Learn many things about what is pine needle tea and its benefits in our comprehensive guide. We also included details on foraging pine needles and making tea.
To the 159 million American tea drinkers out there, have you ever thought about making your tea from scratch? A fun aspect of being a tea lover is that it's easy to create personal tea or herbal blends. On top of that, you get to experiment with flavors and find the one you enjoy the most.
An exciting and easily accessible type of tea you should try is pine needle tea. It's a herbal tea made from soaking pine needles in hot water. Below, we'll discuss everything you need to know about pine needle tea.
- What Is Pine Needle Tea?
- The Caffeine Content Of Pine Needle Tea
- Can Your Forage Pine Needles Yourself?
- How To Make Pine Needle Tea
- Benefits Of Pine Needle Tea
- FAQs About Pine Needle Tea
What Is Pine Needle Tea?
As the name suggests, pine needle tea is a beverage made from brewing the needles of Pinus strobus or the eastern white pine. It's also known as northern white pine, Weymouth pine, soft pine, and white pine.
The tea is aromatic with a subtle piney, resinous, and astringent taste. It has undertones akin to peppermint tea and very slight citrus notes, like hoppy beer. The color is transparent with a slightly green hue.
People from Scandinavian countries have consumed pine needle tea for millennia thanks to its medicinal properties. However, its first use dates back to the 16th century, when it helped treat scurvy in sailors.
The Caffeine Content Of Pine Needle Tea
Pine needle tea is completely free from caffeine.
However, this doesn't mean you get a free pass if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Either avoid this tea altogether or run it by your doctor first.
Can Your Forage Pine Needles Yourself?
If you live in the northeastern side of the US, you can gather the pine needles yourself. Before you go out to forage, remember that some similar-looking pine trees in the US and Canada are toxic to humans. Forage white pine needles with an expert who can identify the different pine trees for you.
The best time to forage is in early spring, when you can easily smell the fragrant pine sap and collect young, light green needles. You can also go in the winter, but you won't find young needles. Teas made from older pine needles tend to have a stronger and bitter taste.
The first and most important step of foraging is identifying the tree. Next, ensure the area didn't get treated with chemicals or pesticides. You can harvest pollutant-free pine needles by foraging further away from roadways and farmer's fields.
Finally, never overharvest pine needles from one tree or one area only. Don't forget to bring a sharp pair of scissors to snip branches with thinner needle clusters.
How To Make Pine Needle Tea
You can make pine needle tea the way commercial distributors do. Soak the freshly harvested pine needles for 24 hours. Next, rinse, clean, and trim off their sharp tips.
Spread the needles to needles dry in a shaded area. Afterward, you're ready to brew and store them. You might also be interested in our guide on cold brewing chai tea.
Or you can use this method:
Step 1: Clean The Braches
Clean the branches at home thoroughly with water. Remove the pine needles by plucking them. Next, cut the needles into smaller pieces.
You can release their piney flavor by gently mashing them with a mortar and pestle.
Step 2: Add The Water
Add two tablespoons of pine needles for every one cup of water and let steep for 10-15 minutes.
Step 3: Serve
Strain the needles out and enjoy. Feel free to add a sweetener like honey as you like.
Benefits Of Pine Needle Tea
Pine needle tea is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. It has a high Vitamin C concentration, which can boost your immune system, protect against cardiovascular diseases, and boost your eye and skin health. You might also find our explainer on the best teas for singers helpful.
Other constituents found in pine needle tea include:
- Germacrene D
- Vitamin A
FAQs About Pine Needle Tea
Can I Buy Commercial Pine Needle Tea Instead?
You may not have access to or time to forage pine needles to make into tea. Fortunately, you can buy commercial pine needle tea online. If you prefer wild-foraged pine needle tea, consider the Pine Needle Tea by Go Natural.
Can I Use Other Types Of Pine Trees As Tea?
Some pine trees are toxic. These conifers include common juniper, common yew, Ponderosa pine, Lodgepole or Shore pine, Monterey cypress, Norfolk Island pine, and Australian pine.