Many people enjoy tea but they also enjoy it in many different ways! The most common, at least in the United States, are pre-made tea bags with crushed tea. This crushed tea is often from the 'bottom of the barrel' and sometimes can be old and not retain much of its health benefits or medicinal use which is what makes it so much cheaper than loose-leaf teas.
Loose-leaf teas are often fresher. Being whole they retain more of their properties and they can also save on packaging costs and waste. The taste is also much more flavorful compared to most pre-bagged crushed teas. Today we are going to share with you 10 ways that you can brew loose-leaf tea at home!
#1 - tea balls and sticks
There are a number of tea balls/sticks and single cup infusion devices. One of the most popular types are tea sticks, most commonly a spoon shape with a handle that pinches open and closed. Tea is inserted into the spoon and then the handle released and placed right into the cup for infusion then removed once infused.
Another type of single cup infuser has a metal net that sits inside your tea water while the handle and frame rest on your tea cup. The herbs are placed inside while they steep, then removed from the cup and the tea leaves are then disposed of.
These type of tea infusers come in many different shapes; round, hearts, tea pots, monkeys, fruits, and vegetables. They also come in a plain stick form where the herbs are put into the stick and used as a wand. Some are made from metal, others plastic and even bamboo. A tea enthusiast can search online and find one of these infusers in about every shape and size.
#2 - tea press / infusion pitcher
Our favorite way to infuse tea on cold days and when we are in a hurry for a large batch is to use our French Press (many other brands available, sometimes sold as a coffee infuser rather than tea). This heat-tempered glass container is used by placing in your tea leaves, adding hot water and then placing the lid on it and pressing the mesh down slightly while your tea brews. When ready to serve, the handle is pushed to the bottom keeping the tea leaves out of your water and allowing you to pour debris free.
A tea pitcher is also available which has a slot down the middle of the pitcher for your tea leaves. Once the water is poured into the picther and the water is infused, depending on your pitcher, the infuser is then removed or left in for continued infusion.
#3- By Candlelight
Sounds romantic doesn't it? There are many options out there which hold a tea pot or cup over a small candle that is then lit and that heats up your water and/or steeps your tea. All depending on which type you have.
#4- Stove top/Wood Stove
This tea is brewed by placing your tea in a pot on the stove top (or wood stove) along with your water and simmering on low for the desired amount of time.
A decoction is usually steeped for longer. With medicinal herbs this method is mostly used when roots are the makeup of the tea (it takes longer for them to infuse than leaves). The tea is then strained with a mesh strainer over a bowl or other vessel. The leaves/roots are discarded and the tea is enjoyed!
#5- Slow Cooker
This method is recommended for 8 cups or more of tea. Place 1 tablespoon of tea per 1 cup of water in the slow cooker. Placing tea in a muslin bag is recommended for easy clean up. Turn on low and let steep for up to 6 hours. Some have let this go over night but use caution as different teas may have various steep times. Remove muslin bag and serve, or if you choose to skip the muslin bag strain using a mesh strainer over a bowl. Return to slow cooker and serve! Great for parties and get-togethers.
This is our favorite way to make tea in the summertime! Using a half-gallon canning jar (or other similar container such as those made for this purpose with a spout for easy pouring) place 1 tablespoon of herb per cup of water in the jar. Place lid on top and set out in the sun for 5-8 hours depending on tea and preferred steep. Strain herbs using a mesh strainer (or place them in a muslin bag before steeping) and return tea to a clean container.
#7- electric coffee/tea pot
There are three great ways to use electric steepers for loose-leaf tea!
Several companies make an actual electric teapot that allows you to add your tea (like coffee) and turn on the tea kettle to brew tea.
If you have a basic coffee maker, such as our $10 most basic coffee pot using old-fashioned filters, add your tea (1 tablespoon leaves to 1 cup of water) in the paper filter. Add your water as you would for coffee, turn on the machine and let it do its thing.
Option three here is to use the single cup coffee pots such as the popular Keurig (K-cup) type machines. They have reusable filters available that will allow you to place your loose-leaf tea in the container and then run as you normally would.
#8 - travel infusers
A great option for those on the move: single cup, on the go infusers! A tea tumbler with an infuser built in that allows you to add your loose-leaf tea, hot water, and then take off. A great way to make your loose leaf tea portable.
Check out this new fast food version of on the go cups! It could be arriving in coffee shops soon!
#9- tea bags
The favorite of modern tea inventions, the tea bag! As mentioned before most tea in the States is sold pre-packaged in a tea bag. A great way to insure you still get the benefits of loose-leaf tea and the simplicity of clean up/disposal and use is to purchase one-time or reusable tea bags.
One-time tea bags vary from those you fill and then fold over your cup while steeping, to those that are ironed closed and used as the pre-filled ones you purchase at the grocery store.
Reuseable tea bags are usually a handy little sewn muslin bag with a draw string or some other closer that allows you to fill the bag, use, empty, wash, then reuse.
Either of these are great for keeping tucked in your purse or wallet for an easy on the go loose-leaf tea option.
#10 - cold infusion
Another prep-and-let-brew option similar to the slow cooker method but instead of using heat this method uses cold infusion. Using 1 tablespoon of tea per 24 oz to a 1/2 gallon canning jar (or infuser pitcher or other container and/or mesh bag for tea) and steep for 10 hours in the refrigerator. Strain using a mesh strainer and serve. (or remove infusing device if used).
What is your favorite way to infuse loose leaf tea? Tell us about one of the new ways you learned you can infuse tea that you might try!
Visit our farm store for our artisan loose leaf teas wether it be a traditional chai, a green tea or our local Oregon berry teas!
Download your free 10 Ways to Infuse Loose-Leaf Tea Printable HERE
In the farm shop …
Ok so these are not in our shop yet but they should be this coming week. Also coming soon are a line of lip balms and a few more salves as we gear up for the Stayton Christmas and Craft Bazaar on December 6th. Also coming soon are a few tea infusers to use with our loose leaf teas and sample sizes. Please keep a look out in our shop for new items!
Warming Chai is great for fall and winter (even iced for summer and spring!) A great daily help for protection against cold/flu season and many of the herbs work as a digestive aide. Perfect with some milk (non dairy is our favorite) and a natural sweetener such as real maple syrup, raw honey etc. Even the children love it!
In the greenhouse …
In the kitchen …
The Greenhouse and garden …
in the kitchen …
our furry friends …
Free game for the children!
Green house progress …
in the garden …
These tomatoes look more normal. I just wish that I would have known not to give them so much water so they would ripen up better. I'm still working on that green thumb ;) Its a good thing my husband is the real gardener! If all else failed I see lots of fried green tomatoes and green tomato salsa in our future.
In the kitchen …
The pickling adventure…. to make a long story short there should have been twice this many jars but the produce never made it that far. Live and learn! Love'n those Tattler lids though! I even read they improved them so there is no loose fit during processing and then tightening needed after processing. They work just like metal lids now. Guess I bought mine a little too soon!
Our feline friends …
Tomorrow we will announce the winner of our Baby Bum and Body Balm giveaway! Make sure you enter on last weeks post.
Also today is the last day to get FREE SHIPPING on your order, use coupon code 2014FIACREOPEN
In December we will be hosting a booth at the Stayton Christmas and Craft Bazaar at Stayton Middle School here in Oregon. The bazaar is on December 6th from 9-3pm. We would love to see you there! We are hoping to sample some of our tea and run a little give away.
Today we are sharing from one of our favorite authors, Father Denis Fahey, from his book on the Church and Farming, part of his excellent chapter on food and health. We hope to continue through this chapter as time allows.
The Church and Farming
By: Fr. Fahey + Imprimatur 1953
This chapter may fittingly open with a quotation from Man, the Unknown, by Dr. Alexis Carrel. "Modern Man," he writes, "is delicate … Medicine is far from having decreased human sufferings as much as is generally believed. IT is true that the number of deaths from infectious diseases has diminished, but the deaths from degenerative diseases have increased, and the sicknesses consequent on these diseases are gained by the suppression of diphtheria, small pox, typhoid fever, etc., are paid for by the long suffering and lingering deaths caused by chronic affections, and especially by cancer, diabetes, and heart disease … The maladies of the central nervous system are innumerable … Although modern hygiene has considerably prolonged the average length of life, it is very far from having done away with diseases. It has simply changed their nature … The organs, has become more susceptible to degenerative diseases. . The ordinary staple foods do not contain the same nutritive substances as in former times. Mass production and commercial processing haven edified the composition of wheat, eggs, milk, fruit, and butter, although these articles have retained their familiar appearance … Hygienists have not paid sufficient attention to the genesis of diseases. Their studies of the influence of modes of life and of nourishment on the physiological, intellectual and moral state of modern men are superficial, incomplete and of too short curating."
The Factors of Proper Nutrition
In an excellent lecture on the Fundamentals of Nutrition for Physicians and Dentists, Dr. N. Philip Norman says that "Propter nutrition and the role that it plays in the maintenance of good health involve twelve factors:
"1. The ecologic equilibrium of the fauna and flora of the soil.
2. Fertility of the soil.
3. The vigor of the germ plasm of the seed.
4. Climatic factors - temperature, moisture, and sunshine.
5. The proper culture of the flora and fauna which supply man with food.
6. The harvesting and storage of food.
7. The handling of food during transportation and distribution.
8.The methods of processing through which food has gone - milling, canning, brining, salting, dehydration, freezing, sun-drying, curing and smoking, sulfuring, drying, etc.
9. The intelligent selection of food at the market.
10. The proper preparation of the food either for immediate consumption in the raw state or for cooking.
11. Proper methods of cooking different kinds of food.
12. The proper care of left-over food to be used at subsequent meals."
We have already seen something about Nos. 1 and 2. In this section we shall treat briefly of the consequences of processing.
In From the Ground Up, Jorian Jenks points out that the growth of the large towns consequent upon the Industrial Revolution made "the services of the good intermediary a physical necessity. The urban housewife became almost completely dependent on him for the collection, grading, packing, transportation and delivery of foodstuffs that formerly most people had either grown for themselves or obtained from neighbors… TTo these intermediary changes were added as the food trade grew more complex, the cost of "processing," that is, the adaptation of perishable produce to the requirements of transport and storage to meet trade demands for standardized and attractively-presented articles."
Food Processing and Health
"What food processing is doing to our national health," writes Dr. Philip Norman, "was shown recently by a large scale experiment. At the beginning of World War II someone in the Surgeon General's office, probably unfamiliar with the physical manifestations of malnutrition, drew up a list of physical specifications for use by draft examiners. The rejection rate of the first two million selectees soared to a starting figure and a lower standard of physical fitness was formulated. Even so, draft rejection rates in World War II were approximately 14 per cent. higher than those of World War I… I do not think that this unfitness of our youth can be ascribed to a more universally potent factor than the increased consumption of highly processed foods which spiraled upwards between 1918 and 1941. (Lecture on the Fundamentals of Nutrition for Physicians and Dentists.)
More detailed information is given in To-morrow's Food, written conjointly by James Rorty and Dr. Norman. In that work we read: "The six major reasons for rejecting volunteers and selectees, given i nthe order of their importance, were poor eyes, poor teeth, chronic heart disease, musculo-skeletal defects, venereal diseases, and mental and nervous disease and disorders. With the exception of the venereal disease, all of these defects can be either directly caused or directly affected by malnutrition. It is interesting to note that the four major deficiencies of the Anerican diet appear to be closely related to the major causes of the draft-rejections. According to the Steibling-Phipard study of 1936, these deficiencies are calcium, riboflavin, ascorbic acid and thiamin. In the case of mental and nervous diseases and disorders, and in the case of chronic heart disease, which affected one out of twenty of the first eight million volunteers and selectees, the nutritional factor involved is the vitamin B complex, and especially vitamin B1 or thiamin. According to Dr. Williams and Dr. Spies, the vitamin B complex specifically affects three parts of the body: the cardiovascular system, which includes the heart, the nervous system and the digestive system…
"One-fourth of the first million draftees were rejected because of defective teeth Not all tooth decay, certainly, is caused by malnutrition. It is generally conceded, however, that the correlation between carious teeth and defiant or badly balanced diets is very district."
In Chapter Four of To-Morrows Food, is given a summary of Dr. Weston A. Price's pleaded work Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, from which we take the following passage: "The best diets of primitive peoples are in fact higher in essential vitamins and minerals than the average civilized diet: and so long as the primitives adhere to their diets their teeth are almost free from cavities, their dental arches are perfect, and their health extraordinary when measured by modern scientific standards. As soon, however, as they begin to use white flour, granulated sugar, and canned goods of our civilization, their teeth begin to decay with astonishing rapidity. Tuberculosis and arthritis make their appearance, and in a hundred ways the resistance to disease declines. Within a generation the pregnancies of their workmen become difficult and the dental arches of their children are malformed." Dr. Price, accompanied by his wife, made a study of primitive peoples all over the world. His book was published by himself at 1020 Campus Avenue, Redlands, California.
This is true also of gingivitis, another common mouth disease of the American people. Dentists believe that approximately 75 per cent of American adults have this condition. An experiment made on 341 children between 1929 and 1933 at Mooseheart, Illinois, showed that gingivitis is a vitamin C deficiency disease. At the time this experiment was started, 70.9 per cent of the children were found to have gingivitis. After receiving a pint of orange nice and the nice of one lemon daily for a year, only 10 per cent of the children had gingivitis. In addition, the amount of tooth decay had decreed by one half …
"The prevalence of vitamin B complex deficiencies is believed to be very high, both among the poor and the rich. Among a group of upper-income-class patients studied by Dr. Herber Kelly and Myrtle Shepard in 1943, 76 per cent were found to be deficient in vitamin B1 and 77 percent were found to be deficient in vitamin B2. In addition, Dr. Kelly and Miss Shepard noted that when the patient had only a single food deficiency, it was in the majority of cases a vitamin B deficiency. No practicing nutritionist or dietician will be surprised by this finding. The vitamin C deficiencies are discriminatory; they effect the poor who can't afford orange juice. But the vitamin B deficiencies are democratic: they affect almost everybody who, since about 1890, has been eating refrained white flour and refined white sugar."
"The insufficient ingestion of vitamin B1," he writes, "is a common food fault, due mainly to the extensive use of vitamin-poor or vitamin-less carbohydrate foods, such as polished rice, white flour and sugar. It has to be remembered in this connection that the more carbohydrate eaten the more vitamin B1 is required. The effects of its inadequate provision are loss of appetite, impaired digestion, decreed motility of the stomach, sluggish bowel action, impaired growth of the young during the lactating period consequent on deficiency in the mother's milk, deranged functioning of the adrenal glands (possibly a cause of distressing dreams), nervousness, loss of weight and virgour, and fatigue. In infants there may be stiffness of the arms and legs … fretfulness and pallor. This vitamin has an important relation to the secretion of milk, much more of it being needed during the lactation period than at other times. Its abundant richest natural source is dried brewer's yeast. Rice-polishings, bran and wheat-germ oil are all good sources of it, as are whole cereal grains."
To be continued …. FLOUR MILLING AND BREAD
our patron and namesake …
In the kitchen …
In the garden …
If it were not for my 'green thumb' we might have enough of these beauties to be canning now but I seem to be an over ambitious pruner when it comes to tomatoes and took the tops right out of them. One year I'll get it right! For now our 8 tomato plants are just enough to give us a few every couple of days.
farm animals …
I know it doesn't look this way but these are two different kittens, twins! The children call them 'baby mama cat' 1 and 2 since they look just like mama other than the blue eyes. All the kittens have climbed out of their little box and have been exploring around the house.
Enter to win a free 4 oz tin of Baby Bum and Body Balm. Our tried and true diaper salve used on many little baby bums in the past. A salve we use personally here in our house, clothe diaper friendly and chemical free! Just leave a comment on the blog post about what brings you to St. Fiacre's Farm and what you look forward to seeing here on our blog or in our shop! Giveaway ends September 11th, 2014 12 pm.
My name is CeAnne, wife to my Farmer and mama to 4 adopted kiddos. I help farm lov'n mama's (and grandmas) turn common herbs into powerful medicines without being overwhelmed. Here you will find all sorts of nourishing goodness on natural medicine, herb gardening and wholesome real foods. Read more about our farm HERE.