When Tea Becomes Ritual

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis

How to Brew Herbal Teas with Amy Renea

I've been really into tea lately. Hot, Cold, Iced, Herbal -- I have been trying them all.  With winter approaching fast, I wanted to share a few of my favorites teas and techniques with you to help keep cozy and warm!

Let's start simply with my favorite basic herbal mint tea.  Mint is so tough, that is typically can grow for you indoors if you are able to give it some light. Peppermint is a classic, but there are plenty of other mints to choose from as well.  I cut off a small handful of mint leaves and combine with 2 cups of boiling water and 1 tsp of lemon juice in a french press. (I was introduced to french presses via my sister and mother-in-law and love their simplicity, particularily when an electric brewer will not work during the zombie apocolypse.  While typically used for coffee, I also use them for tea :)

Press a few times to crush the leaves fully and extract the oils.
This is my "go-to" after dinner tea that brews in the press while I load up the dishwasher and get the kitchen settled. It should brew 10-15 minutes to fully extract the flavor of the mint.

If you can't grow your herbs in winter, you can certainly dry them or buy them dried.  To use dry loose-leaf teas, you will need some sort of containment device for brewing.  Pictured below is just a simple (cheap!) infuser (2 bucks), but they make these mesh tea dippers in all sorts of shapes like robots, pants and even manatees!

How to Brew Herbal Teas with Amy Renea

“I may be out of bed, but I’m in no way equipped to conduct hypothetical conversations before I’ve had a cup of tea.” 

How to Brew Herbal Teas with Amy Renea

Simply fill the infuser with loose leaf tea and brew directly in the mug for a delicious cup.  My favorite loose leaf teas are HibiscusGypsy Rose, and YES, classic Lipton. The ceremony of loose leaf really elevates this classic and quite delicious tea!  It is one that I always add sugar to and my mom's classic standby for sweet tea.
I have also been experimenting with green teas, particularly matcha, in my quest for no calorie "treats".  
While some teas work just as well cold, I tend to prefer matcha steaming hot.

Brewing Matcha Green Tea at A Nest for All Seasons
If you are going to spring for matcha, go organic!  Enzo is a good choice!
One of my favorite aspects of green tea brewing are the accessories (the scoop, whisk and spoon come in a kit for around $12 HERE).  Fairly inexpensive, these bamboo implements make the tea brewing a serious process which helps to focus your thoughts and calm your spirit. (The french press for mint tea and a special mug for the Gypsy teas below accomplish the same routine-based calm.) The process of tea-making does not have to be expensive, but it should be ritualistic or you with the same supplies each time to give it a special place in your daily routine.

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” 

Next on the list is the entire line of Gypsy teas (and this is TOTALLY non sponsored you guys, even though it sounds like it :).  I have not found a tea in the line that I did not like and I have tried 10 now. Without fail, you will like Gypsy Rose tea (Red Lavender is a highly recommended #2 and samplers like THIS and THIS might also be a good place to start).  I also really like the chais brewed strong and COLD, not hot.  Try brewing up a cup in the morning and leaving it to chill or an afternoon (zero calorie) treat.  The flavor of the chai in particular really intensifies when cold. Brew without sugar or milk for the purest taste and experience. These tea tins (especially the samplers) make FANTASTIC craft supply holders or upcycled gift containers.

So as winter comes rolling in with her ice buckets and crackling fires, 
consider brewing up a hot bit of tea to keep you company...I know I will be.

How to Brew Herbal Teas with Amy Renea

“Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.” 

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