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How to Create a Tea Bar at Home

Your favorite tea in your favorite mug. Can you think of a better way to spend a morning? We partnered with Madeline Lu to show you how to blend a tea that's unique to you.

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I love drinking tea. There are so many different flavors, ingredients, and methods for making tea, including ways to incorporate it into different types of tea cakes, cookies, and other snacks. In today's blog post, I will show you some of my favorite ways to make and drink tea, plus one of my go-to gluten-free teacakes.

Shelves with all different artisan mugs

Rather than buying prepackaged tea bags, I like to make fresh herbal teas at home. Nowadays, you can find many edible flowers, leaves, herbs, and even some weeds in your supermarket and health-food store to make delicious and healthy hot brews.

I have also grown many different kinds of herbs in my garden, such as peppermint, rosemary, thyme, and verbena, which can be made into tea. In my experience, teas made with fresh herbs are fairly different from those brewed with ready-made tea bags. They have a more fresh, vibrant and earthy taste.

Copper tray with copper kettle and two glasses of tea with a vase of flowers

One of my favorite tips is to use glass cups and teapots to see the beauty of my tea blends.

Lit candles next to copper tray with hands pouring hot water into tea cups from copper kettle with flower pot and sugar next to it

What I love most about blending tea is that it is all about personal choices. You decide what goes in based on your taste and even your memories (what? oh yes!). Here are some simple steps to help you to find the "right" blend for you:

Step 1: Think of a favorite personal memory or inspiration. In some ways, blending tea is very similar to designing a perfume. It is all about creating a fragrance and flavor that attracts you. When I was blending my tea, I thought of my surroundings, my favorite childhood memories, and my fondest travel experiences.

Eight spoons of different metal colors and shapes with various herbs for making tea

Step 2: Select a tea base, such as black tea, white tea, oolong, green tea or rooibos. This will set the basic tone, taste and strength of the blend. Try to avoid using too many types of base tea in one blend. The mixed flavors might end up burying each other. Less is more, so try to keep one base per blend.

Six bowls of various herbs to make tea, sitting on metal tray

Step 3: Choose your ingredients. This is the fun part. There are hundreds of ingredients out there you can choose from when blending your tea. Ask yourself if you want a flavor that is floral, fruity, sweet, earthy, spicy, and so on. I like to choose no more than six ingredients in one blend, as you want the tea to be packed with flavor but not overwhelmed. Don't be afraid to experiment. For example, if you'd like a floral flavor, choose chamomile, jasmine, lavender, rose buds, saffron flowers, or cornflowers. They are incredibly fragrant and go very well with green tea, black tea and rooibos.

Black plate with herbs on wood wedge with gold spoon

For the first blend, I took inspiration from spring and tried to capture a light, fresh, colorful and floral fragrance. I love seeing different blossoms and breathing in that subtle sweet smell in the air this time of year.

Print Recipe
The Spring Blossom Blend
Votes: 3
Rating: 5
You:
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Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 portion rooibos base
  • 1 portion dried saffron flowers
  • 1 portion dried rose petals
  • 1 portion dried marigold
  • 1 vanilla pod cut into small pieces
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 portion rooibos base
  • 1 portion dried saffron flowers
  • 1 portion dried rose petals
  • 1 portion dried marigold
  • 1 vanilla pod cut into small pieces
Votes: 3
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Stir to combine. Store in jar for personal use or give as a gift.

White mug with tea next to black plate with herbs on wood wedge server

Black plate on metal tray with herbs, next to artisan mug with tea and spoon with herbs

For the second blend, I took inspiration from a book I recently read about the Silk Road. I imagined all the long winding journeys the merchants took from China to Western Europe carrying tea, spices, herbs, jewels, and so on. I also incorporated the smell of jasmine flowers I remember from playing in my garden when I was little.

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The Silk Road Blend
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 portion of green tea yerba mate (base)
  • 1 portion dried jasmine flowers
  • 1/2 portion dried cornflowers
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anis
Servings
Ingredients
  • 2 portion of green tea yerba mate (base)
  • 1 portion dried jasmine flowers
  • 1/2 portion dried cornflowers
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anis
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Stir to combine. Store in jar for personal use or give as a gift.

Two black plates with herbs for tea, and two spoons, one black and one gold, with herbs

My third blend is not really a blend, but a single ingredient. There are some special herbs, such as this butterfly pea flower, which release a natural blue color after you pour the hot water in. Add a squeeze of lemon and the color of the tea turns into a bright magenta.

Glass cup of magenta tea on white saucer

Print Recipe
Butterfly Pea Flower Tea
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
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Servings
1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon butterfly pea flowers
  • 8 ounces boiling water
Servings
1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon butterfly pea flowers
  • 8 ounces boiling water
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Bring water to a boil and carefully pour about 8 oz of water into a heat-safe mug. Add 1 teaspoon of butterfly pea flowers.
  2. Let the flowers steep for 5 minutes. Add a tsp lemon juice and sugar (optional). Serve hot or ice and serve cold.

Copper kettle, two tea cups with pink and blue tea, and flowers

Vase with flowers, copper kettle, tea, and donuts

Now that we have our tea, let's move onto the pastry that goes with it. I love a side of tea cookies or cakes when drinking a good cup of tea. Today, I am sharing my favorite gluten-free Raspberry Tea Cake. It is super easy to make and great for sharing!

Cake on cooling rack next to vase of flowers

Purple and blue plates with cake and white teapot next to it with two tea cups

Hope this blog post inspires you to blend and drink your own tea. After all, tea (plus a cake) is always a good idea!

Print Recipe
Gluten-free Raspberry Tea Cake
Votes: 3
Rating: 4.33
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Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs at room temperature lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
Frosting:
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • A few raspberries to garnish
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs at room temperature lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
Frosting:
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • A few raspberries to garnish
Votes: 3
Rating: 4.33
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease well a standard loaf pan (9-inches) and set it aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, blend butter and sugar on medium-high speed until it is creamy, pale and fluffy. Turn down the speed of the mixer to low, add one egg a time. When well combined, add the next one.
  3. When all eggs are added, turn up the speed to medium-high again, add vanilla and mix for 2 minutes until the batter is smooth.
  4. Turn the speed of the stand mixer again to low, add the gluten-free flour, cornflour, xanthan gum and salt into the butter batter. Mix until just combined. The batter should be soft and smooth.
  5. With a spatula, scrape half of the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Layer the fresh raspberries into the loaf pan and top with the rest of the cake mixture.
  6. Smooth the top and carefully bang the bottom of the pan a few times on the kitchen counter to remove any air bubbles.
  7. Place the loaf pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 50 mins or until the cake turns lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven, place the cake on a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. While the cake cools, mix the powdered sugar and water together to form the frosting for the cake.
  10. Pour the frosting mix over the cake and garnish with more fresh raspberries.
  11. Serve with a cup of tea and enjoy!

Comments

  1. MARGARET

    I RECEIVED THE INFORMATION ON MY COMPUTER AND WANTED TO COPY TO HAVE FOR REFERENCE SO I COULD TRY THE RECIPES AND ALSO HAVE THE PICTURES WITH THE NUMBERS THAT ID’s THE TEAS. COPYING ALL PROVED VERY DIFFICULT PARTIALLY DUE TO MY VISION PROBLEMS. COULD ALL OF THIS BE E-MAILED TO ME? THAT WOULD BE GREAT. THANK YOU.

    July 5, 2017 | Reply
    • Crate and Barrel

      Hi Margaret,

      Unfortunately we are not able to email this blog post to you. Are you able to print off the page?

      July 5, 2017 | Reply
    • Francene

      Margaret send me your email address and if Crate & Barrel does not mind I will email them to you. I am info@sophisticakeit.com

      September 8, 2017 | Reply

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