Tea 101: Tea Varieties – Herbal Tea
Unlike black and green teas, herbal teas (or infusions – or tisanes) do not hail from the Camellia sinensis plant, and therefore are not officially “tea.”
They are, however, completely caffeine-free, and are widely believed to provide multiple health benefits, including allergy, indigestion, and insomnia relief.
Their aromatic qualities make them perfect as an after-dinner drink, or to sip after slipping under a warm blanket on a late night with a good book in hand.
Types of Herbal Tea
Herbal teas comprise many popular herbs, including, but not limited to:
Many herbal teas are blends of an assortment of herbs and can also include nuts, bark, berries, and almost any edible plant.
Herbal Tea Around the World
One of the more intriguing herbal teas is Red Tea, or rooibos. This South African herb is found in the mountains near Cape Town and is renowned for its earthy flavor and an abundance of polyphenols (antioxidants) and flavonoids.
• Decaffeinated tea and herbal tea are two distinctly different beverages. With decaffeinated teas, the caffeine is removed from the tea using a variety of decaffeination processes. With herbal tea, the caffeine was never present to begin with.
The Best Way to Brew
Herbal teas have slightly longer brew times than actual teas from the sinensis plant. This is because it takes longer to coax the flavor out of these infusions.
For the ideal cup, bring water to a boil and steep your herbal infusion of choice for 6-7 minutes. Use one teaspoon of loose tea for each cup you are brewing. Pour through a strainer into your cup and enjoy hot or iced.