As the mother of two small children, I often daydream about sleep. In my perfect dreamworld, the dishes are already done, the toys picked up, and the laundry neatly folded and put away, when I tuck my daughters into their own beds. In my reverie, they remain in their beds all night, while I sleep in a beautiful walnut bed, with white linen sheets, undisturbed for eight to nine hours, waking up refreshed in the morning. In my daydreams, this undisturbed sleep is preceded by a peaceful evening ritual, which includes preparing and sipping this soothing Dreamy Tea.
While the experience of a peaceful evening ritual will likely not be realized any time soon, this tea brings calm no matter the time of day or how many dishes are in the sink. The measuring out of airy, dried herbs has a meditative quality, which lends a moment of creativity to an otherwise mundane day. Furthermore, the sipping of sweet, milky tea is always a welcome respite, no matter how short-lived. This balmy drink is truly stress-relieving.
In this tea, lemon balm dominates, making this a brew with a prominent citrus flavor. Floral notes of hibiscus, rose, and lavender are subtle and imbue the drink with ethereal nuance. In combination with these flavors, peppermint, fennel and licorice add a mysterious layer, which is not as easily placed as you might think. Before milk and honey are added, the tea is a deep orange-pink, from the rose and hibiscus petals. An emptied cup is left with a purple watercolor stain in the bottom.
Of course, tea-making is fluid and I imagine that any combination of these herbs would produce satisfactory results. If you want a drink that isn’t quite as citrus-intense, reduce the lemon balm and increase the hibiscus for a more fruity flavor, or increase the fennel and licorice root if you want those flavors to be more distinct.
I found all of these ingredients at my local health food store, in bulk. As with all tea, the strength can easily be adjusted based on the ratio of tea and water. Today, I prepared it with just over two cups of water, for a strong cup. However, this recipe could easily be stretched to four cups, given a longer brewing time.
- Adapted from Sleepy Tea by Jenny McGruther of Nourished Kitchen
- Yield: 2-4 cups of tea, depending on desired strength
- 1 tablespoon dried lemon balm
- 2 teaspoons dried peppermint
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried hibiscus petals
- 1 teaspoon dried rose petals
- 1 teaspoon dried lavender petals
- 1 teaspoon dried cut licorice root
- Boil 2½–4½ cups of water in a tea kettle, or in a pot on the stove.
- While the water comes to a boil, measure out the flowers and herbs. Gently break up the herbs a little with mortar and pestle, if you have one.
- Cover flowers and herbs with desired amount of water and allow to steep for three to five minutes.
- Strain the tea into cups, over a fine strainer.
- Serve with honey and cream or milk, if desired.
- Take a moment to relax and enjoy.