Tea is a beverage consumed worldwide and in a wide variety of ways, from relaxed to ceremonial. Tea connects cultures and soothes the body, mind and soul with its heat and herbs. It’s perfect for long winter days and, when chilled or iced, a great post-workout beverage for rehydrating and replenishing our bodies.
One great thing about tea is that there are so many varieties, brands and brewing options to choose amongst. From teapots to presses and loose leaf to teabags, there’s bound to be an application that works well for any lifestyle.
In my tea travels, I’ve often thought it would be fun to try my hand at creating my own tea blend. I could drink it myself or share it with others. I would love to have different blends for different seasons that I can enjoy and share year-round.
Making a blend is easier than it sounds. But it’s not just about putting all your favourite flavours together in one infuser. Crafting a tea blend is about choosing complementary flavours and scents to create a unique mixture that lends itself to a variety of uses. To craft a perfect combination, much like combining the ingredients of a perfect fragrance, there are a variety of notes that need to be considered in order to assemble a drinkable tea.
The Tea Pyramid
When you look at a pyramid – like the famous pyramids of Giza, Egypt – you’ll notice that it's wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. This design ensures that the higher blocks are supported by the lower blocks at the base of the pyramid. The pyramid base is also much larger than the cap.
This is the same way tea blends work. They consist of a base tea ingredient that’s found in the largest portion of the blend. You then add smaller and smaller quantities of other ingredients to round out the blend and give it its unique flavour.
Building the Base
Your tea blend’s base is composed of the primary tea leaves with which you’re working, complementing as you go along. It’s important to consider look, taste and smell as you begin building your tea.
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Ask yourself what kind of tea you're working to create and what flavour you’re going for. If you’re aiming for a bold and strong-flavoured tea, you may want to start with black tea. If you’re looking for a light tea that can complement your weight-loss efforts, you may want to start with a base like green tea or rooibos. Whichever base you decide on, it needs to go into your tea in the largest amount.
If you’re not sure which base tea to use, purchase small amounts of each type of tea. Brew up a single cup of each of the options and give them a try, taking small sips and writing down notes on your first impressions as you go. Try using a small spoon to smell and taste each of the potential tea ingredients as you sample them.
Keep these notes for later so that when it comes time to make a new blend you can refer back to your notes and know what each of your bases will look, smell and taste like.
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Crafting the Top
This is where it starts getting fun. After determining your base, you can start adding secondary and tertiary ingredients, such as other teas and herbs, to round out the flavour. If you want to add a secondary tea, consider brewing the new blend by taking one tablespoon of the primary tea and adding a teaspoon of the second to see how they taste together.
You can also add dried fruits, flowers, grasses and other herbs. Be mindful of not only how they taste but how they look and smell as well.
Research any potential ingredients to learn more about their medicinal and therapeutic properties. You can look to ingredients of pre-made weight-loss blends and other types of tea tonics for inspiration. Some ingredients and blends are designed to support specific goals like weight loss or detoxing, so consider adding some of these potent medicinal ingredients as part of your blends.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to tea blends, so keep your spirit adventurous and don’t be afraid to experiment. Keep a small notebook filled with your trial recipes handy so that you can keep track of the various ingredients and proportions. That way, when you do hit on a tasty blended creation that you absolutely love, you’ll be able to recreate it.