While we certainly enjoy an outstanding cup of “pure” tea – teas harvested from the same variety of tea plant, from the same region, and ideally from the same factory—the world of blended teas is wonderfully exciting!
There are so many ways to blend tea, the possibiliteas are endless. This post is meant to give you an overview into not only our blends but to inspire you to create your own. Why should we be the only ones to have all the fun?
We couldn’t possibly talk about blended teas without first mentioning our most popular, Hot Cinnamon Spice. A blend of black tea, three types of cinnamon, orange peel and sweet cloves, it’s hard to know what’s better: the aroma or the taste. With blends like HCS and others like Earl Grey Supreme with its blend of both black and white teas along with bergamot oil, or Paris, a delicious mix of black and oolong tea, black currant flavor, vanilla flavor, bergamot oil and caramel flavor—we have more fun than a mad scientist in his lab coming up with these flavors, tasting and tweaking until we have something unique and delicious.
We create these teas in our blending room at our facility in Millerton, New York. We have three blending machines: the largest blends 800 pounds of tea, the medium blends 400 pounds and our little guy blends 50 pounds. We use the small one to create our specialty blends like those mentioned above. To make the perfect cuppa, we add different types of tea, herbs, fruit and flavors to each machine to create an unforgettable blend. As you can imagine, that room and our facility in general smells wonderful!
Become Your Own Mad Scientist!
Have different types of teas in your cabinet? Feeling a little adventurous? Mix ‘em together! Black Currant and Vanilla Comoro? Could be like putting currants on vanilla ice cream (hmmm, iced – there’s a thought!). Peppermint Herbal and Chocolate tea? It’s a DIY combo that also mixes a decaf and a caffeinated tea to lower your caffeine level if you’d like. The options are endless, and the really cool thing is there’s no wrong way to do it. If you like it, go for it!
Loose tea works best for this as you can control the portions to have just the amount of tea you need. But if you have sachets or tea bags, that will work, too.
Add Essential Oils
While essential oils have grown in popularity, many of them have been around for centuries. These oils, extracted from plants and capturing their beneficial properties as well as their scent and flavors, not only add flavor but can have some health benefits. Popular essential oils used in tea are bergamot, peppermint, spearmint, lemon and lavender, among others.
While most essential oils are perfectly safe to put in your tea, you should do so in limited quantities-- just two or three drops should do it. Pregnant women should check with their doctor to make sure they’re safe to ingest.
Homemade Herbal Tea
You can create a batch of homemade herbal tea from quite a variety of ingredients. These caffeine-free beverages can also be concocted with ingredients that have known health benefits to create a beverage that is not only good but good for you. (See our blog on teas that are good during cold season for info on the benefits of some common herbs and spices used in tea.)
Just some of the many common items you can put into your herbal tea concoction:
Use a vegetable peeler to get a nice fine peel on your ingredients. To dry them, you can either use a food dehydrator or your oven. Set it at a low temperature, like 200° F, and dry your items for a couple of hours. Store your ingredients in airtight containers. When ready to make your tea, use one part of each of your ingredients (or a half part for stronger items like ginger that tend to want to take over!), place them in an infuser and proceed to make tea like you normally would. Or, if you have a French press, you can make it that way as well.
If you’re wondering where the “tea” part of making these herbal teas is, remember: herbal teas are tisanes, which aren’t really teas at all since they aren’t derived from theCamellia Sinensis plant, which is the mothership of tea plants. They’re called teas because they’re just as awesome!
Have fun experimenting with different ingredients you have around the house, or go exploring at a local herb market, health food store or spice market. Throw in a cinnamon stick or some honey for a natural sweetener. Give it a name, like “Aunt Lulu’s Luscious Lavender & Lemon Libation” and wait for the kudos!
We’d love to hear about your experience of blending tea! Please tell us about it in the comment section below. In the meantime, Happy Blendings!
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Teachers always go above and beyond, but no more so than this past year. Recognize their efforts with some gifts from Harney tea.