Saffron tea is an aromatic cup of delicious, invigorating and healthy liquid gold. Easy to prepare, low in calories and perfect for any occasion, whatever the meal.
I know you might be thinking “but saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. How much is that going to cost? You are right, of course, but we only need a tiny pinch to make 2 servings with a top up for seconds; just 10-12 threads. That’s not so bad is it?
What is Saffron?
As mentioned above, it is a spice, and a rather expensive one at that. I’ll be doing a post on saffron soon, as requested by a reader, along with today’s recipe, so look out for that.
Saffron has a musky, earthy and grass like flavour and aroma, with hints of pepper. It is used for both its flavour as well as its colour. It imparts a strong orange-yellow hue to foods and here on LinsFood, we use it extensively in our Middle Eastern, North African, Spanish and Indian recipes, savoury and sweet. Like the following:
Saffron comes from the flower crocus sativus. The dried threads we use are actually the stigma (red) and style (yellow) of the flower, and are carefully handpicked. Each flower only gives 3 threads, so you can appreciate why it’s so expensive.
Saffron comes in many grades, with the highest known as sargol, which means “top of the flower” in Farsi (the Persian language) and consists of pure red stigmas. So, literally, it’s the tip of the saffron stigma that’s used for this grade.
You can see in my image, there are some yellow styles mixed with the red. I need a new supplier, don’t I? 😉
Look out for the full post on saffron soon, including how to grow the flowers yourself!
Saffron Tea Recipe
Like most herbal teas, it really is the easiest thing in the world.
- Take a pinch of saffron.
- Add off the boil water.
- Add ginger slice (if you want) and brew for 5 minutes.
- Strain and serve, with a slice of lemon, if you fancy.
- Then top up those strands for another round.
You can sweeten your saffron tea with honey, or, if you prefer, with sugar. Honey is healthier, naturally, but I don’t have a problem with sugar in moderation. Do you?
You can also spice up your saffron tea with cinnamon or cardamom. But whatever you do, don’t add any milk to it, it will completely ruin the flavour and your glorious saffron tea will taste … meh.
Saffron Tea with Milk
Milk should only be added to your saffron tea when that tea is made with black tea and saffron. So we’re talking regular tea, spiced up with a little saffron and other spices; masala chai, in other other words.
Benefits of Saffron Tea
What you get out of your tea, will be all the benefits of saffron, along with anything else you might add.
Saffron has been used as a natural remedy for countless illnesses for over 4 000 years. I must confess that I’ve never used it with its health benefits in mind, but I’ll briefly touch on a few of them for those of you who do want to drink it for that.
- Saffron is a great digestive aid, and has been used all across India and ancient Persia in traditional medicine for that purpose and others.
- Ancient Ayurvedic texts cite saffron as an aphrodisiac, and its importance in the wedding night ritual. So Valentine’s Day menu, you think? 😉
- Saffron tea is a great mood booster. There are various trials that support this particular claim.
- Saffron tea is also believed to aid memory and learning.
- Saffron contains antioxidants, and also has potential to contribute to heart health.
- Researchers also contend that saffron tea can help to alleviate PMS symptoms.
These are just some of the health benefits of drinking saffron tea. I have saffron tea to finish off a meal, on when I don’t fancy regular tea or coffee. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line.
In the meantime, shall we get our aprons on?
More Hot Drinks on LinsFood
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- small teapot
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 500 ml off the boil water (boil, then count to 10 before using)
- 2 tsp honey (or sugar) to taste
- 2 sprigs mint leaves
Additional Ingredients (as you fancy, not all at once!)
- 2 slices lemon
- 2 slices ginger
- 2 pods green cardamom
- 2 small cinnamon sticks
- 4 dried rose petals
- Boil the water in a kettle.
- Add a small pinch of saffron (about 12 threads) in a small teapot for 2. If using ginger, now's the time to drop a couple of slices in. The size won't matter.
- When the water has boiled, count to ten, then pour it over the saffron. We let the water cool ever so slightly to ensure that we don't lose all the essential oil off the saffron, with the steam. Steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain, and sweeten as desired. If adding lemon slices, now's the time to drop them in.
- If you like, you can get another round of tea with the used threads. It won't be as strong as the first cup, but will still be delicious. Just repeat the process with freshly boiled water.