compares it to a lighter Guinness.) As a mass-market product that comes from cultures where many cheeses are a relative rarity, the formulas often involve inferior ingredients like powdered cream cheese.

Instead, DeFrancesco makes his by shaking a lemon green tea — made using a proprietary concentrate called “Beyonce’s Lemonade” and prepared in a cocktail shaker — then ladling a float of cheese made by mixing organic heavy whipping cream, sea salt, and a sweet Italian mascarpone. The result is a light drink with a thick head, which you can drink carefully to maximize the contrast or else swirl it altogether.

Oddly, the lemon doesn’t curdle the dairy. It’s delicious, in fact, even if the first sip might contain  Try it for yourself at the launch starting at noon on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Steap Tea Bar, where the first 100 people will get a free slice of pizza.

Steap Tea Bar, 827 Sacramento St.,

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