Blending your own tea flavors from scratch
My husband recently had this crazy and perhaps brilliant idea that I could make my own flavored teas by mixing plain tea with herbs, spices, fruit, etc. Likewise I could make herbal teas by just using the non-tea components.
I’ve already gotten a start with some fun ingredients, and I started a tea journal to keep track of my “experiments.” The first tea last night was chamomile-lavender-peppermint, and this morning I tried an Assam-lavender-strawberry blend. Both were quite good!
I was wondering if anyone else does this? What ingredients do you have on hand? Any recipes you’d like to share? Is there some clever way to post your recipes on Steepster?
LiberTEAS had her own business!:) I blend myself, but it’s fairly limited… if only I had the $ and the storage to have access to every tea and tisane…
As far as flavoring tea goes, the “additives” (which is what I call bits of fruit, nuts, flowers, chocolate, etc) have very little to do with the flavoring of the tea. When you get a fruit flavored black tea, for example, and you see bits of dried fruit in there, or you get a chocolate tea and you see chocolate chips in there – that has very, VERY little contribution to the overall flavor of the tea, and are used primarily for their aesthetic value.
The key in flavoring tea leaves is flavoring oils which are made from natural extracts.
Now, this is not as true with herbals, such as lavender, peppermint, spearmint and other herbs, as well as spices, because they retain much of their own flavorings/oils that can effectively release themselves with the introduction of hot water.
However, because herbals “shelf life” are much shorter than a typical tea leaf – they go stale and lose their flavor much quicker.
Oh, thanks for the info. That is really interesting! I was wondering about those “flavorings” – I had noticed that some flavored teas had “stuff” mixed in, while others just seemed to be the tea leaves, but flavored. Any idea where one might find such flavoring oils/extracts, available to consumers? I might have to do some homework. Would baking-type extracts work at all, I wonder?
I did notice the strawberry flavor from the dried strawberries was subtle, but came through more in the second steeping.
“I did notice the strawberry flavor from the dried strawberries was subtle, but came through more in the second steeping.”
That will happen and is typical. Generally, the first infusion, the tea leaves are very strong. The second infusion of most teas tends to be my favorite because the flavors have an opportunity to come through. However, the flavor will never be quite as pronounced as it would with flavoring oils.
Baking extracts aren’t strong enough really to provide and maintain the flavor, but, you can try adding them to the tea just before brewing. I haven’t done a lot with baking extracts to be honest with you, with the exception of vanilla extract occasionally, if I am in a real “vanilla” mood, I might add some vanilla to my tea leaves just before steeping.
The oils that I get are available wholesale only, and it’s a trade secret that I keep very close. :) However, if you google, I am sure you’ll find something that is available to the retail consumer.
Oh… and another note, vanilla beans make an EXCELLENT flavoring without the oils. Just split the bean and toss it in a tin with tea leaves, in a couple of weeks you will have a very pleasantly flavored vanilla tea.
I ditto LiberTEAS’ last comment.
I once came across a set on Etsy for blending your own tea. It came with a large batch of loose black, and then a good dozen other herbs and flavours. Lavender, chamomile, etcetera. I thought about getting it once or twice, but I’m starting to grow some of my own herbs including chamomile, and already have a huge thing of lavender (although I don’t think it’s English lavender), so really I wouldn’t need it.
I’ve played around with blending before. Toning down some flavoured black teas by adding some other black tea to it. I’ve also got dried then frozen blueberries in the freezer (my dad makes them up every time blueberries are in season so he can use them when he goes camping; easier to transport than fresh), took a hammer to a few, and threw them into a steep with black tea. Didn’t get much of a result, though. Probably should have let them thaw first.
That’s WONDERFUL if you’re a black tea person… Were there any green, white, or oolong ones?
Not that I know of, but I didn’t look too extensively. Although you could probably still buy the set and use it with your own tea. Maybe use up the spices to make a nice chai with the black, and then keep the rest of the herbs for use with your own greens/whites/oolongs.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/purposedesign This is her shop front. I looked through it quickly, didn’t find any green/white/oolongs, just her usual Make Your Own Chai kits and Herbal Black (titled “Herbal Tea Kits”, although they come with black tea as well as herbal tea staples like chamomile and hibiscus) kits. However, she does have a Pick Your Spices kit, so if you want to skip on the black tea that comes with her other sets, you could try that and pick all the usual tea-herb pairs.
The kits come all set with nice little spice-jars in one large carrying case to keep the light out. Pretty neat.
These are some of the neatest things I have seen!!! I love them, great gift ideas thanks!
Re: blueberries – I tried dried blueberries with Ceylon black tea. On the first infusion, I didn’t get a lot of blueberry flavor – maybe just a hint. But, with the second infusion, it was great! I think it was a combination of the tea getting a little weaker, and perhaps the blueberries releasing a little more flavor. I think I used about 2 tsp dried blueberries and 1 tsp tea in a large mug (maybe 12 oz).
I have not read the book yet, but I just ran across http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307450805/ref=s9_wishf_gw_t?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3N5B2ZSFLH328&colid=2VCAYFX9M6EJW&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=right-3&pf_rd_r=0F6APHZQEQ4A82B4967N&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=481918071&pf_rd_i=507846 maybe that would be useful to you.
I am wanting to purchase some organic coconut flakes and add them to some white tea along with some caramel chips. I’ve only mixed herbal teas in the past for a medical condition of mine, and that worked out extremely well. Just don’t know about flavoring teas. I am new to this ballgame, and this is my first day, date: 12-12-12, on Steepster.
I mainly use roobios as trying to stay away from any caffine. Getting ready to try some EO’s but have made a few very pleasant teas using things already in my kitchen cabinets. My 1st favorite is: roobios, rosehips, hibiscus and lemon peel. Next one used roobios, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel. (Used coffee grinder to get cinnamon sticks and cloves to desired. consistency. Last but not least: green tea leaves, hibiscus, dried mango and vanilla bean. Enjoy my teas and would love to hear from others for some recipes.
I’m not all that helpful with the main bit of the topic – since I’m not prone to tweaking my tea blends – but I’ve noticed quite a few people use the “Random Steepings” tea blend in order to log their experiments.
Hope that helps. :)
I’m currently blogging on tea and also am experimenting with different homemade tea blends. Its very true that the dried fruits or other additives don’t really exude the kind of fragrance which is prominent in commercial tea brands. This topic discussion was extremely useful :)