As much as we love a mug of our standard breakfast blend, we can get a little bit stuck in a rut when it comes to our tea-drinking. As a force of habit, we tend to stick to the classic blend all day every day. Now, we love our classic morning cuppa as much as anyone, but sampling new varieties of spiced herbal teas makes a wonderful way to experiment with intriguing taste sensations, and treat yourself to something rather special.
Making your own homebrew tea is an absolute treat - concocting your own decadent blends of ingredients, filling your home with aromatic spices and then leisurely sipping on a warming drink that delivers a knockout punch of flavour, we think it really takes the morning tea break up a few notches.
For those of you who are keen to spend this Autumn learning a new kitchen skill, we’ve created a round-up of everything that a beginner tea brewer needs to learn. In this blog post, we’ve covered the numerous nutritional benefits that come with adding different types of spices to your tea, followed by a collection of three seasonally-inspired tea recipes.
We wanted to begin our exploration of the world of spiced teas by focusing on the health benefits that they bring to tea-drinkers. These power-packing little flavour additions have so much more to offer than just a delicious taste. In fact, our favourite spices have been proven to help our body lower its blood sugar, boost its antioxidant levels and even fight depression.
The spices that we’re talking about here aren’t some super expensive, incredibly rare variety that you have to spend hours searching for - they’re readily available on our supermarket shelves.
To let you in on the lesser-known secrets of these natural spice blends, below we’ve created a list of the outstanding nutritional properties of five of the nation’s favourite spices. What better way to add an easy and affordable health-kick to your routine?
First up on our list is this classic wintery spice. Cinnamon is made by grinding down the bark of the cinnamon tree into a fine powder. It is used in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes, and makes a sensational addition to fruit like apples (a combination which we’ll be taking full advantage of in our recipes).
Beyond tasting divine, cinnamon actually has the ability to lower blood sugar levels. It benefits the heart in numerous ways, including helping consumers to reduce their body’s levels of cholesterol and triglyceride (which is absolutely vital if you are at risk of heart disease).
This vibrant yellow spice has always been a popular addition to Indian curries, but in recent years you can also find it on the boards of trendy specialty coffee shops, as a fun new addition to lattes.
Turmeric is a bright bold and delicious superfood. Not only does it taste good, but the health properties that it provides are fantastic too. Thanks to the curcumin that exists in turmeric, it helps consumers to reduce inflammation. Based on this knowledge, some scientists have also suggested that turmeric also has the capability to reduce inflammation in the brain. This would mean that turmeric could help fight conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
What’s more, consuming turmeric can help sufferers of arthritis to reduce any pain and swelling that they may be experiencing.
Whether it’s in biscuits, cakes, drinks, curries or soups, we’ve all certainly tasted this yummy spice at some point. But very few of us will have consciously eaten ginger for its health benefits.
However, once you delve a little deeper into this particular spice, you will soon find that it possesses an exceptional array of health properties. In fact, ginger has been a key treatment for ailments like stomach pains, diarrhea and general nausea in Asian culture for centuries.
Ginger is a great all-round superfood, which can help calm nausea during pregnancy, easing stomach discomforts, and reducing motion sickness.
We’ve all added a few cloves of garlic to a home cooked meal at some point. Besides being a classic go-to staple in our spice cupboards, who can resist a piece of garlic bread?
Alongside providing a delicious much-loved flavour, adding a good chunk of garlic to our dishes actually helps to protect our hearts, too. It helps prevent the build-up of issues that would (if left unchecked) lead to heart disease.
It does this by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while also helping to ensure that your blood vessels stay flexible. This helps to prevent narrowing of your arteries, which effectively decreases the likelihood that you will suffer from strokes and heart attacks later on in life.
The cayenne pepper is a popular ingredient in a number of South American dishes, bringing a good hit of spice to Mexican and Cajun foods in particular. These peppers contain capsaicin, which is what gives them their characteristic spice. But this particular substance also possesses pain-relieving properties.
When you consume capsaicin, this substance limits the number of pain signals that your body sends up to your brain. This means that you actually feel any pain that you may be experiencing less strongly. As a result of this property, cayenne is great for individuals who may be suffering from arthritis, ulcers, or nerve damage (that can be caused by diabetes).
As you can see, not only do these spices bring creativity, colour and boldness to your cooking, but they are also a wonderful way to improve the overall health of you and your family. All it takes is a little extra dash of spice here and there, and you’ll be helping to boost the performance of your body in all manner of ways.
One of our favourite ways to consume more of these wonderful spices on a day-to-day basis is by incorporating them into our daily tea-drinking routine. These yummy brews are a super easy and affordable way to help to improve your lifestyle.
To help you to bring some spice to your life, we’ve come up with three divine herbal tea recipes for you to try at home. With just a small number of easy-to-find ingredients, a quick brew time and a few simple steps, these homebrew recipes are the perfect introduction to making a spiced cup of tea from scratch.
Apple Cinnamon Tea with a dash of Rum
- Apples, 2
- Water, 900
- Cinnamon sticks, 2
- Strong black tea (either rooibos herbal blend or traditional English tea), 4 tsp
- Dark cooking rum, 2 tsp
- Milk, a dash to taste (optional)
- Honey, a large dollop to taste (optional)
Wash and peel the apple, then chop into small pieces. Add the pieces to a large pan, along with the water, cinnamon and tea. Boil over low heat for 15-20 minutes.
You will see the water gradually reduce, leaving you with enough tea to fill two mugs. Once fully brewed, strain the tea and pour into your cups.
To finish, add a teaspoon of rum into each mug, followed by the milk and honey, before giving the brew a good final stir.
Mulled Apple Cider Tea
- Strong black tea, 4 tsp
- Cinnamon sticks, 2
- Cloves, 4
- Good quality apple cider, 800ml
- Orange, 2 slices
Add all of the ingredients to a large pan. Boil the brew over a low heat for 10 minutes.
Once the spices have had a chance to infuse the tea, strain the mixture into two large mugs and serve.
Apple and Cinnamon-infused Green Tea
- Apples, 4
- Ginger, 1 inch piece
- Cardamom pods, 4
- Cinnamon sticks, 2
- Water, 450ml
- Gunpowder green tea, 4 tsp
Peel the apples and chop them into small chunks. Add the apple pieces into a large pan, alongside the ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and water.
Simmer the brew over a low heat for around 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and leave the mixture to cool down slightly for about 5 minutes.
Add the tea leaves to the pan, and allow to steep for a further 3 minutes. Strain the mixture, before serving the brew in two of your favourite chunky mugs.
What we love about this recipe collection is that it includes something for everyone - whether it’s a cheeky dash of booze, a warming mulled spice mug, or a pick-me-up morning energy booster.
Yes apples are delicious all year round, but they really come into their own in the Autumn and Winter months. These light and low cal drinks are warming, lightly spiced and deeply aromatic, which makes a delightful contrast to the cold chill outside.
Apples and cinnamon make for a sensational duo, in terms of both the flavour and the health perks alike. By featuring these two ingredients, each of these recipes are filled with vitamins, antioxidants and heart health aids.
Once you’ve perfected these recipes, have a go at experimenting with them. Since they’re so simple, it gives you plenty of scope to try switching out the apples that you use (see how each apple influences the flavour of the tea), or amping up the spice levels in your brew. The choice is yours.
To help you perfect your new-and-improved tea breaks, be sure to check out our smart kettle. The intelligent features that the iKettle offers are just the thing to ensure that this new lifestyle habit sticks. The iKettle will help you to improve your routine by providing you with hot water - heated exactly to your required temperature - all via the intuitive, easy to use Smarter app. You’ll have hot water on hand whenever you need, which will certainly make the brewing process infinitely easier.
What’s more, as the latest addition to our Smarter range, we’ve just introduced some chic new iKettle colours to the collection. We now offer the iKettle in white and chrome, light grey and chrome, and dark grey and chrome. So you’ll be sure to find the perfect model to match your kitchen style. Just head on over to the Smarter online store to check out our range.