Mother Earth Living

Food Matters

All about fresh, flavorful food

Add to My MSN

Blending Teas at Home

11/29/2010 12:19:51 PM

Tags: From Our Bookshelf, Culinary Tea, Home Blending, Blending Tea, Cynthia Gold, Lisë Stern, How To, Tips

11-29-2010-culinary tea coverExcerpted from Culinary Tea: More Than 100 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from Around the World, by Cynthia Gold & Lisë Stern, with permissions from Running Press (c) 2010. The following excerpt can be found on Pages 40 to 41.  

Creating home blends of tea is another aspect of culinary tea. You can combine a variety of teas, as well as non-tea ingredients such as spices, flowers, herbs, and dried fruits to create personal signature tea blends that you can use both for sipping and for cooking. Familiarize yourself with the ingredients you plan to use and decide what kind of flavor profile you want to create. This can be the fun part—and it’s a good way to get to know teas to use for cooking as well, as you sip and savor different teas and get to know their characteristics.

Steep a wide variety of different teas and taste them. Ask yourself what you particularly like—or dislike—about that tea. Take notes. Do you want to create something full-bodied and rich? Light and bright? Medium-bodied? Is your goal a spiced blend, a floral blend, or a fruity blend?

Keep in mind that really special teas should probably be savored on their own. But don’t make the mistake of trying to cover up an inferior tea with heavy flavors. Blending is used to create new experiences in teas, or a consistent flavor profile of a tea that changes with the seasons or growing years.

11-29-2010-black tea
Styles of unoxidized or lightly oxidized teas.
Photo courtesy
Running Press (c) 2010 

Refer to the list of Flavor Profiles of Tea on Page 29 for teas that might inspire your own blending. Some common teas to use for blending:

Darjeelings: Offer brightness and complexity. Vary by flush; can be delicate and floral, nutty, or have hints of muscatel. Nice in an afternoon blend. Takes floral notes well when used sparingly.

Lapsang Souchong: Has smokiness; good for a relaxing evening tea or smaller amounts blended into a breakfast or afternoon tea.

Yunnan: For richness, body, earthiness. Smooth and complex with a peppery tone.

Keemun: Rich, full-bodied, well-rounded character; fruity and sweet, sometimes earthy as well. Some smokiness.

Assam: For bold character, strong flavor, with a touch of maltiness. Good with milk and takes well to the addition of spices.

Ceylon: For briskness and body. Varies by region and elevation. Takes very well to fruit.

African: Rich, robust, flavorful, and brisk, sometimes sweet. Good with milk.

Chinese congou: Smooth, full-bodied, blends well with fruit or floral notes.

You can also use an almost endless variety of non-tea components. For example:

Spices (whole, cracked or ground): Cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, allspice berries, cloves, coriander seeds, peppercorns

Dried or fresh flower petals: Lavender, rose petals, chrysanthemum, chamomile, hibiscus, elderflower, jasmine

Well-dried fruits: Raisins, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, apples, pears

Dried citrus peel: Lemon, orange, lime, grapefruit

Miscellaneous: Cocoa nibs, vanilla beans 

Buy Culinary Tea: More Than 100 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from Around the World 

Related Content

No-Frills Fitness Solutions

Use any of these no-frills solutions to fit in time to care for your body.

Do Yoga with Your Kids!

Bend, twist and turn upside down for a happy baby and healthy child!

The Winter of Our Content

Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence looks forward to good, green building news for 20...

Season Fish with Epicurean Organic Blends

Mountain Rose Herbs new line of Epicurean Organic seasoning blends are worth a try. The Herbs De Pro...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.