Five fantastic aniseed flavours for home made teas

While researching for our new book, Wild Tea, we developed a liking for brews with the flavour of aniseed and set out to discover as many as we could find. Here are our five favourites…

Fennel

The undisputed aniseedy ace – its roots, leaves and seeds can all be used as an ingredient. It’s the vast Wild Fennel that’s best and dominates corners of our allotment and garden, and the seeds* are the highlight. Lightly crush a teaspoon of dried seeds and steep in a mug of hot water five minutes.

Anise

This Mediterranean plant has tiny seeds that are used in numerous sweets and boozes, including ouzo, absinthe, arak, sambuca and pastis. Lightly crush a teaspoon-full before adding to hot water or milk (a milky anise brew is a fine thing).

Caraway

Also known as Persian cumin and meridian fennel, these seeds are a common flavouring in rye bread. They have a milder aniseed flavour than fennel and are earthier with a slight peppery warmth to them. 

Star Anise

This spice is popular in Chinese cuisine and has a fruity aniseed flavour to it. Crush the stars into small pieces and use a teaspoon per cup for a fruity, spicy take on the aniseed theme.

Liquorice

We were surprised to discover that liquorice can be grown in British gardens so are now the proud owners of a plant. It’s the root that has the aniseed magic and, for the best cuppa, you’ll need to simmer a 50mm length in water for ten minutes. Alternatively, chop and bash as best you can and steep instead.

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For lots more tea inspiration (including extended growing and brewing information on fennel and liquorice) get your hands on a copy of Wild Tea

*Technically they’re the fruits…

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