Tisane - Characteristics and Tea Types


Tisane, also known as herbal tea, is actually not a true tea. Unlike black, green, or white tea, tisanes do not use the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis. Tisanes are made by the infusion or decoction of herbs, fruit, spices, and other plant materials in hot water. Most tisanes do not contain caffeine and were originally used for medicinal purposes before it became a popular beverage.


What makes tisanes so interesting and fun to drink is its ability to be so versatile. Plant leaves, flowers, fruit, spices, roots, and much more can be infused into various delicious mixtures. The most common ingredients you will find in a tisane are chamomile, hibiscus, mint, and rooibos. Many people incorporate certain herbs based on the season and specific harvest time. Unlike green or black tea, which takes two to three minutes to steep, a tisane or herbal blend can take up to fifteen minutes to brew depending on the infusion.


Below are three of the most popular types of tisanes:


Rooibos: Also called “red bush tea” or “red tea,” rooibos is an herb native to South Africa and has been grown since the 1700s.  It was a substitute for black tea during World War II when Chinese and Japanese teas were unavailable. It became a commercial beverage in the 1930s and overtime, has become an herb used for cooking and cosmetic products. Rooibos is known for its beautiful color and sweet, full-bodied flavor.


Yerba Mate: The leaves are from the rainforest holly tree in South America and is one of the only caffeinated tisanes. Yerba mate is unique because it has the energizing factors of coffee but has the health benefits of tea. The leaves are naturally packed with vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. Yerba mate can be served hot or iced and has a similar flavor to green tea.



Fruit Tisanes: An incredibly refreshing blend of dried fruits, flowers, herbs, and spices. The most common ingredient in fruit tisanes is hibiscus. Fruit tisanes are perfect iced on a hot day and are naturally high in Vitamin C.

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