Sunday, February 8, 2015

Teaology 101: The basics of blending!

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. It’s all about getting together, mixing and mingling. What’s this got to do with tea you may ask? Ever thought about making your very own tea? Something completely new and unique? Well, it's really not that hard.

I've posted quite a few articles about blended teas whether they were pre-made and purchased from a tea shop, or something I tried making on my own. These type of beverages use loose leaf tea mixed with other ingredients in order to create a unique taste and aroma, and even something beneficial to your health and well-being. Please check out these articles: Masala Chai, Elaichi Chai, Apple Cinnamon Yogurt Rooibos, and Herbed Green Tea. These are different from blended teas like English Breakfast which combines different teas, perhaps even from different regions, in order to create that familiar flavour and fragrance of English Breakfast. 

Many mixtures!

How do you start? Think about the flavour you want: bold, fruity, spicy, floral etc... Do you want a green tea or a white tea? Maybe a tisane or a mixture of both? A subtle liquor with a kick near the end? A strong, bold tea with a hint of something unusual? Start in small quantities so there is no waste and stick with flavours you already like before moving on to more unusual items. The greatest amount will be your base which is usually the tea. From here, begin adding other items which are your secondary and perhaps even tertiary ingredients, in smaller quantities. Then, you may add a tiny bit of a final element called a catalyst that will give your blend a kick or hint of something. The supporting and catalyst items can be anything and may interchange.

A selection of spices!

Still confused? Here’s an example: For the herbed green tea I made, the base was the green tea. The thyme and rosemary were the supporting ingredients. I could easily have added a tiny piece of ginger acting as the catalyst.

Here are some other suggestions you can try:

  • Assam with cloves and the zest of an orange. 
  • Rooibos with peppermint leaves and dark chocolate.
  • Silver Needle with a touch of rosewater.
  • Longjing with a lemon tisane and pieces of ginger.

The possibilities are endless. It just takes a little time and patience. With some trial and error, you'll eventually get what you desire. Perhaps you could even sell you special blend to a tea shop. Just give it a funky name and you’re all set! Have fun with the blending and don’t over think the process. It will all come together in the end.

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