After my adventures in trying my first masala chai (made with my own two hands) a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been looking forward to crossing something else tea related off my list: making my own tea blend.
Like any good British person, my day starts and ends with tea. I forego the traditional English Breakfast tea for a lively ginger in the morning and a calming night time blend later on, to ease me into sleep. I don’t limit it there though: I have a cupboard full of tea bags for any emergency, and my normal cure for any ailment is either a glass of water or a cup of tea. There is so much warmth and comfort in a cup of tea, it’s no wonder some people call it a “hug in a mug”.
I did a little research on how to make my own tea bags and found that coffee filters were a good start. What I didn’t realise is that I could also pick up empty tea bags in the local supermarket.
Whilst I was shopping for some dried herbs and flowers to put in my blend, I came across re-usable teabags at Sostrene Grene – even better! Needless to say, I now have a cupboard full of tea, and a cupboard full of ways to make more tea. You can take the girl out of England…
I decided to experiment with four different herbs and flowers: lavender, peppermint, camomile, and rosemary. The last one is a bit of a wildcard, I just happened to have an unopened pack of dried rosemary at home so I decided to give it a whirl.
I used this post from Country Cleaver for some inspiration but ultimately went with four different blends to taste test: (1) lavender and camomile, (2) lavender, camomile, and rosemary, (3) lavender and peppermint, and (4) rosemary and peppermint. I was confident that the lavender and camomile would work as it’s a classic combination you find in many tea blends, but the rest I wasn’t sure. The rosemary and peppermint concoction sounds like something you’d put on a lamb shank, not drink, but in the interest of tea science, I decided to blind taste test them.
My helper and I diligently tested all of these cups of tea and rated them to find the best one. I was confident the lavender and camomile would win, but there were a few other strong contenders. Some were too strong, some too weak, but you could get a general sense of the smell and flavour after a few slurps.
Unfortunately, the lavender and camomile blend was just too weak to taste properly. I got a little bit of camomile coming through but that was it. I’ll make this one again as I know it should taste good, I’ll just up the quantities. The rosemary and mint tea was my least favourite – there was too much going on in there for me! On the other hand, it was my husband’s favourite so that was interesting. The lavender and mint came out on top for me – both flavours I love and they complimented each other surprisingly well. I did like the lavender, camomile, and rosemary one and will likely make it again, but the rosemary was a little too heavy for my liking. I love the taste and smell of rosemary, but I don’t think I’m a huge fan of it in tea – I’m always associating it with delicious foods instead!
All in all, my tea making afternoon was a success. I managed to try different flavours that I wouldn’t have picked up normally and found a winning combination that I’ll definitely have again. My next step will be making up the lavender and mint tea blend into a jar so it’s ready to pop into the reusable tea bags any time the fancy strikes.