On numerous occasions I have told of my passion for tea, and on numerous occasions (probably in the same breath) I have told of my desire to blend my own tea. I remember several years ago now feeling particularly inspired, wanting to blend, package and brand my own tea, as well as design wee tea infusers with which to brew it. Suffice to say none of the above eventuated (though as they say it is never too late!), and after all those years, it is only in the last few weeks that I have finally found the impetus to blend my own brew. The festive season provided necessary inspiration; notes of clove, orange and cinnamon flavour this tea, along with a hint of vanilla. And I couldn’t help but add pink peppercorns which dot the tea like wee Christmas baubles.
I choose to use orange pekoe tea as a base for my Christmas brew as it is light and bright in flavour. You could however use any black tea of your choice, even a light earl grey. When it came to the orange, I opted to tear the pieces by hand so that the end result was more rustic. Should you find you are short on time (and let’s face it time is a scarce commodity at this time of year!), then chopping up the rind is also perfectly acceptable. Be inventive with the tea, adding and subtracting spices to suit your palate.
Makes approx 250g--
200g orange pekoe tea
2 oranges, zest only
4 tbsp pink peppercorns
4 tbsp cloves
5 cinnamon quills, broken up into pieces
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthwise and finely sliced
1. Peel thick strips of orange zest and then tear them into small pieces and arrange them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 20 minutes at 100ºC until dry. Cool.
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Store tea in a jar/airtight container for at least a week so that the flavours are allowed to develop.
3. Pack into wee bags or glass jars and tie with ribbon and give as gifts. If you are giving the tea in a bag make sure that the tea is then transferred to an airtight container so that it retains its freshness.