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:
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!
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)!