Owing to its sweet and spicy flavour, star anise is a great addition to a wide range of foods and beverages. So how to use star anise in tea?
Star anise has a licorice flavour, and has a comparable taste to fennel seed. It’s been used for centuries to make tea, initially for medicinal purposes (star anise is rich in beneficial compounds) then later for its bold flavours.
You can use it in tea to get its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, or simply to enjoy a unique type of tea.
How to use star anise in tea?
It is a great addition to different types of teas such as green tea, and black tea. You can also make star anise tea, with some cinnamon added to balance its flavour.
Star anise can be used whole or ground. But we recommend buying it whole, and grinding it yourself if you prefer using it in powder form.
That’s because it quickly loses its flavour once it is ground. You should use it immediately after grinding.
Be careful not to add too much star anise to your tea, as it can easily be overpowering. Two whole pods are enough for every cup of tea.
If you are using ground star anise, 1-2 teaspoons per cup is perfect.
Whenever you use it in tea, always accompany it with cinnamon. The two spices complement each other.
You can use cinnamon powder if that’s all you have, but a cinnamon stick is best. Add it to the water alongside the star anise and let them boil together.
Finally, make sure you strain the tea to remove the cinnamon stick and star anise pods. The pods remain hard even after boiling, so you don’t want them in your tea.
If you don’t have a strainer, look for one of those teapots with an integrated infuser.
How to make star anise tea?
Here are three simple tea recipes that use star anise: star anise green tea, cinnamon, and spicy black tea.
1. Star Anise Green Tea
Because star anise requires a longer infusion to extract its full flavour, you’ll have to steep the green tea and star anise separately.
This recipe makes 4 cups of tea.
- Boil 3 cups of water in a kettle.
- When the water boils, add it to a container like a teapot. Add 3-6 pods of star anise depending on how strong you want the flavour to be. Also, add a stick of cinnamon.
- Cover the teapot and let the star anise and cinnamon infuse for about 10-15 minutes.
- In the meantime, boil a cup of water in a kettle to 85C. If you don’t have a temperature-controlled kettle, turn off heat when the water begins to simmer then let it cool for two minutes.
- Add 2-4 teaspoons of loose green tea leaves to the water and let it steep for 3 minutes.
- Add the infused green tea to the teapot containing star anise and cinnamon tea. Strain the water to keep the loose green tea from getting into the pot.
- The green tea is ready to serve. Use a strainer to keep cinnamon sticks and anise pods from getting into the tea cups. You can sweeten the tea with honey or sugar, if you want.
2. Cinnamon and Star Anise Tea
If you want the full flavour of star anise without other ingredients, use this recipe. The only other thing you’ll add to the tea is cinnamon. Star anise and cinnamon always go together.
- Boil 4 cups of water in a kettle. Add the hot water to a teapot.
- Add 4-8 pods of star anise and a stick of cinnamon to the teapot. Cover and let the two spices steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve. You can sweeten the tea with honey or sugar, if you want.
Note that you can steep the star anise and cinnamon for less time, but it will not have the same deep and rich flavour as steeping it for 10-15 minutes.
3. Spicy Black Tea
If you are already a fan of black tea, adding star anise and a few complementing spices will take your tea to the next level.
Similar to green tea, black tea requires a shorter steeping period. So you have to infuse black tea and star anise (along with other spices) separately.
This recipe makes four cups of tea (3 cups of spiced tea mixed with 1 cup of concentrated black tea).
- Boil 3 cups of water in a kettle. Once it boils, add it to a teapot or some other heat-proof container that can hold at least 4cups of tea.
- Add spices to the hot water. These include star anise (4 pods), cinnamon (1 stick), whole cloves (1 tablespoon), black peppercorns (1 tablespoon), and cardamom (4 crushed pods).
- Let the spices steep for about 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, boil 1 cup of water and add 4 teaspoons of black tea. Steep for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the black tea to the spiced tea. Strain and serve.
How Long Do You Boil Star Anise?
You don’t boil star anise. Instead, you first boil water then steep star anise in the hot water for 10-15 minutes (with the heat turned off).
Can I Drink Anise Tea Everyday?
Yes, you can drink it everyday. Just make sure you are using Chinese star anise.
Japanese star anise, which is impossible to distinguish from the Chinese one, can be poisonous if you ingest too much of it.
To be completely safe, do not give any kind of star anise tea to kids, as they are more susceptible to poisoning.
Do You Use Whole Star Anise?
Most tea and even food recipes call for whole star anise. It gives more flavour to foods and beverages.
If you prefer using star anise powder, buy it whole and then grind it yourself at home. That ensures the spice is still fresh and hasn’t lost any of its flavour.
Grind a little at a time using a pestle and mortar or in a spice grinder.