Herbal teas are one of the simplest and oldest ways of including herbs in our daily diet and enjoying their therapeutic benefits. Herbal teas can be delicious, refreshing and a great way to stay hydrated while sneaking in a few beneficial micro-nutrients and phytochemicals. Herbal teas are more accurately called infusions or tisanes as ‘true’ tea is made using the leaves of the evergreen shrub Camellia sinensis.
Take a good bunch of each herb and ‘scrunch’ the leaves a little to release their essential oils.
Put the bunches into different tissanières or cafetières and cover with boiling water.
Let the herb leaves stew for five to 10 minutes. Keep the lids on the pots to prevent the oils from evaporating in the steam.
Give each person several polystyrene cups e.g., three cups if you have three different herbal teas to taste. Label the cups ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’.
Distribute the teas to each person. The teas will stay hot in the polystyrene cups to allow time for tasting and discussion.
Rate each tea for e.g., aroma, taste, aftertaste and whether the tea could be a pleasant alternative to water, tea, or coffee. Use a scale from one to five.
Compare the scores for each herbal tea and decide the favourite, or put them in rank order.
*If you use rosemary, use one 5cm sprig per person as this tea has a robust flavour.
Note: If you are thinking of using sage tea, please read up about it first. In small concentrations it may have some benefits but it can be toxic if taken in larger amounts because of the chemicals it contains.