There are few things that I am as particular about as tea. If you can’t tell that the stuff in the tea bags is leaves, it’s not worth your time. Loose leaf is better anyway. (There’s only one exception to this rule, you can ask me if you’re curious.)
That said, I had a great day at the farm today. I showed up, made tea, and picked my chamomile flowers as my work for the day. I think I have it pretty good!
The blend I made was roughly equal parts mint and anise hyssop with some chamomile. The chamomile reduces down quite a bit in the dehydrator so right now I don’t have a whole lot of it to use. However, the plants are really putting out a lot of blooms now, so that won’t be a problem for long.
Making the tea is pretty simple, but I’ll walk through the my process.
First, boil water. I use a simple electric kettle. Depending on what kind of tea you are brewing, you’ll want to use the water at different temperatures. You’ll only want to use boiling water for black teas. If you use boiling water for green tea or any herbal infusions where parts are still green, then the result will be a drink that tastes way more bitter than it needs to be. Use water that’s around 160°F to 170°F to keep the drink from becoming too bitter. The best way is to have a thermometer, but my rule of thumb is that after the kettle boils is to let the water sit for about 15 minutes and then it will be about right.
Second, brew the herbs! Just pour your appropriate temperature water over the herbs and leave them brewing for about four minutes. You can brew them in an infusing basket or ball, or you can let the material float freely in the water. You’ll just have to strain the drink as you pour it into your cup. Most tea pots will come with a basket of some sort.
And third, take out the herbs and enjoy! A little honey in the tea goes a long way, but I really enjoyed this blend without any honey or sugar. It tasted very light and was pleasantly green and fresh. I’m no good at explaining flavors, but it was really very good!
I’m not sure how much tea we will end up with, but I think we’ll want to try and sell some of the blend at market. But meanwhile, I encourage you to go out and find some great loose leaf tea to brew yourself and enjoy.