Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Essential Oils for Flavoring in Tea, Coffee, Cocoa

We were recently asked about blending essential oils in bulk tea leaves which got us thinking about the many varied uses of essential oils.  Just as there is a learning curve for blending essential oils, there is also one for blending teas.  For the most part, it is recommended to use herbs, spices, etc. in blending bulk teas but there are those connoisseurs who also dabble with the oils and natural flavoring extracts. 

Marge will add a drop of Lemon essential oil to iced tea, around the holidays a tiny amount of Nutmeg hydrosol to coffee, or even peppermint hydrosol to make a cooling summer tea.  Only the most minute amount is needed, remember the “less is more,” rule of aromatherapy blending!  She also occasionally adds oils for flavoring in cooking or baking. 

After doing some research, we read that Green Tea is more favorable for bulk tea leaf blending, as it is more likely to take on the essential oil components for flavoring. We can’t definitely confirm what we read about the Green Tea, other than to rely on the source.  There is just not much information available about blending essential oils with bulk tea leaves and perhaps it is not even the best method.  Some experimenting would need to be done but it sounds like fun if you are up for the challenge!

Marge suggests just a drop or two in your favorite tea, coffee, or cocoa. We did discover some advocate adding essential oils directly to the tea leaves, wearing powder free gloves and using a stainless steel bowl for the process…you can add the desired oils and toss together to saturate the leaves.  Apparently some oils bind quicker than others or are a bit stronger (like Cinnamon) and would not need to “sit” as long.

However, Marge is thinking that maybe tearing off a small piece of paper towel and adding a couple of drops of essential oil to it, and closing it up tight in a small canister of tea or tea leaves might be a good starting point. (No need in wasting tea or oil on large amounts.) Starting out with just a drop or two would be best.  You could always add more as needed.  She does the same thing to flavor sugar with our Vanilla CO2 and sometimes adds a drop or two of Ginger EO to a jar of honey for flavoring. Yummy! 

An interesting fact: Bergamot is added to commercial Earl Grey tea, a favorite of the Brits! But if using citrus oils, it is crucial to make sure you are selecting Organic citrus oils. Non-organic could likely be from a sprayed crop.  No one wants to ingest that! We would also limit our exploration to the "foodie" oils, citrus rinds, gentle spices and herbs.

We would love to hear from you if you’ve “taken the plunge,” (couldn’t resist!) and experimented with food or beverages blended with essential oils, including your hints, tips, and recipes.  Remember, all safety considerations should be followed, and cautions heeded about any particular oil you are using.

By Christi R. Pugh
For Nature’s Gift, Inc.


Andy said...

I sometimes add a drop of Bergamot to black tea. Instant Earl Grey!

Andy said...

I sometimes add a drop of Bergamot to black tea. Instant Earl Grey!

Rosie said...

I made really fabulous almond nut butter cups and flavored the melted dark chocolate for the cups that contained the nut butter with orange oil, cardamon oil, peppermint oil and ginger oil ~ only one flavor per cup all who tasted them gave raves they are a classy version of boring old (but delicious) peanut butter cups made of poor quality ingredients and too much salt & sugar

Marge said...

Rosie, that sounds wonderful...but you know it is against all the rules of the internet to talk about food w/out sharing the recipe. (Especially if it's a CHOCOLATE recipe! ;)

Anonymous said...

Would it be safe to use orange or lemon essential oils on the skin as a toner? If these are made from the peeling only (as yours are), I'm thinking it would be a bioflavinoid treat for the skin! Do extracts from peelings sensitize the skin just as much as those from the juice? I understand that the juice and extracts from lemons, oranges, cause sun sensitivity..but why do some assume that oils extracted soley from the peeling and rind sensitize as well? They are not acidic. What is your experience?

Marge said...

To Anonymous... NEVER use the citrus oils undiluted...and I would not use them even properly diluted on facial skin. All are skin irritants, and most are photosensitizers. They really are not a good choice for skincare, other than the DISTILLED lime oil and the Bergamot FCF. And those only in proper dilution. Have you seen our skincare chart? It will give appropriate oils to use for different skin types or problems, but only in proper dilution.

Anonymous said...

I have been blending tea for a couple of weeks, for hours a day. Here are some guidelines that I think I've worked out so far.

First, you hear a lot of hype about essential oils being dangerous, and nothing too clear about what's safe to do with them, and what's not.

The FDA list most food based essential oils as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe).
Here's the FDA essential oils GRAS list

The best method for flavoring tea is by exposing it to powerful fragrances. The oldest tea flavors can from proximity characterizing tea with strong scents like rose, jasmine, and lotus and smoke. I don't recommend coating tea with essential oils. The dried tea doesn't absorb the oils well, and when you try to infuse it, no matter how much oil you use, the oil will not mix with the water. . If you leave several drops (approx 8) on a couple of cotton balls or paper towels, in a loosely filled air tight container for a couple of days, it should be strongly flavored. To know when it's finished, just sample a cup a couple times a day until it's flavored to your liking.

Marge said...

That is identical to the way we fragrance cards, Christmas cards, any paper product. I suspect you could fragrance fabric the same way. THANK YOU!!!!

Gigi Foster said...

I'm currently making a wild orange infused jasmine green tea. I added bulk jasmine green tea, extra dried jasmine flowers, and a folded paper towel with 3 drops of organic wild orange EO and repeated the layers of tea and flowers into a half pint mason jar. It smells amazing!

jennifer said...

I make Chai Spice tea using high quality black tea leaves in a large mason jar with a few drops of a mix of highest quality essential oils labeled for ingestion (cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, clove, fennel) applied around the inside of the jar and lid. I let it sit a few days and shake it around. Perfect!

Marge said...

Just a reminder... the fact that the essential oil that you buy is marked "for ingestion" is not an indicator of high quality. There are food and flavouring suppliers offering essential oils that I would never use, or put our label on. In my experience, most ethical suppliers label their oils "for topical use only", "not for ingestion", etc. It is a relatively new marketing gimmick to offer essential oils as "food supplements." However, as stated above.. food and flavouring is one of the oldest use of essential oils, and your Chai tea sounds wonderful. I like to put a drop of oil on an unbleached coffee filter, and lay that in the container of tea.