Herbs for Tea

“Would you  like your adventure now, or should we have our tea first? ~ Peter Pan

Yesterday, I enjoyed a glorious high tea outing with a good friend.  I sampled the most delicious rose scented, French Earl Grey. Then a delicate Darjeeling.  It was part of this years “Festival of Melissa” celebrations. However, my lady-date is a bit odd. She doesn’t drink tea or coffee.

Thank god she likes champagne and chocolate.  Otherwise we couldn’t be friends.

But I admit, I’m a coffee person, especially first thing in the morning.

Coffee before talkie.

Lately however, I have been getting tea-curious.  My Bee Sensei Dan gifted me a lovely book about tea, titled “The Book of Tea” by Kakuzo Okakura. It reads like poetry.  Also, I have been eyeing the beautiful collection of vintage tea sets I have inherited and feeling it is a shame to have them on display behind glass rather than in use.  My favourite one is pink, with gold detailing and a spider web design on it.

My Nan's cobweb teacup. A treasure that gets daily use.

My Nan’s cobweb teacup. A treasure that gets daily use.

My  go-to tea is Earl Grey.  Scented with bergamot, it is  light and refreshing.  I find green tea too bitter for me, but love it blended with Jasmine.

I have also tried a few commercial herbal and fruit teas and didn’t enjoy them very much.  One was reminiscent of skolling Nanna’s perfume.  Another citrus “inspiration” smelt like cat wee, and didn’t taste better either.  Chai is about as palatable as snacking on the Christmas pot-pourri.

Rosellas picked fresh from the garden, ready for tea pot...

Rosellas picked fresh from the garden, ready for tea pot…

Ginger blends remind me of failed attempts to ward off pregnancy induced nausea.  So I infuse raw ginger in honey and use it to flavour lemongrass iced-tea. It’s unbelievably refreshing.

Some teas are surprisingly expensive. It was cheaper to buy a Lemon Verbena plant than it was to buy 25 lemon verbena tea bags.  So you can guess what I did.  Yes, I planted five Lemon Verbenas.  They need regular pruning to form a bushy habit, so I have plenty of leaves for tea, enough to share.

I can feel myself  getting a little carried away.

Different peppermints, spearmint, geraniums, lavender, lemongrass, bergamots, lime verbena, rosella, lemon balm and even stevia have found their way into my garden and my teacup.  I am thinking perhaps a small rose garden would be a good idea too.

And so, for the last few weeks, I have been playing with various potions, brews and tisanes.

Sweet Stevia, providing sweetness without the calories.

Sweet Stevia, providing sweetness without the calories.

Rose geranium is too strong to infuse, becoming overwhelmingly pungent.  So I buried some leaves in a jar of raw sugar, and it added a subtle, delicate perfume to my Earl Grey.

Rosellas make a vibrant red brew that is rich in vitamin C.  It’s wincing tartness is complemented with orange zest and a few stevia leaves.

I love lemon balm and lavender sweetened with a bit of honey.  Apparently even passionflower tea is good for those evenings when a good nights rest is needed.

There is still much experimentation to be done!  In the meantime, it seems I am well on my way to becoming a tea tragic.

What about you?  Whats your favourite herbal tea?

 

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3 Responses to Herbs for Tea

  1. Sharon May 6, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    What a great post Mel. And I wholeheartedly agree that beautiful teacups are too gorgeous to hide away. Perhaps we should look at a teahouse for next Monday’s outing?!

    Shaz x

    • melissabarnett May 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      The Festival of Shaz picks up right after the Festival of Melissa finishes!

      Teahouse sounds perfect!

      I’ll bring you some Lemon Verbena tea….

      Cheers!

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