Thursday, 15 October 2009


It is downright freezing in my house today despite being the middle of October , so I am happy to be experimenting with some new tea blends (using as a base the Sri Lankan green that I wrote about here) and drinking lots of hot tea.

This photo was taken in Daylesford about 6 weeks ago, but the weather's not much different today!

As I have discovered over the last six months or so it is not actually that simple to create green tea blends using only natural herbs and spices (as opposed to flavourings/essences, whether natural or artificial in origin). This is primarily because of the different brewing temperatures and times of the different components: green teas generally yield the best results from short steeps at a lower temperature (around 80 Celsius), but herbs and spices need higher temperatures and longer steeping times to release their flavours properly. So it's not as easy to create a really lovely tasting green tea blend as it is to create a black one where the temperature and time factors are more similar.

My first trial batch this morning is a Moroccan mint-type blend (using dried herbs obviously, instead of fresh ones as I did the other day) of green tea, peppermint and spearmint. In the interest of scientific curiosity (and not freezing to death) I decided to try brewing two separate pots, one with water straight off the boil (yes, I know... I shuddered merely thinking about it but I did it anyway; that's just how intrepid I am) and another with water cooled for 3 minutes or so to about 75-80 Celsius. Unfortunately I don't have two teapots of exactly the same type and dimensions, but I did my best to keep the proportions of tea and water the same - 2 rounded metric teaspoons to about 400ml water, steeped for about 2 minutes.

Both teas were quite tasty (I think at least partly owing to the fact that the mints are powerfully flavoured in their own right and so probably relatively well-suited to brewing at different temperatures) but I preferred the one brewed at the cooler temperature. I'm hoping this isn't just my innate prejudice regarding the 'proper' way to brew tea; I really did try to keep an open mind and was even sort of hoping that the boiling water one might turn out better. But it had a strange kind of metallic taste to it that wasn't present in the other... not very pleasant. So once I get this blend up in my shop I will definitely be recommending that it be brewed with cooler water.


  1. This is like a art! Green tea is a very nice "base" tea for me, and I mixed with other tea sometimes! I drank tea with mint when I needed a refreshing feeling, and when I felt " bloating".

    And have you notice the color difference among all kinds of green tea?

  2. It's really interesting how much variation there is! Some are so pale and others have a rich green colour... always something new to compare and enjoy!

  3. Will anyone ever know the difference in temp with the mints? Probably not. If you think cooler is better than just believe in it. Opinions vary but people can like what you give them too, because they like you. --Teaternity

  4. They might notice... they might also notice me having the screaming heebie jeebies about giving people the wrong advice for brewing the tea... :)


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