Creating tea recipes with loose leaf teas, herbs, and spices can be a ton of fun if you have the right tools.
When you were a kid, did you ever play a mad scientist?
Y’know, where you combine dirt, some unknown liquid and whatever else you could find to create a concoction? If you were lucky, maybe you got to combine random ingredients in the kitchen while your mom was baking.
You probably had no idea what you were doing and just threw unknown amounts of things together to see what would happen.
I feel like a mad scientist when I create loose leaf tea recipes. But I have a method to my madness.
You can watch the video here, or keep reading.
Over the years, I’ve discovered a few easy tools I keep in mind when creating tea recipes whether in small batches or larger amounts. I’m sharing those with you here.
If you’re ready to go deeper, then click here to get the Tea Blending 101 pamphlet I give to students who take my tea blending class.
When I refer to loose leaf tea blends, I’m talking about any combination of teas, herbs and spices. Tea blends are also called infusions or tisanes, if you want to get fancy.
The first thing to understand about creating tea recipes, and standardized recipes in general, is that you’re creating something plant-based that can overcook just like anything else.
When your tea tastes bitter, it’s probably because you’ve steeped your tea too long in hot water; the hot water extracted too much of the oil from the tea plant — burning it.
To avoid overcooking your tea blend, keep a few things in mind when creating tea recipes.
- White and green teas brew quicker and at a lower temperature than black tea (click here for a breakdown on brewing instructions),
- when you add spices to a tea, you will have to brew the tea longer than you would without the spices; it takes a bit more time for hot water to extract the flavors from whole spices than tea alone. For example, if you usually brew your black tea for about 1-2 minutes, you may want to brew your tea 4-5 minutes if it has a spice like ginger in it.
- stronger more flavorful spices such as cloves, ginger, and cinnamon pair best with black tea when you’re creating tea recipes. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find a great white tea and ginger brew, but to get the strong ginger flavor infused with your tea, you must cook the ginger longer, and black tea withstands a longer brew better than a white tea might,
- herbs like rooibos, honey bush, and chamomile make great bases for your blends (see below for more info on base ingredients). Rooibos and honey bush can withstand heat and longer brewing times better than delicate chamomile flowers.
Okay, lets get to the actual tea recipe blending.
Here are 4 simple steps to creating your own tea recipes.
1. Start with the base ingredient.
The base ingredient is the tea or herb that really decides whether your blend will be dark or light, floral or tart, rich or delicate. For example, if I want a spicier blend, I start with a black tea to blend with ingredients like cloves, cinnamon, ginger — those spices that need a strong to that can hold up to them. If I want a lighter brew, I’ll start with a green or white tea to blend with peppermint, holy basil, or some other milder herb.
Choose your base is just like deciding what kind of wine you’ll have with dinner. If you’re having steak, red wines are richer and can hold up to the strong flavor of the steak, while white wines are usually served with fish because fish has a more subtle flavor that lets you taste the lighter flavors in the white wine.
2. Add whole organic herbs or spices to influence your tea recipes.
I use up to another teaspoon of organic dried herbs and spices to create a unique blend.
In total, I’ll have 2 teaspoons of tea and spices for an 8 ounce cup of tea which helps you standardize your tea recipes when you make them in bulk.
3. Test your brew.
Add and remove spices depending on what you want. Can you taste the flavor you want to taste most? If not, increase that ingredient and decrease the amounts of one of the other ingredients.
Tea blending is trial and error. It takes time and patience, but when you begin finding what you like and don’t like, the process with go smoother.
Click here to get the Tea Blending 101 pamphlet to get some free tea recipes to get you started.
Yes. Tea blending more than one cup worth of tea requires math. Sorry.
To make more than one cup of your new delish tea blend, you want to check these off:
- Double check that your blend equals 2 teaspoons
- Write out each ingredient and the amount you’ve chosen for your blend
- Ask yourself, how many cups you want to create of your blend
- Then, Multiply each ingredient by the number of cups you want to create for your blend.
So, for example, here’s a recipe that’s been multiplied for 10 cups.
Recipe for a citrus tisane:
INGREDIENT = Amount x the # of cups = TOTAL INGREDIENT NEEDED
white tea = 1 tsp x 10 cups = 10 tsp white tea
dried lemon = 1/4 tsp x 10 cups = 2 1/2 tsp dried lemon peel
dried orange = 1/4 tsp x 10 cups = 2 1/2 tsp dried orange peel
stevia leaf = 1/8 tsp x 10 cups = 1 1/4 tsp stevia leaf
dried ginger = 1/8 tsp x 10 cups = 1 1/4 tsp dried ginger
Be sure to click here get your free tea blending guide. It has recipes to get you started.
Now that you have all the tips to get started, have fun! Let me know what you’re going to try making in the comments below.
Director & Mad Tea Scientist
Sicilian Tea Company