Plants That Flavor Drinks & Make Tea!

Plants That Flavor Drinks & Make Tea!

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Start a Tea Garden with double-purpose plants that flavor drinks and can be infused as healthy and tasty teas!

Fruit, flowers, leaves, roots, bark, and even the seeds from many plants can make fantastic home-brewed herbal teas, as well as enrich your landscape beautifully!

Break out your teapot or kettle, find your best china set, dust off your sun tea jar, and start looking into types of local honey to make these delicious and healthy teas from your landscaping!

Gong Fu Cha is the traditional Chinese tea ceremony - translated as "making tea with skill"

Soothing the nerves, calming the digestive system, and settling the mind - Tea has long been a ritual that makes you slow down and encourages you to take some time out for yourself!

Creating a Tea Garden is easy, as often it goes hand in hand with an Herb or Kitchen garden! Also known as Physic gardens, Culinary gardens, Herbal Knot gardens, Apothecary gardens, and French “jardin potager” gardens!

Not only flavoring food and as a garnish, Herbs, and many other plants have had a long history of being brewed in hot water to make a decoction or infusion - also known as Tea!

Plants, Shrubs & Trees That Can Be Brewed Into Tea

Did you know that many ornamental plants, shrubs, and trees you typically grow in your landscape can also be included in your Tea cabinet?

Herbs & Edible Ornamental Perennials

Herbs are of course the best for making Herbal teas! Usually, the leaves and flowers are dried or used fresh, and steeped to make flavorful and healthy teas!

  • Basil and Holy Basil (Tsuli) have loads of health benefits but Cinnamon Basil has the best spicy flavor! Basil comes in nearly as many ‘flavors’ as Mints do - ranging from Orange to Lemon, and more!
  • Bee Balm (Monarda) leaves and flowers can be used to make Oswego Tea that is minty, musky, and healthy
  • Both Catmint and related Catnip are not just for cats! The leaves and flowers can be used as a relaxing and soothing minty/musky drink
  • Dahlia - Did you know the partly open blooms of Dahlia can be steeped for a summery drink?
  • Herbs & Edible Ornamental PerennialsEchinacea/Coneflowers can be dried as soon as they open or you can harvest and dry the roots.
  • Hyssop Plants (Agastache) - Great tea for bedtime - harvest Anise Hyssop flowers and leaves dried or fresh for their licorice-like flavor
  • Culinary Ginger Root and leaves can be used dried or fresh for a spicy drink and tea flavoring
  • Lavender’s aromatic leaves and flowers can be dried or used fresh. Soothing and for sleep and calm
  • Lemon Grass/Lemongrass blades can be snipped and dried to add a refreshingly lemony flavor to drinks and tea
  • Mint Plants creates a cooling tea and comes in a wide range of flavors - great pick-me-ups on hot days. Mints come in about every flavor imaginable - try Nature Hills Spearmint, Peppermint, Mountain Mint, Chocolate, and more!
  • New Jersey Tea is a hardy deciduous shrub and the leaves have long been dried for tea during the Revolutionary and Civil War, having a similar flavor and aroma as Black Tea with some wintergreen notes
  • Pineapple Sage - Pineapple-scented leaves and flowers can be added for flavor

Other Herbs include:

  • Chamomile
  • Fennel/Bronze Fennel
  • Feverfew
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Stevia - Dried or used fresh to sweeten drinks!
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Seeds from Fennel and Cilantro are used for medicinal drinks

Garden 'Weeds'

Dandelions - This weed may have a notorious reputation in the manicured lawn, but this highly beneficial plant is tasty too! All parts (flowers, leaves & roots) can be dried, and roots roasted, to be made into a coffee-flavored tea with no caffeine from this common 'weed'.

Chicory is a wildflower with cornflower blue flowers, the roots are widely used as dried coffee substitutes and flavorful tea!

Vines For Flavoring DrinksVines For Flavoring Drinks

  • Passion Flower Vines - all above-ground parts used to make soothing tea for anxiety
  • Honeysuckle (Lonicera) - The flowers can be dried and added fresh for a sweet and perfume-like flavor
  • Jasmine Vines - Just like Honeysuckle, the flowers add a sweet perfume to tea blends
  • Vanilla Orchids - the seed pods of these plants are used to make flavoring
  • Hops - not just for flavoring beer! Hop flowers have been used to make a healthy tea too!

Tempting Tea Shrubs

  • The bright ornamental purple berries of the Beautyberry bush can be dried and used to add a fruity lemony flavor to your tea mixtures as well as make a sweet syrup for flavoring!
  • Roses petals and Rosehips can be dried and added to tea blends for floral notes and Rose Hips are high Vitamin C fruity flavored dried tea blend additions.
  • Hibiscus sabdariffa - Hibiscus sabdariffa tea is fruity and made from the flower “roselles”. A pretty and tasty tart drink becomes an incredibly bright pink color!
  • Yaupon Holly - The dried leaves of this native Holly have caffeine and have a similar flavor to black tea!
  • Raspberry Bushes -The leaves of the Raspberry bush have many benefits and are tasty when dried into tea - don’t forget to add the dried fruit too!
  • Sumac berries have been used to make a lemony drink called Sumac-ade which is tart and lemony due to the coating of malic acid on the berries.

Fruiting Shrubs and TreesFruiting Shrubs and Trees

Almost any fruiting tree or shrub can be dried, juiced, or used fresh to flavor your tea and other drinks! Some of the best include:

  • Aronia (Chokeberry) - Dry the berries to brew into a tart tea
  • Black Cherry Trees - the bark has been used as a sore throat and cough syrup or tea
  • All Citrus Trees - Use the rinds (zest), fruit, and flowers in your tea mixtures for a citrusy boost! Orange blossom water is a refreshing summer drink addition!
  • Elderberry Bushes
  • Both the spring flowers and summer fruit of the Elderberry bush can be dried and steeped into tea. Loaded with immune system boosting benefits, and are flavorful!
  • Red Currant - Dried fruit can be added to tea blends

Add watermelon, pineapple, kiwi, beetroot, pomegranate, and more for flavor and vitamin boosts!

Herbal Tea TreesHerbal Tea Trees

Camellia sinensis is the real Tea Tree! Black Tea, oolong, white, green, and more are all from this evergreen plant! Depending on how the leaves are dried, fermented, smoked, or cured - Create a different type of traditional tea!

Other trees that can be used to flavor tea include:

  • Sassafras Trees - The bark of the roots makes a rootbeer-like drink
  • Birch/Sweet Birch - The bark and roots have been used to make tea, drinks and Birch beer
  • Linden Trees - Also known as Basswood and Tilia, the leaves, and the flowers (including the green bracts) can be dried into a flavorful and medicinal tea
  • Pine Needles & Spruce Tips - high Vitamin C with a resinous citrusy flavor
  • Willow - the bark has long been used for making herbal tea that can ease pain and inflammation
  • Nut Trees - Nut Trees can be roasted and ground and added to flavor tea. Hazelnut, Walnut, Almond, and Hickory nuts can be blended into nut milk or crushed, roasted, or ground and steeped into tea blends.

There are a wide variety of spices - such as ginger root, star anise, licorice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and more - that you can add to your blends for an extra kick of flavor!

Over 1500 Tea Varieties Come From The Camellia sinensis Tea Tree!

Growing Tips & Tricks

Japanese Cold Brew MethodsMost of these plants do best in full sun, so ensure your new Tea Garden has at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Read up on your plant to know what it needs to grow its very best.

You will also need to choose plants that are suitable for your Hardiness Zone if you are not using them as annuals (as many Herbs are).

Most plants need well-drained soil and regular yet moderate moisture access all growing season. All plants appreciate a mulched garden bed and regular fertility to grow well too.

Looseleaf, Infusions, Tisanes, Decoctions, Tea Bags & Sachets!

There are many ways to make tea and flavored drinks! Research the best method for the best flavor and method of extracting the most health benefits from each!

You need a larger quantity of fresh plant materials than if you are using dried plants. Drying concentrates the flavors and in many cases increases the benefits too!

You will want to research how long you should brew your ingredients and what temperatures are best to steep various herbs in:

  • Leaves and flowers take the least amount of time to brew and are best when steeped in lower temperatures and for less time, also known as a tisane. Herbal teas typically need water at 212°F and steeped for 3 - 5 minutes
  • Avoid using boiling water directly onto your tea ingredients, let it cool slightly before pouring over your herbs.
  • Shinobicha, Mizudashi, or Koridashi are Japanese methods of ice-brewing your tea leaves. You can even cold-brew your concoctions by leaving them in the refrigerator overnight or longer
  • Thicker leaves, woody plant stems, bark, and seeds will need longer steeping times and hotter temperatures. These harder plant materials may need to be gently simmered for 20-60 minutes to extract their full flavor and benefits.
  • Research the ratio of fresh or dried tea you need per cups of water for each type.

The Usual Cautions!

Ensure you have a clean, chemical-free source! Clean your plant material gently in water before use.

You should also be extra cautious and research any allergies and reactions you may have with certain plants you are not familiar with. Moderation and knowledge are key whenever trying something new!

Do a bit of research on the flavor and the health benefits, each of these plants has when brewed as a tea to prevent leaving a bad taste in your mouth - literally! Many are not the best tasting but have incredible health benefits that may need a lot of honey or cream to make them palatable.

Take Time For Tea!

TeaSet up a table in your Meditation garden, or a bistro set in a private nook and take some time out of your busy day and sip your homebrewed infusion.!

Once you get the hang of growing your own Tea - then try growing your own Coffee plants if you have the room and the right climate!

What is your favorite herbal tea or tea blend you make from your Garden plants? Let Nature Hills Nursery know!

Happy Planting!

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