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I love tea. Pretty much every kind too. There’s something incredibly soothing about sipping on a hot cup of tea…the smell, the feeling of the steam hitting your face as you take a sip, the warm pleasant sensation on your throat. Ahhhhhhhhh. I love it all. The whole experience. Right now I’m a bit obsessed with this Organic India Holy Basil Original tea. I love the flavor and the fact that it has Ashgwandha in it (the adaptogen I mentioned in my previous post) is an added benefit for me!
Recently I went to a sort of “herbs 101” class at my local food co-op. It was there that, to my dismay, I learned all these years I have been making tea the wrong way! In this DIY class, led by Allison from Birch Bark Botanicals, we learned to make tinctures, infusions, and how to utilize herbs to get the best possible results. It was somewhere towards the beginning of the night she says “most people make tea the wrong way”. I thought, HOLD UP- WHAT? Tea? The wrong way??? You boil water and steep herbs…it isn’t complicated. I was wrong. WAY wrong. Thank you Allison for showing me the error of my ways!
Like me, at this point, you may be wondering what the correct way to make a cup of tea is. (Wouldn’t it be funny if I just ended the blog post here? No you say?….party pooper.) Have you ever noticed the steam that comes off the water as you pour it over the herbs when making a cup of tea? When we leave the cup to sit and steep uncovered, you are losing a lot of the essential oils from the herbs that give you the medicinal benefit of drinking the tea. Yes, you read that right, I said essential oils.
Most essential oils are made through a process called steam distillation. When making an essential oil, boiling hot water is poured over the herb and the steam created is collected. This is what forms the oils pulled from the plant. Which is often why you need A LOT of plant material to make a small bottle of essential oil and why essential oils are so darn potent (and why good quality oils are so expensive)!
Enough on that for now. Take that concept of making essential oils and apply that to your steeping cup of tea. Remember where the oils come from? Yes, you got it…the steam! When you leave the cup uncovered, all of that steam is dissipating into the air and you are losing a good portion of what makes your cup of tea so powerful.
The solution is pretty simple:
- First and foremost, you do need to steep your tea for the recommended time for that herb. If you are using a prepackaged tea bag, it should recommend a steeping time. Most teas are steeped between 1 and 3 minutes; this also varies depending on how strong you like the taste of your tea…the longer you steep the different (usually stronger) the flavor becomes.
- Secondly, after you’ve poured the hot water over the herbs, cover your cup right away. You can use a tea cup with a lid, like this or any cup with a lid will work (such as a travel mug). If you don’t have a tea cup with a lid, just use a small ceramic plate.
- This kind of goes back to my first step, but be patient and let it steep. I know you’re anxious to take that first glorious sip…but be patient my child, you will be rewarded with many benefits for allowing your tea to steep!
And that’s it. That’s all there is to it to make a healthy, beneficial cup of tea! Do you like tea? Was this helpful? Comment below!
Until next time,