One of my favorite part of the holidays is blending up new teas. I always have bits of this and that from all the teas I buy left over at the end of the year and a budget that usually does not include purchasing new ones. I do however have lots of dried fruit and spices available for the holiday baking season.
As I stated in my post “Cash-strapped for the Holidays? Then Blend Your Own Tea!” I don’t buy flavored teas. If you want to know more read my full post. But in a nutshell, I like to know what I put in my body and products labeled to contain “natural ingredients” but don’t explicitly tell you what, are something I avoid.
It must be pointed out that getting a nice fruity flavor takes both a significant amount of ingredients and time. My recipes for flavored teas do not follow the Gong-Go Style for flash-infusion brewing. I’ve played around with it by infusing the flavorings first and then the tea and boiling up the flavorings on the stove first, but in the end, it’s much easier to infuse it all together in the western style and follow the specific infusing times recommended for each type of tea.
Luckily, the added flavorings counterbalance the bitterness so commonly associated with western style brewing so there is nothing to worry about there.
This year, I found an almost full tin of Hubei Province Keemun Ji Hong hiding with that Mystery Pu’erh I reviewed previously. The strong citrus notes and caramel flavor of this tea make it perfect black tea for blending.
Apple Spiced Keemun Steamer Tea Blend Recipe
Hubei Province Keemun Ji Hong (Upton Tea Imports) – 7 grams
dried apples – 11 grams
dried cranberries – 11 grams
cinnamon (ground or stick to taste) – I used about 1/2 of a 1cm piece
nutmeg (to taste) – one dash
Kosher salt – less than a pinch or eliminated
water – 20oz 212°
steep time – 4 minutes
First, weigh out the dried apples & cranberries then place them on a cutting board or into your food processor. The finer you chop them the more flavor they will impart to your tea blend.
Next weight out your tea and add to your chopped fruit along with the spices and toss gently to combine. As far as the salt goes I’m talking about grains of kosher salt that will help enhance the flavors of the fruit, however, it is optional. I do suggest giving it a try. I know it sounds strange, but I promise as long as you use TINY amounts you won’t even be able to tell its there.
Bring water to a boil and pour into a 20 oz capacity teapot to heat up the pot for a few seconds. Once your vessel is warm, pour out the water, add the tea blend, and put back on the lid (don’t add the water yet). Give the pot a shake so all the ingredients come into contact with the warm pot and let it sit a minute. By allowing the tea blend to warm up first, it will begin releasing its aroma and make a more flavorful infusion. Once the tea blend has warmed up, add boiling water and steep for 4-minutes then enjoy.
Kick Up The Spice:
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Clove, ginger, or even a tiny dash of cayenne pepper will all work well in this blend and bring up the spice to the next level. This just happens to be a holiday tradition at my house and I make it as presented every year.
I love blending my own tea and know exactly what’s in it. I hope you give it a try. I think you’ll find the joy of blending your own tea enhances the experience. Check back later this month for my next blend: Goji Lime Punch.