Tea or Tisane

Do you prefer Tea or a Tisane? In many cases people say they have had a cup of tea when what they enjoyed was a Tisane--an herbal infusion. To discuss Teas and Tisanes, let us first look at a definition for each.

Tea -- An infusion steeped from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. All teas (white, green, oolong, black, yellow and pu'erh) come from the same plant. The botanical name of this versatile plant is Camellia sinensis.  "Tea" is anything derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. All true teas contain some degree of caffeine.

 

The Camellia Sinensis plant with leaves, flowers, and seed pods

The Camellia Sinensis plant with leaves, flowers, and seed pods

 Tisane -- Herbal infusions (a French word for "herbal infusion") are usually dried flowers, fruits or herbs steeped in boiling water (no true tea leaves are included). Historically consumed for medicinal reasons or as a caffeine-free alternative.

Olive leaves with flowers. 

Olive leaves with flowers. 

I enjoy both true teas and tisanes, finding both to be beneficial for my well-being.  In my little corner of the tea world I enjoy (and believe benefit from) herbs infused with teas to create a beverage that will satisfy my thirst while providing wellness benefits. For example this morning I am in desperate need of a very strong bowl of Matcha followed by a strong cup of Chamomile. Both will provide me a calmness that I so desperately need. Granted, I have not actually infused my Matcha with Chamomile but after thinking about this statement, it would be possible and I believe appealing. I will give this a try and let you know about the results.

Some of my favorite Tea/Tisane infusions are a roasted Oolong with Hawthorn berries. I will also take a strong black tea (I.e., an English or Scottish Breakfast Tea)  and add tinctures of Astragalus or Ashwagandha to build my immune system. Please note that I have consulted, and recommend that you do the same, with an Herbalist and my physician before using these herbs, as some herbs can interfere with prescribed medications. I have also added lemons for the vitamin C to any iced tea, this is especially delicious in iced Matcha.

 

Iced Matcha with Lemon. 

Iced Matcha with Lemon. 

It just occurred to me that perhaps I had better explain what I am referring to when talking about infusions. In the culinary world infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors from plant material in a solvent such as water, oil or alcohol, by allowing the material to remain suspended in the solvent over time. In simpler terms steeping tea in water creates an infusion. I will also make a tea infusion to substitute for water when making rice. Remember true tea is edible and can be added to food just like herbs and seasoning.

Whether you enjoy a Tea, Tisane or combination of these, Enjoy your wellness beverage.

The Tea And Hat Lady

Not Your Average Tea Event

The final days of World Tea Expo (WTE) were filled with social media development, sensory stimulation, and final visits to the exhibit floor to, once again, sampling the outstanding teas available.

Many of us continued our WTE experience by participating in a Meet and Greet gathering of the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association (MATBA) for the purpose of introducing those new to the tea industry to MATBA's mission and activities. Those of us in MATBA leadership roles are thrilled to welcome three new members and look forward to the opportunity to share our experiences in building success in tea.

 

A sampling of Pu'ers and teas available on the floor at WTE, 2016.  

A sampling of Pu'ers and teas available on the floor at WTE, 2016.  

 "A great meal is an experience that nourishes more than your body." In the March 28, 1948 letter Lulu writes to Mr. Beard. Delicious, A Novel by Ruth Reichl.

The above quote describes exactly how I felt after leaving The Tea Pairing in the Sky hosted by Alize and Seven Cups two weeks ago. The food, tea, and ambiance proved to be an experience worthy of the expenditure. Since I have posted and tweeted several times about the tea and food, I am going to concentrate on the overall event and  this phenomenal experience. I have attended many tea pairings, some interesting and enlightening while others were disappointing but, never have I left a tea pairing feeling as luxuriously pampered as I did when leaving this "tea experience."

After giving the event much thought I came to the conclusion that what was successfully offered that evening was a one of a kind "tea experience." Granted many of us have shared tea with famous tea professionals in many different types of surroundings and left feeling satisfied. But when you are provided properly prepared exceptional teas along with deliciously presented dishes while surrounded in an environment of soft music, soothing lightening, soft table linens, exquisite table and glassware all orchestrated to provide the attendee superior fooding stimulation -- that, my dear, is a "tea experience."

 

The ingredients of a "One-of-a-Kind" Tea Experience. 

The ingredients of a "One-of-a-Kind" Tea Experience. 

In my book, the standards have been set for providing others a "tea experience." It is no longer acceptable to just provide properly steeped good tea, you must consider the vessel in which the tea is served, the presentation of the tea, and the comfort of your participant. The key to success is in the preparation -- know your tea, present the tea in the most appealing form possible, and most of all provide an environment that will enhance the experience. Successful events are planned in advance -- tea and food are sampled, the atmosphere is created, and participant comfort is highlighted.

Lifting my cuppa that your next tea sampling will be a genuine Tea Experience, 

The Tea And Hat Lady  

 

 

State of the Tea Industry -- Day 2 WTE

A sampling of the many speciality teas available for cupping at the WTE 2016  

A sampling of the many speciality teas available for cupping at the WTE 2016  

As much as my first day of World Tea Expo (WTE) was sensory development; day two was motivation to play an active role in the future of the tea industry. I had the honor of emceeing three tea education workshops addressing the evolution of tea in the foodservice industry, the current state of the tea industry, and ways to provide customers an innovative afternoon tea. (Although in the Central Pennsylvania area Sweet Remembrances has it covered by offering themed teas along with delicious food and properly steeped tea.)

Industry research is encouraging in that tea continues to increase in consumer consumption and culinary exploration to provide tea enthusiasts a life-pleasing experience. Probably the most thought provoking information I received during this second day of tea was to begin to look at tea as an ingredient. Tea can be a marinating ingredient, used for infusions, as a rub, and always remember that quality loose leaf tea can be eaten. (Please note that I said "Quality Loose Leaf Tea.")

Following my morning of being motivated by the happenings within the tea industry, I attended the Tea Bloggers Roundtable. An extremely interesting group of tea bloggers, with each approaching/sharing their tea knowledge and experiences in a different format that remains to be entertaining while informative. Watch for a Tea Bloggers Roundtable link from my blog soon. (A discovery I made while traveling is that one cannot revamp one's blog from a Mobil device. So you see there is still a need to own a computer. The world cannot be totally at your finger tips with an iPhone and iPad.)

Then it was off to the World Tea Awards (the Red Carpet of the Tea Industry) Reception. Congratulations are extended to all those nominated and awarded this year's awards. The award recipients certainly represented the movers and shakers of the industry.

The day of tea industry education ended with attendance at a Tea/Chinese Food pairing at Niu Gu restaurant in Chinatown Las Vegas. The event hosted by Tealet paired traditional Chinese teas with American Chinese cuisine. It was a pleasure to once again meet up with established tea friends while discovering new friends with a shared interest and appreciation for tea.

Raising my cuppa to having experienced a fan-tea-tic day at WTE, 

The Tea And Hat Lady

 

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Immersed In Tea

This and the next two blogs will detail my personal experiences while attending the 2016 World Tea Expo in Las Vegas. 

Day One involved an opportunity to experience the basics of tea blending through the professional guidance of STI.  

Then it was off to a wonderful networking experience at the Tealet offices hosted by the USA Tea Festival Group. A very tea-filled day of many opportunities and experiences.  

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