Book Review…Tea Making 101 and How to on a budget!

I can tell you I was never a tea drinker till I started to drink them either on a regular basis to help my immune system, allergies or to help ease a cold or cramps. I am excited to tell that there are 2 books I have come across that are beneficial to anyone wanting to learn the actual art of tea making.
One is Farr, Sarah. Healing Herbal Teas: Learn to Blend 101 Specially Formulated Teas for Stress Management, Common Ailments, Seasonal Health, and Immune Support. Storey Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition. And the other is Grainger, Paula. Infuse: Herbal teas to cleanse, nourish and heal. Octopus Books. Kindle Edition. Both of these books are great to start your immersion into making your own teas.
For example, if you take time to discover tea as a joyous expression of nature and learn a little about the chemistry that defines those flavors, the teas you make for yourself will be so much more meaningful. (Farr, Sarah) and There are different ways in which you can create nourishing, supportive and actively healing teas to improve your health and wellbeing. Some are dependent upon the types of herbs you are using; for example, woodier herbs need to be chopped and boiled or ‘decocted’, while fresh herbs and flowers simply need a gentle infusion in not-quite boiling water to release their healing powers. In this section, you will find some useful tips to help you get the most from your herbs and the teas you will create with them. (Grainger, Paula.) To me these introductions speak volumes on their knowledge it is not only knowing what herbs do what and your herbalism skills, but knowing your herbs on a level of your senses of taste, and smell and energy. Each herb has its own healing properties and energy this is a reason I am so drawn to herbalism and knowing as much as I can. I will be going over information from these two books and giving thought and insight on it as well as my experiences so far.
So, to get started we have to begin with the tools now you do not have to have fancy tools but some basics do help.

From one book Infuse lists these supplies:
investing in a few special items. To make the teas in this book, you will need the following equipment:

• LARGE TEAPOT – a glass one shows off the herbs
• SMALL TEAPOT – those with built-in infusers work really well for herb teas, as they are quick and easy to clean
• TEA STRAINER
• MEDIUM-SIZED STRAINER
• PESTLE AND MORTAR – the bigger/heavier, the better
• SPICE OR COFFEE GRINDER – if using a coffee grinder, reserve it for herbs to avoid everything tasting of coffee. Clean your grinder after use by running through a couple of tablespoons of plain dry rice
• 1 LITRE MEASURING JUG, preferably glass
• LARGE GLASS OR CHINA SERVING JUG for iced teas
• SET OF MEASURING SPOONS
• TEA BALL OR TEA INFUSER – get a large one with lots of space to allow the herbs to move around as they infuse
• ELECTRIC OR STOVE-TOP KETTLE
• SMALL SAUCEPAN
• WATER FILTER
• GLASS STORAGE JARS OR TINS to keep your dried herbs in tip-top condition
• LABELS, so you remember which herb is in which jar.
(Grainger, Paula. Infuse: Herbal teas to cleanse, nourish and heal. Octopus Books. Kindle Edition.)

Now you can get a lot of this second hand in good condition or if your smart just gt pieces at a time I am still working on a lot of it, and using what you have at home can work for substitutions as well. I know a lot of us are on a budget and well some of this may not be feasible but I have found things at the dollar store, dollar tree, Walmart, and a lot of our favorite Amazon. The other book doesn’t go into tools she starts on a level of very basics getting to know your herbs and the smells the taste, but you will need some of the basics listed in the list above to do so.

So, to touch on how to save money on supplies here what I have done personally, the tea pot I have not gotten but I have found them on Amazon here are 2 pictures of different Glass teapots on will run you about $30 the other $20
A) $30-Amazon

glass teapot
B) $19-Amazon

glass teapot 2

If you want the really fancy one is great but if not the second one offers an infuser and is about $11 cheaper, and the second on is all purpose as it includes the infuse like the first one so really 1 teapot is all that is needed.

Now tea strainers that can give you unlimited option but here are 2 I have found both great buys on Amazon.
A) $10-Amazon

strainer
B) $6-Amazon

Strainer 2

Now both of these are great just depends on comfort really A offers if you’re okay poring it into a jug or jar B is great if you want to infuse, I recommend for the price both would come in handy.

Now here is where it can get Pricey Mortar and Pestle…I found a large nice heavy one that has a deep side and a shallow side at Ikea that was reasonable and I have a smaller one from Amazon. Here are some options and pricing for some.
A) $40-Amazon

Amazon
B)$15-Ikea

Ikea

C)$20-Walmart

Walmart
D) $8-Amazon

Amazon 2

Now granted the one from Amazon for $40 is a splurge on a budget but it is still nice large and heavy, the one I personally own from Ikea is an awesome buy for under $20, the set from Walmart would be a great starter set as it has 3 different sizes for $20 and if want something small I own this one to for under $10 from Amazon is great for small self-batches to start with. Here is personal choice I personally love my Ikea one it has the versatility of small or large and is easy to clean just make sure when you get a new one you take white grain rice and grind it to a powder to get it ready for use and this is also an easy way to clean them out it just takes some time and arm work…well worth it though.

Onto the Spice or Coffee grinder this can get tricky as well because you don’t want to go too cheap because some of the herbs you use are seeds and these boogers can be hard so having one with stainless steel blades that won’t break is important here. Below are 3 options each does the same thing just different price points.
A) $30- Amazon

grinder

B)$15- Amazon

grinder 2

C)$15-Walmart

Grinder 3

This is definitely one you would want to do your research on just to make sure it will do what you need and not crap out on you the first time you grind anise or fennel seeds.
We covered tea infuser with the strainers because they go hand in hand so onto the next the large glass or china serving jug, I think is unnecessary unless you just want one later down the road but a good jug for ice teas is good but you can go with plastic and save tons there.

The stove top kettle is good to have if you’re a little on the fence about putting the glass one on there even though there stove top safe, but this item is easily found at Walmart, but you can go fancy here to just like anything else.
A) $18-Walmart

kettle
Or B) $95-Walmart/ Cast Iron

kettle 2
So, I would say unless you have $95 dollars to spend the $18 one would suffice just fine.
Now the small sauce pan most everyone has one in their kitchen no need to buy that unless you absolutely do not have it but a good nonstick sauce pan will work. Now the water filter is more for if you live were, I do and the water is crap just invest $.88 in a jug of purified drinking water from your local grocery store. Now when it comes to storing your dried herbs keeping them in the cabinet out of sunlight is crucial because it can ruin dried herbs. I do not recommend plastic baggies, but small jars or reuse spaghetti jars here with a good lid is a great saver on storage containers, but if you want here are some options for some jars that you can purchase.

This is where you can get creative even mason jars work as well.
A) $23 for 25pack -Amazon w/options

jars
B)$16 for 12 pack-Amazon w/options

jars 2
C) $20 for 12 pack-Mountain Rose Herbs w/options

jars 3
See just goes to show you shopping around can get you a better deal. Now labels you can make your own with blank labels from Walmart or any craft store for a really budget friendly thing, and let creativity show as well. This also serves the purpose to let you know what you have on hand. Of course, the last part is the herbs themselves…now here is where it can get very pricey but if your smart you can find easy great deals, but make sure to do your research when buying dried herbs. If you have a store locally that sells them are an easy place to start, but the ones I have used in the past are Mountain Rose herbs, Bulk Apothecary, Etsy just verify the seller first and foremost.  The sellers listed are ones I have bought from personally and have had great results. In Healing Herbal Teas book, she does a real good job at covering where to get herbs as well, and how to find the best sources as well what to avoid. The book Infuse also goes over in detail about where to get your herbs and how to properly store them as well it also offers a basic herb kit you an purchase which I thought was a bonus actually.

Now when it comes to the actual recipes those are infinite, but both books cover them well under various categories. I would recommend pay very close attention to Healing Herbal Teas one on working with recipe written in parts, and in the index of Healing Herbal she covers converting Recipe measurements to metric.
I loved both these books and keep them in my Virtual library but you can buy these books if you want hard copies from Amazon on paperback for $10 plus shipping, Half Priced books online Good for $9 and new for $13 plus shipping… Infuse from Amazon on paperback from $10 plus shipping or Barnes and Noble for $15 plus shipping either way both are great to have on hand… There are other books both offer from there collection that would be good reads, and I myself are working on those.

I hope you enjoyed this little book excursion and maybe it will inspire you to take the leap and start your own tea making fun.

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