Quarantine and a Side of Sideritis

A midst the Coronavirus situation, people everywhere are spending a lot more time at home. In an attempt to encourage people, and to throw out some ideas of things to do- I proposed a challenge to tea drinkers with the chance to win a cool tea shirt from Teathoughts. Given we are all as humans experiencing the same thing, it’s important that we realize that we are all a lot more similar than we are different. We all pray that our families stay safe and that we will be spared illness. This is a unique time in that everyone globally is going though the same experience. Coronavirus does not discern socioeconomic classes, race or culture in any way. 


I see this as a great opportunity to highlight what I want Camellia’s Treaty to stand for- Peace, and unity through tea- globally. Even though not every country grows tea, I can guarantee that there are people in every country that love to drink tea. Of course some countries have bigger tea cultures than others but the tea community itself is what makes tea culture. Everyone throughout the world knows of tea, it’s a familiar and comforting thing for many people. Many countries may not primarily drink Camellia sinensis but instead favor another herb for daily infusions. None the less, these hot drinks can do the same thing as “true tea” does- offer comfort and extend hospitality. 

Anyway my challenge was to encourage people to drink more diverse teas and tisanes during their extra time at home the next few weeks. We all have favorites, but in an effort to remember those all over the world who are also going through this pandemic we can pick to drink things we wouldn’t normally drink regularly. This can be things like African Rooibos or South American Mate. For the full details on how to formally enter the giveaway/challenge and possibly win a cool “tea shirt” find my “giveaway” post on my Instagram page!


To begin, I chose to drink “Greek Mountain tea” also known as “Ironwort” or as “Sideritis” which is its botanical name. I figured it had also been a while since I last did a “free your gaiwan” experiment, and this was the perfect opportunity! 

The herb came as whole, dry stocks including leaves and flowers. I snipped them down to small pieces that would fit in a gaiwan and proceeded as I normally would for a gong fu session starting with heating up all the tea ware. I used water around 208F and a gaiwan that can hold around 100-120ml of water, I did not weigh out an exact amount of herb. Immediately I could tell that simply the fact that it was the whole intact herb made it great for gong fu brewing. It produced very clean infusions with no botanical dustings making their way into my cup. 

Personally, I loved the flavor and feeling! It had a spicy kick to it that left my mouth feeling energized and zingy. It reminded me a bit of Helichrysum, spicy and sweet but not as syrupy. However a description more people would be familiar with would be a spicer version of chamomile. My husband thought I had given him a ginger infusion which is a good descriptor as well. A spicy, sweet, gingery, tingly infusion. The only down side was that it didn’t hold up for many infusions, only about 3-4 strong ones, after that it was already too washed out. Its presence was lingering on the tongue, roof of mouth and even in the back of the throat for a while after drinking.


Over all, I think it’s a lovely tisane to experience either western or gong fu. For a western brew I would go heavier on the herb to get the spicy punch that gong fu style brought out.  Sideritis is known for improving and protecting against several health issues including respiratory, immune system and anxiety issues. 

At the end of this session I took some time to say a prayer for the people in Greece who are also affected by this pandemic. I was grateful for this delicious herb I was able to enjoy from miles away and that gave me a sweet taste of the Greek mountain side. 

What’s in your gaiwan?

This gorgeous unglazed “mutton fat” porcelain gaiwan was perfect for the Sideritis as it left absolutely no trace it was used! Not even the beginning marks of staining.

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