Here on the farm, we have an abundance of local plants that we can make tea with. We have been experimenting with lots of different leaves recently. I tried to grow green tea plants (Camellia sinensis), but the flavor is much different when it is not grown at elevation.
As you can imagine, a tropical rainforest is a great place for unique plants and many of these can be turned into tasty teas! Here are some of the ones we have tried on the farm.
Chamomile: Locally known as Manzanillo, it is used primarily as a sleepy-tea. It is very popular globally.
Cranberry Hibiscus: This tea gets its name from the burgundy-leaves, which are reminiscent of cranberries. The resulting tea is sour, so it is good to mix with a natural sweetener, honey or stevia are great options.
Flor de Jamaica: It is quite similar to the cranberry hibiscus. It is a cherished plant here in Costa Rica and makes a beautiful tea.
Ginger: You can make a lovely tea with the Ginger root. It is an incredibly healthy and useful plant. It has a host of benefits and is said to aid digestion and calm the stomach.
Lemongrass: These long and fragrant leaves make a brilliantly unique tea. To make, just cut the leaves and tie them in a knot. Boil in hot water for a few minutes and serve.
Hibiscus: Another very popular tea worldwide, hibiscus leaves make a tart tea. One of the local hairdressers claims that hibiscus tea if applied daily, may reduce or even reverse baldness.
Juanilama: The Juanilama plant produces leaves that are great for both digestion and relaxation. A great tea to have after dinner, and before bed.
Mint: Another popular tea globally, mint leaves can be made on their own, or added to elevate other teas.
Spearmint: More commonly known to be added to mojitos, this herb also makes a lovely tea. Much like mint, it can be mixed with other leaves to make a more complex drink.
Stevia: You have probably heard of stevia, the natural sweetener. It is an incredible plant. Much sweeter than sugar, and sometimes with a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Give it a try!
We recommend trying combinations of these teas, and they are great iced! One of our favorites is an iced tea with lemongrass, ginger, and stevia, delicious!