Non-caffeinated Tea Options
Many easy options. Steep mint leaves by itself or with orange or mandarin peel in hot water for 4-5 minutes. To drink it cold, my personal preference is to remove the leaves before refrigerating - I felt the leaves don't age like wine. The peels can sit in the drink long time if you like.
Fresh chamomile, sage, or lavender with hot water also make nice tea!
Here are some other fun tasty drinks I made.
Ingredients: Mainly ginger + whatever I fancy. For example, you can add lemongrass, dates (fresh or dried, sliced,) dried jujube (sliced,) kiwi, shiso leaves, mint leaves (the two leaves together or on its own,) or orange/citrus peel.
Dates and jujube only optional. Use less or none if you need to cut out or reduce fruit sugar intake.
Fill a medium size pot with water and boil (simmer with lid cover) sliced ginger and/or other fresh ingredients of your choice for 20 minutes. For example, I did:
- ginger + fresh or dried dates (1 or 2 is enough, not sweet. I put more if the fruit I add later is very tart like the kiwi I dried.)
- ginger + fresh or dried dates + lemongrass
- ginger + dried jujube (can boil dried jujube with ginger or can add it after 20 minutes like below.)
After 20 minutes, add one of the following.
- dried kiwi (with the ginger + dates base)
- dried kiwi + orange peel (with the ginger + dates + lemongrass base)
- dried jujube (A couple is enough for flavor and very slight sweetness. If I used dates, then I don't add jujube because I don't want the drink to be sweet. But you can add both if you desire more sugar.)
- dried jujube + orange peel (mandarin or tangerine peel works too)
- dried jujube + mint leaves
- dried jujube + shiso leaves
- dried jujube + mint and shiso leaves
Then turn the heat off. Let the dried fruits or peel steep in the hot liquid until it's cool so all the flavor goes into the drink.
If you use fresh fruits like kiwi, apple or Asian pear, boil them together with ginger.
Papaya seeds has a peppery horseradish taste when you bite into it. I put the peppercorn substitute on a piece of food wrap, folded the plastic over, crushed the shells with my all-purpose hammer, and boiled the seeds with ginger and 2 dried dates. Coworker said the drink had a nutmeg flavor when I paired it with tangerine peel.
Ginger no like? Try other roots like turmeric, or this variation I made with burdock (gobo in Japanese, niu bang in Chinese) and papaya seeds.
Passion fruit tastes great too. I add its juice and seeds to the drink after the liquid cools down.
No mint? Try basil, thyme, or bay leaves (I add ~9 bay leaves to the boil in my medium size pot.) No shiso leaves but fancy a darker brew or more spice? Throw in a cinnamon stick when simmering ginger. This ginger cinnamon jujube rose tea is inspired by Mindy! She got me those beautiful rose buds at a tea place from her trip to Leeds, England.
Artelice Pâtisserie Inspirations
The lemon and lavender cookies from the best French pastry shop in town inspired this lemongrass and lavender drink. Next to the cookies in the photo is their equally amazing raisin danish - a trip to Artelice is like a visit to Paris, to the world's finest pastries. But for the moment, let's come back to LA and make this drink.
Steps are similar to the general directions outlined before minus the ginger. Cut one lemongrass stalk and one dried date and boil for 20 minutes. Then add lavender and orange or mandarin peel. I used 2 daisy mandarin peels. Let sit until cool and use a strainer to filter the drink.
Another variation with lemon thyme, navel orange peel, and turmeric instead of ginger. A heads up - turmeric stains (my chopping board is colored with spots of yellow.)
Thyme leaves are sturdier than mint, so when I add the leaves to the boiling liquid, I wait for the liquid to come close to boil again (e.g. when I see the bubbles started appearing) before turning the heat off.
So many possibilities! Refrigerate to keep good or serve cold, heat up to drink it hot. Cheers!