Vanilla Tea, A Luxurious Taste and Aroma
Have you ever had a cup of vanilla tea? No, I don’t mean the kind with artificial flavoring. But one infused with a real vanilla bean? It is one of my ideas of heaven on earth and I have been on a quest for years after first tasting it. In 1985, I visited my friend Herta in Cologne, Germany and one afternoon we stopped at a quaint tea shop near the river. Herta asked for vanilla tea, and the clerk opened a large brass tin. The delicate and fresh fragrance of vanilla wafted through the air. Back home, we brewed a pot of the vanilla tea and my first sip was sublime.
However, my search for real vanilla tea in the States has been unsuccessful. The teas that I bought either had no taste of vanilla or the vanilla left a harsh aftertaste in my mouth. I was disappointed. That is, until I made my own vanilla tea! It is easy to do and I’ll give you the simple steps so you can do it too.
Make Your Own Vanilla Tea
You will need pure vanilla extract and one vanilla bean, one cup of loose black tea, and one clean jar. The key is to use pure vanilla extract, and not synthetic vanilla flavoring. You want to use an unflavored black tea such as English Breakfast – I used Yorkshire Gold tea from Taylors of Harrogate.
Measure one cup of black tea and pour it into the jar. Then add one teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract to the tea. Score the vanilla bean down the center of the bean lengthwise and then cut the bean into one-half inch pieces. Toss the vanilla bean into the jar. Tightly close the lid and shake the jar to distribute the bean and tea.
That’s it – it’s that easy.
Every day, give the jar a good shake and after one week, measure 1 teaspoon of tea (minus the bean) per serving into a cup or teapot, add boiling water, and let the tea steep for three to five minutes. Voila! Real vanilla tea with just a hint of delicate, pure vanilla flavor. Then sit back, relax, enjoy, and savor the sublime deliciousness of it all.
Fun Fact About Vanilla:
Did you know that a vanilla bean is the seed pod from an orchid that is indigenous to the Americas?
The word vanilla, derived from vainilla, the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina (vaina itself meaning a sheath or a pod), is translated simply as “little pod”. Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people cultivated the vine of the vanilla orchid, called tlīlxochitl by the Aztecs. Wikipedia
This article by Kate Dumont was updated from the original 2012 publication.
In defense of flavored tea. Posted by nmurphy | Feb 14, 2014
Fruity and Flowery Iced Teas. Posted by Robert Wemischner | Jul 8, 2021
Scented teas. Posted by Kev Woodward | Sep 2, 2013
What a great idea. Do you think it would work with green or white tea as well? Perhaps even an oolong…..?
That is a good question and I do not know the answer. Give it a try and let us know how it works for you.
I had the exact experience. I had some in London (I’m from trinidad) and have bought various vanilla teas since, none of which replicated that delicate flavour. I recently got vanilla beans from grenada and am so glad to find this recipe. Thank you
You are welcome. Wise folks say one can find enlightenment in a cup of tea. Celebrate the little things in life like the fragrance and delicious flavor of real vanilla tea!
I also wondered if this would work with green and white tea but I haven’t tried it as yet. No reason why not.Keep us posted with your results if you do it. As for using oolong with vanilla flavoring, I personally would not do it, given that oolong has such a unique flavor already…but I could be off on that call.
Sounds lovely, can’t wait to try it – please, can you tell me how to store it and for how long it lasts? Thanks.
Hello Carole and thank you for your post. Hmmm, I am thinking about your question. I drink my vanilla tea rather quickly so it only lasts about a month or two here, and I make sure to store it in an airtight container away from light. Teas can last months if stored properly so I would guess that 6 months or so of shelf life is possible. I’ll research this question more and get back to you.
Thanks for the reply. Great to know that it lasts for months rather than days or weeks. Looking forward to having yummy vanilla tea!
HI! Had a cup of Vanilla Tea recently while on vacation and now I’m trying to re-create Vanilla Tea at home. Thanks for posting the recipe. Wondering though…
1. When you score and split the bean-pod, is it the bean-pod you cut into 1/2″ pieces?
2. What do you do with the actual beans that are inside?
3. Do you only put ONE 1/2″ piece in the jar or all of the pieces in at once?
Sorry for needing more detail, but I couldn’t figure it out. If you’re putting ALL of the 1/2″ pieces into the jar, why bother cutting & etc and just pop the entire uncut bean into the jar?
Thank so much. I can hardly wait to have some at home.
Yes, you want to score the pod to open it. You want to put all the pieces in the jar with the tea for maximum diffusion of vanilla flavor. In fact, if the vanilla flavor is not strong enough, do the same procedure with two pods. It depends on how much vanilla flavor that you enjoy! Personally, I like it stronger than one pod; so experiment a little to see what your taste buds require. (those limitless black bits in the pod are the seeds and are quite safe to consume.) K
Sorry if this is a stupid question. When you say one cup of black tea, do you mean just the tea leaves or to actually make black tea and pour a cup of the liquid into the jar?
Eric, I am hoping Kate will chime in here, but I’m thinking it is a cup of the dry leaves. By the way, in my country, there is no such thing as a stupid question. There might be bad timing, or there might be poor listening, but questions themselves are never stupid.
Hi Kate, I was delighted to see your recipe for vanilla tea as, like you, my husband and I had some wonder vanilla tea on our holiday!
The tea we had was green so we have made up a concoction in your quantities, with 2 beans, and are now thinking that leaves at the bottom will have a stronger taste than rest as we use it. How long would you leave the vanilla in there for, or would you just remove it when the tea tastes strong enough of vanilla?
Very kind regards
Hello Lorna: I agree with Rafe, all questions are valid and good. Being curious is a lovely way to be in the world.
And Lorna, in my humble experiments, the vanilla taste remained subtle, even when I used two beans mixed in the tea leaves. That is why I added a few drops of vanilla extract as an enhancer.
If you do find the vanilla flavor too strong for your liking after a period of time, move the vanilla pods and give them the toss.
Thank you so much for your reply. Kate – I’ll probably leave them in then – the tea we had on hols had quite a strong vanilla taste, which is why we loved it. Have to make sure we wait to try it cos we only put it together this afternoon, LOL! Really looking forward to trying it :)
Thank you for sharing such an important thing, It can be useful in many aspects and leads to provide the relevant information. We are also providing health products that can nourish your body and usually provides a healthy body. For more information, visit our website at – https://shopatparaffine.com/products/vanilla-tea-sir-roberts-tea