4. September 2012 09:36
Once you try herbal tea, chances are good that you’ll like them enough to keep drinking them. Herbal tisanes are very flavorful, almost calorie-free, and packed with so many healthy compounds that many herbals are considered “super foods”. Any visit to your local supermarket or specialty foods store will most likely result in the discovery that whole aisles are dedicated to true teas and herbal tea blends. There are all sorts of interesting flavor combinations out there, and blends that combine herbals with similar effects to achieve maximum results (for example, just about every major tea manufacturer offers at least one herbal blend that is intended to soothe and relax you before you go to bed).
These pre-packaged blends are a great place to start. They give you the opportunity to try out a large variety of flavor profiles and to learn what benefits best fit your needs. But no matter how big that aisle is, eventually you’ll exhaust all the options available there. When that happens, skip the supermarket altogether and head for your local tea shop. If you’re a true fan of herbal tisanes, the tea shop will open up a whole new world of beverage opportunities. First of all, tea shops generally deal in loose teas and herbals, rather than the pre-packaged varieties. Loose herbals are much more flavorful, they are comprised of higher quality plant parts, and you have more freedom to experiment and find the perfect proportions in your steeped infusions.
You’ll also be able to experiment with new blends and adventurous flavor of tea ingredients combinations. Sure, some combinations are obvious, like lavender and vanilla bean or cardamom and cinnamon, but once you’re familiar with the flavor profiles you love, you’ll have a lot of fun mixing them to discover delicious new blends. If you’re not sure where to start, ask the proprietor of the tea shop; he or she will undoubtedly have some great blend ideas to get your started. Are you ready to take your herbal drinking to the next level? Try growing some of your own herbs. Many herbs, like chamomile, rosemary, mint, and lavender, grow easily in a variety of different settings. They’ll thrive in your backyard herb garden, but they’ll also be perfectly happy in an indoor or box garden. To turn your herbs into herbal infusion blends, simply pick the leaves, petals, or fruits when they’re mature; left alone in an undisturbed area (with little or no direct sunlight), they’ll dry up all on their own. Different herbs require longer drying times, and can vary from a few days to a few weeks. You’ll know they’re ready when they crumble easily. Then, just crush the dried pieces, place them in a labeled, airtight container, and store them in your pantry for up to a year – if they last that long.
The options in herbal tisanes are endless. Whether you buy bagged blends, mix flavors from your tea shop, or grow your own herbs, you’ll always have several delicious tisanes ready to steep.