NAAFI Tea

From 1963-1992, US and British military intelligence troops performed a live cold-war mission at Field Station Berlin (a.k.a. “The Hill”) a facility that operated atop Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain) in occupied West Berlin..

NAAFI (British “Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes” company) is the British version of the US military PX or “Post-exchange”, providing shops, restaurants, etc. for the military.

Once or twice a day the “NAAFI” truck would come by. Work groups would task a runner to retrieve some truly wonderful treats — most memorably a sweet milky black tea that is burned into the memory of all who experienced it.

This is an attempt to reproduce it. The recipe is a living work-in-progress. Feedback/ideas from those who served at The Hill are highly valued.
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NAAFI Tea Yum
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Ingredients (Metric)
Ingredients (Standard)
Ingredients (count)
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Ingredients (Metric)
Ingredients (Standard)
Ingredients (count)
Instructions
  1. Place the spices in a muslin cooking bag (can be washed and re-used).
    Or make a spice sachet by placing them in a double thickness of cheesecloth. Gather corners together and tie securely with butchers twine.
  2. Place spices and water in a slow cooker, or in a pot on a stove. Cook covered on low. Simmer is fine, should not spend much time at full boil.
    A "Sous Vide" alternative that avoids leaving pot on the stove for many hours: Set cooker to 200°F/93°C. Seal sachet & water in bag and place in sous vide bath. When done, snip corner and drain into a suitable pot.
    Either method, cook ≈ 8 hours.
  3. Discard spice bag / sachet, Bring the liquid back up to a simmer — high on slow cooker (which can take some time) — or move to pot/stove.
  4. Add tea bags, steep covered 3-5 minutes according to taste. Remove and discard.
  5. Stir in condensed milk, unless serving on the side. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

There seems a consensus that sweetened condensed milk is a key feature of the tea served by the NAAFI trucks in Berlin.  Be warned, it's a very sweet treat!  If serving to anyone who might prefer less dairy or sugar, serve dairy and sugar sources on the side instead of pre-mixing.  Alternatives to sweetened condensed milk are evaporated milk, cream, or just milk.

A biscotti on the side would likely be well received.

With an 8 hour cook, overnight is convenient for morning tea - but if using a stove, overnight unattended may not be a great idea - especially with a gas stove.

View online at KillerNoms.com/naafi-tea

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