By tea, I mean herbal tea. My favorite! (Hope that's not too disappointing to my black tea and coffee drinking friends!)
It's so warm, soothing and comforting. And it smells good too!
Peace and joy in a cup! (What can I say? I like my tea.)
So, lets get right to it, shall we?
When brewing tea with a tea bag, pop the tea bag in the cup and pour boiling water over. Cover the cup with a lid or plate (this helps keep the vital nutrients and beneficial properties of the herbs in the cup and not evaporating into the air). Let steep for at least 10 minutes.
If using dried herbs, measure 1 teaspoon of dried herb per cup of water. Place the herbs in a heat proof container and pour the hot water over, cover and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Then pour through a strainer into a cup.
To avoid having to use a strainer, you can always put the herbs in a tea ball, but I have yet to find a really good one that doesn't allow lots of the dried herb pieces into the water. I'm sure they are out there. Let me know if you are aware of a good brand.
Another way to steep the herbs is to use my favorite tea contraption:
Yes, that's me taking a picture of the teapot!
This is a Bee House Ceramic Teapot (sometimes marketed as Zero Japan).
I received this for my birthday last year from a dear friend and love it. The strainer sits right down into the water. All I have to do is measure the herbs in the strainer and pour in the water. The lid closes and keeps in all the goodness (and a lot of warmth).
See the strainer…cool, no?
I have also used a coffee press in a similar way. That works well too, and makes quite a few cups at once.
If you use the above steps to make tea, you are essentially making an infusion. Infusions are best when using leaves, flowers, crushed berries, or seeds (as noted in Herbal Teas by Kathleen Brown, page 3).
When brewing tea using roots, barks, or other woody parts of herbs, it is best to make a decoction.
To make a decoction, bring desired amount of water to the boil then add the herb and simmer for 15 to 30 minutes.
Here are the general measuring guidelines:
1 teaspoon of dried herb or 2 teaspoons of fresh herb per cup of water.
Obviously it is very simple to make tea using single herbs. It is not difficult to make your own combinations using a variety of herbs either (but it may take a little experimenting to find just the right flavor). I'll share more about making your own tea blends in a future post. In the mean time, you might enjoy whipping up a batch of this Chamomile Spice Tea.
Measure the herbs:
Crush the spices:
Mix and store in a jar. Easy!
I have also purchased some lovely blends (and single herbs) from the Bulk Herb Store and More Than Alive (I like the Lemon Lover's Tea).
This post has been ridiculously heavy on the pictures. . . so why not one more? A picture of some of my herb tea blends (they make me happy)!
ah I totally must have that teapot! Do you (or could you) by chance know where your friend bought this lovely gift!? I love kitchen gadgets. o-o 😀
Sigh, ignore me. See, I read through it, and got SO excited that I skipped the joining paragraph between pictures. I’m retarded. Off to amazon.
Glad you found it. It is very cool! I use mine all the time.
Tea is my drink, too. I use tea bags (mostly Celestial Seasonings) and can’t imagine leaving them in the water more than 3-4 minutes.
In the past (and sometimes present) I did not leave the bag in for more than 3 or 4 minutes. I think many tea bags have extra flavorings these days that make the tea taste good rather quickly. But, I still think there is some benefit to steeping longer, since more of the nutrients are released into the water.
I took a look at the ingredients to one of my current favorite teas, tazo passion, and found it contains fruit juice extract and “natural tropical flavors” (which scares me a little)! So it has a a great flavor right away. Although I don’t know that it is all that good for me…
Trying to be thrifty, I use a tea bag again the next day. The 2nd use isn’t as tasty but, based on your thoughts, just as good for me. Thanks, Stacy.
So, I started to read your post, and it inspired me with an idea for a post of my own this week… (I’ll be linking back to yours.) Of course, scatter brained me, I went and started jotting down ideas. Just came back and finished the rest of your post and it’s so wonderful! I am a huge herbal tea drinker, but I would love to be able to make my own rather than buy the tea bags. Especially since I have an herb garden in the works!
Thank you so much for a truly informative and helpful post. Can’t wait to try it out.
Such a great post! I worked at a tea room a long time ago and actually really miss it. Darjeeling is my favorite!
Great article! My favorite tea is red tea. Mmmmmmmm!