Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Cuppa: Keep Calm and Chamomile On!

I was hesitant about posting something on Chamomile because I've never had a good experience with it. I've always found it bland and tasteless. However, after finishing off my tea program, I now stop and remind myself that there is a big difference between the bagged variety and the loose form. So, I thought I’d give it another try especially now since I've been feeling quite anxious with some final exams for a course I'm completing. I want something soothing, light, and delicate.

Chamomile, also spelled Camomile, is probably the most popular tisane of all. It’s readily available and easy to make in no time. Just like any other herb, it come in many varieties with Matricaria recutita as the most well-known. Of course, Chamomile has its own health benefits too from reducing stress to boosting your immune system. As well, it is used in many cosmetic and beauty products. Blondes may want to try Chamomile as a hair rinse to enhance the colour of their locks. This versatile herb can also be used as an ingredient in cooking recipes.

A natural beauty!

Out in the wild, Chamomile looks like a daisy. Very pretty. I have Egyptian whole Chamomile blossoms I purchased from a tea shop. In its dry, loose form, it looks very much like daisy potpourri. The fragrance is magnificent! Sweet, floral, even a bit chocolaty and slightly grassy. Close your eyes when you inhale it.

In its dry form.

I made my cuppa as directed on the packaging, using 1 teaspoon for each 6 ounces of water. For tisanes, you may use fully boiled water, but I still prefer to allow the water to cool down for about 5 minutes before pouring it over the leaves. Steep the blossoms for 3 – 5 minutes. Unlike some types of tea, with most tisanes there is no harm in steeping longer than the recommended length, but do play around with steep times yourself to get the best results and not something too strong or bitter.

Getting rehydrated.

After separating the blossoms using a strainer, I was rewarded with a golden yellow liquor that had a sweet floral scent and just a hint of a mushroom aroma. It tasted exactly as I expected: smooth, mellow, similar to the fragrance. It’s one of those beverages you want to drink slowly, savouring the moment. 

Cuppa chamomile.

I have read suggestions of adding honey, lemon, even milk and sugar to Chamomile, but I think it’s completely unnecessary. Chamomile is very delicate so adding anything to it would ruin the taste in my opinion. Any Breaking Bad fans out there? You know what I'm talking about! A character on the show always ordered a Chamomile along with soy milk and several packets of stevia. I was almost tempted to try this crazy concoction, but it just sounds so wrong! I will go on enjoying my Chamomile perfect on its own.

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