• How to Brew •
• step 1: gather Supplies •
• step 2: choose a straining method •
There are multiple ways you can approach straining your essiac. You just need to decide which method is best for you based on your supplies.
a. tea ball
This is the easiest approach to straining your herbs. All you have to do is place your herbs in a large tea ball (or multiple small ones) and then drop them into your pot. No straining is needed when pouring later on if you use this method.
b. funnel strainer
If you plan on free-floating your herbs (not using a tea ball), then this is the second easiest approach to straining them. This handy funnel + strainer combo strains the tea right before it reaches the bottle.
This approach is only necessary if you are free-floating your herbs without the use of a tea ball (A) or funnel strainer (B). If you can balance your fine-mesh colander on top of your bottle funnel, then this method works the same as (B)-- but if your colander will not safely balance on your funnel, then you must place your colander on a second 2-gal pot (warm) and pour into this pot first to strain the tea.
d. lid strainer
This approach is great if you plan on free-floating your herbs and are using a pot with a special straining lid (must be fine enough to catch herbs, not just pasta). It will require you to lift your pot and pour your steeped essiac through your straining lid and into your bottle funnel.
• step 3: choose a pouring method •
There are two main ways to approach pouring your essiac.
a. tea siphon
This is a brand new and incredibly easy solution for getting tea from pot to bottle. After a long search, we now offer a handy siphon with flow clamp & pot clip, perfect for those who aren't comfortable lifting a 2-gal pot and pouring it into a funnel. Using this siphon, all you have to do is pump once or twice and the tea will naturally flow through the tube and into your funnel or directly into the bottle.
NOTE: You must let tea cool to 120°F before using your tea siphon.
b. hand pour
This classic method is great for those able to lift a 2-gal pot and pour into a funnel, or for those making a half-batch of essiac in a smaller pot. All you have to do is, while wearing oven mitts, lift your pot over your bottle funnel and pour. Remember that you should use straining methods A, B, C, or D (see above).
• step 4: boil •
Essiac is a decoction utilizing hardy herbs that must be boiled and then steeped for a great deal longer than an infusion to properly release their nutrients.
1. bring 1 gallon + 3 cups water to boil in a 2-gal pot
Purified, distilled, or filtered water is best, as tap water usually has a high mineral content that could affect the tea's final composition. If you have a Brita filter or similar, water filtered through this first should be fine.
2. Cut open & empty tea packet into tea ball (or pot)
Then close and carefully drop tea ball into water. If you aren't using one, then empty herbs into the pot of water for free-floating (you'll need to strain them later).
3. cover pot & simmer for 8-10 minutes, then turn off heat
Make sure it's a gentle simmer and not a hard boil.
• step 5: steep •
Though lengthy, this step is key in ensuring your herbs imbue the water with all possible nutrients.
1. steep tea for 10-12 hours
Make sure the lid is on and all burners are off.
2. arrange your empty bottles
This is a great time to get ready for the most involved step: bottling. Arrange your four, clean, 32oz glass bottles in a row, preferably in a sink or someplace that can handle possible spillage, like a plastic tub or on some paper towels (flattened). Make sure the bottles are stable and will not tip while pouring.
3. Lay out your supplies
Place your caps next to your bottles for quick capping. Stick your funnel (if using) into the mouth of the first bottle you plan to pour into. If it's a funnel + strainer combo, make sure the strainer is in place (optional if using a tea ball). Lay a pair of oven mitts near the pot to wear while bottling. If using a siphon, colander, 2nd pot, or other optional tool, place it next to the pot as well.
• step 6: bottle •
This step will require the most care and attention, as it involves pouring a hot liquid and could get messy if you over-pour. Make sure you've read all the instructions and have all your materials ready!
1. remove lid and bring tea back to a gentle simmer
Now is a good time to review your supplies and put on your oven mitts, if using.
2. turn off heat
If hand pouring, proceed to substep 4, but if using a tea siphon, then let tea cool to 120°F or less. This should take about an hour, and goes a little faster if you can slide your pot to an already cool burner. Use a food-grade thermometer if needed.
3. optional: mount siphon
If hand pouring, proceed to substep 4, but if using a tea siphon, extend its center tube and then carefully place it upright into pot while guiding siphon clip onto pot wall. You should be able to let go of the siphon and have it remain upright or at a slight angle. Make sure bottom of siphon reaches bottom of pot to ensure you capture as much tea as possible. Slide the flow clamp up or down the tube to the most convenient place for handling, preferably toward the end of the tube.
4. pour hot tea into bottles
-If hand pouring, make sure you have your oven mitts on and carefully lift pot to edge of sink or wherever bottles are placed. If you can, it helps to balance the pot on the edge of the sink and let it take the weight as you pour into funnel. Once bottle is filled, put down pot and move funnel to next bottle. Repeat process. Make sure to set pot down on a surface that can withstand its heat, such as an extra oven mitt, wooden cutting board, or back on the stove, as the bottom will be very hot.
-If using a tea siphon, first position the pot on a heat-safe surface near the bottles. Now place the end of the soft-plastic tube into the funnel or run directly into the first bottle. Start the siphon by pumping the curved, hard-plastic tube at the top up and down until tea begins to flow steadily. The lower you are able to get the mouth of your tube, the faster the tea should flow, hence the advantage of placing your bottles in a sink and keeping your pot above and to the side. Put one hand on the flow clamp and pinch down to slow the flow or stop it entirely once bottle is full. You can also just lift the tube up above the siphon to stop the flow. Unclamp the or lower the tube when ready to pour into next bottle. Remember to move your funnel to the next bottle as well, if using. There will be a little tea left at the bottom of the pot that the siphon can't reach, so just lift the now-light pot and pour.
NOTE: If any herbs slip past your strainers, don't worry. They won't hurt you if they want to escape into your tea.
• step 7: cap & store •
You're almost done! This step will determine whether you can store your essiac on a shelf or will have to place it in the fridge.
1. tightly cap each bottle
Make sure you're using a food-safe cap that fits the bottle properly. If using our vacuum-seal caps, make sure you cap immediately and twist hard enough to depress the inner seal. As the tea cools, this will create a vacuum.
2. store essiac
If you bottle at 180 degrees or above and use new vacuum-sealing caps and brand new bottles, your bottles should be okay in the cupboard for up to a year. I say this with hesitancy because if your container has been used before and not properly sanitized, your tea WILL spoil, even though you bottled at the proper temperature. If you are using the tea siphon at it's recommended temperature, using a previously-used cap or bottle, we strongly suggest placing your bottles in the fridge once they cool down enough to do so.
3. clean supplies
Cleaning up after brewing essiac is very easy. Just wash out your pot, lid, funnel, any strainers used, tea ball (if using), and run cold water through your tea siphon (if using) to clear out any residual tea (it can get sticky once dried). The easiest way to clean the siphon is to fill the pot with clean water and siphon that to flush out any inside tea. Wash off bottles once cooled if any tea spilled over. Either keep packet box for future reference or place in recycling bin. Throw away herb wrapper.
4. You did it!
Phew, that was quite a bit more involved than brewing normal tea, wasn't it? Trust us that it's worth it to make sure your essiac is as pure and nutrient-dense as possible. Remember you can find any supplies you may need on our store, and can chat with us or send a message anytime with questions you may have. Now feel free to move on to the 'How to Enjoy' section for directions on consuming your brew.