A few years back I started creating and blending our herbal brews in the month of February and the habit stuck. I have affectionately come to call this time FeBREWary. Here in PA it is usually a blustery cold time time of year, making it perfect to cozy in with a hot cuppa.
We get lots of amazing questions surrounding our blends, so we thought we would take the time to address them in a blog post; shedding light on some confusing concepts. So pull out your favorite mug, put the water on, grab your favorite blend and join me while we "steep" into this conversation.
What exactly is a Tisane?
A tisane is a name given to an herbal blend that does not contain any true tea plant (Camellia sinensis). Black, green, white and oolong are labels used to describe when the camellia sinensis was harvested, how long the tea plant was allowed to oxidize (left out in the air to dry); changings its tannins, flavor and color.
Technically ALL of our recipes are tisanes. Our concoctions contain leaves, flowers, bark and roots from various medicinal plants, none of which are Camellia sinensis.
How do you even pronounce Tisane?!?!
It is a French word and I have heard French speaking people saying (tee' zan), but it is common for others to say (tiz' an).
Are your tisanes caffeine free?
All of our blends are caffeine free, with the exception of our Tension Ease Tisane. Caffeine can act as a vasoconstrictor; constricting the blood vessels, which may help to alleviate headache pain. Rather than using Camellia sinensis, we opted to showcase the South American antioxidant powerhouse, Yerba Mate to bring caffeine to this tasty beverage.
How long do I steep my brew?
This answer can just be a matter of personal preference, but I find that most herbalist agree that you need to steep your herbal blend for a least 20 minutes to get a medicinal brew.
Some of our labels state a 5-7 minute brew time, this is my Irish/English descent coming through. I grew up drinking black tea and steeping longer than 7-10 minutes produces a bitter brew and was frowned upon. Since we stick to herbal blends, they require more time to get the drink to a full medicinal strength. So I have shifted my thinking; in the future look for our labels to state a 20 minute steep time as a recommendation.
Just to add a little more confusion to the mix; we also offer herbal blends that are NOT considered tea or tisane. Our Turmeric Chai and Choco Chicory are powders that can be blended into hot water, hot milk of choice or blended into your favorite smoothie. These specialty drinks do not need steeped and strained, just combine them with your favorite base to capture their medicinal benefits.
I love to mix 1 tsp Choco Chicory in with 1 cup of cream (or coconut cream to keep it vegan) and a pinch of powdered sugar, whipping until you get a the dreamiest whipped cream with a spicy little kick. This creates the perfect medicinal topping to your favorite recipes. I blended a 1tsp of the Choco Chicory and whipped it in hot cashew milk, topping it off with this homemade whipped cream to create the warming, creamy drink Fiery Fiesta, SO good!
Every one of our subscription boxes contains a seasonally supportive tisane or herbal blend. We switch them up from year to year; exposing you to different flavors and therapeutic effects. I really enjoying concocting recipes for you all; blending medicinal actions with flavors to create unique brews that I truly hope you enjoy! Have a favorite? Just comment below and let me know which one you like the best, cheers!
P.S. This year I will be hosting a "Tea" Tasting Workshop at the Pennsylvania Herb & Garden Festival. I am excited to be brewing up our blends for participants to sample while we experiment with temperature, time and taste. This plant-centric event takes place on Friday, April28th and Saturday the 29th at the York Expo Center.