I find myself on quite the herbal infusion kick lately, and have been spending a lot of time wishing I had an herb garden so I could try my hand at blending my own teas. While that is nowhere near in the cards for me at the moment, I’ve recently had the incredible fortune of meeting the lovely Jamah from BlendBee.com, who has graciously offered me the chance to give their custom tea blending services a try! Both my boyfriend and I are ferociously competitive people – while camping last year we both developed horrible blisters on our hands from trying to pump up air beds faster than the other- so when Jamah asked me if we’d like to try our hand at creating our own teas, I thought it would be an awesome opportunity to have yet another friendly contest with my dearly beloved. Our goal: make the best summertime tea. Game on!
Creating the blends was a snap- the menus are simple to navigate, making it quick work to add or subtract ingredients from your tea as you move along. The health benefits of the ingredients are also listed- while those are honestly not a deciding factor in the way I wish to create my blend, I can appreciate that a lot of people may wish to do so and would find that information helpful. However, I love how the aroma and flavor of each ingredient is also described when moused over, making it much easier to be a bit adventurous with different combinations of herbs, flowers, and spices. I was worried when I began that I would be overwhelmed by all of my choices and end up making some weird blend (as would my boyfriend, who is pretty new to loose leaf tea), but as we went along we both found the process to be easy and fun.
Due to the fact this will be quite a large writeup, I’ve decided to split it up into two parts.Today’s post will be looking at my blend, and tomorrow’s will take a closer look at Kevin’s blend along with the results of our “contest” and overall thoughts of Blendbee.com. 🙂
My Blend – Cat Nap Tea
Ingredients: hibiscus, rose hips, chamomile, orange peel, lemongrass, catnip, strawberry leaf, stevia leaf, and a touch of orange extract
When I think of summertime, one of the first things that comes to my mind is the way my cats bask lazily in the summer sunlight. Louie is always lying belly-up on the floor, catching as many rays to warm his fur as possible. Just looking at him relaxes me- as the saying goes: “It is impossible to look at a sleeping cat and feel tense”. As such, I wanted to try and create a tea blend that would recreate this feeling. I love the tropical taste of hibiscus so including it was an absolute must, but also added the chamomile to help take away some of the flower’s inherent tang (since this is meant to be a soothing blend). I added the rosehips, orange peel, lemongrass, and strawberry leaf to give the tea a strong, fruity body, and included the catnip because.. well.. it only seemed fitting. 🙂 I followed the printed brewing instructions carefully, using freshly boiled water and 1 tsp of leaves per 6 oz of water, and made a point to use the cute muslin bag and tea scoop Jamah included in our package.
As soon as the blend began to steep, a delightful combination of the orange, lemon, and hibiscus smells floated up off of the cup. I’ve never been to the tropics, but I’m absolutely positive this is what the region must smell like. 😛
I left the bag in for roughly 5 minutes, using the strength of the brew’s ruby color as an indicator of when the steep was finished. With my first sip, the most dominant taste was actually the chamomile, followed closely by luscious notes of hibiscus and rosehips. I found the orange peel and lemongrass in the light, citrussy aftertaste- made sweeter by the stevia leaf. I was a bit bummed I couldn’t really taste the catnip, but it must just be due to my superlame human sense of smell and taste. 😛 I found Cat Nap Tea to be absolutely delicious, and perfectly embodied the feeling of lazy summer days I was trying to capture. I was so happy with the simplicity of the flavor profile- with the exception of the cat nip, I could identify every single ingredient in the blend, and that was just what I hoped for. In the future, when I order this blend again (and believe me I will), I will likely replace the chamomile with either white or green tea as a more subtle way of taming the hibiscus flavor. Or heck, maybe I’ll just forgo the idea of adding a base tea altogether and just ask Jamah to amp up the catnip goodness! The possibilities are endless, and that’s just what makes custom blending a tea so very exciting. 🙂
That’s all for now, folks! Check back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion to this tea blending adventure! 🙂
Feeling inspired to make your own infusion? Head over to Blend Bee and see what sort of crazy concoction you can come up with! As a special bonus and thank you for reading my blog, enter ‘BlackCatBytes’ as a discount code during checkout and receive 15% off your order!