Many people love their teas, sometimes even more than coffee. Yes, you read that right. Even though people consider it a British or South Asian stereotype, many people around the world love their daily cup of tea goodness.
It has almost become a household regimen for some families to serve tea at breakfast, evening, and then before bed. But have you ever gone for more spunky flavors than the usual ones? After all, your everyday tea doesn’t necessarily have to be the same typical breakfast black tea.
Venturing out to newer tastes and peculiar blends is the art of tea tasting – and herbal tea falls right in the balance. It can easily be a nice change of taste or flavor, caffeine intake, and the after-effects you experience.
However, there is no denying that it requires a bit of patience and practice on your end to brewing a perfect cup of herbal tea. As herbal teas tend to taste bitter or medicinal, making tea from a teabag as compared to an open blend can have varying results.
Hence, there are quite a few ways to enhance the flavor and taste of herbal teas to continue enjoying a warm cup of goodness every now and then. Let’s have a look at some of the different techniques and ingredients that can get the tea brewing for you.
Herbal Tea Brewing Tips to Make It Taste Better
Following are some easy-to-learn and follow herbal tea brewing tips that, once mastered, can greatly help you enhance the taste and flavor of your herbal tea. So before getting into ingredients and other additions to your herbal tea, let’s learn to brew a perfect cup, shall we?
1. Roast Your Tea before Brewing
One of the best methods of enhancing the flavor and, in turn, making the taste of your tea much better is to first roast the open blend. Not only does it create an enigmatic aroma, but it also works well for tea leaves that have lost freshness and flavor. All you have to do is take a clean, dry saucepan and lightly roast the loose leaves on the stove, moving them from time to time. As soon as you can smell your tea leaves, you can be sure your leaves are now roasted. Now you can keep them in an airtight jar for later use or infuse them to make a cup right then and there.
2. Learn the Difference between Infusing & Boiling
Many people have this odd misconception that boiling and infusing are the same thing when it comes to brewing tea. However, not only is this belief wrong, it greatly messes up the actual flavor profile of the herbal tea. Because loose-leaf herbal teas are usually made with dried flowers, stems, and leaves, understanding how and when to infuse or boil them is crucial to get the flavor right. Hence, the best way to go about it is by learning the difference between the two techniques and then trying each one to see which suits your taste and the herbal tea blend the best. For your convenience,
- Boil water in the kettle.
- Add tea leaves and let them steep.
- Strain and enjoy.
- Add tea leaves to a saucepan.
- Fill up water for a cup or more.
- Bring it to a boil over medium flame.
- Let it simmer and steep.
- Strain and enjoy.
3. Note the Steeping Process
The second most important part of the herbal tea brewing process is steeping. It is basically the part where you let your loose herbal tea leaves sit in the water for a set duration of time. That is why you must note the steeping process. It will allow you to keep track of how strong or mild your tea turns out due to how long or how less you steep the leaves. Typically, if your herbal tea is mild and boring, then you need to steep the leaves for a longer time. On the flip side, if it is too bitter or the flavor comes out too strong, you need to steep in for a shorter span of time and preferably at a lower heat temperature.
4. Know Your Herbal Tea Taste Preferences
You don’t like herbal tea likely because the flavor or the loose-leaf blend is not your usual taste preference. Many herbal tea blends have unique taste and flavor profiles, combinations for seasons, and various reasons that make them literally not everyone’s cup of tea. So these blends take some time for you to get used to the taste and scent as well as the after taste. Moreover, if you traveled across the ocean and brought over an herbal tea, then it may have an acquired taste of that particular place and not speak to your taste buds as much as you want. Hence, it is just better to know your herbal tea taste preferences and go on from there.
5. Learn Cold Brewing Technique for Iced Herbal Tea
Contrary to popular belief, the brewing technique for hot and iced herbal tea are not the same. That is precisely where many people tend to make a mistake. People brew their herbal teas by boiling water or infusing hot water and then letting it chill in the refrigerator to make iced tea later. They don’t understand that the change of temperature has a lasting effect on the tea’s flavor and may either make it too strong or too watered down for your liking. Hence, if you would like iced herbal tea, then learn the cold brewing technique before you mess up your liking for herbal teas forever. For your convenience:
- Fill a pitcher with room temperature or cold water.
- Add heaped tablespoons of the herbal tea
- Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator (preferably overnight).
- Pour over extra ice cubes in the summer season.
- Strain every time you serve and enjoy over the next 24 hours.
10 Herbal Tea Ingredients You Can Add To Make It Taste Better
The following is a list of some amazing ingredients that you can easily add to your herbal tea and easily enhance its flavor to make it taste better for you. Almost all of these are pantry staples, so no rushing to the market, and you can enjoy a warm herbal tea serving anytime.
1. Milk or Creamer
Milk is probably the go-to add-on ingredient when it comes to tea. Many South Asian countries like Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan typically add milk to their tea servings and call it Chai. However, Chai is usually made from the typical black tea mixed with spices like cardamom and ginger and then mixed with almost 2/3 parts of the milk. So you can most definitely go ahead and try milk in a similar ratio with other tea blends like herbal tea or green tea etc.
Whether you are feeling under the weather lately, feeling a cold coming on, or having a sour throat, ginger is there to soothe it for you. One of the most commonly used herbs, ginger has natural anti-oxidants and detoxifying qualities that make it a great add-on to almost any hot beverage. Even if you don’t want to add ginger to your herbal tea, you can easily infuse hot water with ginger and serve yourself an organic helping of ginger tea that is bound to make you feel better.
One of nature’s greatest gifts to humankind, honey is the organic supplement that should be a part of your daily lifestyle. From a natural sweetener, syrup to your oatmeal and bread spread to add-on for your herbal tea – you can never go wrong with honey. It is great to naturally and lightly sweeten your herbal tea as well as enhance its health qualities by soothing your throat, sinuses, and overall internal wellness of the body.
A fresh scent and flavor addition of fruity, citrusy lemon is always a welcomed one. It works perfectly with almost all herbal tea blends adding a surprising note of citrus to your cup. However, it is important to add just the right amount, or the sour tendencies of the lemon can easily overpower your actual herbal tea flavor. So try out a few drops if it is your first time, and see how much of the lemon speaks to your liking.
A refreshing minty taste – whether in your gum or in your herbal tea is a great one given when you are drinking it. As mint has the tendency to wake you up, infusing your herbal tea with mint leaves can be the perfect Kickstart you require in the morning. Moreover, mint is the perfect add-on ingredient as it works for both hot and iced herbal teas without compromising the flavor of each. However, it is important to strain the leave after infusing or boiling as it can also get quite bitter once left too long in the water.
An unusual choice for herbal tea, but berries make for an amazing add-on ingredient, especially in the summer months. Not only are berries a natural sweetener and citrusy simultaneously, but they also add texture to your chewy lovers out there. Therefore, berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are a great addition, especially in fruity or flowery herbal teas blends. You don’t even have to cook them and can easily add them fresh to your hot or iced herbal tea.
October has begun, and the fall season is just around the corner. So there is possibly no other better additive than cinnamon for teas, milk, and other hot winter beverages. Cinnamon makes the perfect spice for winter drinks with its musky flavor and taste-enhancing qualities. Your herbal teas will definitely get a flavor booster with cinnamon and make it a healthier choice for you. However, it is important to note the quantity of cinnamon that you add as a little can go a long way.
8. Maple Syrup
Naturally, maple syrup had to be next on our list now that we are talking about the fall season. Maple syrup makes for an amazing additive whether you are making pancakes or a cup of herbal tea. It is important to measure your syrup quantity because it can get really sweet really fast and might leave a bitter after taste. So use as much as your taste buds can handle. Don’t shy away from waking yourself early in the morning with a hit of maple in your herbal teacup.
We would not recommend this in a child-friendly setting or to ingest in the mornings. However, later in the night, when kids are tucked in bed, and the adults want to enjoy a cozy me-time, bourbon is one of the best add-on ingredients for herbal teas. It warms you up from the inside, and you can just melt in your couch and relax as it takes your senses on a ride.
10. Flavored Ice
Lastly, a unique add-on ingredient, especially for iced herbal tea lovers, is flavored ice. You can freeze flavored ice cubes overnight and make them from almost anything. Creativity is at play here, and you can run wild with it. The key is to make the beverage your own, from juices to alcoholic beverages, syrups or other tea blends, and even coffee. Not only does it make for a great tasting tea serving but packed full of flavor too.
Our Final Thoughts
Making a great cup of herbal tea is not a child’s play, but it isn’t as difficult to learn either. You can easily practice and play with different blends, infusing, boiling, and steeping techniques. Moreover, you can alternate hot or iced herbal tea preferences as per the weather and your mood. The best way is to get smaller packets of a different combination of herbal teas from Amazon and try out each until you mark your favorite. Not only will you save yourself some bucks, but you won’t have to throw away a good enough packet of herbal tea just because you don’t like it. Overall, you’ll surely find your cup of tea by the end of this tea tasting ordeal. Cheers!