If it’s your first time hearing about tisane, chances are you’ve already consumed it more than once. You’ve probably used the terms tea and tisane interchangeably without knowing. But, did you know that the beverage you thought was tea, was actually not tea?
Tea Vs Tisane Tisane
Tisane, pronounced as ti-zahn, means herbal infusion. This means that tisane is an herbal tea made from dried or fresh leaves, seeds, roots, fruits or flowers by pouring hot (not boiling) water over the herbs and allowing the mixture to steep for a specified amount of time, usually between five to 15 minutes. Tisane is then strained and sweetened before serving. Tisanes are full of flavors depending on the herb that’s making it and it provides a myriad of health benefits to the body. There are countless varieties of tisane and they include:
- Leafy tisanes – rooibos, mint, lemon balm, and lemongrass.
- Bark tisanes – black cherry bark, cinnamon, and slippery elm.
- Flower tisanes – chamomile, lavender, hibiscus, and rose.
- Root tisanes – chicory and ginger.
- Fruit tisanes – apple, peach, blueberry, and raspberry.
Any tea made with these ingredients is classified as herbal tea and have been consumed for over 5000 years since they were first discovered. The big difference between tea and tisane is in their composition. Most people are familiar with caffeine in tea. Well, tisanes are mostly caffeine-free save for a few varieties.
Tisane Tea Benefits
Herbal tea or tisane has been used traditionally to treat and manage certain health conditions such as blood pressure and menstrual pain. Other health benefits include:
- Ginseng can help with erectile dysfunction and improve mental capacity.
- Lemon balm, passion, and chamomile help to calm nerves and reduce anxiety, insomnia, and diarrhea.
- Peppermint is effective in treating bloating and stomach pain.
- Thyme soothes coughing.
- Ginger works great with nausea, menstrual pain, and morning sickness in pregnant women.
What is Tea?
Tea, scientifically known as Camellia sinensis, is a sub-tropical green plant native to Asia, but now grown the world over. Tea contains three significant compounds – polyphenols, essential oils, and caffeine. It’s a very common beverage and can be brewed with a tea bag or a strainer. There are several varieties of tea, but they all come from the same plant. The difference comes in the way the tea leaves are processed. Unlike tisane which is made from herbs (roots, leaves, flowers) of various plants, tea is made from tea leaves.
The various types of tea include:
The most popular and processed tea variety, black tea undergoes full oxidation, giving it the characteristic dark color. Black tea is further divided into various subcategories like English breakfast, Ceylon, and Darjeeling
It undergoes minimum processing and is packed with antioxidants. The leaves are dried by pan-frying, roasting or steaming, and rolled into thin twig-like shapes. The taste and flavor of green tea depend entirely on the region where it’s cultivated. Green tea cultivated in India, for example, has a different taste to green tea cultivated in Japan. Green tea needs to be brewed perfectly, or else it becomes bitter.
Oolong tea is a hybrid of green tea and black tea. They are of extremely high quality and come with a high price tag. They have a rich flavor and are mainly cultivated in China and Taiwan. Oolong tea leaves are wrapped in bamboo baskets where tea sommeliers softly rub the leaves to encourage oxidation.
Considered to be one of the healthiest tea varieties, white tea undergoes the least processing. As a matter of fact, white tea is made from the baby tea leaves that have just sprouted. Once they are harvested, they are left to dry naturally. White tea features a rare and complex flavor that will awaken your taste buds and make you appreciate nature.
How to Brew a Perfect Cup
Depending on the type of tea or tisane you’re preparing, they come with their own steeping requirements. White and green teas can be prepared with cooler water and take a short steeping time. If you don’t like green tea because of the bitter taste, then you may be over-steeping or burning the extra-delicate leaves. Green tea should taste sweet, with a nice flavor. On the other hand, black tea works best with hot water and takes longer to steep.
When it comes to tisanes, you’ll require a longer steeping time, and some take up to 15 minutes for a perfect brew. Tisanes take longer to prepare to allow for the flavors to develop. Tisane uses boiling water which is poured to a cup with your preferred herbs. For a rich flavor, cover the teapot or cup until its fully brewed. Now that you have learned the difference between true tea and tisane, go out and explore the dozens of herbs available in the market.