Tea Blending without Lab Coats

Tea blending speaks to the inner creativity of many of us – it goes back to our childhood memory of playing with mixing colours, exploring what makes pretty colours or not. It can be messy, but more importantly it’s fun!

Some may be hesitant to try blending their own tea because it seems like tea blending is an art only practised by tea masters, or experts in white coats, using precision tools in the laboratory. The truth is far from it. 

Think about the chef vs the cook – there is no absolutility (is that a word?) that chef makes a better dish than a cook…

So how to blend tea, you may ask? 

Tea Blending, is about being adventurous. While the goal of tea blending is to achieve the golden triangle of aroma, strength and flavour, let’s not forget serendipity can play a big role in concocting the perfect blend.

Our experience tells us that many mixes with 3 ingredients / characteristics are great blends.

Remember the more chopped up ingredient, the stronger taste it creates. Also, try to blend ingredients of similar volume to avoid some ingredients always sit at the top of the blend or vice versa.
There are other common ingredients for their naturally “loud” profiles, such as cinnamon, peppermint, chamomile, ginger, licorice and vanilla pods.
Others we recommend to try: 
• osmanthus for subtle fragrance. Tiny bit goes a long way
• carob for the sweet finish in nutty blends
• lemongrass, lemon balm, lemon verbena and lemon myrtle for their lemony flavour. Our pick is lemon myrtle as it is the least “herby” tasting.

Fruit Blends and Flavours:
Note fruit pieces typically don’t offer great flavours, eg dried strawberry will not naturally impart a strong enough strawberry flavour.

Even lemon is pretty marginal in imparting lovely lemony flavour.

To get a fruit blend with a strong fruit flavour – after hot water is put in, a flavouring is a must. This is done in any fruit tea blends found in the market. So if you are keen to mix fruit blends, grab some ready made fruit blends, and add your personal touch to it.

This article is an excerpt from The Australian Tea Guide 6th edition edition.