I grow camelia sinesis as well, 40+pots. I just prefer tea to coffee. Dadilion buds makes wonderful tea, so does lemon verbena. Last year I collected some fig leaf and made some tea too. Very pleasant aroma.
Annie, thanks for posting this. Let me ask, do you prepare your camelia sinesis tea green or do you age it (say, for black tea)?
And how do you prepare the fig leaves? Do you dry them?
I made a most delicious tea from goji leaves once and the second time it didn’t turn out as well. I think I didn’t dry the leaves out enough or I harvested them at the wrong time.
I prepare my tea green. Pick the leaves and microwave dry them.
To make fig leaf tea, I pick leaves while still green, and dry them in shade. Dried leaves are still pale green, not brown color. They are brittle, just use hands to crumble them into small pieces
I was surprised at how good blackberry leaf tea is, when properly processed. I pick the young green leaves, then bruise them well with a rolling pin over a cutting board. Let them sit in a closed container for about a day for the enzymes to work, then spread them out to dry. (I use my hot attic.) The tea has a taste very similar to black tea (which is processed a similar way), plus a distinctive rose-like fragrance.
I’m growing sweet woodruff and yarrow as gruit herbs. They take the place of hops in ale and give you quite a boost for about 4 hours. Sweet woodruff is rather grassy and lightly sweet in gruit. Yarrow has a a high citrus note and odor that could be likened to sharp tarragon.
Mugwort grows too big (some folks report over 6 feet tall and wide) and self-sows easily, so will just order that or get it at the local home-brew shop when wanted for gruit.
I use about 7 large yarrow leaves per 5 gallon batch, with an ounce each of dried sweet woodruff and mugwort, bring the wort to boil.and turn off heat, let them steep 10-12 minutes.
The sweet woodruff was planted only last year, so I might try it fresh one time this season. Its in full bloom right now and filling the shadowy space nicely. Yarrow might be the easiest thing I’ve ever grown, useful in gruit and on small wounds.
I’ve been brewing ale about 30 years and made gruit only twice so far, but plan to make at least one batch each year henceforth.
Jim Fruth sent me a wild hops that seems destined to grace some English ales. I haven’t had enough to brew with yet, but may this season. It expands and grows larger slowly, unlike Centennial, which wants to take over the yard!
very interesting. I have never made beer, and never heard of griut, now I know what is the griut. Yarrow has many different flower color, which color flower yarrow do you use? I googled Internet, there are so many herbs/plants can be used to make griut, very interesting and educational.
Gruit, spelled like fruit and, since it is an ancient word I pronounce it in Old English style groo-it.
I have a fancy flowered yarrow and one bought from Horizon Herbs collected from the Oregon dunes. I have also used the local wild version, which is small and with pure white bloom. I cannot tell the difference in flavor or odor among them. I suspect Yarrow is - at least among those I’ve had direct experience with - the same species, with differing expressions of size and coloring.
A word of caution: too much is too much! I tried the second batch with twice the amount of yarrow (14 leaves) and it made my heart pound half the night and kept me awake. Seven per 5 gallon batch works nicely.
From reading since then, coumarin levels in these herbs are viewed with caution by medical authorities and you should be fine with the levels I use. Don’t overdo.
By the same token, no one talks - certainly no medical authorities I know of - about the estrogen levels in hops, which wise women used to treat woman troubles. That has only reinforced my taste preference for ales/beer made with lower levels of hops.
I make my own because I enjoy the process, the result and the consistency. Too many beers I enjoyed 20 years ago are made now with much more hops. Some of them have been tampered with to the point they no longer represent the style, although people may object I am old fashioned.
BTW the word hops is both singular and plural.
I give you credit for planting mints in ground. I planted chocolate mint inground several years ago. By the third year, I realized my mistake. They grew very agrressively. Took me 5 years to get rid of them all. They smelled nice when I stepped on them.