Steep learning curve: Haven St. teas need better instructions

Published on May 7, 2020 by Jenny Neufeld

Tea has always been a great way to perk up in the morning or to unwind at the end of a long day. Its versatility lends itself well to the addition of cannabis for different effects. Unfortunately, cannabis people don’t seem to understand how to brew tea very well.

I have been a daily tea drinker for many years. The rhythms and ritual of brewing and enjoying a good pot of tea either by myself or with others is something that brings me both joy and satisfaction. 

The cannabis teas that I have tried have been good, the flavours are delicious and the effects are delightful. However, I think they could do better with how they instruct you to brew it. Brewing a pot of tea has more variables than sparking up a joint.

Using a cannabis tea is not just about the buzz, you need to show some care for the tea itself to create the fullest experience. This means you need to consider the temperature of the water and for how long you are steeping the bag. There seems to be a one-size-fits-all type of approach taken when writing steeping instructions.

I have some thoughts and recommendations for the teas I have tried that I hope might be helpful to you and increase your enjoyment of these products.

Haven St. Rise No. 550 Tea

This tea immediately sets itself apart visually with its unique turquoise colour. The flavour, while subtle, is as fresh and bright as the colour, fruity with citrus hints. I shared the pot with my partner and when we tried this variety we found ourselves feeling that THC buzz but with a mellow sleepiness as well, which while not unpleasant was unexpected given the name and lack of CBD.

The directions on the packaging states to steep at 90 C (194 F) for three to five minutes. I would recommend steeping it at a lower temperature somewhere in the neighbourhood of 71 to 82 C (160 to 180 F), similar to green tea because mate (which is the basis of this blend) tends to be naturally bitter and this helps keep the flavour balanced.

As a bonus if you add a little lemon juice to this tea it changes the colour from blue to purple!

Haven St. Drift No. 450 Tea

If you are looking for a warm and comforting experience, this tea is the one you are looking for. With the rooibos base and chocolate notes it was rich with a bit of a spice, but not overwhelming. The effects were a relaxed and happy high that allowed for feeling present with reduced inhibitions. I would highly recommend this one for an evening indulgence.

The brewing directions were exactly the same as with Rise, steep at 90 C (194 F) for three to five minutes. I would suggest a hotter water temperature; in fact, taking the water to a full boil, 100 C (212 F) – or just below at 93 C (200 F) – works for rooibos which makes brewing this tea easier than others. A good long soak, will give you the fullest flavour so go for the full five minutes, unless you are not a fan of a stronger brew. 

Haven St. Peace No. 150 Tea

When you open the packaging for this one you are immediately enticed by the floral fragrance. This continues to deepen as the tea steeps and creates a very pleasant aroma while sipping. The floral sweetness hinted at from the scent mixes pleasantly with the subtle vegetal notes the green tea imparts. The lack of caffeine makes this the perfect cup for an afternoon or evening treat. 

They were thoughtful enough to reduce the water temperature guideline for this green tea and it is on point at 80 C (176 F). They maintain the three to five minute steep time though. Green tea is best steeped for a shorter length of time because longer times release tannins from the tea giving it a bitter taste, therefore I would suggest only three to three and a half minutes.

Main squeeze?

On all of the Haven St teas it recommends that you “squeeze the tea bag thoroughly with a spoon.” I would not suggest this approach. It can make your tea more cloudy in appearance with the release of tea dust into your pot that can create a less pleasant drinking experience. This has also been said to show a lack of sophistication in brewing technique.

Of course it is your pot of tea and you are welcome to do this if you prefer a stronger brew and it isn’t black tea. Squeezing a black tea bag releases extra bitter tannins which don’t taste great. An extra long soak will also do the same job as a squeeze, without that risk of your tea bag losing integrity which could totally ruin your pot of tea.

Quick reference guide

Here are my best-practice tips for the Haven St. teas:

Haven St. Rise No. 550 Tea

  • Water: 71 to 82 C (160 to 180F)
  • Steep: 3-4 mins

Haven St. Drift No. 450 Tea

  • Water: 93 to 100 C  (200 to 212 F)
  • Steep: 5 mins

Haven St. Peace No. 150 Tea

  • Water: 80 C (176F)
    Here it says bring water to boil and let cool for 60 seconds, if you do bring water to boil you should wait five minutes for water to cool to the correct temperature
  • Steep: 3-3.5 mins