Cooking With Spices 101: DIY Homemade Teas

Waking up in the morning or winding down from a long day, there is nothing like a good cup of tea. Good quality teas, however, can be expensive and hard to find. What's worse is when you go to reach for a bag, and realize the bag is empty. While most consumers rely on purchasing pre-blended tea bags, you can make your own tea using fresh ingredients already in your kitchen. A little creativity and prep is all it takes to be minutes away from a soothing mug. Here are a few tips to follow when delving into homemade teas.

Choose Your Ingredients

In making a delicious homemade tea, gather up your herbs, spices, and citrus. For herbs, mint and basil are a few refreshing ones to try. When picking out spices, choose complementary flavors. Cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, and clove are a few good ones to begin with. And for citrus, lemon is always at the top of the list, while orange zest can be a flavorful addition. Finding the right combination will depend upon your flavor preference. I personally am a sucker for ginger, lemon, and honey – sometimes with a hint of mint. The ingredient options are endless!

Let It Steep

The strength of flavor desired will determine how much of each ingredient you use per cup of water. I like to stick with one tablespoon of herbs and spices, while adding half the amount of citrus per cup of water. Add a boiled cup of water to your desired ingredients, and let steep for 5-10 minutes. For bigger batches, use a small saucepan to bring the water to a boil, and then simmer for 10 minutes. Once again, water to ingredient ratio, and time steeped, all depends on the desired strength of the tea.

Try Drying Your Herbs, Spices, and Citrus Blends

When you find a flavor combination you like, you can dry out the ingredients to save for later. Dry out some grapefruit and orange rinds, bunches of herbs, and spice roots, such as ginger, to make your own blends you can enjoy later.

When drying out your ingredients, the kitchen window or a drying box will do. Make sure it's in a dry place with air circulation. And be sure they are completely dry before storing, otherwise moisture will cause your ingredients to mold.


Simple Homemade Ginger Tea Recipe

1 inch fresh ginger root

1 cup water

1 slice lemon

honey (optional)


  1. Peel ginger and then slice very thin. You can also grate the ginger if desired. Place into a mug with the slice of lemon.
  2. Bring cup of water to a boil. Pour water over ginger and lemon. Cover the mug.
  3. Let steep for 5 minutes, then add honey if desired. Enjoy!