Wash beans and soak overnight; or cover in boiling water and soak 1-2 hours.
Drain beans and add to the 8 cups water. Add garlic cloves, salt and a tea ball or fabric sachet contained the herbs. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently until the beans are soft enough to mash easily.
Remove the herbs. Mash or blend about half of the beans to thicken soup. Taste and correct the seasoning.
Serve over a slice of bread drizzled with olive oil, or add oil directly to the soup.