Fruit Tisanes Are Misunderstood...

Full Disclosure: I am the owner of Fusion Tea Room and we have quit a few Fruit Tisanes. I feel like they are geared toward the non-tea drinker. Most tea drinkers on here want to like them but because they are so different from “real” tea they get disappointed. Fruit Tisanes do not cater to their palate or their palate has changed or adapted and many tea drinkers do not like Hibiscus for some reason and are disappointed when they see that ingredient.

Apart from our Yerba Mate line they are the most popular. People that generally do not like tea like the Fruit Tisanes.

So I get frustrated with reviewers here in regards to Fruit Tisanes. Don’t get me wrong the reviews aren’t horrible, I just think they are misunderstood. The base of a Fruit Tisane is Hibiscus and Apple pieces, generally speaking of course. Hibiscus can be tart and apples can be sweet and then the other flavors play off of those two ingredients. Rose Hips are also a popular ingredient. So it surprises me when reviewers say it is too tart. That is like calling peppermint too minty. Another reason reviewers here typically think they are too tart is because they do not add any sugar or sweetener. I fully respect reviewers and applaud many of you that are not slave to the all mighty sugar cane but with fruit tisanes you need to balance out the tartness so the tisane can give you its full potential.

OK I feel better now :)


39 Replies
SimplyJenW said

Personally, I would love for fruit tisanes to be blended without hibiscus. Since they are not, I don’t even sample them.

Agreed. when I see anything with hibiscus in it, I run in the other direction.

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I understand your frustration!!
For me, I think the issue is that I dislike the taste of apple and hibiscus in general, even sweetened. That makes it hard to like a tisane sometimes.
The few non hibiscus/apple tisanes I have tried are great though!!

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Uniquity said

I like a number of tisanes, fruit based or otherwise. A large portion of my “tea” inventory actually is rooibos, honeybush or fruit based (maybe 1/4? Maybe a bit more?). That said, I’m still not a fan of hibiscus in most blends. I don’t know that tart is a necessary ingredient in a fruit tea, but I frequently try hibiscus based blends anyway.

As for sugar, I must be a purist. I don’t like to add sugar, honey or any other sweetener to my drink. If I don’t like it as is, then it isn’t the drink for me. I may alter it to get through drinking what I have left but I never buy things knowing that I have to alter it to make it taste great. That’s just me though. : )

jones5874 said

“I never buy things knowing that I have to alter it to make it taste great” – I like your philosophy and I agree! You can apply this to coffee and many other things as well.

This is why I love chai. Good blends taste great on their own, but they are also good sweetened and/or with milk. So many ways to enjoy depending on how you feel.

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jones5874 said

You say “the base of a Fruit Tisane is Hibiscus and Apple pieces…Hibiscus can be tart and apples can be sweet and then the other flavors play off of those two ingredients.” Do hibiscus and apple have to be the basis for all fruit tisanes? I don’t think I have tried any that do not have hibiscus (there probably are some out there), which is why I generally stay away from fruity herbals. Like others here, I just don’t like the hibiscus – sweetened or unsweetened. Often it overpowers everything else in the tea.

While I prefer “straight” or plain teas, greens or blacks with some fruit added can be great. For herbals though, I stick with mint, chamomile and ginger teas, and spice teas (like Cardamon Cinnamon from RoT). Part of this is personal preference, but also due to my dislike of hibiscus.

Uniquity said

Mmm, mint teas. My first true love! : )

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Hello, Owner of Fusion Teas (OoFT)!

I’m a little bit confused by your above statement. And maybe you just want to blow off some steam, and that’s cool. Let me know if you’re up for having some discussion on this, because I’m genuinely interested.

To me, it seems that you’re saying hibiscus has to be in all of your fruit tisanes, or that fruit tisanes would somehow suffer without that tart base that hibiscus provides. So while you have other things like mint, chamomile, ginger, et cetera that could be at the base, and of course you use in other tisanes, it’s somehow… less forgiving, more costly, something than using a hibiscus base.

What I’m getting at… you gave a bunch of reasons as to why “we” don’t like hibiscus (differing palate, lack of sugar, et cetera). However, I’m seeing a real lack of reasons why “you” use hibiscus. That’s what I want to hear about, if that makes sense.

Thanks OoFt, I look forward to hearing from you :)

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JubJubs said

While I have noticed that my palate has changed since I started really getting into tea, I have always and will always love tart things. When I was younger, I used to eat a whole bag of lemons within two days. Recently I have toned it down a bit, I drink my bottle of water with a quarter of lemon floating in it.

I actually really go for fruit tisanes with hibiscus in them, as well as rose hips.

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Hello Dylan,

What I am specifically taking about are fruit tisanes, with the key word “fruit”. We at Fusion Tea Room classify fruit tisanes as such, just for the sake of breaking the category “herbals” down a bit further into their own separate category. Chamomile, ginger, peppermint, tulsi, are other herbals which we have as well. We do not use hibiscus in everything but for our fruit tisanes category it is appropriate.

As I may have come off as blowing steam, I am not offended or take personally any of this. I thought it would be interesting to see the reaction from everyone. It is perfectly fine for any of you not to like hibiscus, all I was saying is understand that fruit tisanes typically have a base of hibiscus, apple pieces and rose hips.

Hello… Thomas? Theann? Do you prefer OoFT?

I guess I’m still stuck at the why question. I get drawing a line in the sand between herbals and fruit tisanes. But in my head, hibiscus is a flower, not a fruit.

The apple makes sense to me… it’s a fruit, it pretty darn cheap (though, I do live in Washington), it blends nicely under a lot of flavors, and frankly most fruit flavorings and juices have an apple or pear base anyway.

Above, you say “understand that fruit tisanes typically have a base of hibiscus, apple pieces and rose hips”.

I guess I’m still looking for the why. Maybe I’m being dense. I’m just really interested in the whole crafting side of it, you know? Like maybe when you were blending the Apple Strudel, you tried it without the hibiscus, served it to a couple customers, and it didn’t wow them. Or maybe you think that the tartness is necessary to really bring out the zest that you want to taste.

SimplyJenW said

I would actually like to know this, too. Why is there hibiscus overload in so many fruit tisanes? I just feel it is way overused. Who says it can’t be done differently than most blends? Why does it have to be those three together? Can you vary the amounts, or is it a premixed base?

Hibiscus has a cranberry like taste, yes it is a flower but tastes like a fruit. Here is challenge. Hibiscus is typically on the cheaper ingredient and it creates volume. Also the other reason you do not see many fruit tisanes without hibiscus is its difficult to create a flavor from just dried fruits. As all fruit tisanes have a “natural flavor” ingredient you do not want to rely just on that.

Maybe what I should do is label the category Hibiscus Tisanes instead of fruit tisanes. Maybe the reason why we sell so many is because whenever DR. Oz speaks women take whatever he says very seriously and he has talked about hibiscus a few times in the past.

-Thomas :)

cteresa said

I reject that hibiscus is commonly associated with fruit tisanes. Uh no. I think this might all be a matter of semantics, that some usage of a certain term might be becoming widespread among trade circles and seem obvious to some people, but others outside that circle not be aware of it (or refusing it).

But keep in mind that i am european and english is not my native language. i think tea tastes vary a lot from country to country. For me tea tisane does not necessarily imply hibiscus or even frequently – some years ago the most common fruit tisanes I could find where from this french brand called La Tisaniere, and where all linden (lime blossom?) based. Lemon tea is IMO a fruit tisane (and the most popular one I guess). Fruit tea is one thing, tea made with fruits of some sort. Hibiscus is not required (nor thinking about it, is actually a fruit. it´s a flower).

I do not like hibiscus btw. I think it´s a recent trend, I blame Celestial Seasonings for it. It does not taste tart to me, it tastes BITTER. Any chance it might be something like the taste of fresh cilantro/coentros? A lot of people claim it tastes like soap, to other people it tastes good. Maybe there is something like that for hibiscus, it is a nearly irredeemable ingredient for me.

The reasons you give above are totally valid reasons. I think I heard/read some criticisms on Teavana’s blends due to the fact that the fruit chunks offer very little flavor, and just take up space over the more expensive pieces of the blend.

I’d be interested in knowing which of your tisanes have a more downplayed tartness. I don’t really have a problem with hibiscus, but my fiance does… and she makes all the drinks around here :)

The issue with Teavana is they do that with all of their blends. You may buy a Green or Black tea blend but they add a lot of pretty fillers that don’t do much for flavor, they just weigh down the blend. If I buy a green tea I want that to be the main ingredient.

A couple blends I would recommend is the Orange Grapefruit or the Strawberry Ginger, they do have Hibiscus but do not come off as syrupy or overpowering. The Tropical Tulsi is also quite refreshing. One other one I would consider is the Caribbean Nectar, its like a Banana Pina Colada, and their is no Hibiscus! Yay! We are out at the moment but should have it back in stock soon. Hope this helps

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Hibiscus just isn’t my favorite ingredient. If a tisane has been crafted well enough so that the hibiscus provides little more than a little bit of color and texture to the tisane, then, I usually like it better than tisanes that rely upon the hibiscus to provide an overly tart flavor to the cup.

I mean, if I were to try a tisane called “Apple Strudel” (just borrowing the name of one of Fusion Tea Room’s tisanes), I would like to taste more of the apple strudel and not so much of a hibiscus flavor. However, if I were to try a tisane called “Hibiscus Tart” (not a real name of a tisane that I am aware of), I would expect to taste the hibiscus, and not so much of another ingredient.

In my opinion, I’d rather there be no hibiscus, HOWEVER, if there is going to be hibiscus, I’d rather it not be the main event. I’d like to taste the flavor as it’s intended to be… in other words, if I’m supposed to be tasting “apple strudel” well, I’d rather not have such a tisane be overly hibiscus-y.

SimplyJenW said

I agree! I could handle a little hibiscus, but I have not found any fruit teas that are stingy with it; they all seem to showcase it. All I get is tart. And I am not afraid to sweeten things……

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Perfectly understandable, and our Apple Strudel and Turkish Apple Teas do have apple as the main ingredient even though there are hibiscus in them. I fully respect and appreciate your reviews. You seem to have a lot more experience than I do and I admire that your palate is trained enough to pick up even the slightest ingredient.

I have tried a few of your fruit tisanes, and I have enjoyed them. When I review a tea, I will mention the hibiscus, because, that’s what I do, I write about what I experience and hibiscus is part of that… and well, hibiscus isn’t my favorite thing so I probably will say something to that effect.

However, I have learned that when I steep a tisane, I should steep it for a certain time span (not more than six minutes) to avoid that hibiscus tart syrupy taste and texture, when I do this, I am usually able to enjoy the tisane without being overwhelmed by hibiscus.

One particular tisane that comes to mind from Fusion Tea Room is the Apple Vanilla Tisane … in this particular blend, I actually like the hibiscus because it accentuates the apple in such a way that it tastes kind of “Granny Smith” like. THAT’S how I like hibiscus to be done. I like it when the hibiscus has something to bring to the party that makes it all that much more enjoyable.

I realize that from a tea purveyor’s perspective it can be quite frustrating to keep reading “eww hibiscus!” in all the fruit tisane reviews… and I get where you’re coming from. For me, personally, I don’t think I’d mind hibiscus so much if it didn’t happen to be the main flavor profile in so many tisanes. I’m not saying that your tisanes are that way, however, it seems that there are quite a few out there in the world that have way too much hibiscus and not enough of the other flavors to balance it out.

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Azzrian said

I am lost but that is no shock I am pretty dense as a rule and this weekend has been particularly dense for me. Regardless, I am sure there are tisanes made without hibiscus – by other companies. Unless what you are saying is they are not really tisanes if they don’t contain hibiscus. I mean is there a tisane bible that says a tisane MUST contained a hibiscus OR are you saying that you have tried them without and in your experience as a blender have discovered there is a reason all tisane bases should have them?
Also what about different strains of hibiscus that are less tart? I had a tea recently (wish I could remember which) that I really liked a lot that had something in it (wish I could recall what it was called) that was a hibiscus but a different strain – it was very nice.

SimplyJenW said


Azzrian said

YES! Thank you!!! :)

Missy said

That blueberry fruit tea has a hibiscus strain in it called roselle. I generally have a hate on for hibiscus, but that stuff is good. Generally, I find that hibiscus is used in quantities that produce an unacceptable mouth puckering tart.

@Azzrian – not all tisanes have hibiscus, however, fruit tisanes typically DO have hibiscus in them. They don’t HAVE to have them to be a fruit tisane, but, most of them do have them, I suspect the reason for this (although I don’t know for sure) is because hibiscus adds some texture to a cup that might otherwise be quite thin. And when used for this purpose, I don’t mind hibiscus… I just don’t like it when companies go overboard with it.

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