Once, I went to an Algerian friend’s house for lunch. After lunch she got a container full of mint that she kept in her freezer and made me a delicious, sweet, minty cup of tea. I had honestly never considered making tea that didn’t come in a prepared bag from the supermarket before. But of course there are lots of ways you can make tea home, either from herbs you buy or herbs you grow. And there’s nothing better than custom tea. Here are five ideas:

  1. Mint – my friend taught me that to make it last you can freeze the leaves and just use it as needed. An alternative is to dry out the mint by hanging it in a warm, dry place and then keep it in an airtight container. And this is a lovely one because you can grow it in your own backyard (or balcony). The North African version is short and sweetened with sugar, but make a blend that suits you. It’s supposed to be very good for digestion problems.
  2. Lemon balm – another really easy-to-grow herb, lemon balm makes for a delicious, zingy tea. Use the same method as for mint tea, above.
  3. Ginger – grate a tablespoon of fresh ginger and steep in freshly boiled water for 5-10 minutes, then strain and serve. Some people like it with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and a dash of honey can be nice too. Ginger tea is said to be good for upset tummies.
  4. Fruit tea – you can dehydrate your orange, lemon or apple in the oven and add to black tea, or have it by itself. A squeeze of fresh juice in your tea will add a zing of flavour, too.
  5. Blend with bought tea – buy some good-quality loose-leaf tea and blend it with cloves, cinnamon, or dried orange peel and store in airtight containers. That way you can make your own delicious blend.