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Whole Camomile Flowers

Camomile makes a beautiful base to use with other products, especially when you sweeten it - so a little bit of ginger jelly or a bit of honey always work really well with camomile.

Welcome to this month's edition of Tea Tasters. Most months we look at a white, green, black or Yunnan tea - or sometimes even a blend. But this time around we're going to venture outside the tea world and look at what we call a herbal infusion: Camomile.

A herbal infusion is anything that we use or prepare to make a drink that doesn't contain the Camellia Sinensis plant which is what black, green and other 'teas' are made from. The use of camomile pre-dates early Roman times when it was used for its various medicinal properties, some of which are still recognised today. The plant grows mainly in central Europe and parts of Asia - although it has been naturalised and now grows in various parts of Australia and the Americas.

The camomile that we will be trying this month on Tea Tasters is central European, so will come from places like Poland.

What Is It? 

Let's take a closer look at camomile and see what we're going to be trying and tasting this month.

It's really important to remember a couple of things about camomile. Although you can use different parts of the plant to make infusions, you undoubtedly get the best quality from camomile heads. And this is what we are trying this month on Tea Tasters.

The other thing to remember, is that the heads are quite delicate because they've been dried. Be careful with how you store them because they can easily get crushed and you will get a lot of dust. So be very, very gentle with them.

Brewing, Serving And Tasting Your Tea

If you're making this at home exactly the same rules apply. Use one heaped teaspoon per person and then one extra for the pot. Occasionally if you like stronger flavours, two extra teaspoons will do the trick, but we're putting one in our tea tasting crockery.

Camomile makes a beautiful base to use with other products, especially when you sweeten it - so a little bit of ginger jelly or a bit of honey always work really well with camomile. But we're going to be trying these camomile heads on their own.

So take the boiling water you've prepared and just pour that on… Notice how a vibrant colour is released from the flower heads almost straightaway. Put the lid on your crockery and give that a good three and a half minutes as you would do with the rest of our teas. Once it's fully brewed, take the camomile out and we'll have a look at the heads themselves and the flavours.

Our camomile flower heads are beautiful, vivid yellow and almost unbelievable to look at. You'll notice that they've plumped up from the water. Straightaway the unforgettable floral character of the camomile is filling the air. It smells really delicious and unmistakeable.

The liquor has a wonderful colour. Have a taste. It's got a gentle, warming, floral character. Not too overpowering. It's really, really delightful. Any memories you have of bitter tasting camomile will be completely wiped away once you try the camomile on Tea Tasters. It's a real treat.

So that's it from us this month. Camomile heads - best infused for three and a half minutes with boiling water. Until next time, Happy Tea Times.

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