Tea or Tisane?

Herbal tea – aka tisane – is a joy to me. Ima coffee-in-the-morning* and tea-in the-evening gal and one of my favourite teas is Good Earth (thanks to Amy Mac for introducing me to it!). But I’ve been troubled by the number of boxes and teabags that I find myself recycling and tossing, respectively. Even though I’m recycling, I’d rather not even do that to the environment. So recently I’ve been dreaming about being able to make my own herbal tea and avoid the use of boxes and teabags. I’ve been dreaming about making my own ginger-mint tea.

So on Sunday, I harvested some mint from the urban garden that Brian and I share (I left the mint from my previous post on my patio to continue to grow roots) and cut up the fresh ginger root that I had in my fridge and spread them out on two dehydrator trays and left for the day. When I got back, I had dehydrated mint leaves and ginger!

Today I ground up some cloves and chopped up some cinnamon bark to go with them.

Clockwise starting top left: Mint leaves, coarsely ground cloves, dehydrated ginger root, and chopped cinnamon bark.

Then I took 1/2 tsp of each and mixed it together in a bowl and added boiling water – one cup. I have two bowls because I tried adding desiccated coconut and pepper to one bowl to see if it added flavour. It did not.

After 5 minutes steeping time, I strained the tea into a mug! It tastes spicy and yummy! I added a small amount of stevia to heighten the flavours.

I’ve been sipping this tea as I write this blog post.

Next time I think I’ll try adding some loose leaf rooibos or star anise seed. Also, I think I’ll try using less cloves and more ginger.

Have you tried making your own tea?

* It’s actually a double americano with cream but who’s counting?

Ginger Kombucha

I love gingerale.  I always have.  I grew up on gingerale and orange juice cocktails with my dinner.  It was my favourite drink!

Of course, these days I rarely drink soft drinks, soda pops, or colas.  It’s just water, coffee and wine for me!  I’m all natural, right?  Except, I also drink kombucha!  Hm…  I guess that’s natural too.

Thanks to Jack Roberts for introducing me to it while I was in Tulsa last fall.  He started me off with GT’s Synergy Guava Goddess.  Then I tried the Original.  Then the ginger.  I was hooked.  I bought two a week while I was there.

After I came home to LA, I continued buying the kombucha, but it added about $7 to $10 dollars to my weekly grocery budget!  Over 52 weeks, that could start to get unacceptable.  Especially since we were going to have to live on a tighter budget in 2009 because of the movie.  So…

I brew my own kombucha!  I grew my own SCOBY (the starter) from a bottle of GT’s Original and I make my own kombucha.  It’s much cheaper than buying two or three bottles every week at Whole Foods.

Sometimes I add some TJ’s Very Green Juice Blend or Odwalla Superfood for an extra special healthy drink, but I read something the other day that made me very excited.   I read that I can add a chunk of fresh ginger to my freshly strained kombucha and it will start to taste like a gingerale!

I’ve got some fresh ginger in my current batch (I bought some at the farmers’ market on Sunday)!  I’ll let you know how it goes!

I other news, I found a great little website that helps new kombucha brewers troubleshoot their problems!