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South L.A. student shares lemon-balm iced tea recipe

Making lemon-balm iced tea
Joanna with a batch of her lemon-balm iced tea. Photo: AFSC

Favorite summertime recipe: Lemon-balm iced tea

Shared by Joanna Farais, 19, of South L.A.

This is the first in a series of recipes from AFSC constituents around the world. Check for more.

Using lemon balm from the urban garden at their school, Joanna Farais and her friend Aubrey came up with their iced tea recipe on the fly.

They needed an easy-to-make but refreshing drink for a ceremony honoring staff of the All Peoples Community Center, home to Central High School in South Los Angeles, but they didn’t want to settle for a sugary option.  

“It occurred to me to go into our school garden, which AFSC helped build and maintains on a weekly basis,” says Joanna. “We had some lemon-balm growing, so I took a risk and made some tea out of it.”

Their lemon-balm iced tea was born. “I was honored when many people enjoyed it,” says Joanna. “Drinking this tea makes me feel healthy and earthy.”

download recipe card
lemon balm



  • 1 gallon of water
  • 12 sprigs of lemon balm
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced (for color and added flavor)
  • ¼ - ½ cup of sugar
  • Ice


  • First you boil the water, and add the lemon balm. Boil the lemon balm for 20-25 minutes.
  • Then you strain the tea to remove the tea leaves.
  • Put it in the refrigerator as a quick method to cool down the tea. Minimum time 15 minutes.
  • Afterwards you add sugar, ice, and slices of lemons.
  • Finally, the tea is ready to serve iced cold or chilled.


What do you love about your lemon-balm iced tea?

It’s easy to make, it’s low on sugar, it’s healthy, refreshing, and great to share with invited guests. It’s great for those hot summer afternoons.

Where do you get the best ingredients?

From our high school garden. Nothing beats getting fresh herbs from your own garden. Lemon balm is easy to grow and you can even have it in a pot.

Why should people make it?

I think it’s a great recipe any one should try. It’s something you can make not only for the summer but through out the seasons also. It’s something great and simple to make and take on the go and enjoy.


Breaking bread
Favorite recipes from around the world To mark the start of summer, people from AFSC programs...