If you've ever wondered how to make tea bombs for your next festive tea event, today's the day we master it together.
Tea bombs are simply hard candy shells filled with loose tea leaves that you cover with hot water until the shells melt and the tea infuses the water. They can be colored in your favorite jewel tones and made in a variety of shapes to suit your décor or party theme. To me, they look like crystals, glistening and luminous, especially if your tea party is held outside where the sun can shimmer through the transparent shells.
There's nothing unique about the flavor of a tea bomb cuppa since it can easily be achieved by simply adding sugar to your cup of tea, but the fun is in the process and the magic of watching the delicate sugar shells melt, releasing the tea leaves into the water.
How to Make Tea Bombs
Tea bombs can be made in two ways: super simple or a wee bit harder.
The super-simple way is by using isomalt. Isomalt is made from beet sugar and melts easily, stays crystal clear after melting, and doesn't require any thermometers or additional ingredients to make the perfect tea bomb shells.
The harder way is using sugar mixed with water and glucose (or corn syrup or honey) and heated to a specific temperature so the sugar stays clear and holds its shape.
Perhaps one day I'll try the harder way, but for the first time, I decided to stick with the isomalt. You can find isomalt online or in party supply stores or hospitality supply shops. It's definitely more expensive than sugar, but you don't need to use much so, for me, the expense is well worth the ease of use.
Making tea bombs is super quick and easy if you take a few minutes to set out all your tools and ingredients first. You'll need to be close to the stove, so set up just to the side and you'll be good to go.
I do recommend wearing gloves while you work. Melted isomalt is very hot and can burn you if you're not careful. I used dish gloves and they worked a treat. They're thick enough to protect me from the heat and thin enough to allow me to easily maneuver the tea bombs.
Making the Shells
You can use any shape of silicone molds to make your tea bombs. From spheres and hearts to flowers and jewels, the options are numerous. I chose a canister shape for mine since that's what I had at home. Just make sure they're big enough to hold 1 tsp of loose tea leaves.
Isomalt cools quickly, so you'll be making one shell at a time so the mixture doesn't go stiff before you've spread it around the mold. I used a stainless steel spoon to scoop out one teaspoon of melted isomalt for each mold. I then dipped a skewer in food coloring, swirled it quickly through the melted isomalt to give a swirl of color instead of solid, then used the skewer to evenly spread the isomalt up the sides of the mold.
Repeat this process until the isomalt is used up, then set the mold in the freezer for a few minutes while you clean up.
Isomalt is sticky and requires hot, soapy water to remove. You'll be using your saucepan for the next step, so clean it well then return it to the stovetop.
Remove the shells from the freezer and clean up any rough edges or rims by setting each shell upside down in the warm saucepan to melt and smooth the rough spots. Once they're tidied up, place one teaspoon of loose leaf tea into half of the shells. I used a mixture of tea for my tea bombs: Strawberry Immunity herbal tea, Banana Bread herbal tea, and Uplifting Coconut Chai.
Once the shells are filled, take an empty shell and place it upside down in the warm pan just long enough to melt the rim. Then place it atop a filled shell and press gently to seal. Repeat until all shells are topped. If the seams are rough, just place them in the warm pan again and roll along the seam to smooth it out.
When you're ready to serve, place one tea bomb into a small teapot, preferably clear glass, and pour over one cup of just-boiled water. Watch the tea bomb melt and the tea leaves float to the surface. Steep 3-5 minutes, stir well, then pour through a strainer into your teacup.
Tea Bombs Recipe
- 1/2 cup isomalt
- Food coloring
- Loose leaf tea
- Small silicone molds
- Shallow saucepan
- Stainless steel spoon
- Rubber gloves
Place saucepan over medium heat and add isomalt. Stir occasionally until completely melted. Reduce heat to the lowest temperature.
Place silicone mold on the counter and place 1 teaspoon of melted isomalt in the bottom. Dip skewer in food coloring and swirl into isomalt and use a skewer to evenly spread isomalt up the sides of the mold. Repeat until isomalt is used up. Set mold in the freezer while you clean out the saucepan with hot water and soap. Return saucepan to burner over lowest heat setting.
Remove mold from the freezer and carefully remove the tea bomb shells and arrange them on a platter. If the edges are uneven, put on gloves then gently place in warm saucepan upside down until edges melt and smooth, then replace on the platter. Repeat until all edges are smooth and even.
Place one teaspoon of loose leaf tea into half of the tea bomb shells. Take an empty shell, place upside down in a warm saucepan just enough to melt the rim, then place carefully atop a tea-filled shell and press gently to seal.
Repeat until all shells are topped. If the seam is rough, carefully place the tea bomb in the warm saucepan and roll along the seam until it is smooth. Repeat until all tea bombs are sealed smoothly.
Place one tea bomb into a small teapot, preferably clear glass, and pour over one cup of just boiled water. Watch the tea bomb melt and the tea leaves float to the surface. Steep 3-5 minutes, stir well, then pour through strainer into your tea cup.