Dried fruit in tea
I have been a longtime lurker around here but have finally signed up and hope that this tea hive can answer some of my burning questions!
As so many of you do, I also blend my own teas and have been doing it on and off for a couple of years as and when time and space allow me to. However I’m at a huge impasse when it comes to fruit in tea.
Obviously fruit is much more for the decorative purposes than taste however a good freeze dried fruit and oils selection seems extremely hard to find in the UK!! I am working on it and developing my teas however I have a questions about using normal dried fruit:
I picked up some dried pineapple from my local health food shop (the pure kind and the crystallised style) and I’m wondering if it really is a sin and will it ruin the tea? They are both slightly sticky and I’m concerned that leaving the pineapple in with tea for reasonable lengths of time may ruin it. I have tasted the pure dried pineapple and cut up small and left to infuse has a lovely subtle taste. I’m just concerned about moisture. I am yet to taste the other pineapple.
Thank you very much in advance!
Until you have tried, what do you really know. I would try a small batch and see how it is. I have thought about getting dried fruit and adding it to tea myself. A lot of blends sold by major tea companies have types of dried fruit in them but I don’t know if they are similar to what is available in store. Both Teavana and David’s Tea feature many blends with dried fruit.
Yes I agree the best way to do it is to try. I’m just hopeful a few people have tried this before me so I don’t need to wait 6 months doing moisture tests every couple of weeks before I can actually start to add it to blends :(
I dont know whether other company’s use a specific dried fruit that is completely dry or is still slightly sticky….
I am having an extremely hard time finding any suppliers in the UK for ingredients and additions. I have bought some tea from a uk company that I’m going to look at/feel but wanted to ask this fantastic group too :)
Might want to talk to Liquid Proust about this.
Thank you! I’ve just had a quick scan through that blog and I’m fascinated!
I have thought about getting a dehydrator and in the long run I think that definitely something I’d like to do!
Dehydrating fruit to blend with really depends on the base tea you use as well. Depending on how much you’re planning to use and how you’ll be using it, your best option might be freeze dried fruits which you can find done whole to which you can break yourself and what not. Fruit is a tricky one to be honest due to the moisture and all.
This site is such a great resource. Just go to teas and search pineapple and you will find a few examples such as this one by Adagio, that have dried fruit pieces.
Many many flavored teas have dried fruit pieces in them. It is not a sin. These are called ‘components’ to a blend. You are on the right track to taste each component individually before committing to it with a tea blend. You can buy components as you have done, to try. Or to use on a larger scale from suppliers, including already blended fruit tea blends (without Camillia Sinensis)
I wouldn’t recommend ‘sticky’ or fruit that is still moist.
Yes I’ve noticed plenty of places used dried fruit. I just wish I knew where to buy it!! Here in England we really do seem to lack good resources for buying “really” dry fruit – in small or large quantities. It all seems to still be a little moist.
A quick online search found this result, just for an example.
look for herbal companies.
Thanks Kate, this is actually my local health food shop :) the loose herbs/spices we buy from the same place. I also buy my green tea and rooibos from a similar place. I have bought some dried fruit from there too but these are all “sticky” except for the peels and their selection isn’t as great as I would like.
Thank you ever so much for looking though! :)
Well, pretty funny I found your local.
Some tea companies sell fruit components. Like Metropolitan. If you are serious about blending you’d have to have a resale account to be able to shop their site. Sorry I couldn’t help more.
Tea and fruit must be dried. Dried tea leaf must be crispy, when you crush the leafs between the fingers, the leaf will crush rather then be bouncy. If the fruit not dry enough the tea leafs will adsorb all the moister and get spoiled.
Thank you Yat-Fung, that was my original thoughts And what I was worried about.
I will keep searching for some very dry fruit :)
Let me know you result. I am very interested in natural flavored fruit tea too. Have you try fruit dehydrator or do you do baking?
In the short term, you could dry fruit in your oven. Put the temperature down to 150-200 (Fahrenheit), put your fruit on parchment paper, and flip it every hour. It takes a long time starting from fresh fruit, but probably wouldn’t take too long starting from sticky fruit.
Hi Melissa, thanks for your comment :)
I have tried drying fruit in the oven with very little success which is a shame as I would love to be able to do that. Admittedly I have only done it with fresh fruit so drying dried fruit may have better results! A dehydrator is a possibility in the future if I can get the funds together. At the moment though I can’t really afford that.
The problem however with drying my own fruits is if I want to take this on commercially. I have spoken to my local food and trading standards advisors and they have said that any good I dry myself will have to go through moisture testing to ensure it is dry enough to not contract mold and to find its best before dates. This is a costly thing to have to do as it involves sending to labs etc and paying companies to do this testing. I don’t know if this is the case everywhere but at least in my part of the U.K. This is the law :(
For now though it seems I will just have to limit my blends to herbs, spices, peels and oils which is a bit of a shame :( :(
I want to thank everyone for the quick and lovely advice. I apologise if I’m sounding so negative about everything!!
I have done a lot of research into where I can find dried fruit for teas (dehydrated and freeze dried too) and for at least the past year if not longer I have only come up with American companies or European manufacturers who only sell by the palate. Nothing for a small start up or hobbyist.
I suppose my main question should have been where on earth can I find reasonably priced fruit based tea components in England!? Or if not who ships from America at a reasonable price and at manageable quantities.
It would seem to me another option that is not too expensive is to buy a food dehydrator and dry your own fruit. I would think the others fruit is sticky because they add sugar. If you dehydrate it yourself maybe you wouldn’t have that problem and you could simply buy fruit at your local market.
Thanks again Allan but please see my reply to Melissa above. If I were to dry my own fruit I wouldn’t be to ever sell my blends legally which is something I would like to do
@StillNeedAName – I am trying to send you a private message but cant because you need to follow me back..
Basically I am interested in being a taster for your teas if you like – im London-based so p&p would be really cheap & I would really enjoy that
& if you are up for doing swaps anyway I’m trying to get an active group of UK people for a travelling tea box
I’ve added ginger pieces that I’ve candied myself to a masala chai mix. Just make sure after you cut it in small pieces to recoat in a layer of sugar to absorb moisture and make it less sticky.
Although I still recommend a test batch as you’ll likely be user a greater amount of fruit as well as a better quality tea without as much tea dust as the CTC I use for chai.
Since you mention doing more than for hobbyist. I don’t recommend processing your own dried fruit in any case. Selling commercially is a bit more involved. Look into qualifications where you live for cottage production.
I mentioned Metrotea.com. They ARE an international company and sell every kind of dried fruit component. Both freeze dried and natural dried. An excellent company for beginning start ups. They have every supply you might want as well. If you are serious, get your resale number/ seller ID so you can open an account.
Thanks Kate. I have looked into them before but will look again. I have all of the required paperwork and qualifications to run and be a tea business I just need to get on and do it. I was motivated as I’ve been asked to have a spot on a local market by a friend. I’m only starting very small but it would be nice to make the blends im thinking about.