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Following on from our look into botanicals and their uses in tea blends and as infusions in their own right, today we follow up by looking at Rose, Lavender and Citrus Peels.
Rose is one of the best known ingredients used for tea blending. It is popular both for its fragrance and also the beauty that rose petals and buds add to tea blends.
There are over a hundred different types of rose, but only a very few are suitable for use in infusions and these tend to be pink rose types that are specially cultivated for use in food and drink. These same plants are used in the production of rose hips and rose water amongst other things.
Rose is a very diverse plant and can be found throughout the world. It has commonly been used in Asia and the Middle East for its health benefits and is said to be anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and an excellent relief from the symptoms of stomach issues, menstrual cramps and anxiety and depression. It is high in vitamin C so said to aid in the alleviation of skin and hair issues, as well as being a diuretic and an immune system booster.
For use as an infusion, rose has a distinct fragrance and flavour that balances well with a multitude of ingredients. It works particularly well with most types of teas and serves to enhance the complexity of tippy black teas such as ceylon, balance citrus notes in types such as earl grey and enhance the herbaceous nature of greens, whites and darjeelings. It is also well-known to add character to bold oolongs as well with our award winning Organic Rose Oolong being a prime example.
Rose is so versatile that it can be used in any number of blends and it rarely detracts from the other flavours present. This makes it great fun to blend with and is perfect for producing bright, show-stopping blends that make excellent gifts.
Lavender is an extremely popular infusion in its own right, well known for its calming and relaxing properties. It is often taken before bed to encourage a sense of restfulness and wellbeing.
Although there are many different types of lavender, the variety Lavender Angustifolia is preferred in food and drink preparation. Lavender is related to mint and the Angustifolia retains more of that menthol characteristic where other lavender types can be somewhat soapy to taste. It is most often sourced from Europe, especially France and Belgium where the quality of the lavender produced if held to be of utmost importance.
Because of its strong floral and menthol characteristics, lavender can be used in a wide variety of different blends, but must be used sparingly in order to not overwhelm the blend. Most tea palace blends include enough lavender to enhance the other flavours, not to overpower as the flavour in its own right. It lends itself particularly well to pairing with strong citrus flavours and fruity sweet apples and oranges. It is also an excellent pairing for chamomile, both having strong flavours that complement well.
The health benefits of lavender have been widely discussed with the most famous being its effect on anxiety, nerves and sleeplessness. It is also taken for the relief of headaches and migraines, as a digestive, to aid in lowering blood pressure and even as a mosquito repellent!
We believe that one of the best ways to enjoy lavender and understand why it is a blending superstar is through our award winning Organic Lavender Grey blend. A perfect combination of black tea and lavender with those strong citrus bergamot tones. Delicious, fragrant and full bodied.
Citrus peels, most often orange peel and lemon peel are widely used as blending ingredients with teas, herbs and spices. Unlike rose and lavender, fruit peels are not usually taken as a standalone infusion as they tend to work better as a flavourful and healthy enhancer instead of strongly powerful alone.
Lemon peel contains high levels of calcium and vitamin C, both of which are great for bone health, it is strong antioxidant and may aid in reducing cholesterol and heart conditions. Orange peel shares many of these qualities and is also a good source of pectin which helps to control blood sugar and appetite as well as promoting gastrointestinal health.
In blending, both types are often used together for a double-whammy of health benefits. For example our Organic Immune Boost utilises the power of orange and lemon is a blend especially designed to boost the immune system. However, each does have a slightly different flavour profile and so mixes better with different types of teas and ingredients.
Orange peel is the milder and slightly sweeter of the two so blends very well with robust black teas and oolongs, as well as apple flavours and herbs such as chamomile. Black tea and orange blends are especially popular in the middle east and are becoming more well know in the West as well.
Lemon peel is more acidic and therefore tends to be better mixed with very strong flavours. It is excellent for improving the flavour of earl greys and actually balances out bergamot flavour somewhat, it also works very well with strong herbs and spices, particularly ginger. Amongst tea, it is perhaps best suited to blend with steamed greens such as sencha which have a strongly herbaceous flavour and really benefit from the citrus element from the lemon peel.
So here are 3 ingredient types with very different properties and each having particular health benefits. Here are a few of our outstanding, Tea Palace exclusive blends that we think shows off the very best qualities of these ingredients: