Heartwarming Loose-Leaf Tea Recipes to Try
A warm cup of tea can invigorate you in the morning or calm you in the evening. It’s a versatile drink you can prepare in many different styles to create infinite combinations. Making your own tea blend is often more affordable than buying a pre-mixed combination, and you can adjust the ratios and ingredients to create a unique flavor profile to your liking. All you need is plain, dried loose-leaf tea leaves that you can purchase in bulk and whatever dried herbs, seasonings, fruits and other additives you find at the grocery store. Here are some ideas for where to start.
Black tea blends
Because of their high caffeine content and bitter taste, black teas are ideal as morning drinks, which is why breakfast blends use potent black tea leaves. You can buy a large bag of plain, roasted black tea leaves and make your own breakfast blend. They mingle well with spicy ingredients like cinnamon and orange peel or lightly sweet elements like almonds and vanilla beans.
Chai tea is arguably the most popular black tea blend in the world, and Sarah Karnasiewicz shares her preferred chai tea blend recipe on the website for Real Simple Magazine.
Grind the following in a coffee or spice grinder: six star anise pods, 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, 2 1/2 tablespoons cardamom seeds and 1 tablespoon whole cloves. Pour the mixed ingredients into a bowl, along with 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon and 2 1/2 ounces loose-leaf black tea (Assam or Ceylon are great types for making a chai tea). Gently stir the ingredients together until evenly blended. Then, store the dry mixture in an airtight container until you’re ready to steep the tea. When you steep the tea in hot water, blend it with some warm milk and dissolved brown sugar or honey.
Green tea blends
Grassier and milder in flavor than tea leaves that have been roasted into their blackened form, green teas come in a variety of distinct flavor profiles. They’re easily the most versatile form of tea and blend smoothly with a variety of mix-ins. You’ll find combinations ranging from the nutty, savory taste of toasted brown rice in Genmaicha to the rich, floral tones provided by jasmine blossoms and rose hips.
On her website Homespun Seasonal Living, Kathie shares her recipe for a stomach-soothing ginger lemon balm green tea blend. It consists of 1/2 cup dried lemon balm, 2 tablespoons fennel seeds and 1/2 cup ginger-infused green tea (or you can use bits of dried ginger root and a plain green tea like sencha. Just stir the ingredients together in a bowl and store in an airtight container.
White tea blends
Although dried fruit can be mixed with green tea, it’s even better in a white tea blend, because white tea’s near-zero caffeine level makes it an ideal weight-conscious, post-dinner dessert drink. White tea has a very mild, delicate flavor, so it won’t compete with any other additives you stir in. Because of that, dried fruit is a popular ingredient in white tea blends.
Dietician and chef Roxana shares her recipe for a homemade rose, citrus, berry and apple white tea blend on her website, The Delicious Crescent. The blend consists of 1 1/2 cups dried orange, 1 1/2 cups dried apple, 1 1/2 cups dried strawberry and 1 1/2 cups dried roses broken into small bits and mixed with 2 cups white tea. You can either dehydrate fresh fruit yourself (what Roxana recommends doing), dry them in an oven or buy them pre-dried (without added sugar). You can also add various herbs to the blend like dried mint leaves.
These recipes are excellent starting points for you to begin experimenting with your own tea blends, and you can test whatever flavor combinations you want to discover your favorite combination. Pretty soon, you’ll feel like a tea connoisseur!
This article is presented by Jake Sweeney Mazda.