There is absolutely nothing hard about making elderberry tea. If you’re looking to master how to make elderberry tea, read through this simple primer, and then head over to our famous elderberry tea recipes and pick a few to get started (you’ll even find links to our favorite ingredients to make buying easy—we’ve practically done the shopping for you!).
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In very basic terms, elderberry tea is nothing more than elderberry, dried and steeped in boiling hot water. That is the tea at its most basic level.
Homemade Elderberry Tea Mix
As such, the actual ingredients of a tea are virtually limitless. Any safe, edible dried plant or herb is a candidate as a base for tea (whether it is palatable or desirable or not is a different matter).
When we talk about elderberry tea in particular, we are talking about a tea that is brewed from dried elderberries as the main (or possibly the only) ingredient. More commonly, though, that tea will also include other ingredients like herbs and spices that will help to bolster the tea’s flavor and round out the taste experience.
Sometimes those ingredients are chosen purely for taste, and sometimes they are chosen because they offer an additional health benefit to the tea. Citrus, for example, might bring additional vitamin C; Echinacea might be used to offer some additional immune support. What we often find is that even those spices, herbs, and other plants that we use to make the tea taste better almost “accidentally” brings some other benefit, too, because so many of our spices and herbal tea additions hold beneficial properties of their own.
Likewise, elderflower tea will be a tea that is simply a tea mix made up primarily of elderflower, dried, either alone or in combination with other ingredients added to the make up a more designed tea recipe (Dried elderflower on its own is quite light in flavor, and so it benefits from the addition of other ingredients both in terms of flavor and for those reasons listed above.)
Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.So, which one to choose for making your teas? Elderflower vs Elderberry—which one is best for tea?
Truth be told, there is no right answer to this question at all. It is held that both have beneficial components that include antioxidants, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, offering anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties, among others still under study. Both offer immune support, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antiseptic properties, and properties believed to help alleviate symptoms of common ailments like cold and flu. And while not exactly similar in makeup, elderflower and elderberry have similar profiles in terms of health benefits (many resources will list the benefits interchangeably). This stands to reason, as the elderflower is the blossoming portion of the elderberry bush, and is, in fact, the precursor that becomes the elderberry.
Having a big sale, on-site celebrity, or other event? Be sure to announce it so everybody knows and gets excited about it.As an ingredient in tea, often the choice between elderflower and elderberry comes down to one of taste. The two have echoes of each other, but really each part of the plant offers a different flavor. Elderflower’s taste is often described as floral and fruity, likened to a “Muscat” flavor with hints of citrus and vanilla. It is fairly subtle and light, sweet, with one of the most favored floral aromas in the culinary world. That aroma is one that can disappear easily with prolonged cooking, and so elderflower tea (with only moderate heating and limited steeping time) is an ideal preparation that brings out these most enjoyable elements of elderflower use.
Elderberries are described as earthy, tart, and fruity, not unlike a deeper, more earthy flavor common to similar berries like blueberries. They are deep and dark purple to black in color and have a deeper flavor than the elderflower. They also do not possess the floral notes and aromas of the delicate flowers, having moved well beyond the blossom stage into fully-formed and ripened berries prior to drying.
When making tea it is up to you whether elderberry or elderflower is best. On this site you will find recipes for both. You will also find plenty of tea recipes that use both elderflower and elderberries in combination, so as to balance each other and net the taste and nutraceutical benefits of both. Really, the choice is no choice at all—with a few basic ingredients, you can mix plenty of combined tea, or elderflower or elderberry tea by itself. The choices are many, the elderflower and elderberry tea recipes here provide plenty of options, and a variety of teas in your pantry are sure to be appreciated.
Making the tea, by which we mean actually mixing the elderberry tea dried mixture, is one half of the equation. Knowing how to prepare elderberry tea is the other half. Knowing how best to brew and serve an elderflower or elderberry tea will ensure that you get the maximum enjoyment from your homemade teas. Step over to our tea brewing tips page to find the fine, final details for brewing that perfect pot or cup of homemade elderberry tea.