How to Make Kratom Tea: Infusions vs. Decoctions
There are many ways to make kratom tea. We love that about it. But it also explains why so many beginners don’t know where to get started when it comes to brewing their first batch. Well, fear not. Top Tree is here to help simplify things!
If you’re new to this wonderful tea, you probably wondered which method is right for your specific needs. It’s an important question, especially for those interested in kratom for wellness purposes.
In this post, we’re going to describe the two main ways of making hot kratom tea – infusions and decoctions. We’ll also discuss why people love tea, which will help for thinking about your own practice. Let’s get into it.
Why Do People Love Kratom Tea?
To keep it simple, kratom tea is herbal tea made from leaves of the kratom tree. You can make it from powder or crushed leaf. We use crushed leaves in our tea bags to stop kratom sludge finding itself at the bottom of your cup.
The basic principle is that kratom powder can diffuse through the tea bag paper. The crushed leaves we use at Top Tree, however, are just the right size to maximize alkaloid diffusion while minimizing leaf particles that makes it through the bag.
Generally speaking, people choose tea because it’s easier on their system. Even though we need more studies on kratom tea specifically, it seems like the logic carries.
It is our suspicion that consuming heaps of dried lignocellulosic leaf matter of any type would be liable to make even the strongest stomach churn. At Top Tree, we followed the lead of ancient chinese tea innovators, and transitioned from consuming the raw leaf powder to making delectable infusions and decoctions.
If you use kratom as a preworkout, or take it on an empty stomach, it’s worth trying tea. Plus, who wants to burp kratom powder in the middle of pilates or have to end a chest day early because of stomach cramps?
No wonder herbal tea is the traditional way of using kratom. In addition to being more stomach friendly, the practice itself becomes a form of wellness, a moment to practice self-care and reflect on the day.
Against this backdrop, there are two main ways to make our favorite brew. And both come from traditions that are thousands of years old — ancient techniques polished by father time.
Kratom Tea Infusion
When you hear people talk about making tea, they’re usually talking about an infusion. It refers to herbal tea made in a cup, as opposed to in a pot over heat.
Generally speaking, infusions are used when you make an herbal tea from delicate parts of the plant, like the leaves or flowers. Even though this isn’t true for kratom tea, infusions often call for shorter steep times.
When you steep your tea for too long, you can extract unwanted flavonoids. This can result as a bitter brew that overpowers any floral undertones.
This is a particularly relevant problem for kratom tea, as longer brew times are necessary due to the poor water solubility of mitragynine and 7-hydroxy-mitragynine.
Regardless, if you’re using a kratom tea recipe that calls for these types of additional herbs, an infusion might be the best option.
Pro Tip: start your infusion by steeping the tea bags in a vacuum thermos so it retains heat for the first 15 minutes. Then you can finish your recipe with supplementary herbs in a cup like you would if you were making an herbal tea without the kratom.
Kratom Tea Decoctions
If you read a few guides, you’ll notice that most methods call for boiling kratom leaf in a pot for a certain period of time. In the tea world, this is called a decoction.
There are a lot of good reasons to use the decoction method for your kratom tea. Perhaps you don’t like the taste of kratom? Try making a concentrated kratom tea that you can add to other drinks!
Pro tips For Improving your Brew
Pro Tip #1: Add your kratom to the water before it’s started heating! Instead of us trying to explain why you do this, we’ll let renowned Herbalist and tea sommelier Sarah Farr explain:
“…placed in a pot with cold water, covered, and slowly brought to a boil. Placing the plants in cold water is essential because tougher plant parts are high in albumin, a protein, which needs to be extracted out of the cells slowly as the water temperature increases. If you put these plants in hot water, the albuminous matter in the plant cells coagulate and can prevent other constituents from leaving the plant cells, potentially limiting the extract.”
– Farr, Sarah. Healing Herbal Teas…, 2016. pg 15
Pro Tip #2: You can make a concentrated tea using the decoction method. The only difference is that you brew at a slightly higher temperature (above 205 degrees Fahrenheit).
When you let the majority of the water boil off, you’re left with less liquid at the end.
The mitragynine and other alkaloids won’t evaporate with the water, which leaves you with a highly concentrated kratom tea that can be added to juice, iced tea, or another drink of your choice!
This is the best method for people who can’t find a normal recipe they enjoy.
Pro Tip #3: You can boil your tea! No mainstream scientific efforts have been made to show the effects of heat on the primary alkaloids in kratom, so nothing can be said with certainty outside the realm of anecdotal evidence.
But from our straightforward tests here at Top Tree, as well as that of customer testimony, we all agree that both tea infusions and boiled tea decoctions are good ways to make kratom tea.
How to Brew Kratom Tea Bags
Over the past year, we’ve developed our own way to brew the perfect cup that uses both approaches. To keep it simple, here’s what we do and why:
- Use the top tree vacuum thermos: this keeps the tea hot (like a decoction)
- Use kratom tea bags: this makes the process simple, regardless of the method
- Add lemon, lime, apple vinegar, or grapefruit: this helps the extraction, but don’t overdo it, mitragynine is acid labile.
- Wait 20 minutes. It appears that the alkaloids that we want in our tea have a high tolerance for the temperature of boiling water. The longer that you steep the tea bags, then the more powerful your cup of tea will be. The balance you must strike is optimizing the potency of the tea with the bitterness which is extracted in time. Check out our past blogs on this.
- Add additional flavors: our staple is honey, but experiment for yourself. If you already have a tea you love, we recommend adding it to your brew for the last few minutes.
Making a kratom tea decoction is the best way to get a cup of tea with a kick. On the other hand, infusions are best for adding herbal notes from other tea blends to your kratom tea. Now that you understand the nuances of making a basic kratom tea, consider making your own blend or start with one of our tried and true recipes in your free copy of The Kratom Tea Recipe Book.
How long can you store the tea in a air tight bottle? I want to make some premade bottles to bring hiking, work, etc. Will the tea stay if kept in refrigerator or at room temperature? What, if any, preservatives would you recommend?
Great question! This is actually something that we’re currently researching now. Although we haven’t finished our trials, we do have some preliminary findings.
For one, while using an acidic fruit juice (like lemon) helps make your tea stronger and tastier when it is fresh, the acid will make your tea substantially weaker as time passes. This is because mitragynine is acid labile.
The way the tea is traditionally made doesn’t involve adding an acid, but it takes around 4 hours of simmering to produce. Not that bad if you want to produce some tea for the week ahead! We haven’t tested how long premade teas stay good in the refrigerator, but if you don’t add any acids in the mix I would suspect it should keep for at least a week. Stay tuned for our findings!
That being said, when I go on hikes I love to take a thermos of hot kratom tea with me. I just put some boiling water from the kettle over a bag or two of a white strain, squeeze half a lemon, cap the thermos, and into nature I go! It’s good to go in about 20 minutes and I sip from it for day-long hikes. At night I’ll throw a 5g red strain tea bag into my kettle and let it simmer by the fire for an hour. It really helps the sleeping bag feel all the more comfortable!
I hope this helps!
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