Hearing things mentioned or coming across them online or in stores can catch my interest and get me in the mood to explore them more, such as these herbal infusions:
This South American plant has become something of a trendy beverage in many Western countries, renowned for its coffee-like ability to wake you up, but without the crash or acidity of that intense, but harsh, morning favourite. Whilst I have tried mate on several occasions, they have almost exclusively been flavoured mates. I am not usually a favoured tea or infusion person, but I have, for the most part, enjoyed my limited foray into yerba mate. That said, I feel that I have not really extensively experienced yerba mate the traditional way – drunk from a gourd – and this is first on my list to explore more.
This South African plant’s Dutch name means ‘red bush’– unsurprising, really, since this herbal infusion is easily identified by its red colour and small, needle-like leaves. Rooibos has become a lot more mainstream in recent years, although it can still be a challenge to find it in supermarkets, and you should not really be surprised when people you mention it to have not heard of it. That said, it has sneaked onto a lot more people’s radars, at least in the flavoured variety of Vanilla Rooibos. This is certainly the rooibos that I drink most often. Although I have tried pure rooibos, as well as other flavoured rooibos infusions, it is vanilla rooibos that is the easiest to find. But more importantly, it happens to be a variety of rooibos that I really do enjoy. It is a tea that I go to when I need something a little sweet, and as it contains no caffeine, it is often perfect for an after dinner cup. That said, , I do not feel that I have a very good handle on pure rooibos, and as such I would like to get to know rooibos in its pure form a little better before I automatically reach for my vanilla rooibos.
I am really not a fan of berry herbal infusions. More or less just dried fruits plonked in hot water, these flavours have never really done it for me– in teas or tisanes. However, I am willing to suspend my prejudices in an attempt to find a variety of berry infusion that, although I may not love, I can at least appreciate. Perhaps something that combines the berry flavours with something else to offset them would do the trick, such as this infusion which blends raspberry with vanilla.
4 Korean Ginger ‘Tea’
This is perhaps a bit of a cheat, because ginger infusions rank as one of my favourite herbal infusions (possibly the favourite). So, while I do not need any encouragement to explore them more, there is one specific variety that I would like to investigate making for myself: a Korean variation commonly referred to as Korean Ginger Tea. The ginger flavour is quite intense, and it will definitely clear out your head if you are suffering from any type of cold. But the intensity of the ginger is balanced out with a good dose of sweetness, which may be too much for those of you who do not enjoy sweet tea, but that, a lot of the time, really hits the spot for me.
5 Aniseed infusion
I recently came across a herbal infusion whose main ingredient was aniseed, which made me realise that it was not a flavour I was particularly familiar with in tea. Aniseed is what gives liquorice its distinctive flavour, and I plan to look out for infusions containing aniseed to see what it adds, or doesn’t, to a hot cuppa.
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