Monday, September 7, 2015

T Stands for Tisanes

Last week there were several comments about Tisanes.  Most of the comments referred to the fact you had no idea what a tisane was.  Since I didn't have time to take new photos for today because I spent my day helping my neighbor find homes for or trash massive amounts of cosmetics, old make-up, beauty products, old and some never used skin care products, never used toothbrushes, and such, I am bringing back the photos, but adding new content to the post I wrote earlier on tisanes.  I'm sure some of you who were curious also went to the internet and found much the same information I found.

So let's head to my herbal garden as it looked last year.

I'm actually glad I used last year's photos because my herb garden looked much better back then.  Since this post is all about tisanes, let's start with what they are.

According to Coffee, Tea at
With a title like "herbal tea," you'd think that chamomile, mint, rooibos and the like would be tea. However, all "true teas" (green tea, black tea, etc.) are from the same plant, Camellia sinensis.

What is commonly referred to as an "herbal tea" is actually an infusion or decoction made from a plant other than Camellia sinensis. For this reason, there is a trend toward the use of terms like "tisane" (pronounced tea-zahn).
For my previous post I wrote that common tisanes include mint and rooibos.  However, I've also learned that tisanes are usually categorized by the part of the plant they come from.  According to Wise Geek:
Simply put, tisane is a fancy word for "herbal tea." Actually, tisane (also, “ptisan”) is the better and more accurate term because most herbal "teas" by definition contain no actual leaves from the tea bush. Typically, they are made by mixing any number of dried flowers, such as chamomile or jasmine blossoms; seeds; plant roots; and spices, such as cinnamon — the combination possibilities are endless.
It's fairly obvious my chocolate mint is a leaf tisane, which also includes lemon balm, lemongrass, and French verbena.
My spearmint is also a leaf tisane, but rose, chamomile, hibiscus, and lavender are flower tisanes.  Cinnamon, slippery elm, and black cherry bark are bark tisanes, while echinacea, ginger, and chicory are root tisanes.

Fruit and berry tisanes include raspberry, blueberry, peach, and apple, while cardamom, caraway, and fennel are seed and spice tisanes.

Tisanes are sometimes classified as medicinal simply because many tisanes are high in antioxidants and nutrients.  "Detox teas" are a popular category of medicinal tisanes which have been popular staples in both the kitchen and the infirmary for centuries.  According to Herbs Info:
Tisanes are often the most basic and most commonly employed herbal medicines, not only due to its ease of preparation, but also because of its easily absorbable nature. More often than not, most herbal remedies will call for the creation of a tisane before any other method, simply because tisanes are easily made, even by novice herbalists.
If you are using fresh leaves your tisane should be infused.   After gently washing and patting the mint dry, I got out my stacking cup and teapot that has no lid.  I thought it would be perfect for this experiment.  I used the strainer/infuser in place of the lid,

placed the bruised leaves in the strainer/infuser

(I bruised them by rubbing them and rolling the mint into a ball),

then poured the boiling water over the bruised leaves, which I pressed down even more with a spoon as I poured the water over the leaves.  According to Coffee, Tea at
Brewing times and proportions for tisanes vary widely. They may be as short as two minutes or as long as 15 minutes, and may require as little as a pinch of plant material per cup of water or as much as several tablespoons per cup. 
Coffee, Tea at further warns:
Never use an aluminum pot to prepare a tisane. Aluminum is a reactive metal, so it can react with the herb and, depending on the plant type, it may produce a very toxic beverage.
I removed the strainer/infuser and replaced it with the stainless steel holder that accompanies the strainer/infuser.  I was pleased at how well the metal holder fit in the tea pot (Oh look! My fingers still have remnants of paint and spray mists).

I played the waiting game while the tea "brewed," especially since I had no idea how long to wait.   Just to be on the safe side, I thought I'd pour the tea over the leaves as I added it to the cup.

I was thrilled that I got a lovely yellow color in my cup, which meant it had actually brewed.

I added lemon for taste and a tiny sprig of the chocolate mint for decoration.   I really enjoyed this tisane experiment the first time I created it, and will hopefully do something similar again this year, if I ever get time away long enough to take photos.  After all, I have loads of mint and all the other accouterments.  BTW, the tea didn't taste as good as it looked, but I'm more a coffee drinker.

I hope this answered any questions about tisanes.  Remember that tisanes are caffeine free, unlike drinks made from the tea plant.  So I'm off to get a cup of coffee loaded with caffeine, while some of you enjoy this caffeine free drink and I get this post created just under the wire.

Now it's your turn.  What's been brewing (pun intended) at your place this week?  Please join us with your drink related post.  Anything is possible as long as you can relate it, in some way, back to a drink.  Photos do not have to be taken on Tuesday (or even this year, which is obvious from this post), but you must link below in order for Bleubeard, the "T" gang, and me to visit.  Or drop by to say hello and consider joining us in the future.  We'd love to have you.

22 thoughtful remarks:

TwinkleToes2day said...

Fascinating information about tisanes/ptisans(tea-zahns). I drink tea and coffee. I drink de-caf tea and coffee. I drink fruit 'teas' and mint 'teas'. I dislike camomile very much (blech!) but have not ried many of the others you mentioned like bark teas. What a fascinating topic. Thank you for bringing it up. It's a shame your tisane wasn't as nice as it looked. What if you'd added a touch of honey perhaps, or a sugar; perhaps that would have made it better? Happy T Day Elizabeth :D

Halle said...

I've yet to try anything like this. It sounds really good and certainly is pretty. Good for you for experimenting.

Carol said...

I'd be lost with out my herbal teas :) I usually dry my herbs and put them in press & seal tea bags. Then make my drink just like a hot tea or a brewed ice tea. Sometimes I will place the fresh herbs directly in the teapot and pour the hot water over them and let them steep . I like stronger teas so I let them steep for at least 3 minutes and sometimes longer. Love your teapot ♥

Krisha said...

Love my caffeine, from the bean, through the pot and into my cup...LOL

Valerie-Jael said...

Your herbal tea does look beautiful, and I am sure it is healthy, bu I think coffee s still my choice. It looks like a lot of work, too, with picking and brewing etc, but well worth it if it tastes good. I do drink some teas in winter, with ginger and lemon etc, but usually make them from tea bags! Thanks for showing all the steps in brewing your tisane, and for the good tip about not using aluminium. Have a happy T day, hugs, Valerie

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Looks like Zen Elizabeth! I would love to have this tea with you!
Happy T-Day!

Lisca Meijer said...

That was very informative. Thank you.
I use a lot of herbal teas as many herbs here grow in the wild. I just chuck a few leaves int the teapot and let it brew for a bit then strain it into the cup. I also use dried stelvia leaves to sweeten the more bitter herbs. And like you I use lemon for some of them.
Have a good T day,

Corrine at said...

Nice explanation. Love fruit teas myself, mixed with herbs. Always like having a treat without the sugar. Rooibus has that same quality to me as well. Yes, you herbs did look good. Everythings wilted and a mess here, been hot and will continue all week. xox

Sharon Fritchman said...

Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing the wealth of knowledge about Tisanes! And I loved looking at your beautiful photos, too! We are having extremely hot weather here in PA, too. And we haven't had rain in a long time!!

Linda Kunsman said...

Thank you for sharing so much wonderful information about tisane, and for the beautiful demonstration of the tea making too! Those herbs are one thing my neighbor doesn't grow. Sounds good though. Happy T day!

see you there! said...

Very interesting. I call lots of herbal drinks "Tea" and I do know better. Of course advertising calls them teas as well. Other than a fresh sprig of mint here and there, I have better luck brewing when I use herbs from the garden that have been dried,


dawn said...

Hello and Happy T Day! Thank you so much for linking me up today. I remember this post and it was just as good the second time around. Nice photos again too!!

Hope you enjoy your day and T visits around with everyone.

I didn't get my pages done in time for last week's posts, happy to share Dianne's cards with you today. She is quite the artist!

~*~Patty S said...

Thanks for sharing all of that super tisane info E.
Very informative
Your stacked tea cup and pot are SO nice...really love em and your cup of tea looks perfectly inviting too.
Happy T Day oxo

Dianne said...

Lovely photos...the tisane looks yummy. and all this time when I drink herbal tea I was having a tisane! I have to admit that chocolate mint sounds pretty great...but i suppose that's the chocolate lover in me! have a terrific week dear E!

Viktoria Berg said...

That was very interesting, I didn´t know about tisane. Unfortunately I have too much on my plate at the moment to participate, but still want to wish you a Happy T-day!

Divers and Sundry said...

I like some herbal "teas" and always think of David Suchet's Poirot when I drink them. I can hear him asking for his tisane :)

jinxxxygirl said...

Elizabeth that was a fabulously interesting post! I wish it had tasted better in the I'm so glad you liked my attempt at something Van Gogh related... :) Happy happy Tday! Hugs! deb

Denise Price said...

I have a lot of mint growing in my yard, so I really need to try making my own mint tea!

Rita said...

Yes, I googled it last week--herbal tea. (And the other mystery one to me was actually fermented tea, which I have heard of but never tried.) I didn't know about aluminum, though. I'm not sure what my little tea strainers are made of but I would hope stainless steel. Happy T-Day and have a great week!! :)

pearshapedcrafting said...

Well, it does look interesting - but I don't think it's for me, I prefer cofffe too, although my second and my last coffee of the day are always decaff - the rest of the time it's either water or full on caffeine loaded coffee! I had hoped to join you but twas not to be! Hugs, Chrisx

johanna said...

a wonderful informative post - i never heard the word "tisane" before. well, my son (studying horticulture) sometimes brews some and dries leaves, but actually i prefer coffee most of the time.
your photos are awesome!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I never tried brewing using fresh herbs so your post was very interesting today. I drink herbals mostly in the winter unless I turn them into iced drinks.

Happy T Day!