How To Make Calea Z Tea Taste Bitter…I mean Better!

10 May

Oh my god this tea is BITTER! Boiling a few grams of Calea Zacatechichi doesn’t leave you with the bestest tasting tea. In fact, it’s pretty nasty. I found the following quotes in the Erowid archives expressing this point, saying:

“The tea is down right disgusting even when mixed with camomille, california poppy, and honey”

” How bad can boiled leaves possibly taste? So bad you’d want to chuck everything you’d just bought into the trash…”

“I drank the tea slowly, it was really bad-tasting and I almost had to throw up.”

“There is nothing in the world that tastes worse than this. It engulfed my entire mouth with bitterness, and made me want to vomit for a good 10 minutes.”


What are some methods of improving the taste of Calea Z tea?

I don’t have much but here’s what I’ve discovered so far!

1) Boil additional bags of OTHER teas when making Calea Z tea. The idea here is to cover up the taste with another taste!
If you find that a certain tea works especially well, please share this with everyone in the comments section below.

2) Drinking it HOT as opposed to COLD is supposed to be better.

3) Adding other liquids and sweeteners to the tea is the most common and successful method of improving the taste.

This includes the follow:

milk, soy milk, agave nectar, honey, sugar, juice.

Dear reader…
As you can see, this list is not that extensive. Please contribute your own thoughts on the taste of Calea Z tea and how you made it taste better!

”I think if the Chantal indians knew
what capsules were, they wouldn’t have
been drinking that awful tea.”

22 Responses to “How To Make Calea Z Tea Taste Bitter…I mean Better!”

  1. Siiw August 15, 2007 at 11:01 am #

    Fisherman’s Friend or other hard and strong candies helps. It both covers up the worst bitterness and makes the mouth produce more saliva, which washes the bitterness out.

  2. josh December 14, 2007 at 4:01 am #

    i made a cup for 3 of my friends and myself. the next day i found that i was the only one able to drink it. i only had a tiny amount of honey to add, so i doubt that even did much. id suggest making sure to strain all pieces of herb from the tea, for it gets nasty towards the bottom. what i did though, that did make a difference, was smoking a joint of it as i drank the tea. it made it taste significantly better, like it was supposed to work in such ways. other than that, take a few chugs everytime you drink any of it and it’ll be gone before you know it.

  3. josh December 14, 2007 at 4:03 am #

    oh yeah, and ive read all over the place, DO NOT add citrus. i dont know why, but if it supposedly makes it taste worse i aint tryin it.

  4. dreamshaman April 26, 2008 at 11:35 pm #

    um honestly the best and easiest way lol is koolaid. i kno it sounds to simple but yea its true. it does nothing to the chemicals and it tastes good.

  5. Ben February 24, 2009 at 11:30 pm #

    These are good tips – mix it with kool-aid (I love this one…), and try some hard candies to increase saliva and mask the bitterness! And
    do not add citrus, got it…

    I don’t think I ever tried it with hard candy, and I definitely never mixed it with kool-aid.

    Thanks Josh, DreamShaman, and Siiw!

  6. First time user March 1, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    I am unable to find how much of the leaf I require for tea + smoking. How many grams or oz do I need to try this with? Is it worth it? Where can I get it for reasonable price (I know ebay has many sellers)Thanks!

  7. Ben March 1, 2009 at 9:44 pm #

    Check out my other site called

    There is a section for standard dose and usage, as well as a page for trusted buyers with links to purchase calea leaf/resin/capsules/etc.

    Hope this helps!

  8. Caelannn February 17, 2010 at 3:51 am #

    I tried Calea for the first time the other day, i expected the taste to be horrible, BUT OH MY LORD. I will not refer to it as anything else but “Pass me the God awful tea”
    god awful.
    but I read somewhere about Mint Gum.
    so i tried it
    IT WORKS!!
    but after about two chugs the mint washes away and it tastes like Calea gum…………pretty sickening.
    so, i reccoment a pack of MINT gum for each person consuming the tea.
    it really really works

  9. Vonstrudel June 30, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    I noticed after a ricola the bitterness minimal, insted of packs of gum, why not keep an altoid under you tongue.

  10. chris July 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm #

    yeh i tried calea, and i conquer, terrible tasting stuff, to me it tastes like i just chewed up a bunch of ibuprofen and swished it in my mouth, super super bitter and chemical tasting, my sister said if she had not brewed itherself she would have thought it was poison lol, but yeh i think this herb is somewhat of a placebo, i say that cause i’ve gulped down massive amonts on several occasion. the power of suggestion is strong.

  11. Brendan September 13, 2010 at 6:41 am #

    Use a tincture instead of a tea to maximize potency, IAMShaman has an excellent offering. As for the god awful bitterness, you can’t escape it at the time. Wintergreen scope and a tongue cleaner is the only way I decreased the bitterness afterwards, and that was only marginal at best.

  12. laura September 19, 2010 at 2:23 am #

    I just tried calea with a lemon….the tea is so bitter it actually made the lemon taste sweet. I remember once when I had to drink a god aweful concoction before surgury and I was told to numb my mouth with an ice cube first. It worked maybe it will work with this horrible tea too.

  13. Dharmabum220 September 28, 2010 at 6:52 am #

    I grow my own herbs including calea Z and I brew teas, I make my own special mix, lemon balm( not actual lemon just a herb that helps with sleep, gives off a nice lemony aroma), calea, and some honey and sugar. The lemon balm hleps with sleep and taste good, not the same as if you were to use a citrus, and the honey or sugar makes it sweet 🙂 enjoy, and happy trails 🙂

  14. Kevin January 7, 2011 at 6:38 am #

    Night#2 of the Z smoked five doobs opposed to tea on acount of the trip to taste ratio instead grinded up about a handfull mixed with a teeny bit of water like a mud sorta down she went and off i go

  15. Myke January 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    I had a bottle of Creatine Caps, (body fortress brand), and they’re out of date…

    so what i did was twist open the capsules, emptied the creatine poweder into the bin… ended up with about 50 capsules or so.

    Using a Pestle n Mortar I crushed up the Calea (bought 10g), the best i could, some i had to rub between my fingers to crumble it… and packed it into these capsules.

    I’ve found that taking 3 of these in capsules, brings on the effects slower than drinking the tea.

    Tea, i drank it (bravely, without anything to sweeten it) of course, picked out the leafs. waited about 10 mins then went to bed… had some effects, everything was a little surreal when i woke up during the night.

    The pills, i took 3 of them. i didn’t get the disgusting taste, capsules took it straight to my stomache. the leaves give a much stronger effect… Probably because the leaves are inside my body, constantly giving it their all.

    i slept for 17 hours, woke up a few times after about 12 hours, decided not to go to the toilet, and back to sleep. Every time i did this, i had a different dream, was actively aware of what’s happening, and sometimes even able to affect things.

    its by far a better way to ingest this herb, although not true to the shamanistic ways… can use old capsules, or buy some from health stores.

  16. Cortiano February 6, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    My suggestions start with the making of calea tea. Someone wrote “boil the leaves for 15 minutes.” I think since calea it is a herbal tea it should follow the rule for herbal teas. In the book The Ultimate Tea Diet, the author, Mark Ukra, writes “These herbal “teas” are, according to the Tea Association of America, “… an infusion of leaves, roots, bark, seeds or flowers of other plants [not Camellia sinensis]. These herbal drinks do not contain caffeine; they are generally made by pouring boiling water over the plant parts and letting them steep for a few minutes.”

    So, do not boil the leaves, but rather pour boiling water on them and let them seep for something like 10 minutes.

    To make the tea taste better, first, I drink it very warm and second I keep a piece of dark chocolate (you may prefer milk chocolate) in my mouth while drinking.

    Hope these suggestions are helpful.
    Golden slumbers to all.

  17. psychonautic July 19, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    ok i got new one..try chew garlic after each drink…of two evil garlic is lesser hehe

  18. john July 28, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    Mint added to the tea works very well, It also aids in sublingual absorbtion.

    I find holding the tea in the mouth under the tongue prevents you from tasting much atall of it, while helping the calea be absorbed through the skin.

    Boiled peppermint sweets are great for covering the taste.

  19. andywattbulb July 19, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    a tube and funnel

  20. amrit August 15, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    I’m trying Calea for the first time. It’s the most disgusting flavor i’ve ever tasted in my life. I watered it down with some Ice tea and it’s a little more tolerable..also have a bag of my favorite ketchup chips next to me to help cover the taste.

  21. Eldeberry Baby April 29, 2016 at 4:30 am #

    I pride myself on being an amateur herbalist who is willing to drink goldenseal tincture and other assorted nastiness without whining. I also pride myself on my research skills, but really dropped the ball on this one.

    I looked up stuff about negative interactions and history but it never even occurred to me to check out anything about the taste. It smells innocuous like a mint or mugwort, but HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! This made me yell out loud while saliva pooled in my mouth.

    I gave my daughter a sip and she went out into the living room screaming that she couldn’t trust me anymore. She returned with elderberry syrup mixed with water which helped.

    At that point I was faced with the reality of having drank 2 of 4 oz of this (1/4 c or so of leaves total)and the possibility that I would have no effects. In other words I would have put myself through this for nothing.

    My daughter went back to the kitchen and returned, still badly shaken and claiming that her mouth was spasming, with pure elderberry syrup. I gulped the last half of the tea, cried out to heaven, and took a mouthful of the undiluted syrup. It completely conquered the taste and highly recommend it.

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