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