Making your own tea blends is a fun way to play with your tea and allow you to make a one-of-a-kind creation for yourself or for a special event. Before pulling out all the spices you can find, you should keep in mind the following.
- Bad tea is bad tea. No matter how good your spicing or flower mix is, it cannot cover up bad tea. If you want a good tasting blend, you need to start with good quality tea. If you are contemplating blending to try to use a tea you do not like or tastes slightly off, put those tea leaves in your flower bed or compost pile, your plants will love you and you do not have to drink bad tea.
- Less is more. When working with spices and herbs like cinnamon, mint, or lavender, a little bit goes a long way. Tea is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs all odors in the air. It only takes thirty minutes of exposure to mint, that is just sitting next to it on the counter, for mint flavor to appear in your tea, adding that to the spice itself amplifies its effect. Start with these spices and herbs at 1/8-1/4 of a teaspoon per ounce of tea and work your way up to a flavor profile you like.
- Work in small batches. Black tea can have a three year shelf life, but few additives can last that long. If you are making a blend, work with no more than 2 ounces of tea, which makes thirty cups.
- Use dried or fresh edible flowers, but brew them first by themselves. To brew them by themselves, you will want about 1 gram to 1 ounce of water, bring the water to a boil and steep for 5 minutes. Sorry, but a scale is necessary when handling flower petals, there is no direct conversion to teaspoons as their weights vary dramatically. This will mimic what will happen when it is in the tea and give you an idea of what flavor it can add to the mix. Dried flowers, like calendula (marigold) are frequently added to tea for their appearance but they have their own flavor. By itself, calendula tastes like leather, but in a tea it adds depth and a full mouth feel.
- Size of ingredients matter if you are planning to store the tea. Small ingredients will fall to the bottom of your container, if you size the ingredients to the size of the tea you have a better chance of it remaining blended evenly while in storage. If that isn’t possible, you will want to pour out the dried tea, stir and then scoop out what you need to brew a cup or pot.