As we head into the fall and winter season what could be cozier than tea?! Blending your own loose leaf tea can be very satisfying and enjoyable. There are so many options and flavors to experiment with.
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Types of Loose Leaf Tea
There are several different types of blends you can make including black tea, green tea, roobois, and herbal blends.
True tea of course cantains leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. However we tend to call any infused hot drink tea, many of which contain no tea at all but simply herbs.
Black tea, green tea, and white tea are all made from the true tea plants but are harvested differently or go through different proccesses to make the finished product.
Herbal and roobios teas on the other hand are made entirely of other plants, spices, and herbs.
Types of Tea Blends
There are also many types of blends that can be created. These fall into a few basic categories.
There are fruity teas, spicy teas, floral teas, and nutty teas. I tend to be drawn to different typs of teas in different seasons. In the spring and summer I enjoy floral or fruity teas and during the autumn and winter I gravitate towards spicy or nutty teas.
Examples of Types of Tea Flavors
- Fruity Teas- citrus, strawberry, pear with green tea or white tea base
- Floral Teas, rose petals, lavender, jasmine, often a green tea or herbal base
- Spicy Teas- cinnamon, cloves, ginger, black tea or roobios base
- Nutty- almond, chocolate, hazelnut, often black tea base
There can be a lot of overlap between these general catagories of course and it is worth experimenting with differnet combinatations of bases and accent flavors.
Loose Leaf Tea Blend Ingredients
There are a few basic ingredients to get to know before making your tea blends. These fall into basically 4 categories; bases, herbs, spices, and flavoring.
- Bases- this would be your black, green or white tea, roobios, or a base herb like chamomile or mint.
- Herbs- these can be any added herb such as calendula, mint, lemon balm, etc.
- Spices- similar to herbs, these would be cinnamon, cloves, etc.
- Flavoring- any natural or artificial flavoring. I prefer to use pure extracts or oils like vanilla extract and bergamot oil.
Tools for Blending Loose Leaf Tea
Here are a few tools that I would reccomend for easier tea blending.
- Digital scale that measures in grams(optional)
- Measuring Spoons or scoops
- several small bowls
- mortar and pestle
- jars with lids for storage
- reusable tea bags or a wire tea ball
- a variety of tea leaves, herbs, and spices
Where to Purchase Tea Ingredients
Blending Your Loose Leaf Teas
To begin your tea blend first choose your base. Will this be a black tea? a green tea? or a pure herbal tea?
Next think about the flavor profile you wish to acheive- spicy, floral, sweet.
If you are unfamilar with any of the herbs or spices you are considering it is a good idea to brew a bit of each of them separately so that you can taste each one. Then think about how they would blend together.
It is best to work in small batches when making a new blend so that you can try it and make adjustments. A scale that measures in grams can be useful for presise measurements. I find myself most often just using measuring spoons however.
Now you are ready to begin blending. This is the time to have fun and experiment. Be sure to write everything down so that you can replicate the recipes you like!
As a general rule the majority of the tea blend will be whatever base you have chosen with smaller amounts of each addition ingredient. Having brewed and tested ingredients individually can give a good idea of how strong they are and how much to add.
Storing Your Tea Blends
I store all of my tea blends in clean and dry canning jars with a tightly screwed on lid. I keep them in a cabinet that doesn’t get bright sunlight.
Brewing Your Tea Blends
To brew most blends you will use about a tsp of the tea. I love reusable fabric teabags for brewing loose leaf teas in. They can be used many times and simply washed out and they allow no leaves to get into my tea. I used to use a mesh tea ball but it never quite closed tightly and I often had leaves floating in my tea. Not my favorite.
The brewing time will vary depending on the type of tea used. Green and white tea is best brewed for 3 minutes at 175F and black teas and herbal teas should be brewed for 5 minutes at 212F.
Four Autumn Tea Blends
Now I have four delicious, spicy tea blend recipes to share.
Lemon Ginger Green Tea
1 Tbsp. green tea
1 tsp. lemongrass
1 tsp. lemon peel
1/4 tsp. ginger
Orange Spice Black Tea
1 Tbsp. black tea
1/2 tsp. orange peel
1/2 tsp. cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp, calendula petals
2-3 drops orange extract
Chai Rooibos Tea
1 Tbsp. rooibos tea
1 tsp. cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp. star anise
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. peppercorns
2 cardomom pods
4 drops vanilla extract
Apple Pie Herbal Tea
1 Tbsp. chamomile
1/2 Tbsp. dried apple
1 tsp. dried rose hips
1/2 tsp. cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. ginger
Combine all the ingredients of your chosen recipe in a small bowl. If any of the herbs and spices are too large crush them in a mortar and pestle before adding.