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.
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.
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.
One of my favorite tips is to use glass cups and teapots to see the beauty of my tea blends.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Hope this blog post inspires you to blend and drink your own tea. After all, tea (plus a cake) is always a good idea!