For any cup of tea, herbal or otherwise, it is necessary to start with good quality water. If your tap water is adequately filtered it can be used. Bottled water is also a good choice. Always start with cold water in your tea kettle and bring to a good rolling boil. If you are using fresh herbs or loose dried herbs the rule of thumb for measurement is a quart of water to approximately one ounce of herbal product.
Herbal Tea Infusion
Making tea by the method of infusion is recommended when you are using leaves or flowers. The essential oils are released while the brew steeps. Pour boiling water over the ingredients which have been careful measured, cover the tea pot and steep for a minimum of ten minutes. The longer you leave the plant material in the water the stronger the benefit.
Herbal Tea Decoction
The method of decoction should be used when brewing tea from roots, berries, seeds and the woody parts of the plant. Place the ingredients in unboiled water and let it sit for five to ten minutes. Then put the pot on the stove and simmer for another ten to thirty minutes. The longer you let it simmer the more powerful the medicinal effect. Your decoction will need to be strained before drinking.
What Tools Work Best
You can make your tea directly in a tea pot or use some of the gadgets that may be more convenient when you only want one cup of brew. Tea spoons, tea balls, mesh strainers, (some are made to fit inside the cup) all work equally well. You can also purchase, from a bulk tea house, empty tea bags, put in the desired ingredients, and make your favorite brew on the go. Small cloth bags with a draw string, or squares of cheesecloth fastened with thread will also serve the purpose.
The choice of teapots is as varied and as unique as the buyer. Some prefer functional pottery pots while others swear only the thinnest china will brew a decent cup of tea. Clear glass pots allow you to monitor the process and judge the strength of the tea. A quart canning jar may become your favorite brewing vessel because it better preserves the essential oils of the plant.
Sun or Moon Tea
Sun tea is made by placing water in a large jar, adding your ingredients, and allowing it to sit in the sun for several hours. In this method, you start with cold water and if using woody parts they should be crushed or at least bruised. To add lunar energy to your tea use the same method only set the jar in moonlight leaving it all night. It goes without saying that this method works better when there is a full moon.