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Spring is here, the sun is shining, flowers are blooming and flu season is basically over. Right? Well if you find yourself annoyingly sick and feeling like you would rather die than endure the excruciating sore throat, body aches and fever, like me this last week, then you might just be willing to try about anything to put it to an end. You’re in luck, because what I am about to tell you is so much better than most home remedies you’ve been told to hold your nose and just swallow. And if you like beer, particularly hoppy styles of beer, then this will be a pleasant cure to what ails you.
The magic potion is hop tea, a blend of whatever your favorite tea is with honey and a good helping of hops. I was given this cure for fever and sore throat from a very good friend and fellow home brewer, Kostas of El Greco Brewery in Poland. He has so much knowledge about hops, malts and brewing and is constantly studying more about it, do yourself a favor and check out what he’s doing on social media! Click these links to see his El Greco Brewery Instagram and Browar Domowy El Greco FaceBook. I have made this tea twice since I was told of it a couple of days ago and am floored by how much better I have felt since having this!! It completely clears head congestion within about 30 minutes after drinking a small cup of tea, which is almost a constant issue for me anyway, and it keeps you clear for upwards of 8-12 hours after. I have tried decongestants, expectorants, essential oils and even sinus rinses – believe me when I say I have never seen such an effective congestion clearing method and it felt amazing to be rid of that extra pressure that built up from the bug I’ve been fighting. The strong hop oils present in the tea make you feel sleepy once they start to kick in, and you will rest with easy comfortably with easy breathing.
When making this, it helps to choose a tea that compliments the hoppy flavor so I chose to try two different kinds of tea as my base and see what I liked best. I made a green tea blend with lemon & ginseng, then an English Breakfast black tea with lemonaide for an Arnold Palmer style drink. Here’s the basic hop tea recipe, followed by my variations and experience.
Hop Tea Recipe
- About 8 oz or 200 mL tea of choice
- 3 large tablespoons of honey
- 5-10 whole-cone hops (the higher the alpha acid the better, ex. Simcoe or Magnum)
Directions: Brew a small cup of tea with 1 tea packet as directed on packaging then put tea into small pot on stove, or pour 8 oz premade tea into small pot. Bring tea to a boil and add honey and hops. Boil 5 minutes. Strain hops as you pour into mug. I like to press the hops firmly into the strainer with a spoon to squeeze out the tea soaked into them and extract as much of the hop oils as possible, the more potent this is the more effective it will be. Drink while still hot to soothe sore throat. Snuggle up under a comforter with a box of tissues and relax.
When you drink this it will be very bitter since you are using so many hops in a small amount of tea, but the honey and the tea base help give it a nice depth of flavor to accompany the hoppyness. You could easily do this with hop pellets as well if you don’t have whole cone hops available. Just use about half the amount since hop pellets are condensed and put the pellets into a tea strainer, if you have one, or wrap into a coffee filter and tie it closed with a piece of thread or string and dunk it like a teabag.
Making this with the green tea was quite good, a mild sweet tea with a punch of hops that is easily swallowed in a couple gulps before laying down to rest. I think this one is very nice to have just before bedtime for that boost to the immune system while it heals overnight. The recipe is so quick to whip up and drink down you’ll be curling up in a blanket within minutes.
Making an Arnold Palmer style tea was very tasty and invigorating with the caffeine shot from the black tea. I brewed a small cup of English Breakfast tea and boiled the hops in it, then after straining into a glass I added another 8 oz of Simply Lemon lemonaide and sipped away pleasurably. This is better in the morning, the caffeine counteracts the sleepiness you can feel from the hops and the bright flavors of the lemonaide, tea and hops wake up your senses. I have to admit, this was my favorite one!
No longer is hop tea just a reference to something disgusting and only used rarely to become familiar with hop flavors after being boiled. This remedy will cut back your sick time considerably, the health benefits are truly astounding! The combination of healing effects of the hops, the soothing honey with it’s immune boosting properties of it’s own, and the antioxidants infused from the tea all pack a punch that no sickness can withstand. So go ahead, give hop tea a second look and indulge in using hops in more than your beer.