Heavenly Christmas Tea
Hello! I love this time of the year when everything is so Christmassy. I did not grow up celebrating Christmas, as coming out of Central Sahara, this is not part of my culture or family heritage. However, I spent my early childhood in Switzerland, have since traveled and lived in many places including Germany and the United States, where Christmas is an important celebration. I first really celebrated Christmas few years ago when while traveling around Latin America, I was invited by a very dear friend of mine to join her and her family for December 24th in Brazil. I had a great time, and this was definitely a highlight of my trip.
I love that it is such a friends and family centric celebration where everyone gets together. If you are one of my regular readers, you probably noticed, that this is Monday, and that I usually post on Wednesday and Saturday. But exceptionally for December, I will be posting one extra time a week, sharing a new Holiday themed recipe.
So today, it is all about making your own Christmas tea mix at home. This is my very personal take on this festive tea recipe: you could see it with the addition of sun-dried dates that are so typical from where I am coming from. As for the Rooibos which literally means red bush, it only grows in South Africa. I am a green and herbal tea addict, and learnt to appreciate Rooibos when I lived in Johannesburg few years ago. It has since become a staple in my tea collection.
I tried to keep it as easy as possible like all my recipes, and I love that I know exactly what it is made of. Plus the tea makes a lovely gift for yourself, or loved ones, either in as loose tea in a cute jar, or by making your own tea bags. The nice thing is also that because it is caffeine-free, you can have it at any time of the day!
I got the dried oranges peels both sweet and bitter, from my local herbalist, L’Herboristerie de la Place de Clichy and the organic Rooibos from my go-to tea shop in my neighborhood, La Route du Thé. The Herboristerie is where I go whenever I am looking for dried flowers or plants, and if you are ever in Paris and looking for anything like this, I highly recommend it. It is no less the oldest of France that is still in business. You can of course make your orange peels by sun drying them or if you have one, using a dehydrator. Olivier at La Route du Thé is very passionate and knowledgeable about tea, and he curated a fine collection of over 250 teas from all over the world. For the spices and nuts, I had them in my pantry, and they are easily available in any grocery store. You can also of course shop for everything online, on Amazon for example.
I love how this tea is not only incredibly aromatic, but more than it, it is packed with so much goodness: the antioxidant properties of the Roiboos tea and almonds will help you stay fit during this holiday season. Cinnamon will help you build your keep your immune system up, while ginger will help your body detoxify. Did I also mention this happen to be a beauty elixir, as the oranges will gave your skin a radiant glow?
Ingredients for 200g
100g organic Rooibos tea
40g cinnamon stick crushed
30g dried ginger crushed
10g cloves crushed
10g dried sweet orange peel
10gdried bitter orange peel
10g of roasted almond, roughly crushed
3 dry dates pitted, very finely chopped
5g cardamom pods whole
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
In a jar, mix all ingredients, except for the rooibos tea, shake really well and let it rest in your pantry away from natural light for at least two days- the longer the better. Then, add the rooibos tea and almonds keep shaking. Give it a few hours to let all ingredients aromas mix well. Voilà it is ready!
To serve, add it water at 90°C, just below boiling point, and let it infuse for 5-10 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea. It is delicious for breakfast with müsli, granola or as an afternoon tea with almond whoopies, chesnut cookies, homemade gingerbread cookies, dates energy balls, a fudgy brownie etc. Because it is caffeine-free, you can have it at any time of the day. Due to its digestive properties, it is also perfect after a meal.
To make your Christmas tea bag, you could either buy the empty tea bags and fill them, or if you are crafty, and want something extra special, make them yourself (see more below).
I thoroughly enjoyed making some your tea bags myself and the result was great as you could see it in the picture, I actually pretty much followed the tutorial from Erlend of Morning Creativity.
Thin recycled cardboard from the back of a college notebook
Twine or yarn
Needle and thread
Cut out rectangular shape of the brown paper, approximately 5 x 15 cm (2 x 6 in). Fold 0.5 cm (0.2 in) in from both sides and glue the bag together.
Cut out a rectangle from the coffee filter, 4 x 6 cm (1.6 x 2.4 in).
Use the thread & needle and sew around two of the sides of the tea bag. Then fill the bag 2/3 full with tea and close off the third side.
Fold the top of the tea bag and staple (or sew as I did) some thread. I’ve made the round at the end of the thread using a piece of recycled cardboard.
And voilà! You just made your own DIY Christmas tea bags, filled with your very own heavenly Christmas tea mix. Isn't wonderful?