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.
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.
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.
Enjoy this simple silver birch twig tea.