Perhaps you have grown, picked and preserved your tea herbs from your garden or bought them from a store that sells herbal teas, here are tips you may need in brewing your herbal tea. It is important to know that herb teas have a different way of brewing from traditional teas. Herb teas tend to take longer to brew and will usually show little or faint color. When brewing dried herbs and herb blends, use 1 teaspoon for each person and 1 extra for the pot. When the herb is in season, fresh herbs are more preferred. Use 1 sprig (about a tablespoon) per person.
Brewing by Infusion
Infusion is best for fresh or dried herb leaves, petals and flowers. Begin by bringing cold water just to boiling point in an enameled, ceramic, or glass teapot. Herb teas tend to be more delicately flavored, thus, any metallic taste acquired from a boiling in a metal pot may alter its natural flavor.
The tea may be placed directly into the teapot and then strained prior to drinking or you may use a tea infuser to hold the loose tea. You may also use paper tea bags that can be purchased from a store or tea supplier. You can get the most flavor out of your tea by adding the loose tea into the pot and then straining them. This method allows the most water contact with the tea resulting in a stronger flavor.
Bruise the fresh herbs by crushing and tearing prior to adding them into the teapot. This helps release the oils from the plant which gives the tea its herbal flavor.
Pour boiling water onto the tea and allow to steep for five minutes before serving. You may prefer let it stay longer depending on your taste. Some tea drinkers just let the infusion to steep near the stove all day. When ready to take a drink, simply fill a cup halfway with the infusion and add boiling water to it.
Drinking herb tea with its pure and simple flavors is an acquired taste. Some novice tea
drinkers may need to add honey. If the brew tastes a tad bitter for your liking, try using a bit more herb but with less brewing time. Cutting back on the steeping time may produce more mellow flavors.
Brewing by Decoction
Some teas brewed using only leaves; some use roots, flowers, seeds, rinds (oranges), or rose hips. When seeds, whole spices, and bark are to be used, they may be crushed (which can be done with a spice grinder) before steeping, to release the oils therefore achieving a bolder flavor. Use about 1 tablespoon of seeds for every 2 cups of water.
The seed, peels, and bark oils take more time to release as compared to those of the leaves and flowers. You will need to bring water to a boil on the stove then add the whole or crushed ingredients then simmer gently. Taste the tea after five minutes or you may continue steeping and tasting until you achieve the desired flavor.