Silver Birch Boucha Tea

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During the recent snow, I gathered silver birch twigs (Betula pendula) from outside my local police station, under the watchful eye of the local constabulary.

… I took those twigs home, not really knowing what I was going to do with them.

And as usual, when I am flummoxed by a plant, I simply keep them close to hand. Knowing and trusting that they will, eventually, whisper to me through my imagination.

There’s nothing woo-woo about it.

To me, it’s simply how the creative Muse talks to us all.

How does the Muse speak to you?

Do you listen to her?

And so it was on this ice cold Saturday. Suddenly a Muse filled me with images of a Japanese Tea Ceremony. So strong I could almost smell the tea!

Back when I was a 19-year-old cabinet maker, I had been deeply inspired by a book written by Horst Hammitzsch called Zen in the Art of the Tea Ceremony.

It captured my imagination.

Teas are one of the great pleasures in my life.

Simple. Meditative. Calming.

Last year I posted my experiment of making beech leaf tea. And many have reported back how much they enjoyed drinking it.

I’ve also made Japanese Cherry Blossom tea called Sakura. That one is truly divine.

So last Saturday, the Muse nudged me again. This time to make a tea with the Silver Birch twigs I had gathered.

Go online, and search birch twig tea and you will find lots of stuff (usually from gruff survival types) plonking freshly picked twigs (with buds) into boiling water and that’s it.

Some say its very bitter, and not worth the time. I don’t know. I’ve not made it that way.

However, as a lover of tea, I knew in my bones that something was missing from this method.

Teas need to be processed. Usually, with steam, toasting, roasting or fermenting.

So I decided to play with the silver birch twigs. What I discovered is a wild tea that would be acceptable at any tea ceremony.

The flavour is quite exquisite. A real find if you love Japanese or Chinese tea.

From something so simple, came something extraordinary.

How to Make Roasted Silver Birch Twig Tea

Step 1: Gather some silver birch twigs. I use twigs between 1mm to 2mm thick.

Snip them into small pieces. Usually no more than 5mm in length.

Preparing Silver Birch Twig Tea
Preparing Silver Birch Twig Tea

Step 2: Place on a baking tray, and roast in a 170C 150C for fan assisted ovens or gas mark 3.5 for 30 minutes.

Grind in a good quality herb or coffee grinder. I use a Cuisinart SG20U Electric Spice and Nut Grinder.

Roasted Silver Birch Twig Tea
Roasted Silver Birch Twig Tea

Step 3: Put one heaped teaspoon of the silver birch twig tea in a pot or tea ball, and brew for between 1 to 5 minutes. Everyone’s palate is different, so find your own preference.

Roasted Silver Birch Twig Tea Recipe
Silver Birch Twig Tea

Enjoy this simple silver birch twig tea.

Making wild teas is a slow, meditative process. See the act as a great way to slow down and restore vital connection.

 

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Share your experience. Leave a note for others

  1. I might try drying them in a fan dehydrator too, and test the difference between dried and roasted. Could experiment with them mixed with other teas.
    Many thanks for your inspiration.

    Reply
  2. I’d like to try this or similar whilst outside. Would it be possible to bake over an open fire, perhaps with a zebra (billy) can?

    Reply
  3. I am going to give this a go! Will let you know how I get on. I spent today on the coast and came across some wild garlic sat there for some time tast testing lol

    Reply
  4. Careful to harvest from wild toxin free soil though as Birch excellent hyperaccumulator of toxic substances. Used for amelioration of soil contaminated with hexavalent chromium.

    Reply
  5. Thank you for this! It is intriguing. Birch isn’t native to the region I’m in, but there are some birch trees that have been successfully planted. I’ll have to see if river birch will work. I, too, have been aware of the toxic substances affect of our land, and it is a very real concern here in the Midwesteren United States.

    Reply
  6. Just tried this one with a little coffee(ish) twist. I added roasted dandelion root in a ratio of 1 part to 4 parts roasted birch twig. It needed a little honey to balance the bitterness of the resulting brew in the mug. I’m going to listen to the inner muse and try it blended with oak leaf. Birch makes a great tea base (as you would use licourice root). I’m tempted to ferment a brew of birch and pine needle using tapped birch sap as the sugar source for a really fresh wild Spring wine. I’ll post the results in a few weeks with photos, method and results from north Nottinghamshire.

    Reply
  7. After having read and tried this easy and very tasty method of making twig-tea, I started experimenting with different trees.

    There grows a really tasty pinetree near me, and this makes a very citrus-like tasting tea which also makes you happy and full of vitamin C.
    Today I gathered some oak twigs and ahorn twigs, the oak I haven’t drank jet, but the ahorn tastes somewhere in between chocolate and coffee.

    Thank’s for this great little recipe Robin!

    Reply
  8. Absolutely delicious! I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole process as well as the end product. Simple and tasty. Thank you!

    Reply

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