Sarah said

Herbal/Tisane drinkers - Do you notice a difference between loose and bagged?

I’m new to the tea world, and have figured out that since I can’t really handle caffeine what I’m drinking isn’t technically “tea”, it’s an herbal infusion or tisane. I know that tea leaves need room to expand for full flavor, etc. but I’m wondering… if it’s not really tea, does it make a difference whether it’s loose or bagged? What has your experience been? And do you get your herbals/tisanes from companies that are popular here on Steepster (Adagio, Della Terra, Harney, David’s, etc.) or are you more of a box-in-the-grocery-store kind of person?

8 Replies

In my experience I like the loose ones better because there are more flavours available but strictly speaking if the ingredients are the same, the tisanes usually don’t expand a whole lot unless you’re dealing with fruit so bags are fine if you like a brand. My advice is to experiment as there is a ton of variety out there. What flavour profiles are you looking for?

Sarah said

I’m very new to all of this so I haven’t had a chance to try very many things yet, but I have several samples on their way. Flavor-wise I’m leaning toward sweet and dessert-y, and I dislike spiced drinks (chai, gingerbread, etc.) but I haven’t really done herbal blends.

I totally understand the need to experiment as everyone has their own preferences, but I like to learn from others’ experiences too, especially when starting something new, as it helps to give me a reference point for where to begin.

There are a lot of ‘almost juice’ herbal teas out there but you’ll have to figure out what your tolerance is for hibiscus because that ingredient is in a lot of herbals, fruit especially and a lot of people hate it or find it too strong or sour. Personally I find the need to put a lot of sugar into blends that have a lot of hibiscus and they still taste sour. I’ve had some luck with TeaLux for some interesting tisanes. Samples are best until you find your niche.

Anything that is rooibos or honey bush will be safe for you but there are tisanes that qualify as herbals that have caffeine so keep your eyes open when you are shopping and look up ingredients if you don’t know them. Like guayusa and Yerba mate.

Sarah said

Very good point on caffeinated herbals, thank you so much for that information!

If there is anything in my cupboard you want to try, give me a holler and I can try to get it to you next month if you don’t mind giving a perfect stranger your mailing address. Keep an eye on the trading and give away threads too, sometimes there’s neat stuff on there.

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ssajami said

I drink a lot of tisanes – mostly rooibos – and generaly purchase loose tea. I have found that loose tea are usually fresher and of higher quality. Bagged teas are often powdery, which even with rooibos, effect the taste of the tea. I also like being able to control how much tea I use. I often find that one tea bag makes a weak-ish cup, but two bags is too much – so loose is easier for me. Finally, with loose tea there is a much bigger variety available.

That said, there is also a bagged herbal that I absolutely adore, Republic of Tea’s, Coconut Cocoa Herbal. It’s my daily afternoon tea.

I like RoT’s herbal chocolate collection which is bagged. There’s a sampler on their website I think.

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