Recently I had a special Tea-Time-Out with Amandine Q&A in which I answered all the herb and tea questions I’ve received recently. Here’s a little summary, I hope you find it helpful!
YOUR TEA-TIME Q&A
Q: What is the best way to steep your herbs?
A: This is actually a great question because we don’t steep herbal tea the way that we steep black tea. For black tea you use boiling water, but herbal tea should be steeped at between 80-90 degrees.
To do this you can either stop heating the water shortly before it boils (when you start seeing little bubbles forming) or if you’ve let it boil you can just leave it to cool for 5-10 minutes and then add the herbs. This is important because if you use boiling water you will burn the leaves.
As for duration, I recommend ten minutes or more because the more you steep your herbs the more goodness will be released by the herbs (and the better it is for you). There’s no time limit, but you may want to adjust according to your personal taste preferences as some herbs become a bit bitter when steeped for a longer time. Often instructions come with herbal teas that you buy commercially and let you know what time window you should steep within.
Q: Can I drink tea in the summer?
A: YES! In fact people who live in desert climates drink really hot, really sugary mint tea. This is because it’s better for the body than drinking a cold drink in the heat, which forces the body to use a lot of energy to heat the cold liquid up to body temperature and can cause a shock to the system.
You can drink herbal tea at any time of day in any season, although some herbs are particularly beneficial at certain times of year. Any tea that contains tea leaves will of course contain caffeine which is not ideal in the evening.
Q: Can I drink herbal tea as a cold beverage?
A: If you don’t like drinking hot drinks when it’s hot, turn it into a cold drink! Steep it as described above, then let it cool down for a few hours (or add ice). Don’t put your hot tea in the fridge (not good for the fridge). Then pour into a carafe, add ice and anything else you like to taste – a squeeze of lemon, some sugar or agave syrup (better as the sugar won’t melt easily in cold liquid) and enjoy!
Q: Can I add lemon, honey or milk into herbal tea?
A: Yes absolutely, you can add anything you want to your herbal tea! There’s no right or wrong. If you drink cannabis tea (that contains THC) or hemp tea (that contains CBD) you can add some fat (so a bit of butter or milk for example) to help your body absorb the cannabinoids more easily and feel the effects more.
You can add lemon to any tea (I add it to all of them), honey or any other sweetening agent that you like!
Q: How do you know the quality of your herbs?
A: You need to speak to your supplier or the company you buy your tea from. I buy all my herbs from a local herbalist who has told me about their selection process. You may think organic means good quality, and while this is true to some extent, it doesn’t mean zero pesticides (you can still have up to five pesticides and be labelled organic).
You can have a certified organic farm where the herbs are grown right next to a motorway and get covered in fumes. Or you can have a tiny organic farm that doesn’t have the certification but that doesn’t use pesticides and the herbs are grown in fresh air and clean soil.
This is why it’s worth inquiring directly to find out more about where the herbs are sourced from. If your supplier is not willing to be transparent about their sourcing process it’s a huge red flag.
Q: Can I make a bulk amount of tea to save time?
A: Yes indeed! You can make a larger amount and re-heat it later or even the next day, or put it in the fridge to keep it cool. In the winter you can keep it for a few days at room temperature but in the summer it will get skanky if you leave it out of the fridge for more than a day, so I don’t recommend doing that.
Keep in mind that there are no preservatives in your tea so you want to sniff it and taste it to make sure it’s still good if it’s not freshly made. It won’t make you sick but who wants to drink less than amazing tea?
Q: Is herbal tea caffeine-free?
A: Yes – herbs that you find in nature are caffeine-free, which in my opinion is a great advantage, as these herbs can give you natural energy without the side-effects of caffeine. Some of them are even brain-boosting (check out my VIF blend for this)!
Q: Is there a limit to how much herbal tea I can drink?
A: In principle no. But we should keep in mind that plants are medicine and for every substance there’s an amount that is too much. If you’re drinking five liters of herbal tea every day it might not be a good idea. Certain herbs shouldn’t be consumed for longer than a month, or over a longer period of time, or in conjunction with other herbs or medications.
It’s really on a case-by-case basis, which means doing some research and potentially speaking with your doctor or pharmacist about the herbs you have questions about.
Et voila! If you have more questions you can email me or message me on my social channels!
To read more about tea and which one to choose click here.
P.S. To find out more about teas and herbs, and learn how to tune in to your body and actually listen, join me for my Tea Alchemy Workshop! After the theory, I’ll teach you how to experiment with herbs and blend your own teas, with intention.