Monday, 25 March 2013

Compose your own tea

We adore tea. Period.
We love its versatility and multi-faceted taste; its appropriateness for every moment; its calming, comfortable, warming and healing effects; and its purity and ease to make it. The latter argument does not only concern the simple boiling of water and adding a teabag. No, it is also quite easy to personally mix and compose the tea that fits you and your needs.

There are (at least) three starting points of mixing your own tea: the first is based on taste, the second on health, and the third is a combination of these two qualities. Before you create your mixture, think of the effect you would like to bring forward with the tea: just something to still the thirst; a nice, good-tasting drink; a healing tincture for physical complaints (specific pains in the body, increase energy, warmth); and/or a drink which will effect the mental state (comforting, alerting, making happy). Other possibilities can be its compatibility with a certain dish/meal, or a specific moment, season or event, or will it be a gift?

The second step is to find the right ingredients that will fit the answers of the previous questions. Compiling according to your own taste is easy: what kind of flavours do you like? Fruity, spicy, exotic, sweet or even savoury (it's your tea!)? Finding the ingredients that will soothe your physical or mental complaints requires some help from Google or books about curative herbs (or find some on our blog). You can buy the herbs in most reform-shops, -apothecaries, or even better: pick or grow (and dry) them yourself.

Then it is time to experiment, smell, taste, sample and assemble. For this you will need the selected herbs and other ingredients, boiled water, tea mugs, sachets or tea infusers, spoons, bowls for mixing, an empty jar/pot for your creation and something to label it, pen and paper for notes, and perhaps some plain cookies and other people for more/better taste buds.

Write down the steps you take for your perfect mixture; how many spoonfuls of each ingredient? Then start adding and mixing ingredients in a bowl. Which ingredient do you like the most? Which taste would you like to stand out? Perhaps there are some herbs which are good for your health but taste bad or bitter; make sure to balance or exceed this taste with better tasting herb(s). Test which flavours go together, but also try unexpected combinations. 
You can test your combinations by drinking the result, but simply smelling two separate ingredients together can also be helpful. In addition, don't forget other flavourings such as dried fruits (apple, lemon, raisins, cranberries), check your cupboard for regular kitchen herbs (pepper, thyme), and what about chocolate or nuts?
After you're done mixing and you still think there is something missing (for example when your mixture tastes watery), try to add some black tea, green tea or rooibos to finish your tea. 
Name and label your tea, and enjoy drinking it!

When the sun comes out, a post about ice-tea will follow!

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