Caffeine-Free Tisanes or Infusions
In our last blog post (Caffeine in Tea), we talk about caffeine and my opinion regarding the benefits of drinking tea with caffeine. I have learned from listening and talking to many visitors at Selby Gardens and the Sarasota Farmer’s Market. Some people can’t drink caffeine, perhaps because of medications (therefore doctor’s instructions) or just a simple intolerance in the body.
So, where does that leave us?
Decaf or caffeine-free tisanes
At Local Tea Company, we have many fruit and/or herbal infusions or Tisanes to choose from. There is no excuse for not drinking great caffeine-free tea these days.
Notice I said CAFFEINE-FREE, not de-caffeinated. Because there is no ‘true tea’ made from Camellia sinensis, there is no caffeine to be removed. De-caffeinated tea must go through a process to remove the caffeine that naturally occurs in tea leaves. And no method removes 100% of the caffeine, so the beverage still has up to 5% caffeine content.
I try to stay away from the process of removing caffeine from tea for two reasons. The flavor suffers, and the health benefits are reduced.
The two traditional methods to decaffeinate tea use either ethyl acetate or carbon dioxide. Both are a ‘wet process,’ so the dry leaves are moistened. The wet leaves are then rinsed with ethyl acetate and dried, or under high pressure with carbon dioxide and evaporated. Upon drying, the flavor is reabsorbed into the leaves.
There is still uncertainty about how these methods alter the polyphenols and the antioxidant properties in tea. Above all, the health benefits have been compromised, and I seek teas with maximum health advantages. So, I turn to botanicals, herbal or fruit infusions, also referred to as tisanes.
Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a bush from the Western Cape province of South Africa. Rooibos has an impressive list of vitamins and minerals and is therefore packed with anti-oxidants. I like to say Rooibos works against ATB or ‘all things bad.’ Great hot or iced, I enjoy Rooibos in the late afternoon or evenings.
Local Tea Company carries 8 unique Rooibos teas and is our most popular category. Selby Select is our ‘home tea’, and we have added an Organic Red Rooibos and an herbal Rooibos to celebrate Bertha Palmer, a pioneering Sarasota woman.
Honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia) is a definite favorite at Local Tea Co., especially for evening time. This tea is very soothing and calming with a unique cedar or sandalwood flavor. Also, Chocolate Honeybush is a great option to satisfy the after-meal cravings for something sweet.
After that, there are the fruit infusions or caffeine-free tisanes like Peach Paradise, Organic Red Berries, or Mote Beach Tea (created to honor Mote Laboratories here in Sarasota), Vibrant and refreshing beverages all, especially iced. Excellent alternatives to sodas or other sweet beverages, especially for children.
In conclusion, there really is a tea for all occasions and personal tastes. Try blending your very own caffeine-free tisanes with some of these amazing teas. If you discover a winner be sure to let us know so we can share!
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