In addition to harvesting your own tea varieties, you can add spices and herbs to create either classic or unique tea blends to suit your palette.
If you are unable to grow your own tea, you can still use loose tea, which can be found at most grocery and specialty stores.
Or you can leave out the tea leaves to create herbal teas instead.
Here are a few blends that have proven the test of time and continue to be steeped and sipped by casual tea drinkers and connoisseurs alike.
This blend is often used with black tea, but can be made with other varieties as well, and is sometimes mixed with green tea.
Traditionally, milk is added to the tea when making Masala chai. Though, augmented with spices, it is flavorful enough to drink without milk or even sweetener.
6 Cardamom pods
¼ teaspoon whole Black Peppercorns
1-½ teaspoons fennel seeds – or- star anise
¼ teaspoon whole Cloves
½ Cinnamon stick
1-2 tablespoons chopped ginger
¼ cup loose tea
Place all spices on a baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven (Fahrenheit) for 5 minutes. After removing the spices from the oven, allow them to cool. Either crush the spices with a mortar and pestle or grind them in food processor or coffee grinder. Mix the spices with ¼ cup of loose black tea, or other tea variety of your choice. Store in a tea tin. When you are ready to make your chai tea, use 1 tablespoon of the chai blend for every 6-8 oz cup of water. This mix makes about six servings.
This is just one of many variations of the chai blend. Although most blends are similar, using a base of ginger and cardamom, additional spices and herbs like nutmeg and saffron may be added in addition to or instead of the listed spices.
1 teaspoon loose black tea
2 or more drops of bergamot oil
Toss the black tea and bergamot oil, steep in one 6-8 oz cup of boiling water for 2-5 minutes. Other varieties of Earl Grey include Lady Grey, which has a more citrus-y flavor.
Blueberry Green Tea
1 teaspoon loose green tea
1 teaspoon dried blueberries
1 teaspoon dried blueberry leaves
1 teaspoon hibiscus (optional)
Mix all together and steep in one 6-8 oz cup of boiling water for 3-5 minutes. The green tea can be omitted to create an herbal blend.
This light and refreshing drink stirs images of candy canes in the winter and of fresh mint sprigs in the summer. It is delicious hot or chilled and can alleviate nausea as well as stomach upsets.
Peppermint tea is also very simple to make. On its own, 1 teaspoon of fresh peppermint added to 6-8 oz of boiling water makes one serving. Allow the peppermint to steep for 3-5 minutes and enjoy.
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