Whether Infusion or Decoction, You’re Brewing Tea
The most common way of brewing tea is the infusion method (decoction is usually reserved for the more serious herbal tea remedy).
It is appropriate for leaves, buds, flowers, and tender stems.
Ordinarily, you should use 1 teaspoon of dried herb (or 1 teabag), or 1 tablespoon of fresh herb, to one cup of almost boiling water (Use twice the amount of herbs if the tea will be iced).
The water should be poured over the herbs for brewing.
Tea should never be boiled; valuable volatile oils can be destroyed by boiling. Cover the cup (or cozy the teapot) and steep for 5 – 10 minutes.
For stronger tea, use more herbs, not longer steeping time. That can make the tea bitter.
Strain the tea (drain the teabag) and drink your concoction hot to lukewarm. Or allow it to cool further, if you like.
Honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup, and/ or lemon or cream may be added, depending on what kind of herbs are used (My favorite after-dinner cup on a cold winter’s evening is Earl Gray, with a touch of honey and a splash of cream).
Take advantage of Solar Energy
For a fuel-saving infusion method, try this Sun Tea Recipe:
To a clean [easyazon_link asin=”B009M9Z6XQ” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”realfoodsmake-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”yes”]gallon-sized glass jar[/easyazon_link],
add 12 – 16 teabags
-OR- 5 tablespoons dried herbs
-OR- a heaping 1/2 cup of fresh herbs.
Fill the jar with good, pure water, cap, and set in the full sun for 1 to 4 hours.
Strain, sweeten if desired, pour over ice, and enjoy! Refrigerate any unused portion.
To brew tea using the tougher plant parts- roots, bark, or seeds- a decoction is required.
Use 1 tablespoon of the cut bark or root, or whole seeds, in 1 1/2 cups of good water.
Simmer (DO NOT BOIL) for 20 – 30 minutes. Strain and cool.
Decoctions are almost always medicinal….. and probably not the thing for your tea party. Drink it hot if you have a cold, or are trying to induce a sweat.
Brewing tea is a good tme to tap into your creative side. For ideas, check the ingredient list of your favorite herbal tea blend.
Walk through your garden and try the “smell test.” If herbs smell good together, they most likely taste good together as well.
Utilize the resources at your local natural food store or farmers’ market. They should be able to offer suggestions and maybe even sell you the herbs so that you can develop your own custom herbal tea blend.
But whether you buy or grow herbs, whether you use infusion or decoction, remember that brewing tea is a Science.
And an Art.