Last year, or was it early this year, I placed an order with Camellia Sinensis because I saw they offered some unique herbal teas that are wild-harvested from Québec. Labrador tea is in the genus Rhododendron — the leaf underside and stems are covered in a dense, rust-hued fur.

It smells so good in the bag, like an evergreen forest. It reminds me of my times in Canada, the Pacific Northwest and of the wintertime redwood forest here in northern California. Crisp, clean air. Breathe. This is the kind of fresh smell that makes me aware of my own being and the lightness of mind and body I am capable of achieving in nature. It elicits a sense of presence, away from the smells of humans and the industrial worlds we create.

In the description on this page, Camellia Sinensis says of this tea: “a lively and light liquor, supported by strong citrus and camphor aromas. Its vegetal character is reminiscent of lichen and cedar.”

Had I not read that, I would describe it as… let’s see… the same as the smell of the leaf but with some sweetness of strange origin, a thickness that reminds me of silver needle white teas, perhaps due to the fur. Cool evergreen forests. There’s also a bit of pungency — resinous, tar-like, reminding me of kerosene? more than sap. You know, it also reminds me a lot of Bitterleaf Tea’s Jingmai Crab Legs but without the hint of milkiness (https://steepster.com/teas/bitterleaf-teas/78526-2016-jing-mai-crab-legs) and of Juniper Ridge’s Douglas Fir Spring Tips with a thicker, more robust, sweet taste and less of a “green” flavor (https://steepster.com/teas/juniper-ridge/14722-douglas-fir-spring-tips).

It’s recommended by the internet-at-large to not steep these leaves and stems for more than 5-6 minutes due to a high concentration of tannins in the tea that can cause stomachache. I tried to follow the parameters on the bag with 2tsp (crumbled), 250mL, 90C for 4-5 minutes but time often gets away from me. With what was probably an 8-minute steep, I did experience some bloating and big gurgles about an hour later. With that, though, also came an intense sleepiness. I was out. Labrador tea is used as a treatment for insomnia which wasn’t the purpose of my drinking but dang did it work, and it has worked the few other times I’ve sipped.

Flavors: Camphor, Cedar, Citrus, Petrichor, Pine, Pungent, Resin, Spring Water, Sweet, Tannin, Thick

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML
Mastress Alita

I’ll have to try this sometime and see how it holds up in comparison to valerian root for helping me sleep.

Martin Bednář

I still have that sample from you but haven’t found a situation for it. Maybe one day!

Natethesnake

I wonder how closely related this would be to the Holly or chrysanthemum family as I’m allergic to kuding Cha and snow chrysanthemum. Sound interesting and I’m an insomniac who loves the smell of bog vegetation in Newfoundland and Labrador.

derk

Mastress Alita – I can send you some if you want. Little goes a long way.

Martin – worth a try since you seem to long for Finland :)

Natethesnake – as far as relation, all three plants are in the same Class but differ in Order. Labrador tea is in the heath Family, which includes other bog plants like cranberries and blueberries. Since you’re allergic to holly, I assume yerba maté and yaupon aren’t in your cupboard?

Martin Bednář

Ah, I see your point :) Well, it will come one day and then it will be that time! It seems it will be soon as… I have been there 5 years ago? Wait… really? Well. Indeed. Sad :(

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Comments

Mastress Alita

I’ll have to try this sometime and see how it holds up in comparison to valerian root for helping me sleep.

Martin Bednář

I still have that sample from you but haven’t found a situation for it. Maybe one day!

Natethesnake

I wonder how closely related this would be to the Holly or chrysanthemum family as I’m allergic to kuding Cha and snow chrysanthemum. Sound interesting and I’m an insomniac who loves the smell of bog vegetation in Newfoundland and Labrador.

derk

Mastress Alita – I can send you some if you want. Little goes a long way.

Martin – worth a try since you seem to long for Finland :)

Natethesnake – as far as relation, all three plants are in the same Class but differ in Order. Labrador tea is in the heath Family, which includes other bog plants like cranberries and blueberries. Since you’re allergic to holly, I assume yerba maté and yaupon aren’t in your cupboard?

Martin Bednář

Ah, I see your point :) Well, it will come one day and then it will be that time! It seems it will be soon as… I have been there 5 years ago? Wait… really? Well. Indeed. Sad :(

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

Eventual tea farmer. If you are a tea grower, want to grow your own plants or are simply curious, please follow me so we can chat.

I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Always on the lookout for teas from countries and regions not commonly known for tea production or those that are not well represented in the western market. I seek these teas to gain an understanding, however vague, of how this plant performs in different climates.

bicycle bicycle bicycle

Location

Sonoma County, CA

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer