I've been the master of tea blending for our family for quite a few years
. It all started when I would get delightful bunches of herbs in our weekly CSA box and began learning all about the delights of fresh herbal tea. Boxed tea bags from the grocery store don't even compare in flavor!
Now that I've gained more understanding through my herbalism studies, I've started blending our herbal teas with four main steps in mind.
If you're interested in the fun process of tea blending, these four steps should help get you started!
Tea Blending is Four Easy Steps:
1. Determine the Purpose
The first thing I like to do when tea blending is to consider the purpose I want it to achieve.
- Is it just for flavor?
- Is if for a specific illness or ailment? If so, what is the condition?
- Do I want it to have a certain action? If so, what action?
Then, when I have determined the purpose of the blend, I begin to consider the host of herbs that could meet that need.
For example, if I want to make an herbal tea blend to enjoy in the evening before bed, I might look at nerving, sedative, antispasmodic, nutritive, or modulating herbs.
I would also want to ensure that my blend is free from stimulating and diuretic herbs.
2. Determine the Consumers
Once I know my purpose, I then consider who will be enjoying the herbal blend.
Children, pregnant or lactating women, and the elderly will respond differently to herbs than the standard 150 pound healthy adult man or woman. I need to keep those unique needs in mind as I choose the herbs for my blend.
If we continue with our evening blend example, let's say that I want to make this blend for myself and my children.
I may also drink it during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
I can now narrow down my herb choices based on those that will perform the functions I desire while still being extremely safe herbs.
I will probably look more closely at lemon balm, chamomile, and lavender, but avoid catnip (though I love it!) since it is contraindicated during pregnancy. I would also skip stronger sedatives like kava kava or valerian.
3. Consider Herb Availability
By now I should have a shorter list of herbs to consider for my blend and can consider how easy it is for me to access the potential herbs.
Some herbs I grow in my garden, so if one of those will meet our need, I often choose that.
I know exactly how it was grown and how old it is, and it's an extremely frugal choice!
If I have to purchase the herbs, I then will take cost into consideration.
If there are two suitable herbs to choose from, and both are safe and effective but one is substantially more costly, common sense tells me to choose the less expensive option.
4. Consider the Flavor
Finally, though certainly not of least importance, I consider the flavor of the herbs.
A blend can be packed with beneficial botanicals, but if it tastes bad, I'll find myself hard pressed to see those herbal actions have any effect on my family!
One of the beauties of herbal medicine is the pleasing experience herbs can bring us through their scent and flavor.
Those two aspects alone can do a great work.
Back to my example of an evening tea blend, I think that chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm are all delightful. But perhaps one of my children hates lavender in tea? Well, it certainly wouldn't make sense to add it anyway just because of the herb's safety and actions!
I can reasonably leave that herb out since the other two will provide sufficient action without the lavender.
If my chosen herbs have a strong, perhaps even unpleasant flavor, I would want to add another herb to help offset that.
It would be important that the actions of the flavoring herb wouldn't compete with the desired action of the blend. Spearmint is a popular herb in our house when we need a pleasant flavor.
And of course, a bit of honey can do wonders in a tea with a less than pleasing taste!
My way of tea blending isn't the only way
. Be sure to read how Meagan blends her own teas in this post here
Have you ever blended your own herbal teas? How did you do it?