Love herbal tea? Learn how to make thyme tea using either fresh or dried thyme. Plus, try versions of the tea with other herbs, spices, or tea.
Each summer, as the herbs in my garden begin to flourish, I start clipping them back little by little.
As soon as I'm able to use fresh herbs in my kitchen, I feel like summer is here.
As the herbs kept growing, I got even more excited.
And I wanted herbal tea.
I love making fresh mint tea, but this year I wanted to try a few different types of herbal tea. Sadly, my cat destroyed this year's catnip within a few days, so my plans for more catnip tea are on hold.
Instead, I've been drinking this herbal thyme tea on repeat.
Want more tea ideas? Check out this guide to herbal teas.
Why Drink Thyme Tea?
Because it's delicious!
Thyme tea is also a folk remedy for sore throats, bronchitis, and basically any type of aggravated, inflamed throat issues.
Its perceived health benefits are probably partially due to the fact that it's a warm herbal tea, and warm liquid feels amazing on a sore throat.
Even so, since allergy season is in full swing, I decided to give thyme tea a chance to soothe my seasonal allergy-induced sore throat. I think it helped.
Identifying Wild Thyme
Did you grow thyme from seed or buy thyme seedlings from a plant nursery? Then you probably don't need help identifying the plant!
If, however, you plan to harvest wild thyme, here's what to look for.
Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) grows in the summer, has opposite leaves that grow in pairs, are oblong or egg-shaped, and are ¼" - ½" long. Thyme is a prostrate plant, meaning it tends to creep along as ground cover instead of growing tall and vertical.
When thyme is in flower, it has dense, terminal clusters of purple flowers.
For more help identifying wild thyme and other edible herbs, I recommend Newcomb's Wildflower Guide.
Should I Use Fresh or Dried Thyme for Tea?
If you use fresh thyme, your tea will be slightly milder than with dried thyme.
I actually prefer dried thyme for this tea, because dried thyme has a stronger flavor profile. A little bit goes a long way.
If you're using dried thyme, make sure to smell the dried herbs before making tea.
The dried thyme should have a strong scent. If it smells like nothing, your tea will taste like... nothing.
How to Dry Fresh Thyme
I like to tie my herbs in bundles with twine, and then hang them upside down in a window for a few days.
Once it's dry, brush the leaves off the stems and store them for later.
Thyme Jasmine Tea, Spiced Thyme Tea, + More Variations
One of the beautiful things about making your own tea is that you can mix the ingredients any way you want to.
This tea is delicious with thyme and only thyme, but I like to switch things up.
My favorite versions are thyme with some loose-leaf jasmine tea mixed in and thyme with fennel seeds.
You can also wander through your garden and snip off a few of your favorite herbs to add to the teapot.
Do I Need a Teapot?
This recipe is written for a teapot (or French press), but you can make smaller batches of the tea using a tea ball and a mug.
If you use a mug instead of a teapot, make sure to cover the mug so that your water doesn't get cold before the tea finishes steeping. If you've got a mug with a lid (like this ceramic tea infuser cup), use it.
If you're shopping for a teapot, check out this ceramic teapot set.
How to Make Thyme Tea
Start by adding the thyme (fresh or dried) to a teapot.
Add any extra herbs, spices, or teas.
Pour hot water over the tea mixture.
Cover the teapot (or French press, or mug), and let it steep.
If you added jasmine tea, steep for 5-7 minutes. For an all-herbal tea, steep 8-10 minutes.
Sip your thyme tea and then take another stroll through your garden.
Thyme Tea Base:
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme OR ½ cup fresh thyme sprigs (loosely packed, still on the stem) Dried thyme should still be fragrant before brewing.
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon sugar or honey (optional), use more or less to taste
- 2 lemon slices (optional), to serve
For Thyme + Jasmine Tea:
- 1 teaspoon jasmine tea, loose leaf (or 1 tea bag)
For Spiced Thyme Tea (Choose 1, or Smaller Amounts of Both)
- 6 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Herbal Tea Variations (Choose 1, or Smaller Amounts of Both)
- ~10 mint leaves or 1 tsp dried mint
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
- If using fresh herbs, rinse herbs and set aside to dry.Bring tea water to a boil. Pour into a teapot, two mugs or a French Press.
- Crush any fresh herbs with your hands to release oil.Tea Strainer or Tea Balls: Add herbs (and tea, if using) to a tea ball or tea strainer. Add to the tea pot or mugs.French Press: Add Add herbs (and tea, if using) to the French Press, and plunge the press down into the water after steeping. Cover pot or mugs, or put the lid on the French Press. Steep 5-7 minutes if you added jasmine tea, or 8-10 minutes for herbal tea.
- Serve hot, with lemon if desired. For iced tea: make a larger batch of tea, let the tea cool slightly, and then store in a pitcher or glass jar in the fridge. Use within 2-3 days.