Saturday, April 13, 2013

[DIY] Loose Leaf Tea


Making your own loose leaf tea is so much fun. It gives a lot more control over each ingredient. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased from other places and immediately tasted really bad vanilla and almond flavors. Those seem to be the most common extracts people will add to a recipe.

I prefer to keep it clean and natural. I don’t like to add any ingredients that I can’t find whole, dried…good old fashioned real. Over time I’ve made up about a dozen winners that I am madly in love with. Below are some of my favorite recipes.

To Use
I place a full tablespoon in a tea ball, bring fresh filtered cold water to a boil and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea ball and sweeten to taste, or drink as is. You can use sugar, honey, artificial sweetener and milk is amazing with any cinnamon fall type blends.

Finding Your Supplies
For my loose leaf green tea and other specialty teas, I like to visit my local Oriental market. For regular old black tea, Wal-Mart carries an 8 ounce package for under $4.00. You really can’t beat it. You don’t need anything fancy when you are highlighting the spices. You may want to choose a higher grade [oolong/orange pekoe] if you are creating a simple recipe like the "Cinnamon Orange" or "Toasted Almond" included below. But, it is all personal preference. Wal-Mart also carries a Mainstays tea ball that is under $4.00 and it works perfectly.

Prepping Your Spices
Any and all spices you are adding to your teas, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the spices for 5 minutes, or until they are fragrant. Let them cool completely, then either break them up by placing them in a plastic bag and going over them with a rolling pin, or use a mortal and pestle. Then add them to your loose leaf tea and store in any air tight container.

Chai Spice
24 green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon whole red peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 - 4 inch cinnamon sticks
6 tablespoons chopped dried ginger
1 cup loose leaf black tea

Cinnamon Orange
1 cup black tea
1 tablespoon dried orange peel
1 - 4 inch cinnamon stick

Cinnamon Lavender
1 cup black tea
1 tablespoon dried lavender
1 - 4 inch cinnamon stick

Pumpkin Pie Blend
1 cup black tea
2 - 4 inch cinnamon sticks
3 tablespoon dried ginger
1 teaspoon whole cloves

Fall Spice Blend
1 cup black tea
24 green cardamom pods
2 teaspoons dried orange peel
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 - 4 inch cinnamon sticks
3 tablespoons chopped dried ginger

Toasted Almond
1 cup black tea
3 tablespoons crushed toasted almonds
1 - 4 inch cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon dried safflowers

Coconut Dream
1 cup black tea
3 tablespoons dried ginger
1 teaspoon whole cloves
24 green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon dried calendula petals
1 tablespoon dried coconut

Citrus Mint
1 cup green tea
1 tablespoon spearmint

1 tablespoon dried orange peel
1 teaspoon dried lemongrass

P.S. Homemade loose leaf teas also make incredible gifts!