There are two different forms of brewing tea both are decoctions. When
you pour hot water over the herb it is a hot water infusion. Sometimes, though,
cold water is poured over the herbs and they are allowed to soak for several
hours or overnight and then are heated or boiled, this is a cold water
Some herbs must be brewed without the use of great heat because of
the need to protect certain substances. Wood pieces, roots and bark must be
soaked for a considerable amount of time then brought to a boil and simmered
for anywhere from three to ten minutes. The thinner and softer the herb part
being used the shorter the time needed to extract its essence, likewise the
harder or more impenetrable the substance the longer the extraction time.
A general rule of thumb when preparing tea is one to two heaping teaspoonsful
of dried herb to one cup of water, depending on how strong you want your tea.
If you are using freshly picked use three times the quantity that you would
use with dry and the extraction time will be much shorter because they are
quickly penetrated by the water.
Cover the tea pot or cup with a lid or
saucer while the tea is brewing. The active ingrediants and essential oils
are able to readily escape into the air and need to be contained. Return the
drops of condensation back into the vessel when finished steeping. Strain
the tea before consuming. Sweeten with honey or sugar if so desired.