Cassie Liversidge’s Homegrown Tea Planting, Harvesting, Blending Guide

by DerdriuMarriner

Cassie Liversidge’s Homegrown Tea offers an illustrated guide to planting, harvesting, and blending teas from tea plants and tisanes from non-tea plants.

Homegrown tea cooperates with indoor or outdoor gardening

Balconies, courtyards, terraces, and windowsills are as user-friendly as gardens for cultivating and harvesting tea- and tisane-producing plants. They in fact bring gardeners conveniently close to the kitchens and pantries where the blending of a planting will take place for making:
• homegrown teas from the tea plants Camellia sinensis var assamica (Assamese camellia) and Camellia sinensis var sinensis (Chinese camellia); and
• homemade tisanes from simmered decoctions of roots and steeped infusions of flowers, fruits, leaves, and seeds.

Tea and tisane-producing plants indeed can be grown in the ground, inside raised beds, or within containers wherever ambient conditions satisfy drainage, light, moisture, soil, and temperature requirements.

Cassie Liversidge clearly and entertainingly delivers all necessary information for Homegrown Tea.

allure of glass tea set: Herbal tea in a glass teapot and cup

Restaurant Le Point De Vue in Omihachiman, Shiga prefecture, Japan
Restaurant Le Point De Vue in Omihachiman, Shiga prefecture, Japan

Homegrown tea draws tea cultivators and makers together

 

Fun facts emerge from every painting, photograph, and profile in the attractively organized, thoughtfully written Homegrown Tea. The introduction follows black, green, oolong, and white tea ancestry in China to:

  • harvesting the freshest, youngest parts in the morning -- before sunlight and winds compromise medicinally beneficial oils -- for same-day drinking or drying;
  • presenting in bags (invented in 1908 by New York dealer Thomas Sullivan’s wife as silk-enclosed samples) and teapots; and
  • rinsing and serving in 176ºF/80ºC water.

Five chapters give information on benefits, cultivation, harvest, preparation, and service of:

  • black, green, oolong, and white teas from respectively oxidized, non-oxidized, and semi-oxidized leaves and hairy soft bud tips; and
  • tisanes from flowers, fruits, leaves, roots, and seeds. 

 

Stainless Steel Long Handle Tea Infuser, Set of 4, by the Friendly Swede ~ Available via Amazon ~ #1 Best Seller in Long-Handled Tea Strainers

Tea infusers are popular utensils for steeping homegrown tea.
tea infusers

Homegrown tea ensues from non-tea and tea plants

 

Flowers highlight tisanes from:

  • chamomile;
  • honeysuckle;
  • jasmine;
  • lavender;
  • roses;
  • saffron;
  • violets.

Fruit is behind tisanes from:

  • blueberries;
  • lemons;
  • myrtle;
  • rose hips;
  • strawberries.

Leaves jumpstart tisanes from:

  • bergamot;
  • black peppermint, garden-mint, ginger-mint, lavender-mint, spearmint, strawberry-mint;
  • blue, pink, white hyssop;
  • green/true cardamom;
  • lemon balm;
  • lemon-curd, orange, variegated-curd thyme;
  • lemon-grass, lemon verbena;
  • manuka, mountain-pepper/pepper-leaf;
  • New Jersey tea;
  • pineapple-sage, tangerine-sage;
  • raspberries;
  • rosemary;
  • scented geranium/pelargonium, stevia, sweet tea vine;
  • tulsi/holy basil.

Roots keep tisane-lovers happy with:

  • angelica;
  • blue-dandelion/chicory;
  • ginger;
  • licorice/sweet-root;
  • purple coneflower.

Seeds lead tisane-lovers to:

  • bronze, burgundy, green fennel;
  • Chinese/Japanese parsley, cilantro, coriander;
  • fenugreek/methi.

An appended chart mentions as houseplant-raising tea-/tisane-makers year-round:

  • cardamom, cilantro;
  • ginger;
  • jasmine;
  • lemongrass, lemon verbena, licorice;
  • mint;
  • sage, scented geranium, stevia, strawberries, sweet-tea vine;
  • tea, thyme, tulsi. 

 

Homegrown Tea: An Illustrated Guide to Planting, Harvesting, and Blending Teas and Tisanes by Cassie Liversidge ~ Available now via Amazon

Homegrown Tea explains how to grow a large variety of plants in your own garden, on a balcony or even on a window sill could become your tea cupboard.
homegrown tea

Homegrown tea favors organic food and garden-loving lifestyles

 

Appendices navigate:

  • acknowledgments to Bee Happy, British Saffron, Burgon & Ball, Cocker Roses, Creative Authors, Glenburn Tea Estate, Herbal Haven, Mountain Gardens, Plants 4 Presents, St. Martin’s Press;
  • air-drying, airing-cupboards, dehydrators, low-temperature radiator-drying, oven-drying [212ºF/100ºC], sunscreen-drying;
  • bag, plant, seed suppliers;
  • bibliographies;
  • sun teas.

An index offers user-friendly follow-ups to:

  • hardiness (below 5ºF/-15ºC), semi-hardiness (to 5ºF/-15ºC), tenderness (32ºF/0ºC);
  • medium (80% loam, 20% humus);
  • nutrients (bone-meal, chicken pellets, comfrey juice, fish blood/bone, nettle tea, seaweed, worm tea);
  • planting (depth twice seed length);
  • propagation (semi-hardwood or softwood cuttings);
  • transplants (spring);
  • treatments (egg-shells against slugs and snails, garlic-spray or insecticidal soap against greenflies and whiteflies, milk-spray against mildew).

The culturally enriching, educationally entertaining guide provides the wherewithal to enjoy Homegrown Tea

 

Churchill Blue Willow Teapot, 40-ounce ~ Available now via Amazon ~ This is the teapot, part of my paternal grandmother's Blue Willow place settings, in which I steep and serve homegrown and store-bought tea ~

Made in England ~ Shape: Georgian ~ Material: Earthenware Dishwasher & Microwave Safe ~ The Legend of Blue Willow is depicted on this classic collection ~ Originally hand engraved in the 19th century onto copper plates,
Blue Willow Teapots

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

Teavana PerfecTea Tea Maker, 16oz ~ Available now via Amazon ~ #1 Best Seller in Teapots ~ Perfect for brewing tea, 1 cup at a time!

Brews the perfect cup every time: add tea and water at the correct temperature, then put the tea maker on your favorite mug
Teavana PerfecTea Tea Maker, 16oz

Sources Consulted

 

Liversidge, Cassie. 2014. Homegrown Tea: An Illustrated Guide to Planting, Harvesting, and Blending Teas and Tisanes. New York, NY, U.S.A.: St. Martin's Griffin. 

 

Subtle sweetness and nuanced fragrance of jasmine tea accounts for its popularity not only in China but also worldwide:

glass teapot of jasmine tea on a black granite surface
bird's eye view
bird's eye view
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

14k White Gold Diamond Teapot Charm (0.09 ctw, H-I, I1-I2) with Lobster Claw Clasp, Charms For Bracelets by CTT Charms & Pendants ~ Available via Amazon

Show your love of tea through teapot charm: 27mm long x 14mm wide Charm of 14K white gold and round white diamond comes with a lobster claw clasp.
teapot charms

A Cup of Tea and a Book by C.S. Lewis: poster ~ Available via AllPosters

C.S. Lewis: You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.
A Cup of Tea and A Book CS Lewis

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 08/04/2015, DerdriuMarriner
 
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DerdriuMarriner on 08/04/2015

Mira, I remember them breaking off, cleaning, and grinding the root for oven-baking at 350°C (176°F) for about an hour.
Sometimes there's less and sometimes there's more chicory in the yard. This year there may be enough that I can stock up on chicory for homemade beverage drinking.
Where is the instant chicory made? Do you drink it with cream and sugar? Do you use it as a breakfast or dessert drink?
In the French (really Spanish-style) Quarter of New Orleans, they make really delicious, fragrant chicory coffee. I enjoyed ordering it with some of their fantastic pastries but for some reason -- which escapes me in retrospect -- I never thought of buying any. It would be interesting to find out if it's local-made or available through some multinational business.

Mira on 08/04/2015

I buy instant chicory here and love it. How did your grandmothers make chicory coffee?

DerdriuMarriner on 08/04/2015

Mira, The publication is through the U.S.A. even though the author is U.K.-born! It's a beautiful book which I love reading and re-reading. The author includes her own illustrations at the beginning of each tea- and tisane-producing plant's profile. She even includes a brief but nice recipe for making chicory coffee, which I remember my Dutch and English grandmothers having included in family cookbooks.

DerdriuMarriner on 08/04/2015

WriterArtist, Do you have a favorite tea? It's such an adventure to select the type of tea and then to sit back and enjoy the beauty of preparing and serving it. I find the ceremony of making tea and the presentation of it through pot and cup every bit as comforting as that first morning sip to get the day started.
Me too, I love ginger and lemon added to make a perfect cup of tea even more -- ;-D -- perfect.

Mira on 08/04/2015

Your list of leaves, flowers, berries, and roots that can be used to make tea is wonderful. I'll refer back to it as I try new tisanes. Haven't tried honeysuckle, for instance.

WriterArtist on 08/03/2015

I love my cup of tea which is essential to kick start my day. Though I might never cultivate tea, I had chance to sea coffee and tea plantations. They are a beautiful sight on the mountains in India. I also got chance to taste a varieties of flavours.

At home, I grow basil, mint and other herbs to enhance the flavour of the tea. I love my tea with ginger and lemon too. You have showcased beautiful teapot charm and tea infusers. This tempts me for a second cup of tea. Off to get some tea now. :)

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