For Brewing Tea, Which Herbs Are Better To Use Fresh Rather Than Dried?
Tea enthusiast and owner of Tao Te Tea
Certain dried herbs are more available and easily stored for use in tea; for this reason, dried chamomile and dried lavender may be easier to find and better use.
Fresh herbs are not necessarily “better” than their dried counterparts for making tea, however, I do find that fresh herbs produce a certain “brightness” in the flavor of the tea.
Of the different herbs that can be used for making tea, mint and chamomile are the most commonly used.
Here are some herbs you may want to experiment with steeping and blending:
- Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum). Licorice-tasting blossoms and leaves. Perennial.
- Bee Balm (Monarda didyma). Mildly-citrus flavored. Use dried leaves. Perennial.
- Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). Mellow grassy flavor and fragrant. Good for the digestive system and calms nerves. Annual.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Use blossoms for steeping. Soothing and relaxing. Shrub.
- Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis). Tastes like mint plus citrus. Used to calm the nerves and also aids digestion. Use leaves fresh and dried. Perennial.
- Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla). Intense flavor and very fragrant. Use leaves fresh and dry. Shrub.
- Mint (Menthaspecies). Nearly 200 varieties. Use fresh and dried leaves. Aids digestion. Spearmint and peppermint tea are revitalizing. The menthol in hot peppermint tea is useful in clearing head colds. Perennial.
- Rosemary (Romarinus officinalis). Strongly flavored; stimulates circulation and ease migraines. Use leaves and sprigs. Shrub.
- Sage (Salviaspecies ). Mild, musky, camphorous, with spiciness. Soothes sore throats. Perennial.
- Thyme, lemon (Thymus citriodorus). Sweeten with honey to ease coughs. Perennial.
More Herbs for Tea: Other herbs that can be used to make tea: catmint, chicory, comfrey, costmary, fennel, horehound, hyssop, lemongrass, lovage, parsley, pennyroyal, perilla, rose (hips), and sweet cicely.
To make tea with fresh herbs, I used approximately one handful of fresh herbs (¼ cup) per cup of water. Pour the boiling water over the herbs, cover, and steep for three to five minutes. Strain before serving.
You can also make herbal tea with dried herbs: use just 1 teaspoon of herbs for each cup.
For iced drinks, brew the tea at double strength.