Hit the stalks with the flat side of your knife blade to bruise them–this releases the fragrant oil inside.
Carefully give the lemongrass stalks a rough chop and trim away the leaves. The pieces should be about 1⁄2-inch to 1-inch long. (If you're using home-grown lemongrass, you can use the leaves, but there’s no need to bruise them. Since lemongrass is often sold already cut if you buy it at a grocery store, the number of stalks you'll need will vary.)
Bring water to a boil over high heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Once the water reaches a rapid, rolling boil, carefully drop in the chopped lemongrass.
If you need to, give it a stir with a long-handled spoon to ensure the lemongrass is completely submerged, then let it steep in the boiling water for about 5 minutes.
Pour the tea through a fine mesh strainer or colander into your cup, a teapot, pitcher (if serving iced), or other container.
Once you’ve strained it, you can enjoy the tea as soon as it’s cool enough to drink.
Add sugar or honey to taste.
Notes: Lemongrass can sometimes be found in the produce section of grocery stores or at farmer's markets.
Tip: If you want to make the tea in a teapot, boil the water, then pour the boiling water and the chopped lemongrass into the teapot. Cover the teapot with a towel or tea cozy and let the mixture steep for 5–10 minutes or until it becomes fragrant. You will still want to strain it before pouring.
• Slice off a piece of fresh ginger that’s about 1-inch long; Scrape off the peel, then drop it into the water while you’re boiling the lemongrass. This will give it a warm, spicy flavor.
• If you prefer iced tea, place your pitcher of lemongrass tea into the refrigerator for an hour or so. For best results, serve the chilled tea over ice.
• To make sweetened iced tea, stir in 1/4 cup sugar before you place the tea in the refrigerator.
• If you want to amp up the citrus taste, squeeze a wedge of lime over your tea.
• Add milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream. This adds a creamy mouthfeel to your tea. The amount you use depends on how much you like, but it’s best to start with about 1 tablespoon.