Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Tutorial : Make Your Own Uplifting & Warming Herbal Tea

Good Morning my dears,
Today I'd like to share with you a tea I made a few days ago. It was a super rainy day and I was feeling a little gloomy so I decided to make something that would be uplifting and warming. I took pictures along the way to share with you and I thought I'd do a little tutorial at the same time! I'm actually looking into getting some bags or tins for these so that I can put them up in the shop for anyone who just wants a ready made tea but if you'd like to try your hand then follow me!
For this particular tea I used the following herbs with the following quantities:

Cinnamon (about half a stick broken up into bits)
Star Anise (2 dried flowers)
Dried Chamomile (1 Tablespoon)
Dried Ground Rosehip Flowers (1 Tablespoon)
Dried Fennel Seeds (1 Tablespoon)
Dried Elder Flowers (1 Tablespoon)
Dried Juniper Berries (3 berries)

You'll also need:
A mortar and pestle
Teapot and Teacup
A filter of some kind / a sieve

Here you can see some of my bags of ingredients, my little teacup, my filter and my mortar and pestle. 

First step, get your Cinnamon (optional major sniffing to soak up the gorgeous smell). Break off about half of the stick and then proceed to break it up into little pieces and drop it into your mortar and proceed to mash! A little funny story now, the first time I went to Faery Fest I was in a shop looking at some mortar and pestles when a little boy came up next to me. He proceeded to lose a pound coin in a huge basket of herbs so I sat on the floor with him and took them all out to find his money. Afterwards he stood up, turned to the table and went 'is that a MASHER?'. Steven and I could not stop laughing, it was so funny and sweet that forever after a mortar and pestle has just been referred to as A MASHER! Technically you want to grind the herbs, if you want to be all adult about it, but I think mashing fits quite well really.
Once you've sufficiently mashed your Cinnamon into smaller flakes, take your 2 Star Anise flowers. You can put more in if you really like the taste of Aniseed, which is what these taste like, but since we're adding Fennel as well you probably won't need more than two. Put them in your mortar and keep grinding. You might find you need to smash them up a bit because they're a bit tough.

Now just go ahead and add the rest of your ingredients which will leave you with this. 

Grind, grind, grind. Once you feel like you've fallen into a fantasy roleplay game you've probably done it enough! You really just want to mix everything up at this point, since we're using dried herbs most of the ingredients are already small and don't need much grinding.

Once everything looks nice and ground up, get your teapot. This is my newest double decker teapot (or Tea for One which is what they're actually called). I find the pots that come with their own teacup are great because the cup isn't too huge and the pot is also quite small so that you don't end up making too much tea or watering it down too much. I can usually only drink about 1 regular mug of herbal tea in a few hours and these little teapots make about 2 regular mugs work at most so they're great for me. You can choose whatever size teapot and cup you like though!

Take a tablespoon of your ground up tea and put it into the teapot (or into a filter if you have one built in) and then pour in boiling water. Allow to steep for about 5 minutes and then pour. If you don't have a built in filter on your teapot this is where you'll want to use your sieve, otherwise you'll end up with lots of herb debris in your cup. You get this amazing amber gold colour.

The taste of this tea is quite sweet but without a cloying sweet aftertaste and quite heavy on the aniseed due to your Star Anise and Fennel Seeds with the Elder Flower and Chamomile softening the taste. If you're not keen on Aniseed you could remove one or both of your major Aniseed ingredients and substitute with something like Lavender, or if you like lemon try Lemon Balm instead. All the herbs we've used in this tea are known for their positive effect on the mood, they're uplifters, but they're also calmers and help to sooth anxiety and worry. I used Cinnamon as a base because it gives that little bit of sweetness and also because it's warming, if you've ever had a heavy Cinnamon tea you'll know it's spicy and that literally translates to a warming action on the body and spirit. 

I hope you found this helpful and enjoy your tea!

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