A Beginner’s Guide to Tea Blending

No two Earl Grey blends are the same, and you may take to a particular brand of Earl Grey characterised by a classic full-bodied mouthfeel or one underscored with lavender notes. Blends are created from teas that may hail from different origins, or mixed with flavourings and  botanicals, where some of the most well-loved tea blends include English Breakfast and Earl Grey teas. [1]

While top-tier tea purveyors may have honed intricate techniques and skills in producing the best tea blends in the market, we’ll start off easy with a few handles relating to the basics of tea blending that you can build on.

As with any new endeavour, starting out small is a good rule of thumb to keep in mind, and beginning with small batches (of 2 to 3 teaspoons) and familiar flavours ensure that you will not be left with a huge bowl of ingredients to discard afterwards.

Simple blends consist of 1 to 3 ingredients, giving you the space to experiment with desired proportions and observe how flavours interact with one another. Ensure that each ingredient within the blend has similar consistency – whether it’s chopping your floral petals and dried peels into smaller sizes, or crushing your spices and herbs to draw out the individual flavours of each ingredient. [2]

Here are three possible combinations to get you started:

1️⃣ English breakfast variation – English breakfast blends boast rich and full-bodied flavours from single-origin black teas, namely Assam, Kenyan, Ceylon and Darjeeling teas, and pairs well with a splash of milk. [3]

Ingredients:

Experiment by mixing 2 teaspoons of a richer and more intense black tea (Assam or Kenyan) with 2 teaspoons of tea having a lighter and more aromatic flavour profile (Ceylon and Darjeeling) in a 1:1 proportion. 

Adjust the proportion according to desired preferences, for instance increasing the proportion of Assam tea to 2:1 for a stronger variation of the breakfast blend.

Photo: Pexels (Olga Mironova)

2️⃣ Rose Oolong – Try your hand with this popular blend without any artificial flavourings, making sure that at least 2/3s of your blend consists of your black/green/oolong base whenever you’re incorporating herbs, flowers or dried fruit peels.

Ingredients:

Mix 2 teaspoons of Oolong tea and ½ –1 teaspoon of dried rose petals or rose buds, with possible variations including substituting rose buds with dried lavender or jasmine petals or adding vanilla pods for a creamier mouthfeel.

Photo: Unsplash (Loverna Journey)

3️⃣ Dried Peaches and Pu-erh – Dried fruit peels complement black teas rather well, with citrusy fruits such as oranges and lemons often blended with Ceylon or Oolong varieties.

Ingredients:

Mix 2 teaspoons of Pu-erh with ½ to 1 teaspoon of dried peaches for a fruity and mildly sweet tasting notes.

Photo: Pexels (Olenka Sergienko)

4️⃣ Herbal Hibisucus Blend – A caffiene-free option that experiments with a combination of herbs, dried floral petals and a fruity element. [4]

Ingredients: 

Mix 2 teaspoons of dried hibiscus with 1 teaspoon of mint (crushed) and 1 teaspoon of dried rosehip.

Photo: Pexels (Olya Kobruseva)

Noting down the proportions that helped you to achieve a blend of your preferred taste profile is useful to replicating your favourite DIY blends, whether it’s in a 1:1 ratio or 3:1 ratio, with Proper Cuppa’s tea blending template as a handy way to consolidate your tea blending journey.

While it may seem that it’s all down to nailing the right proportions, thoughtful tea purveyors make their blends with customer’s preferences in mind, with The Tea Crafters as one example that draws inspiration from the personality of their customers, or Kittea’s ingenious blends that stemmed from a love of cats. The next round you taste a blend you really enjoy, note down the herbs or aromatic scents that you can choose to incorporate in your next DIY blend.

References: 

[1] ”The Art of Tea Blending – 6 Tips For Creating Your Own Tea Blends”. 2021. https://www.teatimemagazine.com/understanding-tea-blends/

[2] “The Art of Tea Blending”. 2016. https://teafloor.com/blog/the-art-of-tea-blending/

[3] “What Is Breakfast Tea?”. 2017. https://www.goodandpropertea.com/blogs/all/what-is-breakfast-tea

[4] “How To Make Your Own Tea Blends: 10 DIY Recipes”. 2019. https://simplelooseleaf.com/blog/life-with-tea/how-to-make-your-own-tea-blends-10-diy-recipes/

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