Greek mountain tea (τσάι του βουνού) is made with a genus of flowering plants called Sideritis (which literally translates into “he who is made of, or has, iron”). It is sometimes referred to as ironwort or shepherd’s tea. It’s a pretty tea, with little yellow flowers, silver tinged leaves, and light green buds and it is usually sold, in Greek markets or on-line, in dried branches or stems. This is a plant which is resilient and stubborn, producing flowering shrubs which are capable of growing at high altitudes with little soil, or even on the surface of rocks.
Mountain tea is made using a method called decoction (that’s right…this blog will also make you smarter). Decoction is a way of extracting chemicals and other goodies from plants by boiling them. What you end up with, in this case the mountain tea which results from this process, is also called a decoction. It has a very unique earthy taste, and a floral scent, particularly if you use the flowers (which you should).