My Afternoon Tea is Always exciting with Herbs I Grow Myself.
Many years ago, I started experimenting with a few homegrown herbs in my garden into the teapot. It started with a sprig or two of mint or lemon basil, but over the years my tea herb obsession has expanded, and now I grow dozens of herb plants solely for their remarkable health properties. Sometimes I make a purely herbal hot tisane (a fancy French word for a beverage made from herbs instead of actual black tea leaves without caffeine). Sometimes I spruce up my afternoon tea with lemongrass and tulsi or anise hyssop, lavender, and rose geranium. The flavors live in such harmony that no matter the recipe, I’ve never made an undrinkable tea. Incase your tea is bitter or unpalatable you just need to balance the flavor with a dash of honey or lemon.
Favorite Herbs for Tea
Anise Hyssop – Hints of licorice and root beer.
Lavender – English of French types have the finest flavors.
Lemongrass – The pale base of the blades packs the strongest flavor.
Lemon Balm – Bright lemon tang when fresh.
Lemon Basil – Citrus with the spiciness of basil. Doesn’t dry well.
Lemon Thyme – Surprisingly strong citrus notes with a spicy thyme taste.
Lemon Verbena – The most refined lemon flavor in the herb clan.
Mint – Many tasty types, including spearmint, peppermint, ‘Mojito,’ ‘Kentucky Colonel,’ and pineapple.
Pineapple Sage – A subtle pineapple scent in a tall salvia.
Scented Geranium – Fragrant rose hybrids are favorites.
Tender perennials such as lemongrass, lemon verbena, and scented geraniums will grow year-round in warm climates. Elsewhere, overwinter them indoors as houseplants or grow as one-season annuals. Do not fertilize herbs because it can result in too much soft growth and a decrease of oils in the leaves which is where the flavor lies.
Growing Tips for Tea Herbs
Start annuals like lemon basil and tulsi from seeds or seedlings purchased from a garden center and provide lots of sun and water. Perennials such as thyme, pineapple sage, and anise hyssop will return each year in Zones where they are hardy if given sun and soil with good drainage. (Mint can be invasive, so position it carefully or grow it in a pot.)