Tea For Two
As much as gardening has exploded as a hobby since the beginning of the pandemic, herb gardening has catapulted in popularity as well. Seems people are increasingly interested in growing plants that taste good but are also good for us, and herbs (and other plants and flowers) are famous for their feel-good benefits.
Take tea, for example. You know how you reach for a soothing cup of tea when you want to feel relaxed, cozy, and warm? Or energized and focused? You can have that experience by growing your own tea ingredients and blending your own recipes. It’s unbelievably easy, too, because herbs are one of the simplest plants for beginners to grow.
What Plants Make Great Tea?
Well, pretty much all of the herbs and a few other flowers! You may have many of these growing in your garden already, and with a few added plants, you’ll create your own tea garden in no time.
- Mint (all kinds)
- Lemon balm
- Lemon verbena
- Lemon thyme
- Bee balm
Do You Have Some Favorite Tea Blends?
Why, yes, we do! When you’re blending your plants for tea brewing, you’ll want to keep in mind a few things like taste and what you are hoping to gain from that spot of tea. For example, some herbs are calming while others are energizing and uplifting—so plan to have your mint tea blends during the day and enjoy those chamomile teas before bed.
- Energizing: Hibiscus and mint are perfect for that get-me-going tea, as well as mint and lemon balm.
- Sleepy time: You can’t go wrong with a classic blend of chamomile and lavender before bedtime. These two create a lovely taste while lulling you to sleep without having to count sheep or any other farm animal.
- Relaxing: Straight up lemon balm tea soothes those anxious feelings, while lavender and rose added to Earl Grey tea is another favorite.
- Refreshing: Mint and lemongrass for the win here.
How Do I Brew My Own Tea?
If you find a tea recipe that sounds intriguing to you online, go ahead and experiment with that. We suggest starting with a blend of just two herbs/flowers, then broaden your recipes with more ingredients as you gain experience and refine your taste. And remember, you can take a store-bought tea like oolong or Earl Grey and add your own ingredients to it.
Okay, to get going, understand that you can brew tea using either fresh ingredients or dried ones. Drying herbs and other plants is not terribly complicated, but let’s start with fresh herbs and flowers for now.
- Gather your fresh tea ingredients
- Place a handful of fresh herbs (and/or flowers) into your pot—¼ cup is a good amount to start with.
- Pour boiling water over the herbs and cover.
- Steep for 3–5 minutes.
- Strain plant material before using.
- Preheat your serving cup with hot water to keep your tea hot longer.
- If you’re using dried herbs, plan for 1 teaspoon of dried ingredients per cup of hot water (think of how much dried tea is in store-bought teabags).
- For iced drinks, brew the tea at double the strength to avoid the ice diluting the flavor too much.
- Look at the ingredients list in store-bought blends and plan to replicate similar recipes at home.
- Vary the amount of herbs and other ingredients to suit your own taste. It only needs to taste good to you!
- Jenny Peterson