Monday, July 15, 2013

I'm a little teapot...

She's sweet isn't she? Aged. Comfortable. Seasoned. She is squaty and unfussy and has no jarring whistle. She also makes a mean pot of tea.

I ordered this lovely lady from this other lovely lady after my old tea kettle exploded. Literally. The last morning I used it, the top shot off and the water burst up and out like Old Faithful. I screamed, jumped back, and tried not to get maimed.

Apparently I had a fancy kettle with an air pocket between the very bottom and where the water sat. There must be a science to this, but it eludes me. At some point things went awry, and water got into the space. And after a week or so of making a noise like the popping of an electrical burner gone bad, the trapped water expanded enough to burst its way free. It was very dramatic.

But I like to keep things calm around here. Between Cedar and I, we make plenty of excitement without any additional help. So I put the poor kettle to rest and searched around to find the perfect new-old tea kettle. And here we are, making tea.

And! This tea is my first home-mixed tea blend. It is the number one reason right now I turn on the stove. There are versions of the recipe all over the internet, but it is usually listed as a pregnancy tea. I think this does a huge disservice to humanity.

It's true, the vitamins, protein, minerals, et cetera, et cetera present in the herbs are perfect for expectant mothers. It's true, the red raspberry leaves are well-known in folk remedies for toning uterine muscles, and that the nettle strengthens blood vessels which helps with varicose veins and such typically pregnancy-related problems. But still--the tea also also has good things for everyone in it. And most importantly, it tastes good. Especially iced.

Summer Tea Blend

I'm no herb specialist, so don't take my word for it (official disclaimer here: ask your midwife or doctor), but I can definitely agree with my midwives that I feel better when I'm drinking the tea. Maybe its the agave. Maybe it's the ice. Or maybe it's just good. In the future I'd try adding in some other fun bits: dandelion leaf and root, lavender, or chamomile. But in the meantime, raspberries are about as far afield as I go.

2 parts red raspberry leaf
2 parts nettle
1 part oatstraw
1/2 part alfalfa
1/2 part rose hips
1/4 part red clover blossoms
1/4 part spearmint leaf

Mix all the herbs* in a bowl and break up any large clumps (the raspberry will be fuzzy and stick together; the clover will need to be broken down to distribute).

To make tea**, use 1 tablespoon per cup of water. I usually make a quart-sized jar, because it's convenient, but a pitcher would be even better. Steep herbs covered in almost-boiling water for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Strain and discard herbs. Refrigerate until cold, and/or fill a glass with ice and pour over infusion. I like to add about a teaspoon of dark agave nectar per cup of prepared tea, but start with half of that if you are sweets-wary and increase from there to your liking. Best if pre-chilled and then poured over the ice. Add whole fresh or frozen raspberries if you are so inclined. Enjoy!

*I find all the herbs I need at my Co-op in the bulk section, but you can also try other tea and/or trading companies in your area or buy online from a place like this or this.

**This is also nice hot. Steep for the shorter amount of time to keep its "hot" status, or reheat. I don't add sweetness to hot tea, but if I did, I would use honey rather than agave. It is a glorious matter of opinion: that agave nectar is given to cold beverages as honey is given to hot. Test to your heart's content! And, enjoy!


  1. I'm amazed at your ability to see a teapot explode. I have a hate-hate relationship with our electric kettle. The lid has a tendency to catch and not let me fill it with water. Perhaps it's on strike and wants to renegotiate my usage contract?

    1. Sounds like you have quite a subversive kettle on your hands! Mine was less willful, more accident-prone. What is this water-warming world coming to?

  2. I love iced tea with honey. So I make a batch of tea (just black tea) and after it steeps, I remove the tea bags and add honey to sweeten and when it's mixed in, I put it in the fridge so it is ready for iced tea. If I didn't add enough honey then I am out of luck because it won't dissolve in the already chilled tea.