If you’re ever in the mood for an instant hot and refreshing caffeine-free drink, then snipping off a few leaves from a herb plant and dunking them in water is always a winner. But which home grown herbs make the best tea? We’ve been extensively growing, snipping and infusing all summer and can now reveal our five favourite home grown herbal teas.
It’s an obvious choice but with good reason. Nothing else can quite compete with mint’s bold, refreshing flavours. Any mint will do, from the classic spearmint to the extra-pungent peppermint or one of the more unusual flavoured varieties you might come across. But true tea connoisseurs should consider Moroccan mint, the one favoured by the mint tea loving nation behind its name.
2 Lemon Verbena
A close second to mint is the often overlooked lemon verbena. Like mint it produces an abundance of leaves throughout spring and summer, and its flavours are similarly strong, quickly yielding in a mug of hot water. Its citrus notes are on the sherbety side of lemon, making it an invigorating brew.
We like rosemary in most drinks, using it to flavour beer and as a garnish for a gin and tonic, so it’s hardly surprising it features high in our top tea list. Just one fresh spring releases a complex collection of flavours and aromas, from pine and lemon to some bitter tea-like notes. Give a sprig a go.
4 Lemon Basil
Most lemony herbs make a decent tea with lemon balm being a strong contender for this list. But for something slightly different we think lemon basil is worth growing. It’s easy to propagate from seed and is flavoured like a herbier version of lemongrass – just a few leaves make a tasty cuppa and can also pep up any number of Asian-style food dishes.
This evergreen herb may not seem the most obvious choice for tea brewers but it’s probably the most similar to a regular cuppa on the list, with an obviously savoury edge and the kind of bitterness that makes you go ‘aaaahhhhh’ after every sip. Heed our sage words of advice and dunk a few leaves in a cup of hot water.
For more great home-grown teas seek out our latest book, Wild Tea