i’m such a fan of growing tea camellia. i have several named varieties, and a few seedlings, and 12 more seedlings from my plants from this past winter. i’ve been playing around with processing for a few years, and might well do a little side-obsession-hustle tea farm at some point.
as to non camellia options…i don’t know what you like in a tea, or what your garden situation will be, but what about:
twigs from woody stuff like:
spring tips from fir or birch or hemlock (the tree not the poisonous herbaceous plant)
I second monarda. I'm planning a spot to grow a lot more of it for next year. I didn't get to enjoy the flowers until late in the year cause I kept picking so much of it for tea. I found an approximately half and half mix of fermented and unfermented leaves makes the best tea.
Ceanothus velutinus makes a nice tea, as long as you pick the older leaves. The current year leaves are pretty bland. The flowering bush is nicest from afar. Up close the flowers are nothing special. But the spicy, resiny smell of the bush on a sunny day is one of my favourite things ever!
I'd recommend looking at your health needs and beginning your list there. For example, I have a mess of sub-clinical highly sensitive immune and inflammation issues, and clinical anxiety and OCD, so a lot of my herbal medicine focus is on components that are relaxing/soothing and anti-inflammatory. Some of my priorities for next year include chamomile, various mints, catnip, mullein, oregano, thyme, calendula, motherwort, meadowsweet, yarrow, basil tulsi, and stinging nettle. You might also experiment with things like ginger and turmeric, ginseng, ashwaganda, various fungi (cordyceps, lions mane), spruce tips, and willow, but depending on your region they may not be happy.
When I lived in a milder climate, I had a large lemon verbena plant right outside my door. Heavenly relaxing scent as soon as I left the house. Useful to give a little "lemon lift" to sauces and teas also.
Weeds are just plants with enough surplus will to live to withstand normal levels of gardening!--Alexandra Petri
I like Juniper's suggestion for looking for teas for your health needs.
Though it is good to plants the ones that you like the flavor of.
Teas that I make:
Yerba Mate, Ilex paraguariensis because I love the flavor. You didn't mention where you are or your zone so I don't know if you would be able to grow it. It is a South American plant that contains caffeine and is used in commercial energy drinks and bottled iced tea.
Lemon balm because I love the smell of the plants and the tea is relaxing.
Ginger because it is good for an upset stomach though I am not fond of the organic tea that I bought because it is too mild.
Rosemary, it can be a large shrub though it smells wonderful. Rosemary can be used in cooking. I make a tea to use as a mouth wash for its health benefits.
Invasive plants are Earth's way of insisting we notice her medicines. Stephen Herrod Buhner
Everyone learns what works by learning what doesn't work. Stephen Herrod Buhner