We’re back to our discussion about tea (you thought I forgot, didn’t you? No such luck.).
Tea (all of the actual tea varieties we discussed the other day—pop quiz: do you remember them? White tea, green tea, Oolong, Black tea, and pu-erh) comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. If the beverage you’re drinking comes from the leaf or flower of any other plant, it may look like tea, smell like tea, taste like tea, and be marketed as tea, but it is not tea.
You’re joking. The box says tea.
It does. It’s wrong. What you’ve got in your cup is a tisane or infusion or some other brewed loveliness of herbs. It is not tea if it doesn’t come from Camellia sinesis. Most of the time, these non-tea beverages are called herbal tea which doesn’t seem to make sense to me, but who am I to argue?
Herbal teas are made from the roots, leaves, flowers, bark, seeds, and/or fruits of various plants, which may be more than you wanted to know.
More importantly, just because the beverage is Not Really Tea doesn’t mean that it isn’t delicious and wonderfully good for you.
There are umpteen bazillion different kinds of herbal tea and they all offer different tastes and benefits. For the most part, the stuff you buy in a box in the grocery store isn’t going to provide too many benefits (it’s been sitting around for a while and generally is only average quality to begin with) but if it makes you happy (and soothes your throat) enjoy!
There are tea snobs in the world. Fortunately, I’m not one of them.