Teas and Tisanes – Tasty Experiments – Ten Free Recipes

I didn’t feel much like doing anything too crafty today.  I am getting ready to go back to work tomorrow because my vacation is sadly over. 😦

Instead of making soap, lotions, sewing or doing any of that stuff, I decided to dip into my herb stash and do some experiments of the tasty kind.

I don’t have any tea drinkers in my family, so this was “just for me”.   However, I wanted to make them look pretty too, just in case I do find a tea drinker, so I could have a presentable gift for them.

As you can tell, I wasn’t in too much of a fussy “photographer” mode today either, but the pictures are good enough to tell the story.

Today I made an absolute boat-load of different teas and tisanes.  My husband was  off at band practice, so I had a solo tea tasting party!

I made a terrible mess in the kitchen, but enjoyed doing something different.


I have been on a diet for the last year and half.   I packed on the pounds over the years and finally decided to do something about it.  It was getting out of control.   Fast forward a year and a half later, and I am down 75 pounds. I am now in the home stretch, but all that dieting can get so monotonous.

When they cut your calories down to 1200 per day, you don’t have much room for any “extras” and flavor is sacrificed.   So I wanted to make something tasty that doesn’t have any (or at least not many) calories.  Even though there are berries and other things in the blends, you aren’t eating them — you are just extracting the essences.   The cocoa, however, does melt into the tea, so there is probably a couple of calories with those.  You could replace the chocolate with a few drops of a chocolate extract if you wanted to, but I figured I could afford the very small amount of calories that would be added by using “the real thing”.


 

These recipes are not exacting.  They are a “pinch of this, a smidge of that” kind of recipes, but teas and tisanes don’t have to be exacting, so it’s kind of relaxing to just do these little experiments once in a while to get away from exacting fussiness.

The herbs and teas were chosen for flavor, texture and appearance, not for any medicinal benefit.  Some of these are quite flavorful, so you could sneak in some medicinal herbs if you wanted to (maybe the lighter flavored ones like chamomile, nettles, or oat straw).

In general,  the plan was to make sample blends with 1 tablespoon of each herb (or less with more potent herbs).  This makes about 2 cups of tea/tisane (each recipe).

I steeped them all the same.   I put about 2 tablespoons worth of the mixture into  a tea bag, microwaved 2 cups of water to boiling, and steeped 5 minutes.  Then I sampled them each, one at a time as I made them.


Recipe #1 – Cocoa Mate’

IMG_75281.Cocoa Mate

  • Yerba Mate’ Tea
  • Cocoa Nibs
  • Chicory
  • Dried Blueberries
  • Dried Coconut

Use 1 tablespoon of each ingredient and blend together.

IMG_7530Cocoa Mate

Flavor:  Definitely very “Mate'” flavored.   I would decrease the Yerba Mate to maybe about 1/2 Tablespoon, unless you really like Yerba Mate.   If you like your tea sweet, a little stevia leaf or powder would help.

 


Recipe #2 – Apple Pie Tisane

IMG_75312. Apple Spice

  • Dried Apples
  • Blackberry Leaf
  • Green Tea & White Tea Mix (I used a Celestial Seasonings Green tea bag)
  • Cinnamon Chips
  • Dried Cranberries

Use 1 tablespoon of each herb and blend together.  Break the apples into small chunks.

IMG_75322. Apple Spice.jpg

Flavor:  Lovely!  Tastes just like apple pie with a little cinnamon spice.   You could add sugar, honey or stevia if you wanted, but I found it plenty sweet just like it is.

 


Recipe #3 – Cranberry Spice

IMG_7535Cranberry Spice

  • Dried Cranberries
  • Honeybush Tea
  • Dried Ginger
  • Calendula
  • Licorice Root
  • Orange Peel

Use 1 tablespoon of each item (except licorice root) and blend.  Use 1/4 teaspoon licorice root.

IMG_7537Cranberry Spice

Flavor: Pretty good, actually.  I was surprised you could taste the cranberries.  It is along the lines of the apple pie blend above, but with a cranberry twist.


Recipe #4 – Macaroon

IMG_7540Macaroon

  • Black Tea (loose leaf)
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Crushed Almonds
  • Cocoa nibs

Use 1 tablespoon of each item and blend together.

IMG_7541Macaroon.jpg

Flavor:  Definitely get macaroon vibes from this, but would probably add some dark chocolate instead of the cocoa nibs, and maybe use toasted coconut and almonds for more flavor.  You could taste the cocoa and almonds, but I think toasty flavored would come through more.  It could have benefitted, I think, from steeping a little longer.  It might have made it a bit stronger.  The flavor was good, just not strong enough.


Recipe #5 – Mint Patty

IMG_7544Mint Patty

  • Honeybush Tea
  • Peppermint Leaf
  • Cocoa Nibs or Mini Chocolate Chips
  • Chopped Vanilla bean (about 1″ of the bean)
  • Dried Orange Peel

Use 1 tablespoon of each herb (except the vanilla bean) and blend together.

Flavor:  Definitely minty, and you can taste the cocoa, but it’s not very strong.  Maybe add some cocoa powder or dark chocolate along with the cocoa nibs to increase the chocolatey-ness.  The orange peel adds a subtle citrus flavor.


Recipe #6 – Vanilla Lychee Cornflower

IMG_7546VanillaCornflower

  • Black Tea (loose leaf) – 1 Tbsp.
  • Cornflowers – 1 Tbsp.
  • Calendula – 1 Tbsp.
  • Vanilla Bean (about 1″, cut open and chopped)
  • Dried Strawberries – 1 Tbsp.
  • Dried Lychee Berries – 1 Tbsp.
  • Anise Seed – 1//4 tsp
  • Stevia Leaf – 1/4 tsp
  • Vanilla Extract – 3 drops

Mix ingredients and the add vanilla extract.   Mix well to distribute the extract.  Let it thoroughly dry before packaging it up so it doesn’t get moldy. It’s OK to drink it right away just don’t close it up in a package until it dries.

IMG_7548VanillaCornflower

Flavor.  O.M.G.!!!!!   This tastes like pure heaven.   I loved it so much I made a huge batch so I can enjoy it again and again.   You get the vanilla, of course, but the berries, anise, and other ingredients combine to make a very complex and lovely flavor.   I love this one!  It looks so pretty too!

 


Blend #7 – Vanilla Chai

IMG_7549VanillaChai

  • Black Tea  (loose leaf) – 1 Tbsp.
  • Ginger root powder or dried ginger root – 1/2 tsp.
  • Cardamom Pods – crushed – About 8 pods
  • Cinnamon chips – 1 Tbsp.
  • Whole Cloves – 1/4 tsp.
  • Black Peppercorns – 1/4 tsp.
  • Anise Seed – 1/4 tsp.
  • Calendula – 1 Tbsp.
  • Jasmine Flowers – 1 Tbsp. (they’re just for looks)
  • Vanilla Bean (about 1″)
  • Vanilla extract – 3 drops

Blend the ingredients then add the vanilla extract.   Mix well.  Let dry thoroughly before packaging to avoid getting mold.  It’s OK to drink it right away just don’t close it up in a package until it dries.

IMG_7551VanillaChai

Flavor:   This has a very lovely, mellow vanilla spice flavor.  It tastes very comforting. I only steeped it for 5 minutes because I was experimenting, but it would definitely benefit from steeping longer, or making it the traditional way by simmering the spices to release more of the flavor.  Still, I could tell that the flavor was fantastic, if just a little faint.  I added about 1 ounce of half and half and blended it together.  I will definitely re-make this and do it right next time.  I think it might be a favorite for sure, if it were a little bit stronger.


Blend #8 – Cocoa Cinnamon Tea

<  Sorry no picture – camera battery died and failed to warn me.  Thought I was taking pictures, but nope!>

  • Black Tea (loose leaf)
  • Dried Orange Peel
  • Cinnamon Chips
  • Chamomile
  • Calendula
  • Cocoa Nibs

Use 1 Tbsp. of each item and blend together.

Flavor:  It was good.  I probably was getting flavor fatigue by this point.  It tasted like you would expect a black tea with orange and cinnamon to taste.   It was good, just not as unique as some of the others.   Still, sometimes I do want a cup of black orange tea, and this will do the trick!  I might dehydrate some orange slices and use those next time along with the orange peel.  It would be pretty!

 


Blend #9 – Vanilla Chocolate Orange Tea

<  Sorry no picture>

  • Black Tea (loose leaf)
  • Dried Orange Peel
  • Cocoa Nibs
  • Vanilla Bean (1″ piece)
  • Vanilla Extract – 3 drops

Use 1 Tablespoon of each ingredient (except the vanilla bean and extract).  Blend the ingredients then add the vanilla extract.   Mix well.  Let dry thoroughly before packaging to avoid getting mold.  It’s OK to drink it right away just don’t close it up in a package until it dries.

Flavor:  Pretty good!  Definitely taste the orange and vanilla.  The cocoa was a little weak, so if you want it more chocolatey you would need to add stronger tasting cocoa, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, or even a chocolate flavored extract.

 


Blend #10 – Double Mint Chocolate

<  Sorry no picture>

  • Peppermint Leaf
  • Spearmint Leaf
  • Cocoa Nibs
  • Vanilla Bean (1″ piece)

Use 1 Tablespoon of each ingredient (except the vanilla bean) and blend together.

Flavor:  The cocoa and vanilla were overpowered by the mint.  It’s a good mint tea, but you might as well save the money and not add any cocoa or vanilla to it.


Ranking:

Here is my ranking with 1 being the best and 10 being the least best.

  1.  Definitely the Vanilla Lychee Cornflower
  2. Apple Pie
  3. Vanilla Chai (although this might move to #2 on the list if I make it stronger)
  4. Cranberry
  5. Macaroon
  6. Cocoa Cinnamon
  7. Mint Patty
  8. Vanilla Chocolate Orange
  9. Double Mint Cocoa
  10. Cocoa Mate’

 

Here is what is left over after my test tasting:

IMG_7565Leftovers

 

I had a lot of fun having a solo tea party today!  It was a perfect finale to a great vacation!   Tomorrow, however, it’s back to work for me, so the fun is over (at least until Saturday).

Have a fantastic week, and I really hope you were not in the path of Hurricane Irma (although if you were, I hope you stayed safe and avoided damage).

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6 thoughts on “Teas and Tisanes – Tasty Experiments – Ten Free Recipes

  1. Oh I love tea (can’t bear coffee 😷) but I’m a strong builder’s tea kinda person. Having said that I’ve enjoyed some gingerbread tea recently so perhaps I should branch out and try something different – these look fabulous!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I love orange rind. I usually use dried though as I don’t often have fresh. I bet it’s good though! I like a little vanilla in the chai. I have been enjoying it. Vanilla and cardamom go so well together — smooth!

      Liked by 1 person

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