Blending your own herbal tea is a revelation. Once you start, it's hard to go back to tea bags. This way, you're able to shape your blends to be as simple or complex as you like. You control the flavor profile and ingredients entirely, it's great. I liken it to making your own soup versus buying canned soup, and tend to bounce around from one blend to another. For a stretch it was this turmeric tea, lately it has been this detox-y ginger mint blend. The tea is green-tasting from mint and coriander, and fennel-sweet. The layered peppery-ness comes from black peppercorns and freshly muddled ginger, and with all sorts of beneficial goodness in it - lemon, cumin, the fresh ginger - it just feels good going down. You can pre-blend the dry ingredients and keep the in a small jar on the counter, making it easy to brew a cup. This pot made the drive to Big Sur with me. I poured it in a thermos, slipped it in my weekend bag, and sipped my way down the coast where we did some Christmas hiking (and surprise whale watching!).
I leave a little note on the jar, so I know at a glance how much of the dry mixture to use. It also makes it easy if I want to brew a double batch.
We did a beautiful hike the day before Christmas. This one. It's roughly a 9-mile loop that starts as a rambling coastal lullaby. Then up, up, up to an overlook bench where you can stop for a scenic lunch. It's quite a ways up. Then a leisurely descent. If you look at that photo of Wayne up above there is a spec of a tree on the ridge behind him (up and to the right of his binoculars). I think the bench is under that tree. The white trails from the airplanes high above were like daytime shooting stars.
We felt lucky to be able to visit Big Sur last week. There was a terrible fire that I'm sure many of you saw on the news, and we were very sad to come across so many people who've lost their homes and livelihood throughout such a small, tight knit community.
Detoxifying Mint Tea
You can brew this as weak or strong as you like, really. I also like it chilled. I rarely sweeten tea, but can imagine a bit of honey would be nice if you prefer a sweet tea.
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
4 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 3 ginger slices, 1/4-inch thick
- 16 fresh mint leaves
- 3 thin slices of lemon
Combine the coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin, and black peppercorns in a jar, stir well, and set aside.
Bring two cups of water to a simmer. While the water is heating, pound the ginger with the mint to break it up a bit. I use a mortar and pestle, but you can use a wooden spoon or cocktail muddler. When the water is hot, stir in 1 tablespoon of the dry mixture and the ginger-mint mixture. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for another 3 minutes or so. Place the lemon slices in a strainer, and strain the tea through the lemon into a pot or container.
Makes 2 cups of tea, with enough of the dry tea blend for another 3 pots or so.
Prep time: 3 minutes - Cook time: 5 minutes