Herbal tea is a popular choice with afternoon tea. Below is a selection of my favourites with brewing times and serving suggestions, and some background information about each herb.
Many people are choosing to avoid the caffeine in green or black tea. Or perhaps people simply don't like the flavour of true tea. Choosing chamomile tea, or mint tea, for example, is a great alternative.
It's a good idea to vary the type of tea you drink, and to think about choosing it specifically with your mood in mind. For example, mint tea is refreshing and uplifting, where chamomile tea is better for calming.
The flavours of herbal teas are so varied, that it's easy to find at least one that you really like, or that suits your mood.
All these teas are essentially infusions that are made by pouring boiling water over the herb, and leaving it to steep for a while.
They are not true teas, because they are not made from the Camellia sinensis bush.
Because they don't contain caffeine, they are great to drink during the day, perhaps instead of water.
I must admit, I only really like one or two particular ones. My absolute favourites are Rooibos, mint and hibiscus. But I'm prepared to be converted, and I keep trying different kinds!
Herbal tea does not not become bitter if left to infuse, it just gains more of the flavour of the herb.
Some herbs are very strongly flavoured, and in that case, it is best not to allow them to infuse for too long, or the tea will be over-flavoured and can even taste unpleasant. For example, I think over-brewed chamomile is awful...
All of my recipes use fresh or dried herbs, rather than teabags. Should you decide to use teabags, there are always instructions on the side of the box.
Teabags are a great standby, and there are so many to choose from, but often the taste can be a little bit disappointing.
Mint tea is a fantastic and uplifting tea. I like to have fresh mint leaves available all year round and often drink mint tea in place of water during the day.
Hibiscus tea is a beautiful red coloured tea that tastes amazing when it is sweetened with a little honey. I like it hot or cold.
Red Bush (or Rooibos) tea is a lovely alternative to black tea and can be taken with or without milk.