I’m having a lot of fun learning about herbal medicine. And, I’ve learned that one of the easiest ways to administer herbal medicine is via tea. Every one likes a nice cuppa tea, eh?
Herbal teas are also known as infusions or decoctions, but there is a difference in how they’re prepared. An infusion is hot water infused with the loose leaf teas, and can be made with a french press like the one pictured. A decoction is made by simmering the parts over heat. Simmering is proper for roots and tougher herbs and stems to get a nice extraction of nutrients and flavor. Today, I’m talking infusions which is what most people experience when they drink a cup of tea.
Herbal teas (tisanes) are something I drink daily. One way to make it extra easy is to simply brew a large batch, which I can enjoy all day long. That means no fussing in the kitchen more than once a day for tea.
Enter: My new big, bad-ass French Press.
The french press, I’ve learned (through trying different methods), is the simplest way to make herbal tea. The loose herbs are free to float and steep, while covered which is important. Then, you press them down via the plunger, and pour the tea into your favorite cup, all without messing with the loose tea and a separate strainer.
When I found myself making multiple batches of tea throughout the day with my small french press, I knew I needed something bigger. As usual, on Amazon.com, I found what I was looking for… The Gorsche Madrid French Press Tea and Coffee Maker makes a whopping 1.5 liters (1500 ml) of tea or coffee. Nice.
Beauty n Brawn. I’m a fan of the Gorsche Madrid press because of its bigness as well as its beauty. It’s a gorgeous addition to my kitchen that I love showing to people. It earned its own permanent spot on my coffee-n-tea station.
The best way to make a great herbal tea (infusion) with this french press:
- Add dried or fresh herbs to your press. (I source mine from Mountain Rose. They offer great value and organic products.)
- Carefully pour (just) boiled water over the leaves.
- Place the top of the french press on top of the water and herbs, but don’t plunge it down yet.
- For a strong infusion (which is how I make mine if I’m after extra healing or if I’m planning on making it into iced tea), let the brew steep for up to 45 minutes or even longer (some folks steep for hours, but I don’t have that level of patience). Keep in mind though, stronger usually means more bitter as the flavor intensifies. It’s not called herbal medicine for nothing. You can doctor it up with a high quality, true raw manuka honey (once it’s strained and cooled a bit) or drink it hard-core straight. If you want a light infusion, then simply push the plunger down after 15 to 20 minutes. You can also reduce the bitterness of certain herbs by adding herbs from the mint family (peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm) or a sweet herb like licorice root or stevia. They work wonders on deep medicinal flavors that need to be lightened and brightened.
- Enjoy your brew and feel the herbs working a gentle healin’ on your body.
My favorite author on herbal medicine is Rosemary Gladstar. I love her book, Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use.
Read more (and please share) how herbal medicine makes life better here.