I’m perpetually grateful to live in near one of Washington state’s best apothecary/herbal shops, Dandelion Botanicals.
As soon as I walk through the doors, I’m in more peaceful world. The ancient floor creaks, the light filters in through the plants in the window, and the air smells floral and earthy.
I wanted to create a tea blend for holiday gifts. I was inspired by a flavor of kombucha the store carries, Hawthorn Rose, which is flavored with rose hips and warming spices. I used a base of sweet rooibos tea as the base, and added orange peel, anise, and cardamom.
If you do not have a neighborhood apothecary, you can get most — if not all — of these ingredients in the bulk section of health food stores.
The two ingredients which may be more difficult to source are bulk rooibos and rose hips, so I’ve linked sources for those in the recipe below. The downside is that if you purchase online you often have to get a bigger package of the ingredient, rather that getting smaller amounts at an apothecary or health store.
About the Ingredients in Holiday Rooibos Tea Blend
Rooibos is a naturally sweet, rounded, earthy tea with a rich red color when steeped. It’s also budget-friendly when purchased in bulk, making it a great tea base here.
Rose hips provide a potent source of vitamin C, which I wanted to add to this blend to support healthy immune function during cold and flu season. Straight up, they have a bitter and astringent flavor, but in this tea blend, they offer a faint tanginess which works well with the other sweet and earthy ingredients.
Cardamom pods add a sweet spice flavor, reminiscent of holiday baking. Make sure you use whole cardamom pods, not the cardamom powder used in baking.
Star anise has a mild, spicy licorice flavor, and smells like Christmas. It provides warmth without being overpowering. Again, use whole star anise and not anise powder used for baking.
Orange peel provides flecks of beautiful color and a citrus flavor which beautifully pulls together the rooibos and spices.
Packaging Holiday Rooibos Tea Blend for Gifts
I suggest using Ball jars to package the tea blend. Write, or print out, small cards to tie to the jars with ribbon. On the cards, include the following instructions and ingredients:
Instructions: Steep 1 Tbs. of tea in 8 oz. freshly boiled water for 3-4 minutes.
Ingredients: Rooibos tea, rose hips, star anise, cardamom, and orange peel
- 4 cups (12 oz. by weight) rooibos tea, available here
- ⅓ cup cardamom pods (3 oz. by weight), available in the Bulk section of many stores
- 1 cup whole star anise (2 oz. by weight), available in the Bulk section of many stores
- ⅔ cup (about 2 oz. by weight) dried orange peel, available here
- ½ cup dried rose hips (about 2 oz. by weight), available here
- There is no need to be exacting with the amounts in this recipe. If you have a little more of that or a little less of this, it will still work well.
- Use your fingers to break apart the "petals" of the star anise. Then combine all ingredients, including the star anise pieces.
- Distribute the tea blend among jars. I used 4 12 oz. Ball jars, filling them to the 10 oz. mark. Feel free to use more, smaller jars if desired.