It is important to store leaves away from air, light, moisture and odors from other foods. It is best in a cool dry place in an opaque and airtight tin. Refrigeration is not recommended.
Each variety of Herbal Tea requires its own unique brewing procedure to draw out its characteristic delicate nuances or strong flavors or even medicinal qualities; and so we’ll now address the best method of preparing your Herbal Tea. You already have your tools at the ready (if not, please click back to our main Tea page).
People have been consuming Herbal Teas for as long as they have known how to heat water – since well before recorded history. Herbal Teas are the traditional means of preparing herbs for better health, relaxation or even stimulation, and they may be prepared from single herbs or mixtures of herbs. Different Herbal Teas can sometimes contain numerous beneficial active compounds with their own distinctive healing uses, and in general, teas for acute conditions are almost always brewed with single herbs, but for chronic conditions (as in Traditional Chinese Medicine), herbal blends are almost always used. Of all the forms in which herbs may be used, teas have the gentlest and slowest effects on the body – so much so, that the length of time that the active constituents of the herbs will be absorbed, can be unpredictable. But one thing is certain: Herbal Teas are a most pleasant way to consume healthy herbs, even delivering a certain warming psychological value over and above the medicinal value of the herbs used in the infusion - helping to heal the mind and body. Unlike Green, Black, Oolong and White Teas (which are the only true teas derived from one Camellia sinensis tea plant), Herbal Teas are actually tisanes or infusions (simply another term for tea) and may be made from virtually any herbal plant’s parts (roots, flowers, seeds, berries, bark or leaves) and can be very useful tonics for improving specific health problems, promoting restful sleep, reducing stress, pepping up (or reducing) appetite and/or invigorating a weary body after a long day of work.
The following steps will guide you through the preparation of your Herbal brew:
Assuming that you have already pre-heated your teapot (or cup), by swirling boiling or nearly boiling water around in the empty pot and then pouring it off, we will now put the proper amount of tea leaves into the pot – using one level teaspoon of tea per eight-ounce cup of water as a guide – although some old-timers like to add an extra spoon or “one for the pot.” It’s all a question of taste. It is also considered important to infuse your herbs in a vessel that matches the quantity one is preparing. Brewing a single cup in a large teapot will never taste quite right because there is too much room for the heat to dissipate if the pot is only partially filled with boiling water; this is the time for a smaller teapot or a covered cup.
Now for the water: When steeping all herbal infusions (like Black Teas), boiling water should be used, and it is important to bring the water to a rolling boil (212 degrees Fahrenheit) and pour the boiling water immediately over the herbs, (do not bring the herbs themselves to a boil), preferably in a tightly-covered china/porcelain or glass pot or china or glass cup. Do not use a metallic pot (the herbs can leach out metals from the pot that can interact or contaminate the herbs or even cause chemical reactions with certain herbs). Herbal Teas generally should steep for ten to fifteen minutes, but for medicinal purposes even longer (fifteen to twenty or even thirty minutes) to draw forth all of the valuable properties. Never stir; let the herbs steep within the confines of the pot or cup. The longer you infuse the herbs, the stronger and more effective the active constituents will be. Be sure it is in a covered vessel to keep it hot. Some experimentation will be necessary to strike the perfect chord for you. Infusions should be made fresh daily, and any unused portion should be kept refrigerated (or if you prefer a cold infusion).
Finally, it’s time for you to sit down, relax and sip your tea. Delicious? Relaxing? Just what you needed: The Perfect Cup of Tea and You!
These are guidelines for reference only. Experimentation will yield the perfect cup of tea.