My 12 Days of Thriftmas - Day 8 - DIY Tea, Coffee, and Hot Choc Blends!

We’ve all seen those cellophane-wrapped coffee cup gift sets, and now there are even entire shops dedicated to tea, catering for those of us who love our comforting hot drinks… but instead of buying ready-made, let’s go back a step and look at how we can make our own blends, to make a very personal gift….
If you’re considering making, or blending ingredients at home, there is so much inspiration online. I’ve added a few ideas, below… Let’s talk about three options - starting with the tea…
If you like the idea of using fresh ingredients, my favourites are lemon and ginger. I use a vegetable peeler to remove thin strips of the rind from the fruit, then put them on a baking sheet, and place them in the oven on a low temperature for 2 hours, or longer if necessary, to begin to dry them out. (you could be doing this at the same time as making your potpourri, more on that in the Christmas decorations video!). After two hours, remove from the oven and let them rest on the kitchen counter overnight; they should be good to go by morning. Chop them into fine pieces, and then add them to the blend.
You could add your dried out ingredients to shop-bought loose black tea, to use as and when you want a cuppa – or pop the lemon and ginger into muslin bags like these ones, to use in a teapot. (*and the bags are, of-course, reusable)
A perfect ratio of tea to water is 5g per 400ml, so I’d make up of half and half of dried lemon, and dried ginger, in a muslin bag. Of-course, if you’re making a larger amount, or adding it to loose tea, it’s easier to use a scoop, or strainer, like this one, adding about 1 tablespoon to a tea infuser for 8 oz of boiling water. If you’re gifting this, you can use a jam jar – it’s such an easy, pretty presentation idea when you use your wax wraps for the lid!
Another idea for an energising tea blend is to mix half a teaspoon of loose green tea, and 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary, with a generous pinch of nutmeg - and honey to taste… that’s a natural caffeine hit!
Onto the coffee lovers...
Buy a large bag of coffee beans, and then add the following… 
A dash of nutmeg, or add a few whole cardamom seeds to your beans before you grind them for brewing. For a sweet hit, add a vanilla bean to your coffee grounds during the brewing process. Also try some star anise, but sparingly; a half a pod is more than enough for a single cup of coffee. If you add too much, the liquorice-like flavour will overpower your coffee no matter how strong you like your cuppa. For a rounded chocolatey vibe, add cocoa nibs - about ½ of a teaspoon for every two cups of coffee.

And for the people in your life who are all about the hot chocolate…

Find an old jam jar, and fill it almost to the top with a pinch of sea salt, a couple of cinnamon sticks, a tablespoon of brown sugar – and the rest with cocoa, before blending it all. Then put it back in the jar, and fill to the top with mini marshmallows. You could even wrap it together with a miniature bottle of rum, or brandy, for the grown-ups!

And - if you're wondering how to tell people what to do with the jar of goodness you've just given them, handwrite a recipe, and attach it to the gift with a ribbon... LOVELY!! I got these pre-printed sheets from Tiger, they work perfectly...

So, that's Day 8 done and dusted, time for a cup of tea, I think!
And for a recap on what's gone on before, check out the rest of my YouTube 12 Days of Thriftmas series!

See you soon...
Christmassy Hugs,
Gema x


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