An herbal tea break, that is. Here are some popular plants for herbal teas:
Angelica Anise Basil Bergamot Borage Calendula Catnip Chamomile Dandelion Fennel Lavender Lemon balm Marjoram Mint Oregano Parsley Raspberry leaf Rose Rosemary Sage Scented geranium Sweet Cicely Thyme Wintergreen
Other plants for herbal teas:
Anise hyssop Ginseng Hibiscus Hops Horehound Lemon grass Lemon verbena Lime (linden) flowers Red clover Sweet woodruff Valerian
Almost every herb and flower has a symboic meaning. Theoretically, you can concoct your herbal blend to make a statement with the herbs. The combinations may be sweet, witty, evocative - definately personal. Here are some traditional qualities of the following herbs:
Angelica - inspiration
Anise - change
Bergamot - virtue
Borage - bluntness
Calendula - hopelessness, grief
Chamomile - wisdom, patience
Clover - think of me
Dandelion -prophecy, foretelling
Lavender - devotion
Lemon balm - sympathy, regeneration
Marjoram - joy
Mint - warm feelings
Parsley - merriment, festivity
Raspberry - remorse
Rose - love, passion, purity
Rosemary - remembrance
Sage - esteem, wisdom, goodness
Scented geranium - happiness
Sweet woodruff - humble spirit
Thyme - daring, courage
Brewing the perfect cup calls for some specific attention. First, regarding the water. If your tap water doesn't taste good, neither will your tea. Or ice cubes, for that matter. Any doubts - use bottled or filtered water. If using your tap water: Use COLD water - and let it run a minute or so, you don't want the water that has been sitting in the pipes - it's lost it's oxygen, and may also have picked up odd flavor from the pipes. Ditto the hot water, it's been sitting in the tank for who knows how long, and you really won't save any time heating.
After your kettle of water is on the stove, preheat your teapot with warm water. When it's time to brew, just dump the water out of the pot, add your herbs - in a teaball, or loose, or teabags (you can make your own), and pour in the very hot (just to a boil, but not boiled - drives out oxygen, which means flat flavor). Cover the pot, to keep in the volatile oils released from the herbs, and let the saturated herbs gently steep or a certain amount of time. The rule of thumb is about 5 minutes. But some herbs, such as lavender, may only need 2-3 minutes. Others, like chamomile, may need 10-15 minutes
NOTE: a tea cozy is a wonderful investment. Keeps that pot warm.
Then remove the herbs, and fill your cup. You can swirl a little hot water in your cup to warm it, and empty it out before pouring your tea. Relax, take in the scented steam from your cup, savor the delicate flavors, and enjoy your herbal respite.
The language of flowers. It's not what you say - it's how you serve it.