Making your own tea blends
After years of picking out different teas that I thought I would enjoy and reading the labels to see what types of ingredients were in each one, it dawned on me one day, that I have most of the ingredients with the exception of the tea leaves. So I bought some green and some black tea and started to make my own homemade iced tea recipe. If you look through a tea catalog it would appear that there are a million kinds of teas, but they are mostly different varieties of the same kind of plant and are often distinguished by their region and they way they are processed like wine for example. The four basic types of tea black, green, white, and oolong, are distinguished by the oxidation and fermentation processes. The other varieties are mostly from added ingredients and flavors. If you start with one of those you can add spices or dried fruit and flowers to make your own tea blends to serve to your friends or give as gifts to fellow tea lovers.
Drinking tea is also a great way to get the health benefits of herbs and spices without all the effort of cooking. You can even save your orange and lemon peels, berries, or flowers from your garden, such as marigold or hibiscus, and dry them and add those to your teas. Finding ingredients that go well together such as; ginger, mint, orange, green tea or cinnamon, apricot, vanilla black tea becomes an experimental quest like baking or cooking. A little bit about each tea.
- White tea comes from the buds of the tea plant. It is light and slightly sweet and floral.
- Green tea is famous for its antioxidants and caffeine, and is minimally oxidized. The flavor of green tea is kind of earthy and herb like, sometimes grassy and sometimes smooth. Green tea blends well with citrus and honey if its flavor is too strong for you.
- Black tea is full bodied and crisp, the taste is often described as oaken and is more oxidized than green or oolong. Black is wonderful blended with sweeter spices like cinnamon and clove and can be combined with milk and sugar, as you sometimes see with chai teas.
- Oolong tea has a wide range of flavor due to the vast differences in time that can spend oxidizing and fermenting. The fermentation process can range from 8% to 85%. It can be sweet and fruity with honey aromas, or woody and thick with roasted aromas, or green and fresh with bouquet aromas, all depending on the horticulture and style of production.
Preparing teas for different occasions is also a lot of fun. Making sweet cinnamon Christmas tea or a pumpkin spice fall tea can really enhance that warm holiday feeling you get during celebrations with friends and family. You can also add different ingredients to suit your needs, lavender is relaxing if you are feeling stressed and chamomile is excellent if you are having trouble sleeping. Peppermint is soothing if your throat is sore and tends to pick you up a bit in the mornings. So I encourage you to drink tea to boost your health and your mood and have fun coming up with the perfect recipes.