Simple Homemade Tea


So a comment on a previous post got me thinking. How many of us go to the store for a new flavoured tea instead of using what’s in the cupboard or growing in our garden? *Raises hand*

I do but mostly because I haven’t gotten my herb garden to where I want it just yet. So here are some single or simple herb tea recipes. Most of these only need to be steeped for 7 minutes or simmered for 15 minutes. It’s a bit of try and find out type of thing.

Single Herb Recipe:

  • Rosemary fresh or dried
  • Lavender Flowers (Lavender tea can lower your blood pressure so be wary of this if you suffer from low blood pressure)
  • Carraway seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Dried fruit peel such as lemon or orange
  • Dried/dehydrated fruit
  • Mint leaves fresh or dried (I add the stems too)
  • Basil leaves fresh or dried (I add the stems too)
  • Rose petals
  • Lime or lemon leaves
  • Raw fruit of your choice. Berries work best.
  • Pomegranate seeds as well but not the rind or pith
  • Watermelon seeds (this one surprised me)
  • Chamomile flowers
  • Rosemary Flowers
  • Basil flowers
  • Mint Flowers
  • Dandelion leaves (Be sure it’s not catspaw)
  • Dandelion Flowers (Not as good as the leaves)
  • Dandelion roots roasted (tastes like coffee but I’m adding it anyway)
  • Thyme
  • Lemon Myrtle
  • Lemon Balm
  • Ginger root. I don’t recommend the powder but you can.

That’s just a few and what I often use. I use them for various reasons. Stress, headaches or just because it tastes good.

So with combinations, what’s good, where can I start? Well you can add all of those single ingredient teas to White Tea, Green Tea, Black Tea or even Red Tea. A lot of homemade tea is a matter of a lot of trial and error. So for consideration on multi ingredient homemade teas here’s a few other ingredients to consider putting in that a lot of people don’t seem to consider. Hope it gives you some ideas:

  • Whole cloves (gives a lovely taste and aroma and can be re-brewed multiple times after the tea is finished)
  • Whole pepper corns. Putting them in whole lets the pepper disperse slowly through it’s skin. It’s very good for you if you’re sick
  • Cinnamon sticks or ground
  • Cardamon pods
  • Star anise (goes best with oranges and can be nice in Chai tea, depending on what you blend it with)
  • Coriander seeds. Sometimes I use this in my Chai tea especially when I have no pepper corns.
  • Slices of ginger. Sometimes I like to add this to my Chai tea.
  • Brown sugar instead of white or raw. (For my American readers I am talking about the sugar that’s sticky and dark brown)
  • Nutmeg (I don’t use it, I’m allergic)
  • Grated rind if you don’t want a strong flavour.
  • Whole nuts. It can add a natural oils or a delightful aroma.
  • Organic milks such as nut milks, soy, coconut or rice. (homemade is better).
  • Goats milk instead of cows milk. Surprising how it changes the taste
  • A bit of whipped cream with cocoa on top (yes just like coffee)
  • Marshmallows
  • Other sweeteners besides sugar and honey. Such as Agave nectar, date syrup, golden syrup even maple. Maple is better on straight teas (by that I mean no milk).
  • A drop of vanilla or a small cut of vanilla bean in the bottom of your teapot. The vanilla bean can often be nicer since it’s reusable. Also very nice added to Chai tea.

With that in mind, all I can say is get adventurous. But I won’t leave you guys hanging. Here’s a few tasty tea blend recipes. I must admit I make up the Tea names as I go.

Rose Garden Tea:

  • Matcha Green Tea or your preferred green tea
  • Rose petals or dried buds
  • (Optional) sweetener. Recommended- Honey

Steep together and serve warm. Remove rose petals at desired level of flavour. Sweeten to taste.

Refreshing Rose Tea:

Recipe 1:

  • White or black tea. If using black make it weak.
  • Rose Petals
  • Lemon rind. Fresh or dried. If not then lemon juice is fine but not quite the same.
  • (Optional) Sweetener. Recommended- Honey

Steep all together, sweeten in your cup not your tea pot. Lemon rind takes a long time to disperse it’s flavour but the longer it steeps the stronger it gets. It can also be re-brewed with a fresh pot of tea.

Recipe 2:

  • White or black tea. If using black make it weak.
  • Rose Petals
  • Mint or Peppermint leaves. Peppermint essence would also work well but a drop. Don’t go crazy on the mint.
  • (optional) Sweetener- Sugar

Rosemary Breath Freshener:

This is more of a personal taste tea. The ratio for me is 3:1 Mint to Rosemary.

  • Rosemary
  • Mint
  • (optional) White tea

Steep and if necessary, sweeten to taste. Very refreshing and interesting. Reminds me of when I cook lamb and make mint jelly.

Spicy Orange Tiger Tea

  • 3 large Navel Orange slices, whole. Must have rind
  • 3 or more whole cloves depending on your taste for it
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick. If you break it up, use half.
  • 6 whole pepper corns. I use 4 season pepper corns.
  • Star Anise (Optional)
  • 2 Cardamon pods (optional but nice, gives a menthol like touch)

Add all together and you can either steep or simmer this recipe. If you simmer it, the flavour is much stronger. If you steep it you only have to do so for about 7 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick in whole. If you break it up into many pieces only use half or less because, when it’s whole the taste disperses slower but if you break it into shards the cinnamon flavour can become overpowering very quickly. You want this to be a slow spice.

Spicy White Tiger Tea

  • White tea
  • 1 to 2 whole Rosemary sprigs.
  • Ginger slices, thin. About 1 slice a cup. So if your teapot serves 4 then put in 4 slices.
  • 6 pepper corns
  • (Optional) Lemon juice
  • (Optional) Sweeten with Honey.

This is a detox tea. This will likely make you go to the toilet. It can also help relieve annoying headaches and calm your nerves. In the past this for me has had the strength of taking Panadol. This tea is best made by steeping and enjoying it slowly. It’s very healthy but not if you add sugar. Keep it healthy and helpful and try to only sweeten with honey.

Lemon Dragon Tea

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon or lime juice in your tea cup (easier than measuring it in the teapot. It’s perfect every time this way)
  • Oolong Tea (Black Dragon Tea)
  • Honey to taste if you need it

This is really good if you’re feeling sick and need a gentle energy boost. Oolong tea has caffeine similar to Matcha Green tea. It disperses slowly over a few hours. Steep your Oolong tea for 7 mintues then serve.

Orange Dragon Tea

  • 1 to 3 whole orange slice, rind and all.
  • Oolong Tea (Black Dragon Tea)
  • (Optional) Sweetener

Spicy Spicy Lemon Tea (With extra spicy ^_~)

Variation 1:

  • Several lemon slices in the teapot plus 1 per slice per cup in the cup
  • 4 to 6 whole cloves in the teapot
  • 6 pepper corns
  • 3 or more ginger slices
  • Raw Honey or Sugar to taste
  • (Optional) White tea but not necesary.

Variation 2:

  • 1 to 2 whole juiced lemons in a medium to large teapot
  • 1 teaspoon of whole black pepper corns
  • A sprinkle of ground black pepper
  • Honey to taste or without.

Variation 3:

  • Lemon juice of 3 lemons
  • Lemon slice in each cup
  • Ginger slices, about 6 or 8
  • 4 season whole pepper corns (so black, white, green and red.) About half a teaspoon
  • Honey

These are really nice. This will also clear your chest if you’re sick and definitely speed up recovery. This too can have Panadol like effects because of the ginger or pepper. If you feel the need to add tea, use Green Tea or White or it can ruin the overall flavour and experience.

Vanilla Chai Tea

Variation 1

  • Black Tea
  • 3 Whole bay leaves
  • 6 Whole pepper corns
  • 3 Whole cardamon pods
  • 4 Whole cloves
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 2cm cut of vanilla bean sliced open like a book. Think a book open in to the middle page
  • Brown sugar (the sticky mostly raw one)
  • Milk or coconut milk

Variation 2:

  • Black Tea
  • 3 Whole bay leaves
  • 6 Whole pepper corns or a half a teaspoon of Coriander seeds, whole
  • 4 Ginger slices
  • 3 Whole cardamon pods
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 2cm cut of vanilla bean sliced open like a book. Think a book open in to the middle page.
  • Brown sugar (the sticky mostly raw one)
  • Milk or coconut milk

Steep or simmer for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy! If you don’t have any then a quarter to a half a teaspoon of thick vanilla essence will do. I haven’t tried the more raw vanilla paste but I plan to.

Cold Killer Green Tea

Variation 1

  • Teaspoon or more of lemon juice in your teacup
  • Greentea
  • 1 teaspoon of Honey

Variation 2

  • Teaspoon or more of lemon juice in your teacup
  • Several ginger slices. To your taste. I recommend 6 for a whole pot
  • Greentea
  • 1 teaspoon of Honey

There are a lot of health benefits to green tea. One of which is boosting your immune system. Adding lemon juice can help break down congestion and let the tea and ginger get to work quicker. Ginger can be strong and have the effects of Panadol and settle the tummy. Honey is gentle and antibacterial. Combine them all and you’ve got one powerful cold and flu remember.

Refreshing Chamomile

  • Spearmint leaves or Peppermint leaves (or mint. Spearmint is best)
  • Chamomile (dried flowers or teabag just make sure it’s pure and not a blend)

Steep for about 7 minutes and enjoy. Try not to sweeten it. This is calming and tummy settling. The spearmint counteracts the drowsy effects of Chamomile but not completely. This tea can leave you feeling very relaxed. It’s also a pretty good “after yoga” tea. Don’t drink this tea before bed. Just about anything in the mint family is a natural diuretic. So in simple terms, it makes you pee, a LOT. If you drink it before bed you will be up and down all night and if you’re diabetic you will be up and down all night frequently.

If you suffer fluid retention this tea can help reduce it, but drinking just the spearmint, mint or peppermint on it’s own will reduce fluid best. Try to have it unsweetened. It’s not a guarantee though so don’t rely on it.

 

These are some of my favourites. Not in my top 5’s but perhaps my top 20. But I’m not going to stop here I have just one more tea to add. These aren’t really tea’s but they could pass as iced tea or lemonade.

Basil Lemonade

Mix up a batch of classic homemade lemonade. I won’t make a recipe since there’s a million out there. But before you put it in the fridge while it’s still hot to warm throw in a few chopped up basil leaves. Basil and lemon go great together. But if you’re not a fan of it’s strong flavour, add it in when the lemonade is cold and it will disperse slowly.

Mint Lemonade

Same instructions as above only you really should add the mint in while it’s still warm.

Mint Limeade

Same instructions as above only add the mint in the lime juice while it’s warm and lots of it. Adding some white tea can really kick it up a notch. Limeade is excellent for a fever.

All of these though they seem like a lot of work are all really very simple. The time it takes is however long it takes you to throw it inside a teapot and steep. With the exception of a few that really need to be simmered.

All of these teas are healthy and excellent for your health unless you go overboard with sweeteners and sugar or start adding cream. The rose petal and limeade recipe in particular are good for a vitamin C boost.

I was talking to my love just the other day about tea. Honestly if I had a job at T2 or The Tea Centre I would be in heaven. I could spend all day around tea and talk about it all day. Honestly if I could find a local course I’d take up becoming a herbalist.

But enough rambling. Here’s just a few more tea blends and recipes, and yes I do mean a few. There is so much more you can do. I hope some of you might try these out! Though I must warn you, if you don’t like the herb then you might not like the single herb on it’s own in the simple tea version.

One thing I would like to leave you with is for each ingredient (if you have the time) look up “[herb name] health benefits” and you will find an incredible range of information.

Most of these herbs are excellent for headaches, stress, feeling under the weather and joint pain. So please do look it up. It might help you out in ways you never expected.

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5 Favourite Homemade Teas


Just curious since I know at least one of my readers is a tea lover like myself, but what are some of your favourite teas?

I have 5 favourite homemade brews. Everything else I’m just so so about. Here’s what I love and how to make it or spice it up a bit.

  1. Chai tea
  2. Orange tea
  3. Rose tea
  4. Lime/Lemon leaf tea or using dehydrated fruit slices
  5. Lemon Slice in black tea or green tea with honey

Some of my other favourite combinations are just variations of these. I like how simple they are. Recently I tried lemon myrtle tea. I wasn’t a fan but I am willing to try it again. I think I’d rather just regular lemons. They’re always tasty and quick and easy to use and make a great tea.

Here’s the recipes for my homemade versions of these teas:

Chai Tea

Ingredients for a standard teapot:

  • Black tea, I recommend Bushells Australian Breakfast
  • 3 or 4 dried Bay leaves
  • 4 to 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole pepper corns (not as spicy as it sounds, it disperses slowly)
  • 3 to 4 cardamon pods (crushing them a bit first is optional)
  • half or a whole cinnamon stick
  • (optional) A few thin slices of ginger root.
  • (optional) Sugar (raw or brown) or honey.
  • (optional) Milk

Method:

Place all of the herbs in the teapot and the normal amount of black tea you would use for a plain pot of tea. I use whole leaf and have a strainer which suits me just fine. Fill the pot with freshly boiled tea and allow to steep for 7 to 10 minutes. Take the tea bags out after it’s reached the desired flavour of tea. If you let it sit, more tannin can release and it can ruin the flavour.

Give a quick stir and use a fine mesh strainer before pouring a cup. If you don’t have one just give it a minute or 2 for it to settle to the bottom and then pour.

After pouring your serve, sweeten and add some milk but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. It’s quite nice black. I personally recommend adding a teaspoon of brown sugar, it really sets of the flavours of the cinnamon and cardamon. You could also leave out the cinnamon and just sprinkle the powder in your cup. I don’t recommend adding cinnamon powder to your tea pot it can sometimes mingle and turn gooey. I have no idea why.

Afterwards if or when you finish your pot, you can leave the herbs in and brew another 3 or so pots before it looses it’s flavour.

Orange Tea

Usually this is made with either fresh whole slices of oranges or just the peel. I however, make mine with dehydrated orange slices and sometimes put it in black tea. The flavour for all three ways will make the teas taste vary. Here’s a few methods. This is also really nice as a slow cooked air freshener.

I also forgot to mention you can spice it up a bit with some clove, star anise and cinnamon. It’s quite nice with just cloves.

Method 1:

Fill your tea pot with cold water. Then pour it into a saucepan. It’s just an easier way to measure it out. Then put several whole slices of an orange in the saucepan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer on medium to low heat for 15minutes. Take off heat and put it aside.

Take your teapot to the sink and warm up your teapot under the tap. I just run mine under straight hot water since my taps take a while to heat. Pour out the hot water (I use mine for a quick clean up). While your teapot is still warm, pour the tea in. If you do this in a cold teapot you could smash it from the sudden temperature change.

Now it’s ready to serve. The skins can sometimes add a slight bitterness so I do recommend having some kind of sweetener. Honey goes well and is a healthy option.

Method 2:

Peel a whole orange. Preferably a navel orange. If using just skins 1 navel orange should be enough for one pot of tea. Use the same method as above. Measure out the amount of water you need by filling your teapot with cold water and pouring it into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer on medium to low heat for 15minutes.

Method 3:

This one is easy. You can do this with just hot water or with some black tea of your preferred strength.

Break up and add several dehydrated slices to your teapot. Add hot water to your teapot and allow to steep for 10 minutes. This creates a warm orange flavoured tea. You can really taste the oils from the peel. If you add black tea remember to remove it once you reach the desired flavour level.

You can leave the peel in but it will keep dispersing oils until it’s re-hydrated and it could add an undesired flavour strength. When it comes to black tea it often tastes better to make the black tea and add a few broken chunks to your hot cup and let it do it’s own thing.

 

Rose Tea

This one is always interesting. Tastes like turkish delight. Here’s 2 plain recipes:

Recipe 1:

Gather some roses for your tea. Aim for colourful roses. White ones seem to have no flavour. And of course red or pink taste best.

If you’re unsure about it you can buy them as whole buds from T2 or most organic health food stores. Since roses contain more vitmain C than oranges, this is a great tea to have before or during a cold or the flu.

Gently remove your rose petals and place in a strainer. Using a gentle stream of water, rinse and wash your petals. Be careful not to bruise them. I use about one full sized rose per 1cup of water but that’s how I like it. This is a recipe that you might have to alter as you go.

So using these measurements, 4cups of roses to 1 litre of water. Place in an appropriate sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes and then bring to a simmer until the petals turn white. You can actually over boil them. The water will start turning pink so you might need a fork (yes a fork) to pick up and view the petals. They will also become a little transparent so if you use a spoon, it is hard to tell how well cooked they are.

When they petals are white remove from heat and allow to sit to cool. Put it in a tea pot or allow to fully cool and place in a jug and put it in the fridge. Sweeten to your desired taste but use sugar. White sugar will yield the best flavour.

If you don’t like it as a tea then the unsweetened rose water is extremely good for the skin. You can use it as is or put a cup in your next bath.

Method 2:

When you make your next pot of black tea add a few clean rose petals and some sugar. It tastes good black or with milk. This has to be my favourite tea is Spring and Autumn. It’s very floral and easy to make.=.

Here’s a few other ways I like to have mine.

  • A few petals in black tea
  • A few petals in white tea
  • Added as an extra ingredient in herbal teas
  • Plain
  • As an iced tea
  • Added to vanilla ice cream

Lime/Lemon Leaf Tea

I LOVE this tea! I was looking up cooking uses for lime leaves since I was making dinner with Basa and discovered this tea. It’s so easy. You can do this either by stove top or let it steep. Here’s the two ways I prepare mine:

Method 1:

This has to be the easiest way. I make mine in a small tea pot. It makes approximately 2 tea cups of tea.

Gather 4 or 5 lime or lemon tree leaves, but you can always use the fresh leaves from Woolies or Coles. Break it up into little bits. You don’t have to go crazy. Just small 1cm segments will do. I split mine down the middle and start ripping it into bits.

Pour in freshly boiled water and allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. It will be warm and ready to drink right away. You might need a strainer and I recommend giving it a quick stir before serving. Add honey if you like. It taste like lemon without any of the bitterness.

This tea is good for settling an upset tummy and calming the nerves. It’s also an excellent drink to give to someone that’s sick. Other than easing the tummy it’s still very rich in vitamins and can help speed up recovery.

Method 2:

Measure out what you will be making. So say 2 whole leaves per tea cup. When I make it in a sauce pan I make it for each person. Usually I serve 4 people so 8 leaves and 4 tea cups of water. Not cups, tea cups. Lime/Lemon leaf tea is a very gentle and mild flavoured tea.

You can cut up the leaves or put them in whole. I cut the leaves up a bit. I feel like it helps to extract the flavour better. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The leaves are thick and can take quite some time to extract.

Serve with a half to 1 teaspoon of honey. Honey is option but it’s so mild you really only need half that.

 

Black Tea With Lemon

This one is the simplest and never gets old. Honey is optional but recommended. All you need is a fresh brew of black tea and either a fresh slice of lemon or a slice of dehydrated lemon. I prefer the dehydrated lemon. And you can reuse the same slice more than once. Just drop it in, let it steep for a moment and enjoy!

Lemon Tea

I added this one separately. This one you can prepare exactly like the orange tea only you will want to add a lot of sugar to sweeten it. However being lemon and smaller, you only need to simmer it for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of your rind.

This tea is really good for you, especially if you’ve got a cold. Though it’s nice with honey it’s also a very bitter tea so sweetening is essential. Also this tea is much better served as an iced tea so after making it and sweetening, let it cool and stick it in the fridge. If you were going to have this as an iced tea, adding a little white tea wouldn’t hurt and would likely improve the flavour.

Like I said, it’s a nice tea but it can be very bitter.

 

Most of these teas are very healthy with a lot of health benefits. The only thing that can make it unhealthy is what you sweeten it with and how much.

So what’s your favourite tea? I really love Oolong tea from time to time as well but these are my absolute favourites.