When I was new to herbs, I did everything by the book… meaning, I’d get out an herbal how-to book, look up how to make something, and follow the directions step by step. I followed recipes when making an immune-boosting tincture right down to 1 part of this and 2 parts of that with so many ounces of liquid.
Because I was new and unsure. I was in a learning curve. The part where I was curious enough to try everything because I knew that this lifestyle was best for us, but not confident or knowledgeable enough to do it totally on my own.
Now don’t get me wrong… I’m no expert. In many ways, I’m still there. If you were to give me an herb or oil I knew nothing about, I’d have to take some time to research it and learn about it, then I’d need to spend some time making it in a variety of different ways, and then I’d follow all of that up with putting it into practice and actually using it when needed.
Going by the book isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s my goal to help you build your confidence in using herbs so that at some point you can close the book… or this post… and make something with this herb and that solvent that you can use to keep you and your family healthy.
So today, I’m going to start by showing you how to make a perfect cup of herbal tea.
Tea is not hard. It’s so simple. In fact, many herbal preparations are simple once you make them a few times. The thing about tea is that there are some important factors to consider if you want to make a perfect cup of tea, and there are some not-so-important factors.
Important Factors for the Perfect Cup of Herbal Tea
- Your water needs to be HOT… as in, you just boiled it.
- You need to cover your tea while it steeps.
- You need to let it steep for the proper amount of time. Most teas steep anywhere from 3 – 15 minutes. The longer it steeps the more bitter it may taste.
Not-so-Important Factors for the Perfect Cup of Herbal Tea
- Using fresh herbs vs. dried herbs
- Using loose leaf teas vs. tea bags (LL is probably fresher, but it’s not too much of a big deal)
- Sweetening tea to drink it
Okay, so now that you know what’s important and what isn’t too important, let’s move on to how to actually make it.
How To Make The Perfect Cup Of Herbal Tea
- a teacup
- some herbal tea – great starter teas are peppermint, chamomile, and lemon balm
- a tea strainer like the one I have, like this cute guy, or this simple one as well
- a little helper if you have one close by… kids LOVE to help make tea
Once you’ve got your supplies handy, it’s time to get started. Take a peek at the photos below, and you can read through the steps afterward.
Step 1: Boil Some Water
It doesn’t matter if you use a tea kettle to boil your water or if you boil it in a saucepan on the stovetop. The tea kettle makes quick work of it, but either will do. You can even use a hot shot to boil your water in about a minute if you really need a small amount of boiling water quickly. I love these things!
The goal here is to boil the water so that it’s so hot that it quickly and easily infuses into the herbs and works to pull out the properties of the herbs… as well as the vitamins and minerals too!
Step 2: Place Herbs In Tea Strainer
Now here… if you don’t want to mess with loose leaf teas, that’s totally fine. You can purchase premade herbal tea bags or you can buy seal-able tea bags and make your own using loose leaf teas. There are a lot of options. I personally like using loose leaf teas with strainers. I think it’s so much easier, and I know my herbs are fresh and haven’t been in a box for a year already. Anyway, put about a teaspoon of the herb into your strainer or your teabag if you’re making your own, and place it in your teacup.
Step 3 – 4: Pour Hot Water
Super simple. Pour your just-boiled water into your cup so that your herbs are submerged in the hot water.
Step 5 – 6: Steep Your Tea
Cover your teacup with another bowl or plate so that the steam doesn’t escape. This helps the essential oils that are in the herb not to evaporate out of your herbal tea with its steam. Yes… there are essential oils in your tea. Not enough to harm your body, but they’re a part of the plant so they need to stay in your tea so that everything works together like it was meant to. After you’re done steeping your tea, you can sometimes see the oil-like film floating in patches on the top of your tea… it’s so cool!
Steep times will vary depending upon what herb you’re using and how hard (or tough) it is. For most tea leaves and flowers, 10 minutes of steeping is perfect. If you’re using a harder herb like barks or berries, give it about 20 minutes to steep. If you’re using roots, you’ll need to let that steep for at least 30 minutes, and sometimes you even need to simmer these on the stove in a saucepan over low heat.
Step 7: Strain Your Tea
If you used a teabag, just squeeze the excess water out of your tea and compost your bag… or make another cup with it since you can usually get two cups of tea out of one bag. If you used a tea strainer, just take it out of your cup and compost the tea in it, or as I said, use it again.
Step 8: Sweeten Your Tea
This is it… the last step. Sweeten your tea if you’d like with whatever sweetener you prefer. I love using honey. It just goes with tea, but you can use whatever sweetener you favor. Just a little is needed. I mean, there’s nothing worse than super-sweet herbal tea. In fact, after you get used to drinking tea regularly, many times you’ll find that you don’t even need a sweetener in your tea. You can even use herbal honey if you have some of that made which will give your tea a double whammy!
So basically, this is it for making a perfect cup of herbal tea all in 8 simple steps.
Now here’s what I want you to do.
Gather up your supplies, grab a kid, and teach them how to make herbal tea as soon as you can.
You’ll learn it better, and it will cement it in your mind when you teach it to someone else. Plus, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to teach your kids about slowing down and living a bit healthier… especially if you can teach them 1-2 things about the herb they’re using too!
Happy tea making to you!!