Dried fruit or dehydrated fruit?
First off, what a wonderful community of tea lovers! I just stumbled upon this site fairly recently and love the concept and discussions.
As many of you have probably do, Ive been looking into making my own custom tea blends for friends, family and myself. An issue im running into is adding fruit for aesthetic purposes(blueberries, strawberry, melon etc) but have no idea whether I should be going for dried fruit or dehydrated fruit? Are any of you familiar with any sites that would sell fruit for tea? I would of thought this would be an easy task to find some information on but im having a heck of a time finding anything! :(
Neither, I think. Both would still contain too much moisture to risk storing with tea. Freeze-dried, however… Unless that’s what you meant by “dried”.
Freeze-dried is done in a vacuum, and would remove the largest amount of water content, so the fruit’s moisture won’t damage the tea. Makes it nice and crunchy.
LiberTeas and 52Teas would probably have more exact information, though. If they’re lurking around the forums.
jogurt: what is it that you are trying to achieve, exactly? A blended fruit tisane (that is, a fruit tea without any actual tea leaves?) or a fruit flavored tea?
Fruit teas are more popular in Europe then here in North America. Major dried fruit suppliers are based in Germany. They all sell bulk / whole sale as far as I know. Fruit and Rooibos is something to look into.
Interesting AJ, I haven’t heard of freeze dried. I will check it out!
@LiberTEAS: I’m looking to create fruit flavored teas; so, adding let’s say strawberries and kiwi to green tea to create a strawberry/kiwi blend. From what I’ve read, they won’t really add much flavor but more for aesthetics. I’ve been looking at extracts/flavorings to satisfy the taste/smells.
@euroTcup: Very interesting, would you happen to know a name so that I could dig a little deeper?
Jogurt: you are correct, adding dry (my suggestion would be freeze-dried) fruit to tea would really add to the aesthetics, but not much to the flavor. For the flavorings, for the best flavor you would need oils that are made for flavoring teas, and you want to find the best that you can … because in this case, you definitely do get what you pay for.
As for where to purchase these items, I procured my supplies from wholesale sources, so I can’t really help you there.
Thanks so much for asking this question, I have been going crazy wondering the same thing! Have you had any success with trying dried fruit?
Unfortunately, there is not a single good source for many of these items. I THOUGHT that Kopius teas was going to fill that gap, but I was recently informed that they could not sell me any more of a certain fruit due to price fluctuations and trying to keep enough raw materials in stock for their own blends.
I take pride in sourcing some of the best ingredients for our blends, so I would be a little reluctant to offer any of my sources (sorry!), but if you use a little Google Fu, you should be able to find individual fruits fairly easily. I will go as far as to say that sometimes the best sources are some of the survivalist websites, who sell cans of freeze-dried stuff for the people expecting the end of the world. Good luck.
Also, beware of dried fruit. Sometimes they use sulphites to preserve the fruits and in my experience, even a little of that stuff will ruin some tea very quickly. YUCK.
I tried regular old dried sticky peaches in tea once and it was pretty gross. Trader Joe’s sells some freeze dried/ dehydrated fruits (blueberries, strawberries, etc.) that I would think would work much better, but I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. May be worth a shot though if you have a TJ’s by you.
I prefer using dried fruit but it all depends on the drying method. It is true that conventional dried fruits have preservatives like sulfur dioxide which keep the moisture content up. But there are also natural varieties that are made without preservatives, leaving the result much drier. My favorite source is Bella Viva Orchards: