Art is defined as “the quality, production, expression, or realm of what is beautiful, or of more than ordinary significance.” A finely blended herbal tea can be just that; a colorful blend of herbs, varying textures, contrasting and complimenting flavors to create an extraordinary cup of tea. With a little creativity and experimentation, the pleasure of creating your own blend can be a rewarding and enjoyable artistic outlet.
Before you begin blending herbs for tea, you should know what the herbs taste like individually. Make up simple teas with one herb at a time until you become familiar with the various flavors. During this process it is best to drink the tea unsweetened. Sit back, savor and enjoy.
As you begin blending, start with equal measurements of the herbs (except lavender, licorice and the spices that tend to overpower a tea if used too freely). You will find it helpful to keep a journal of your creations, including notes on the teas made with just one herb. Combining herbs will tend to alter the taste of the individual herbs so although you may not care too much for one, adding another herb to the blend may create an enjoyable tea. Part of blending involves finding the herbs that enhance or complement each other to your liking. For some, herbal teas are an acquired taste much like a fine wine.
Here is a list of some of the more popular beverage tea herbs categorized by flavor to get you started.
Florals – lavender, jasmine, rose petals, chamomile, red clover, chrysanthemum
Lemony/Citrus – lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemongrass, orange, lemon or lime peel
Tart – hibiscus, rose hips
Spicy – cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom
Sweet – licorice, fruits, stevia, aniseed, fennel
Woodsy – sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram
Mints – peppermint, spearmint, bee balm, catnip, hyssop
Herbal teas can provide the additional benefits of being healthy, nutritious, and healing. Although this article is intended to discuss beverage teas, consideration can be given to the healing qualities of the herbs used in your blend.
Following are the more traditional uses of some of the herbs you may use in your teas.
Peppermint is calming and aids digestion. Catnip is relaxing, aids digestion, and is known to promote a restful night’s sleep. Lavender is calming and good for relieving stress headaches. Hibiscus, rose hips and lemongrass are all high in vitamin C. Chamomile is soothing, promotes sleep, and eases stomachaches. Ginger is warming, stops nausea, and relieves headaches. Rosemary eases anxiety, depression and tension headaches. Thyme is a decongestant and strong infection fighter.
Teas can be blended with just taste in mind, the healing properties to be gained, or a combination of the two.
Some ideas to get you started on creating your own custom blends:
- An iced tea made with equal parts of peppermint and lemon balm
- Lavender and lemongrass
- Hibiscus, rose hips, lemon verbena and orange peel
- Orange peel, cinnamon, clove, ginger and licorice
- Rosemary, sage and fennel seed
Be creative, give your tea blend a name. Package them in decorative tins with a muslin herb bag or strainer as gifts. Have fun and enjoy.