Did you know you can create your very own cuppa, straight from your backyard?
The plant in which our everyday cups of tea come from is a species of the much-loved flowering shrub family camellia, Camelia sinensis. For thousands of years the Chinese have been cultivating and harvesting this camellia for tea. Of course, it is now grown all around the world and is one of the most drunk hot or cold beverages across the globe.
Whether it be the original Camellia sinensis or a herbal tea, there’s something for everyone, and nothing could be fresher and more flavoursome than growing your own.
Plants used to make tea:
Camellia sinensis: Traditional green and black tea. This is ‘the’ tea plant of the world and is used in many black and green tea blends.
Herbal and floral tea plants: All of your mints, chamomile, pineapple sage, Jasminum sambac, cranberry hibiscus, lemon myrtle, lemon balm, lemon verbena, raspberry leaf, bergamot, lemon grass, thyme, rose petals/hips, feverfew, holy basil, calendula, lavender, nettle, red clover, dandelion, echinacea, yarrow, anise hyssop, scented geraniums, stevia, viola odorata.
Roots: There are even certain roots of plants that make a great tea like, ginger, licorice, valerian, chicory, angelica. When growing your chosen tea plant follow cultural directives for best results, as different plants will have different growing requirements.
When harvesting, choose unblemished disease-free foliage and flowers.
You can use fresh, or you can proceed to dry out your chosen tea plants foliage or flowers for use later. If drying either pop into a food dehydrator, or place in the sun on a baking tray or hang bunches up or place in a moderate oven on a baking tray for a short period of time.
Making a home cuppa.
When using fresh I use a tea infuser ball, which is a handy small vessel that opens up and you can place your tea plant within it and close. Then sit it in a cup or tea pot and add boiling water. Once it has steeped for the desired length of time you can just remove the tea infuser and pour your cuppa. You can also buy diffusing teapots.
Did you know?
There are several different types of tea including black, oolong, green, and white. They all come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but the difference lies in how the leaves are treated after they are harvested.
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