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How To Make Your Own Tea Blends

by
Nov 26th, 2021

Tea lovers, there’s no need to wait on out-of-stock obscure blends for the perfect cuppa tea. With a couple of supplies and a few simple steps, you can make your very own tea blend at home! And you can make it exactly how you want it!

What is a tea blend? 

Most of the teas we drink are complex blends of teas, herbs and flavorings. Earl Grey, for example, is a blend of bergamot orange oil and black tea made from the camellia sinensis plant; English Breakfast is a blend of Assam black tea, Ceylon and Kenyan tea; and most chai teas are a blend of black tea, cardamom oil, ginger roots and spices. It would be great if there was a tea bush that created sleepytime tea, but until some genius botanists come up with that idea, we need to create those specific flavors by carefully blending certain components together. 

Tea blends are made by combining two or more teas, fruits, spices, herbs or oils together to create a new flavor. These blends can range from simple combinations like a lemon-ginger tea to more complex ones like a pumpkin spice blend of nutmeg oil, cinnamon sticks, black teas and a variety of spices. 

The tricky part of creating a tea blend is finding the right combination of flavors that all complement each other well. In the same way that a music chord is composed of individual notes that sound fine on their own, a good tea blend is composed of ingredients that come together to create the perfect harmony of flavor. 

Finding the right ratios of flavor is the next step in creating a good tea blend. It’s what strengthens a tea’s base flavor and allows the supporting flavors to shine, and it’s why you can have a dozen versions of Irish Breakfast tea that all taste slightly different, since each company will have used their own personal ratio of the same two ingredients. 

Essentially, tea blends are exactly what they sound like, and there’s no one right way to do any of it. With a few supplies and a bit of knowledge on the process, you can start to create your very own tea blends that taste exactly how you want your tea to taste!

How to make your own tea blends

Gather supplies

Making your own tea blends is fairly simple and doesn’t require much in terms of equipment, but using these supplies will help you achieve your desired result quickly and more consistently than without them.

  • Digital scale: tea ingredients are extremely delicate and very strong, so using a scale rather than a measuring spoon ensures that you can measure exactly how much of an ingredient you are using.
  • Teaspoon: for scooping. 
  • Notebook and pen: you’ll want to document all your experiments so that you know what to adjust and what to remember!
  • White porcelain cups: these aren’t strictly necessary, but having cups with a white interior will allow you to see the color of the tea and determine how strong it gets over time. Find at least two so that you can compare variations side-by-side.
  • A timer: for steeping the tea
  • Mixing bowl: a small one will be fine.
  • Tea infusers: for making the tea.

Envision the final product

Having a goal in mind will help guide your tea-blending process in the right direction, especially when it comes to choosing flavors and ratios. It’s like having a mood board for your ideal flavor profile!

Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Are you wanting a caffeinated tea or a herbal tea?
  • Will this tea be best mixed with milk?
  • Is there one flavor you’re looking to use, no matter what?
  • Is this tea going to be served hot or cold?
  • Is this blend going to focus on wellness properties (such as an immunity booster or sleep-promoting tea) or will it focus on taste alone?
  • Would you add sugar to this tea?

These questions can help you eliminate flavors, since a milky tea shouldn’t use citrus flavors and a sleepy tea wouldn’t use any caffeine. Making a wellness tea to kickstart your day may focus more on having a certain ratio of ingredients to ensure there’s enough vitamins and nutrients, while a simpler tea will focus solely on flavor. Even iced tea blends will need to be stronger to compensate for the diluting ice that will be served with the tea. 

Know your ingredients

Here’s where you’ll need to know a little extra technical knowledge to ensure your flavors actually work together in the final blend. 

First, choose your base flavor. This can be a pure (caffeinated) or herbal base that the other flavors will support. Find the water temperature needed to brew this base tea properly, which can range anywhere from 140 degrees Fahrenheit for green teas and 212 degrees Fahrenheit for herbal teas. You’ll also need the proper steep time for these teas to get the most out of your flavors without over-steeping. Here’s a guide that will help with all that!.

Your supporting flavors will hopefully all have similar temperature and steep requirements, as that will create the best results more consistently.

You’ll also need to know the benefits and side effects of any herbs you’re wanting to add; after all, many herbs are medicinal by nature, so there can certainly be too much of a good thing. Too much St. John’s Wort, for example, can sometimes interfere with the effectiveness of oral birth control, and too much spearmint can cause kidney problems when mixed with various medications.

Also, all the ingredients you have need to be completely dry so that there is no chance of mold or rot in your tea blend. 

Conduct experiments

Now that you’ve chosen a few flavors to experiment with, it’s time for the fun part!

Start with a basic combination structure, such as (2 parts *base*) + (1 part *flavor*). Use your mixing bowl and scale to mix a small amount of this blend together. This blend goes in the infuser and into one of your white cups. Remember to document the measurements and flavors!

Before steeping this blend according to the temperature and times of the base, create another variation to the blend that you can compare with side-by-side. That way, you can taste two different mixtures and decide which you like better and want to develop more. You could try using a larger ratio of flavor to base, or even use slightly different base with the flavoring. The trick is to not change more than one variable at a time, as you’ll want these tests to help narrow down the final taste without leading you too far off the track. Document any changes you make to the flavoring, ratios, weights or steep times, then make a note of what you liked and disliked.

Here are a few recipes for DIY tea blends that you can use as a basis for your own teas!

Create your final blend

When you have your final formula nailed down, you can use those carefully constructed ratios to make a larger amount! Create your blend and store it in a dry, airtight container that will keep any moisture out. Keep a record of the temperatures and steep times for future reference and use, and voila! You have your very own tea blend!

Cheers!

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Featured photo courtesy Pixabay/congerdesign

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives in Spokane, Washington. She loves to travel, camp (in warm weather) and bake.

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