I haven’t met Caroline in person yet but I do know her herbs. We got in touch through a friend we have in common that recently came to Barcelona and told me about Caroline’s project of aromatic herbs blueyellow. She had also told her about my blog and my tea project, so she formally introduced us.
Without much brainstorming or clear ideas about our new “project”, Caroline sent me the list of the seasonal herbs she had available so we could chose the ones we thought could match well with tea. Few weeks later she came to Barcelona and brought me the beautiful bouquet. Since I was away that week my husband kindly met with her and received the herbs on my behalf. When I came back home the smell was striking, all over the house… So nice and fragrant!
So tea and fresh aromatic herbs? What a perfect combination! It’s time to start tasting and blending these herbs with tea. In the bouquet there were: Wild Bergamot (Monarda), Lemon Bee Balm (Melissa), Mugwort (Artemisa), Anise Hyssop and Spicy Oregano. Most of them I had tried before in their dried version except for the bergamot leaves from which I just knew the essential oil extracted from the fruit.
I started by infusing each one of them alone, just to see how they tasted and behaved in hot water. Then I would write some ideas and ingredients I wanted to add and try. I did many tests, blending the fresh herbs with other dried herbs and teas until I was pleased with each one of them.
I am finally happy to present these 5 blends:
Blend # 1: Anisse Hyssop, Rose buds and Yin Zhen Silver Needles
Sweet, spicy, flowery, refreshing and soothing. A nice pale yellow liquor with a fresh and delicate aroma. Perfect as a mid-morning tea.
Blend # 2: Wild bergamot leaves, Chamomile buds, High Mountain Oolong and Calendula petals
The fruitiness of the oolong combined with the light but peppery taste of the bergamot leaves and the sweet taste of the chamomile buds makes this blend a calming tea. Nice amber and deep yellow liquor.
Blend # 3: Lemon Bee Balm and Flower tea
Citrusy and almost mentholated flavour. The flavor of the Lemon Bee is strong as well as its aftertaste. The flower tea just adds a soft tea base for this blend. I would personally add some honey to balance the flavour of the lemon bee just a bit!
Blend # 4: Wild Bergamot leaves, Rose petals and Hibiscus
Just an infusion with no tea in it. The sweetness of the rose petals with the tangy flavour of the hibiscus and the citrusy flavour of the bergamot make a lovely blend to enjoy hot or cold. Lovely color and festive taste.
Blend # 5 Mugwort, Elderflower and Jasmine green tea
Refreshing, delicate and flowery. Ideal for any time of the day.
Overall my favourite herb was the anisse hyssop, its flavour is so sweet and fragrant that really caught me. The flower and the leaves are also exquisite and beautiful.
The bergamot was very nice, yet very different to the essential oil from the fruit. I loved the fact that the bergamot leaf infusion has been made for a long time by American natives for stomachaches, fever, colics and insomnia. So its medicinal properties plus its delicate flavour make it a good choice to blend with almost any kind of tea.
The lemon bee balm was also a great surprise as it literally has nothing to do with its dried version. The smell and taste is powerful and strong as well as its aftertaste. I found it challenging to blend with, because it would overlap the taste of everything else. So, I decided not to fight too much against it and just let it be, putting it together with a flower tea. Loved it!
The little spicy oregano stem I didn’t use. I kept it dry to put it on a nice homemade pizza or sauce. Cheeky me!
The mugwort was easy and nice to blend with. It blended perfectly with the jasmine and the elderflower.
I really loved this collaboration, blending tea with fresh herbs was simply wonderful and I will definitely continue mixing and matching new herbs and teas! To know more about blueyellow please visit http://blueyellow.co where you will find all the varieties of aromatics available and the story behind this fantastic project. I am also certain that Caroline would be delighted to guide you through her herbs and answer any question you may have!
It has been a pleasure to work with someone like Caroline that puts so much love into what she does and to have the opportunity to share our passions (tea and herbs) in such a beautiful project!