Covering Your Herbal Tea Cup

There are lots of opinions among herbal tea cup enthusiasts, aromatherapists, and herbalists about whether an herbal tea infusion should be allowed to breathe while steeping or covered up. I recently did some research into this topic to find out how to get the most out of every cup of herb tea I brew – and the results are really interesting!

Before I share them with you, let’s look at the three main reasons why plants heal through tea…

First, there are complex essential oils in all plants that carry healing properties – these same oils also effect healing through aromatherapy. Next, there are healing elements in the plant fibers in the form of nutrients. Finally, there are colors, fragrances, and other properties that bring a healing effect from herbal teas.

Here’s where it gets interesting…

When you pour hot water over your tea bag, infusion ball, or loose herbs, the water goes to work expanding the walls of the plants’ cells and releasing essential oils and other healing nutrients into the water. If the cup is left uncovered, many volatile essential oils (volatile means that the oils evaporate or change quickly when exposed to the air, heat, or other elements) go up with the steam, lost forever! When you cover your cup – the essential oils get trapped and end up in the herbal tea infusion itself, and eventually in your body to be absorbed and used in healing and happiness.

So, I’ve officially become a ‘covered cup’ tea brewer and I have noticed a few things…

  • My tea smells stronger and better. I believe that more essential oils are being retained so the aroma is better all around!
  • My tea tastes more complex, full, and alive. Again, the essential oils being retained adds flavor and scent to the tea that would otherwise be lost through steam and heat evaporation.
  • My tea is more effective in helping me heal, strengthen, or attain whatever goals I have for it… even if that’s just a few minutes of relaxation!

So, the next time you brew the perfect cup of tea, use a lid or small plate to cover up the cup or mug during steeping time and taste the difference!

Josh Williams Herbalist



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