How to blend your own tea?

Updated: Jan 1

Tea blending basics and tips on flavour matching.


Ever wanted to jazz up your tea drinking and try new flavours but weren’t sure how to go on about it? If you like the idea of mixing up different flavours tea blending is for you. It’s a very enjoyable activity and is a true combination of art and science.


So, let’s get into it!

Tea cup surrounded by premium loose leaf organic ingredients ready for custom blending.
Blending your own tea is a fun and relaxing experience.

In this post we will cover:

  • What are the basic principles of tea blending?

  • What flavours go well with each other?

  • Thought starters to come up with your own tea recipes


We’ll take a look at the step by step process of creating a new blend, and give some tips for kick starting your own creations. We will look specifically at hot brews.


How do I start with my own tea blending?


There are a few things to think about when getting ready to blend your first tea. It is actually very similar to creating a food recipe. You can either start thinking about a particular ingredient you are interested in featuring or think about the end result.


So let’s try it out with a dinner example:

  • I feel like making something with mushrooms, what can I make that goes well together and ‘heroes’ this specific ingredient, which is mushrooms?

Now, if we extrapolate that thinking into tea, it could be that you are really wanting to feature the lavender or pineapple segment and you are asking yourself: what can I blend to make lavender come through?


You could be, on the other hand thinking about the end result, so again, let’s look at the dinner example:

  • I feel like having a risotto, let’s work out what I need to put in there. What ingredients work well in a risotto?

For tea this same scenario would go like this: I want something caffeine free that I can have after dinner - what could I have?


It’s pretty simple if we break it down that way.


The key to creating a good blend is understanding your ingredients, but before you even get there, you also need to prepare your blending ‘station’.


What will I need for tea blending?

  • A mixing bowl

  • A scoop or spatula for mixing and blending

  • Scales or measures

  • Tea infuser

  • Tea-cup (make it a few esp. If you are tasting different quantities)

  • Notebook with a pen (so you can write down your quantities) / or spreadsheet to track your recipes

  • Optional: gloves (for hygiene, but if you are just playing around you might not need these)


Do brewing temperatures matter for tea blending?


Yes, this is a very important factor to think about. Temperature might need to be adjusted depending on the kind of tea you use. You should consider matching particular ingredients based on which temperature brewing ‘families’ they fall in. For example, black teas brew at higher temperatures (usually boiling hot unless specified otherwise), while green or white don’t need boiling hot water (in fact, they go bitter and usually only require temperatures between 75-90 degrees Celsius depending on the exact type).


This is a really important consideration as you don’t want to mix green tea with e.g. Assam black - first of all these two would be considered bases (which means they shouldn’t be blended together) and secondly, they require different brewing temperatures.


How do I choose a tea base for my tea blending?


When you are thinking about your tea blends and your base, you'll need to keep in mind that all teas have a different look and taste. You'll need to consider what type of taste you want in your tea. Are you looking for something strong and bold? If so, you might want to think about using black tea as your base. If you want something light that may assist in losing weight, then green tea would be an ideal base choice. If you want something caffeine-free, go for camomile or peppermint.


Your base is the ingredient that your tea will have the most of. The suggestion is that 3/4 of the blend should be a base. If you're unsure which one will make the best base, you might consider getting small amounts of all your choices, brewing them, and then putting them through a taste test. During the process, you'll want to keep notes about colour, aroma, and flavour. This will help you mix more flavours in the future and find your favourites. A quick cheat sheet:


  1. For bolder, strong flavours with caffeine - use Assam black, earl grey bases

  2. For bold but less strong in black tea flavour with caffeine - orange pekoe or English breakfast

  3. For more delicate but fairly bodied with less caffeine - green tea (for caffeine-free you can use decaf green tea)

  4. For bold and earthly taste caffeine-free - use rooibos

  5. For ‘herbal’ flavours caffeine-free - use camomile, lemongrass or peppermint


The easiest way to think about a base is to imagine this is your pizza base and once you have chosen what you want at the ‘bottom’ you will be choosing your ‘pizza toppings’.


How do I pair my base with additional ingredients?


So it’s like picking toppings for your pizza. The fewer the better, because you really get to enjoy specific flavours - otherwise there is too much conflict and most ingredients get lost anyway.


Ideally, you want 2 or 3 ingredients to add flavour and dimension to your tea - these are typically the best combinations. The thinking here is that these are toppings. These won't be used in large quantities, but you can mix different flavours for exceptional taste or to add healing properties to your drink. To begin, you might consider only adding one or two secondary ingredients, tasting so see how it impacted the flavour and then maybe add more or change the proportions.


How to decide what to add?

Well, it’s entirely up to you. Depending on what types of flavours you are after (maybe you like herby stuff? Or maybe you enjoy a bit of spice? Or perhaps something floral?) these will be flavours that will really come through. There are some guiding principles particularly around not mixing ‘conflicting’ ingredients, but most of the time it’s very much up to your imagination. We all enjoy different flavours so be open to trying new things and find the ones that pair the best with your base and create an aromatic and tasty tea for consumption.


What are the general rules of tea blending?


Experimenting is the best way to discover the different flavour combinations that you'll enjoy. However, there may be some teas that mix better than others. For example, blending rose and black tea give it a beautiful floral flavour with just enough depth. Blending fruits with green teas or oolong teas can give these drinks something extra. You might already have your favourites and it’s a good way to start.


If you're blending teas to make iced tea, know that the process is a bit different. This post focuses on hot brews. For iced teas you'll want to do a taste test to ensure that the blend tastes good.


What goes well with other ingredients?


There are certain groups of ingredients that have a specific tasting profile that works better with some bases than others.


Green and white tea will go well with:

  • Dried sweeter fruits - strawberry, raspberry, pineapple, mango, apple

  • Dried citrusy fruits for more zesty blends - lime, lemon, orange

  • Flowers for subtle touches - rose, lavender, jasmine, hibiscus, calendula

  • Spices for more prominent yet still subtle flavours - ginger, rosemary, coconut, lemongrass, lemon balm


You can mix fruits with flowers but be mindful of combining sweet with citrusy - it’s best to settle for one or the other and complement your blend with something that doesn’t have a distinct flavour.


Good thought-starter ideas:


Base: green/white tea

+ strawberry + rose

+ apple + lavender


Black tea will go well with:

  • Dried sweeter fruits - strawberry, raspberry, pineapple, mango, apple

  • Dried citrusy fruits for more zesty blends - lime, lemon, orange

  • Flowers for subtle touches - rose, lavender, hibiscus, vanilla

  • Spices for more prominent yet still subtle flavours - ginger, rosemary, coconut, coco nibs, lemongrass, lemon balm, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, star anise


Good thought starter ideas:

Base: black tea

+ mango + vanilla

+ hibiscus + rose

+ orange + cinnamon


Rooibos will go well with:

  • Dried sweeter fruits - strawberry, raspberry, pineapple, mango, apple

  • Flowers for subtle touches - rose, lavender, hibiscus, vanilla

  • Spices for more prominent yet still subtle flavours - ginger, rosemary, coconut, coco nibs, lemongrass, lemon balm


You can also try citrusy blends but you might find the flavours clashing a little.

Rooibos is a very dominating flavour so works best with 1 max 2 other ingredients.


Good thought starter ideas:

Base: rooibos

+ vanilla

+ rose


Peppermint/camomile will go well with:

  • Dried sweeter fruits - strawberry, raspberry, pineapple, mango, apple

  • Dried citrusy fruits for more zesty blends - lime, lemon, orange

  • Flowers for subtle touches - rose, lavender, hibiscus, vanilla, calendula

  • Spices for more prominent yet still subtle flavours - ginger, rosemary, coconut, coco nibs, lemongrass, lemon balm, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, star anise


Good thought starter ideas:

Base: peppermint/camomile

+ rose + lavender

+ lemon + orange

+ calendula + rose



For more pronounced flavours you can also experiment with adding natural flavourings that enhance the flavour. You can try black tea with vanilla or rose - they pair beautifully.


Key takeaways


Tea blending is fun and should be experimental. There are plenty of interesting flavours out there that you can try mixing. A couple of key tips:

  1. Consider mixing temperatures

  2. Pick max 2-3 ingredients to compliment your tea base

  3. Stick to proportions of 3/4 of a tea base and then the rest for your add ons

  4. Follow this logic below to create delicious blends:

Base: green/white tea or black or rooibos or peppermint or camomile

+ main ingredient you want to taste (i.e. sweet or citrusy or flowery or spicy)

+ secondary ingredient to complement the flavour (balancing what you have, so if sweet strawberry rose or hibiscus is a god idea, but lemon not so much).


What are your favourite blending recipes?


Got your own recipes you make? There are plenty of already existing recipes, but it's more fun to invent new things, isn't it? That's why at Oolo we let you play around and experiment with all sorts of different tea blending.


What is your favourite blend? What works for you and what doesn't? Share your experiences by leaving comments under this article or jump on our forum.


Let's co-create and come up with some cool tea blends!



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