LATVIAN HERBAL TEA – A HEALTHY TASTE OF SUMMER
The production of herbal tea has been a Latvian tradition for decades. For generations, flowers and herbs has been carefully picked, dried and thoughtfully mixed together to create this healthy taste of summer. In the Latgale region in Eastern Latvia, I visited an herbal tea producer who has maintained the knowledge and continued the Latvian tradition of serving warm, fragrant and freshly made herbal tea for each of the meals of the day.
ECOLOGICAL AND LOCALLY PRODUCED HERBAL TEA
In Rakuti, we met the farmer Ivars who has produced a variety of ecological herbal tea for a living since 1994. The fields surrounding the little production facility were bursting with flowers and herbs in all the colors of the rainbow, waiting to be picked, dried, packaged and sold all over Latvia.
The herbs have different properties and the combination of them determines which effect the tea has. Some have a calming effect, others an energizing effect, some are anti-septic, while others can even help breathing. No matter which effect you are looking for – there is a tea that can help you!
To facilitate the pollination of the herbs and flowers, Ivars kept honey bees in the area. As a result, he is also a producer of honey. He does not only get sweet and delicious honey from the bees, which by the way goes perfectly with the herbal tea, but also beeswax used to make home made candles, amongst other things.
Ivars has several large drying cabinets in the production facility which he uses to dry the herbs and flowers. After drying, the herbs are kept in large bags of cloth or on trays, until they are to be packaged for the consumer market or for larger costumers who uses Ivars´ herbs in their own tea mixes.
HERBAL TEA WITH HONEY
The tea is served piping hot from large tea kettles. We were served tea for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper. In the areas we visited, tea is more normal to offer than coffee. The tea is sweetened with honey, bringing forth several nuances in the deliciously rich herbal flavors.
VISIT THE FARM, TASTE, BUY AND LEARN ABOUT LOCAL HERBAL TEA
If you ever visit Latvia, you should not miss out on a large, well made kettle of locally produced herbal tea. Look Ivars´ packages named “Kurmisi” – and bring the taste of Latvian summer back home. If you´re interested in learning more about the medicinal herbs used in his production, you can visit the farm, and get a guided learning experience, where he reveals some of the secrets behind the traditions of growing and making Latvian herbal tea.