Tea blending is an easy and fun way to diversify your tea collection and enjoy new flavours and combinations of whole leaf teas and herbs. Professional tea blenders draw on their rich experience and education to create combinations of various types of teas and herbs for businesses and tea vendors. Although most professional tea blenders possess a formal education in their field, it is easy for beginners to try their hand at tea blending and in the process, create for themselves an enjoyable experience and great tasting results.
One of the greatest things about tea blending is that the more experience you have doing it, the easier it will become and the better your creations will be. Of course, one of the best parts of the hobby of tea blending is the initial learning curve, during which you will be able to make some mistakes that will lead you on the path to your perfect blend. Tea blending allows you to find your ideal combination of taste profiles and aromas and share that combination with friends and family. You can create your own signature blend that no one else in the world has access to. A one of a kind tea experience.
So, you may be wondering how you can get started blending your very own combinations of teas and herbs. Luckily for newcomers to the craft of tea blending, getting started is simple.
The best way to start any blend is with a base. The base of the blend will make up the majority of the blend in weight, taste, and volume. Technically the base could be any ingredient but for beginners, it’s best to start out with something simple such as a black tea of kind or another. One of my own personal bases for tea blends is Assam CTC Indian grown black tea. Indian black teas in general are seemingly perfect for use as a base due to their robust and astringent flavor profiles. They are the perfect foundation on which to build lighter, more aromatic flavours.
Once you have determined what your base is, it’s time to decide what you would like your blend to taste like. Are you aiming for something floral? Fruity? Spicy? Smooth? Bitter? Deciding what you want the finished result to be like early on in the blending process makes ingredient selection all the more easier. Once you have determined what your ideal blend looks and tastes like, it’s time to select your other ingredients.
Creativity in ingredient selection is important to making unique blends. Anything from different types of herbs and tea leaves to spices and dried fruit is a candidate for tea blending, however it should be noted that the ingredients should be able to be stored without issue for a few weeks at the very least. Any moisture left in the ingredients used for the blend drastically shortens its lifespan and may cause issues with mold and fungus. If you are drying your own fruit or other types of ingredients for the blend, be sure that as much moisture as possible has been removed and that everything has been properly washed.
While combining and preparing ingredients, it is helpful to keep in mind that if all elements of the blend are relatively uniform in size, there is a lower chance of some parts settling to the bottom and some parts being moved to the year. This settling that occurs makes it necessary to shake up the blend before brewing so as to avoid unbalanced and inconsistent results.
One of my all time favourite blends also happens to be extremely simple. It involves Indian Assam black tea blended with the chopped and dried peels of mandarin oranges. It seems that the longer the blend is allowed to mingle, the more consistent and flavourful it becomes.
When storing your custom tea blend, be sure to use an airtight container that is clean, free of odours, and opaque. Exposure to light will quickly degrade any tea and herbal blends so keeping them protected is important.
Tea blending is a fantastic way to diversify and maximize your tea collection’s potential while allowing you to enjoy one of a kind flavour and aroma combinations. Tea blending expands your tea experience and brings you to closer to the beverage we all enjoy so much.