Tips and recipes to make homemade tea blends with simple ingredients
Hello, tea lover, ever wondered how to make your own tea blends?
Creating DIY tea blends is a fun way to experiment with flavors and the results are really worth it.
In this article, you will learn proven tricks to make your own tea blends at home.
And in case you want some examples, you’ll find some recipes to get you started as well.
So grab a teapot and let’s get started!
Reasons to make own tea blends
Are you tempted when you see suggesting names for tea blends on a store, such as “Summer Rain in the Sunset” or “Creamy Super Happy Hug”? (sorry, I just made up the names and I am not good at it, but I think you get the point).
Well, I can’t help myself from wanting to try all these tea blends.
However, I often wish they had a different ingredient instead of something they are using: for example, many blends contain black tea and I’m quite sensitive to caffeine, so I avoid drinking these teas on a daily basis.
Other times, I am a little disappointed because the flavor isn’t as promising as it sounded…
And some other times I just want to know what’s exactly in the mix, without the vague indication of “flavouring” in the ingredient list (not that I’m against it, but sometimes I just want to enjoy tea blends with unprocessed ingredients).
For these reasons, I wanted to try making my own blends for a long time.
Unfortunately, I found so little information online about it that I assumed it would be too complex to make them as a beginner.
However, it turns out, you can assemble delicious tea blends with things you already have and without too much trouble.
So, let me share with you what I’ve learned from my research and experiments!
What are tea blends?
Tea blends are the combination of tea with other ingredient/s, such as another type of tea, spices, dried fruits or edible essential oils among others.
Together, the different components enhance flavors, fill the gaps of each other and/or they give you a unique cup of tea.
Examples of popular tea blends are:
- Earl grey – black tea with bergamot oil
- Chai – black tea with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and pepper among others
- Breakfast teas – combinations of different sorts of black tea
Are homemade tea combinations as good as pre-made ones?
The culture of tea is an art and excellent tea masters devote their lives to to it.
So, if you come across a truly good blend, it might be on another level as your homemade ones.
But don’t let this discourage you!
With a bit of practice and the right tips, you can make tea blends that are just as good as or even better than many pre-made ones (specially those disappointing teabags with promising names).
After all, you get to choose all the ingredients and customize it according to your taste.
How amazing is that?
Furthermore, even if you use the finest ingredients, you may still create a cost-effective tea mix.
The only thing you may take into consideration is that some flavors are difficult to recreate with real, raw ingredients.
For example, tea with real caramel pieces may have less intense caramel aroma that a tea from the store with artificial or natural caramel flavouring.
Best ingredients to make tea blends
Now that we know what tea blends are and why would want to make them, let’s get into the practicalities.
Tea blends can be made with:
You can use one or more sorts of:
- Real tea – any sort that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant: white, green, oolong, puehr, black or purple
- Herbal tea – this category includes any other plant infusion, such as herbs, dried fruits or flowers
Optionally, tea blends can contain a variety of other ingredients that provide some flavor, smell or that just make the blend look in a desired way, such as spices, aroma, edible essential oils, candied fruit, roasted coconut, pieces of chocolate, etc.
You can let you creativity soar!
The TWO rules to make homemade tea blends
Although you can make tea blends with any type of tea and any ingredients you like, there are two important rules you should follow to get good, safe results:
Since moisture is the enemy of tea, make sure you only use dried ingredients.
For example, don’t store tea with fresh cut herbs or fruit; dehydrate or let them dry first.
Only choose ingredients that are suitable for culinary use.
- don’t use herbs you don’t know
- if using essential oils, make sure they are edible and safe in the amounts you are using (which is always in very small amounts)
- don’t use anything you could be allergic to
Basics to make good tea blends
Unsure about where to start creating tea blends when there are so many options to choose from?
Here are specific tricks to help you create successful blends, time and again:
– Define the taste of your blend
Think about what flavors and aroma you want.
Once you know how the result should taste, it will be easier to choose the ingredients that could go well in the blend.
Ingredients for tea blends depending on flavor profile
- For a sweet blend: try adding dried fruits like apple or dates, candied fruit, stevia leaf, anis or licorice.
- For a fruity touch: consider adding dried berries, other dried fruits pieces and/or peels.
- For a tangy taste: lemongrass, citrus peels and hibiscus are great options to get tart beverages.
- For minty tea blends: this is obvious, but mint types like spearmint bring freshness.
- For a floral accent: any edible flower can be added to tea. Some of the most common are jasmine, lavender, rose hibiscus, butterfly pea and linden.
- For a spicy kick: go for spices like dried ginger, cardamom or cinnamon sticks.
- For an herbal taste: choose herbal infusions like chamomile, sage or thyme as the predominant base ingredient.
- To add some color: some herbal teas that give bright colors to the tea liquor are hibiscus (deep red) or butterfly pea (dazzling blue).
– Do a little research about which ingredients match with another
- White tea, green tea and oolong varieties tend to have a more delicate taste that goes well with subtle flavors like flowers or delicate fruits.
- Black teas on the other side can handle stronger flavors, like citric fruits, oils or spices. Also, black teas tends to blend well with sweeter ingredients.
- Rooibos tea is a great all-rounder that goes well with most ingredients.
– Have the preparation in mind
Some teas need different water temperatures or steep times, so mixing them would be difficult and might not lead to a great-tasting cup of tea.
For example, many green teas don’t handle boiling water so well, while others tea types need these high temperatures to fully release their flavour.
Also, don’t add ingredients that could curdle with milk (citric fruits, hibiscus) to blends where you would like to use milk.
– Consider the time of day and what you want to drink the tea for
If you’re looking for a caffeine boost in the morning, you can use teas with caffeine, as black tea, green tea or mate.
For something soothing before bedtime, go for caffeine-free herbal teas.
– Get inspired
If unsure, start by trying to recreate blends you’ve liked before.
This way you get good ideas of flavors that work well together.
– Tea blends aren’t only for your tastebuds
Your blends can look great too!
You can use ingredients with different colors to make an interesting looking tea, like cornflowers (with small blue petals), dried lemon zest or dried strawberries.
However, while large pieces in blends may give “premium” looks, you should find a balance so they are not too big.
The ingredients should evenly dispersed through the batch, so when you just use 1-2 teaspoons of the tea blend, you don’t get a mouthful of just one ingredient.
– Use good quality ingredients
Cheap, low-quality teas or other elements will make for an inferior end, so don’t skimp on this!
There are not set rules, but a rule of thumb is to use around 75% of base tea (base ingredient) and 25% of other ingredients (supporting ingredient/middle notes and accent/top notes).
However, you can adjust this depending on the ingredients and your personal taste.
How to make tea blends like a pro
Once you have these basics down, it’s time to start blending!
The wonderful Udemy course “Introduction to tea” goes over the fundamentals of tea blending, and I really enjoyed seeing how a tea professional (the instructor, Sarah Vaugh) works when blending and tasting teas.
The following are excellent ideas from the course that I had never considered and have proven to be very useful:
- Once you’ve chosen your ingredients, you should start by making 1 teaspoon (2-2.5 grams) of tea.
This will be enough to prepare one cup, so you don’t waste tea if the blend doesn’t work out.
- Measure the amounts of each ingredient you will be using
- Make 2 or more blend variations at a time, so you can compare them
- After tasting your creations, you can adjust by adding more of the ingredients that you think would make the tea more appealing (or use less of those that don’t work for your taste), if necessary
- Document everything, so you remember the details
Once you’ve fallen in love with a blend, you can make more of it to keep on hand.
Easy DIY tea blend to try right now
Once you have all of these basics in mind, it’s time to start blending!
As promised, here are some easy-to-make recipes to get you started.
They taste great and you can do them with simple ingredients that you might have in your cabinet right now:
“Life is too short for bad tea” blend
This is more a trick than a proper tea blend, but you can use its principles for any type of tea.
This is the perfect solution to finally use up (while enjoying) those teabags or tea blends in your cabinet that you don’t like so much.
- Loose tea leaf – the same sort of the tea you are improving or some other that might go well with
- (Optionally) 1 o 2 other elements that would make the tea more to your taste
HOW TO DO IT
I’ll illustrate this with a specific example:
I once bought a orange flavoured rooibos blend that sadly, tasted like cough medicine for me (even when it was organic tea and it wasn’t cheap).
But then I mixed it with a little more plain rooibos tea leaves and added some mandarine zest (because we didn’t have real orange at the moment).
It was such an improvement, I ended up enjoying the tea a lot!
If the original tea is in a teabag, cut it open before adding the other ingredients
Common questions about homemade tea blends
As with any other sort of tea, store your homemade tea blends in an airtight container away from heat, moisture and sunlight: this will help them stay fresh for longer.
This depends on the shelf life of the ingredients you used.
While some tea blends may need some time to rest to allow the flavors to marry, they can generally be consumed right away and you should enjoy them at their freshest within weeks or a couple of months.
After that, the flavors could start to fade.
I recommend labeling your homemade tea blends so you know what’s in there and when you made them.
The guidelines we’ve cover give you the basic knowledge to start experimenting with your own tea blends. Don’t be afraid of creating yours: while tea blending takes practice, I am sure you’ll come up with wonderful blends you are really proud very soon. Don’t forget to come back and tell me which one is your favorite!