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Iced Tsai Tou Vounou (Greek Mountain Tea)

Iced Tsai Tou Vounou (Greek Mountain Tea)

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Tsai tou vounou (pr. TSAH-ee TOU Vou-NOU) (genus Sideritis , in Greek σιδηρίτις), also known as ironwort, mountain tea and shepherd’s tea, is a genus of flowering plants well known for their use as herbal medicine, commonly as a herbal tea.

Tsai tou vounou tied in a bundle image

They are abundant in Mediterranean regions, the Balkans, the Iberian Peninsula and Macaronesia, but can also be found in Central Europe and temperate Asia.

Mountain tea in an orange container image

History and etymology

In Greek Tsai tou Vounou literally means “Mountain Tea”. Sideritis can be literally translated as “made of iron”.

The plant was known to ancient Greeks, specifically Pedanius Dioscorides and Theophrastus. Although Dioscorides describes three species, only one (probably S. scordioides) is thought to belong to Sideritis.

In ancient times some believed that “sideritis” was used to heal wounds caused by iron weapons during battles. However, others hold that the name stems from the shape of the spear-shaped sepal and others because the herb contains a lot of iron.

Tsai tou vounou with lavender image

Health benefits of Tsai tou Vounou

Very beneficial for heart bearing blood tubes. It can be used against colds, in respiratory and urinary disease.

It is warming, tonic, diuretic, detoxification and is good for digestion.

Greek tsai tou vounou is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea infusion made from the dried flowers, leaves and stems of the Sideritis plant, which flourishes throughout high elevations (above 500 metres) in the mountains of Greece.

For thousands of years, Greeks have been drinking mountain tea for its health benefits and for its pleasant taste. The Greek philosopher and father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, hailed Mountain Tea in particular for its immune and respiratory system benefits.

Listed below are selections of some of the more noteworthy Greek mountain tea health benefits:

  1. It is Rich with Antioxidants.
  2. It has anti-inflammatory properties.
  3. It is rich in iron.
  4. It aids in dyspepsia, improves digestion and keeps a check on gastrointestinal complaints.
  5. It strengthens the immune system.
  6. It strengthens the respiratory system.
  7. It reduces stress and anxiety.
  8. Last but not least, it is commonly used to fight off the common cold or flu.

INGREDIENTS TO MAKE ICED TSAI TOU VOUNOU

Ingredients to make tsai tou vounou image
  • Tsai tou Vounou (Greek Mountain Tea)
  • Mint Flavoured Green Tea (optional)
  • Fresh or dried Mint
  • Water
  • Juice of your preference
  • Stevia tablets (or honey, sugar or other sweeteners of your choice)
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon Slice

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Kettle, electric kettle or pot

Two containers (or 1 large one)

Funnel

Tea strainer

Bottles, to store

Tall glasses, to serve

Straws (optional)

How to prepare Hot Tsai tou Vounou

Preparing Tsai tou Vounou is very easy. You use both the stems, leaves and flowers of the plant.

All you need to do is to put them in a container and pour boiling water on top. You let them steep for five to ten minutes, depending on how strong you want it and the tea is ready to serve.

Alternatively, you can put them in a pot with water, bring to a boil and let them steep for a couple of minutes.

You can add additional flavour to the tea by adding more herbs, such as mint, lavender or sage, spices such as cinnamon, cloves or cardamom or some lemon juice.

In both cases you pour the tea in a cup, using a strainer to strain the leaves and serve as it is, as it is not bitter. If you like it sweeter you can add some sugar, honey or stevia.

How much Tsai tou vounou do I use?

2 – 3 stems of the plant or 3 grams of mountain tea, broken into smaller pieces is enough to brew two cups.

How to make Iced Tea

Prepare the hot tea, as above, and let it cool.

Prepare some mint tea either using green tea bags flavoured with mint or just dried mint. (Green tea contains caffeine, so if you must avoid caffeine, just use fresh or dried mint).

Let both of them cool, add whatever sweetener you prefer, if you prefer, and mix in the juice.

WHAT SWEETENER CAN I USE?

We can use:

  • Stevia (no calories)
  • Sugar (1 teaspoon equals 20 calories)
  • Honey (1 teaspoon equals 21 calories)
  • Natural Fruit Juice (Depending on the fruit). You can see the calories of each fruit in this Table.
  • Leftover syrup from fruit preserves. In this case you don’t add the fruit juice. The calories will be more than using just the juice.

Note: For the 2 litres of juice I make, only 500 ml are fruit juice. Two litres tea is about 9 cups. So in each cup, the quantity of juice is only 55 ml.

Depending on the juice you will use, the tea will have a different colour and flavour. I especially prefer, pomegranate, sour cherries, peach or mixed fruit juice.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve with some ice cubes and a slice of lemon.

Two glasses of Iced tsai tou vounou image

WHY WE LOVE ICED TSAI TOU VOUNOU!

This Greek Iced Tea is incredibly quick and easy to make. Throughout the summer I like to make and keep this cool drink in my refrigerator, almost once every two days.

It can be stored in the fridge for many days but since we stopped drinking coffee, we drink a lot of iced tea, so the quantity I make only lasts for maximum two days.

It is refreshing and satisfying, the ideal drink to quench a thirst on a hot summer’s day.

A lot of people, including myself, have difficulty drinking water and hydrating ourselves. Plain water is simply not appealing so believe me, you can’t have enough of this drink.

There are many occasions when you can serve this amazing tea. This recipe is family friendly so you can serve it to your children and their friends, take on a picnic or to the beach or even to a potluck.

Also, if you’re hosting a party a good host will always have a homemade non-alcoholic drink to serve.

A jar and glass with tsai tou vounou image

Iced Tsai tou Vounou (Greek Mountain Tea)

Yield: 9
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 6 minutes

Tsai tou vounou is a Greek aromatic herbal tea whose medicinal properties have been known since antiquity. It can be served hot or cold.

Ingredients

  • 12 grams tsai tou vounou
  • 1 tea bag green tea (οptional)
  • 2 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 ½ litres water
  • 500 ml juice of your preference
  • 4 stevia tablets

Instructions

  1. Put the tsai tou vounou, tea bag and dried mint in a container and pour boiling water on top.
  2. Let them steep for five to ten minutes, depending on how strong you want it.   
  3. Alternatively, you can put them in a pot with water, bring to a boil and let them steep for a couple of minutes.
  4. At this stage you can add some honey, sugar or stevia to sweeten it.
  5. Set aside to cool.
  6. Strain the tea and mix in the juice.
  7. Refrigerate for a few hours and serve with more ice cubes and a slice of lemon.

Notes

For the 2 litres of juice I make, only 500 ml are fruit juice. Two litres tea is about 9 cups. So in each cup, the quantity of juice is only 55 ml.

Nutrition Information
Yield 9 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 41Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 1mgSodium 46mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 0gSugar 8gProtein 0g

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Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

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