As autumn approaches, we all look forward to enjoying a cozy cup of hot tea. It is the most consumed drink globally after H2O. So many options! One look at a tea aisle will offer a variety to please anyone - black teas, green teas, mint, fruits, even pumpkin spice for the season. But are all those choices really tea? Not exactly.
Tea, in the literal meaning of the word, is a beverage derived from leaves of Camellia sinesis, created into the types we are familiar with via the method of processing. Green, black, and white are the most common to American consumers, but the shrub can also offer oolong, yellow, and fermented teas. Tea contains caffeine in varying degrees, depending on the type.
All those tea options we’re familiar with obviously do not all come from Camellia sinesis. There isn’t a version of Camellia sinesis that grows just raspberry flavored leaves, after all! What are popularly known as herbal teas can also be called herbal infusions, to assist with the differentiation of beverages from the tea plant. These drinks can come from a wide variety of ingredients - fruits, flowers, roots - practically any natural ingredient! The ‘leaves’ for infusions can be used fresh or dried, just like true teas, though infusions are typically caffeine-free. Many infusions contain ingredients that can naturally act as health benefits. One of my favorites, chamomile, can benefit the quality of sleep and assist with anxiety.
TL;DR: Infusions are teas that aren’t tea. Both true teas and infusions are typically prepared in the same way, by steeping the leaves in hot or boiling water. The difference is in the origination of the material. You can look forward to enjoying both types of beverages at Reignforest Tea Bar very soon!