Herbal tea, also known as tisane or infusion, is a beverage made from steeping herbs, fruits, flowers, or spices in hot water. Often enjoyed for its delightful flavors and soothing aroma, herbal tea has been consumed globally for centuries, with its origins dating back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt and China. It is caffeine-free and can be served hot or cold, making it a versatile and beneficial drink for people of all ages.
Besides offering a vast array of rich and unique flavors, herbal tea also provides multiple health benefits. Many herbal teas contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can aid in digestion, promote sleep, alleviate stress, and improve the immune system.
Often, people mistake Herbal tea for being actual 'Tea.' However, true tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, whereas Herbal tea is an infusion of various herbs, flowers, spices, or other plant material in hot water. No real tea leaves are included in most herbal teas. The crucial step to getting the best flavor out of your herbal tea is to steep it correctly. Improper steeping, like over-steeping or under-steeping, can lead to an unpleasant taste. Each type of herbal tea has its optimal steeping time, which should usually be followed. Another common problem is using water at a wrong temperature. For most herbal teas, boiling water (around 212 °F or 100 °C) is ideal.
To get the most out of Herbal tea, it is best to use fresh, cold, ideally filtered water since water quality significantly affects the tea's taste. Also, cover your tea while it's steeping. This will keep all of the heat in the cup or pot and help the inherent flavor to really infuse the water. Experiment with blending different types of herbal teas to create your unique combinations.
One little known trick about this versatile drink is that you can use herbal tea in cooking to enhance your meals' flavors. Depending on the type, herbal tea can be used in a range of dishes, from sweet treats like cookies and cakes to savory meals like stews and marinades.
How do I make herbal tea taste better?
Can I drink herbal tea every day?
Can I mix different herbal teas together?
Should herbal tea be steeped covered or uncovered?
Can I reuse herbal tea bags?
Why is my herbal tea bitter?
Can I add milk to my herbal tea?
Should I squeeze the herbal tea bag?
Does herbal tea dehydrate you?
Can I cold brew herbal tea?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does herbal tea expire?
Unopened herbal tea in sealed packaging can last up to about 3 years. The shelf-life of unopened herbal tea in loose-leaf form without packaging is relatively short by comparison, usually lasting about 6 months to a year. Once the herbal tea packaging is opened, the tea should be used within 6 to 8 months for optimal taste. If it's homemade herbal tea mixture, it's best used within a month or two. If you've brewed the tea and kept it in the refrigerator, try to consume it within 5 days. In a frozen state, herbal tea can last for about 2 months.
How do you tell if herbal tea is bad?
One easy way to tell if your herbal tea has gone bad is by its smell. Fresh herbal tea has a soothing and distinct aroma. If you notice a stale or unusual smell, that's a clear signal that your tea has expired. Also, if you see mold growth or any other signs of contamination, discard the packet immediately. The taste can also indicate the quality of herbal tea – if it's bland or has lost its original taste, that likely means it's past its prime.
Tips for storing herbal tea to extend shelf life
• Store your herbal tea in a cool, dark place, away from heat and sunlight.
• Keep your herbal tea in an airtight container or sealed bag to maintain its freshness.
• Avoid storing your herbal tea near strong-smelling foods or spices, as tea can easily absorb odors.
• If your herbal tea is in loose-leaf form, store it in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
• For long-term storage, you can freeze your herbal tea. However, remember to store it properly in airtight containers or freezer bags to prevent the absorption of other food odors in the freezer.