Saturday, February 16, 2013


Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms
I Peter 4:10

This week I had the opportunity to do a demonstration “Herbs & Tea” – An overview of blending for fun and flavor – at the Ormond Beach Public Library plus share in their lovely tea party with scones and sweets as the participants tasted these two blends we prepared together:






Lemon Spice

3/4c honeybush tea
1/4c lemon grass
2Tbs lemon verbena
2Tbs lemon myrtle
1Tbs calendula
1Tbs ginger root
1Tbs licorice root







3/4c green rooibos
1/4c spearmint

1/4c lemongrass
1Tbs lemon myrtle
1Tbs rose petals
1Tbs rose hips




Although a single herb is the best way to appreciate the pure flavor of a tea and herbal infusions or tisanes, combinations of two or more can result in an infinite variety of taste sensations.  Because of the number of teas and herbs, there is a flavor for every palate including fruity, lemony, minty, floral and spicy.

Blending is the simply the art of adding more than one ingredient together to create a personal signature blends.  Custom blends are a wonderful and healthy gift.  Once you discover the art of blending, you'll probably prefer the made-to-order tastes and subtle accents you can create yourself.  Experiment!! 


1.  Start by sampling some “simples” – single teas and herbs - and get familiar with the various flavors.  This is a great way to get to know their characteristics

2.  Keep your ingredients separate, in original package until needed; bring to blending table only what you're going to use to avoid contamination with aromas, taste, etc.

3. Choose a base for your blend – this will help to give it body.  You can choose from the following depending on what type of blend you want to create:


Rooibos Tea - Red Tea (Aspalathus linearis) – the leaves/needle are used to produce a cool, sweet, refreshing flavor which is naturally caffeine free, low in tannins with body like black tea
Blends: floral, mint and spice

Honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia) – leaves, stems and flowers used to produce a full bodied brew which is honey-like, smooth and sweet with spicy undertones which is naturally caffeine free and low in tannins
Blends: fruit and lemon

Tea (Camellia sinensis) - leaves produce a light to full bodied brew and contains caffeine, tannins & essential oils
          Blends: black – herbs/spices, ooking – fruit/lemon and green – floral/mint


4.  Choose one flavor or family of flavors and use about three parts of your dominant ingredient(s).


Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) – also called Roselle, the red flower calyxe are used to produce a tart & tangy deep red infusion
Blends: Combines well with lemon herbs, mints, cranberry juice, and cinnamon. Lends it self well to any fruity blend.

Rosehips (Rosa canina) – the fruit of roses is used to produce a red tea with a mildly tart fruity-citrus flavor.
Blends: Combines well in fruit and herb blends


Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – the fresh leaves are used to produce a lemony flavor especially sweetened with honey        
Blends: Dried leaves add body to blends.

Lemongrass (Cynbopogon citratus) – The grass blades are used either fresh
or dried to produce a lemon taste without the tanginess        
Blends: Combines well with other lemon herbs and mint

Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) - the leaves have an intense refreshing lemon-lime aroma and taste 
          Blends: Adds a lemony zip to tea blends.

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) – the leaves are used fresh to make a strong lemon flavored tea most like oil of lemon
          Blends: herb teas made with licorice, mint or other lemon herbs


Catnip (Nepeta cataria) – leaves are used to produce a subtle lemon-minty relaxing tea.
Blends: Dried catnip is slightly bitter, best blended with other herbs

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – the leaves are used to produce a cool, fresh,minty yet pungent brew
Blends: Combines well with other mints and fruit juices especially pineapple juice plus makes a wonderfully refreshing iced tea

Spearmint (Mentha cardiaca) – the leaves are used to produce a cool fresh
mint taste
Blends: Excellent blending herb that has a milder, cooler flavor than peppermint & combines well with orange, hibiscus, and green tea. 


German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – small, daisy-like flowers are used to produce a light sweet, apple like taste and aroma
          Blends: Combines well with lemon herbs, mints or hibiscus flowers

Jasmine flower (Jasminum officinale) – the fragrant blossoms are used to produce delicate fruity and floral notes
Blends: The classic flavor of jasmine lends itself to many blends

Lavender (Lavendula officinalis) – the flowers are used to produce a slightly sweet, highly aromatic floral flavor
          Blends: The flavor can be a bit perfumey, so use sparingly

Rose Petals & Buds (Rosa spp) – just the petals or buds of fragrant organic varieties are used to produce a red tint and light floral flavor
Blends: Adds a delicate floral note that lingers to teas & blends


Cinnamon (Cinnamon cassia) – the bark is used to produce a warm spicy flavor
Blends: The warm spicy flavor of cinnamon is especially great paired with citrus & other spices

Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale) – the root is used fresh or dried to produce a tangy yet refreshing tea
          Blends: Spicy and warm addition to fruit and spice blends

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) – the root is used for its natural sweetness and anise aftertaste
Blends: Increases sweetness and harmonizes flavors


5.  For accent, add a small amount, usually about 1 part, of the following individual components or a combination:
        Spices (whole, cracked or ground)
          Dried or fresh edible flower petals
          Well-dried fruits
          Dried citrus peel
          Cocoa nibs
          Vanilla beans

6.  Mix the desired ingredients in small and manageable batches, about enough for a few cups, and then brew your combination and taste.  Use 1 teaspoons for a cup or 1 heaping tablespoons for a pot, add boiling water and steep 3-5mins depending on the base infusion.

7.  Be prepared to tweak the blend

8.  Once you have the desired blend, store in air-tight containers away from light, humidity and changes in temperature.  Blends that include leafy herbs and flowers may be stored for 8-12 months.  Blends made of bark, root, twigs, berries, and seeds no longer than 14-16 months.

9. Enjoy!


See these links for more information on available free presentations and demonstrations for your groups!


1 comment:

Carrie - A Sweet Spot: Home said...

Recently someone commented to me how they'd never heard of Rooibos tea and thought it must be some odd variety. I immediately told them that thanks to my mother-in-law, I'd had it and enjoyed it! :)