A Brief History
Discover the ancient origins and fascinating history of tea!
Here are a few answers to some of the most popular questions asked about Herbal & Fruit Infusions. If your question is not answered here then please contact us with your question.
Herbal and fruit infusions, sometimes referred to as Tisanes, are amongst the world's most popular and widely enjoyed beverages, thanks to their almost unlimited variety and their convenience. Every kind of imaginable flavour is on offer from fruity, minty, flowery, spicy to sweet. These drinks offer the full range of flavours to suit every taste and any occasion.
While many of the herbal and fruit infusions below are referred to as teas, they are not actually tea as they are not derived from the tea plant (Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze). Instead they are created using real herbs, flowers and fruit and are intended for consumption by brewing with freshly boiled water.
Herbal and fruit infusions explicitly labelled as ‘cold brew products’ are specially designed to be prepared with cold water (< 75°C). If your product is not labelled as a cold brew, you should always prepare the drink first with freshly boiled water, even if you plan to let it cool down and add ice to make your own iced tea or cold herbal/fruit infusion.
Herbal and fruit infusions include both mono products made from plant parts obtained from a single plant, for instance peppermint, as well as blends of different herbs and/or fruits and flowers. They can also include blends of herbal and fruit infusions with tea (Camellia sinensis) as a minor component. In addition, there is a wide range of blends on offer to which flavourings have been added, or which are enriched with vitamins, for example.
Up to 300 different plants and 400 parts of plants are used for making herbal and fruit infusions. The parts selected for use depend on where the aromatic substances are located in the plant itself. It could be the leaves (such as orange leaves or peppermint leaves), fruits or fruit bits (such as apple bits or rosehip pieces), or flowers (such as lime flowers or camomile flowers).
You can view the possible ingredients for use in herbal and fruit infusions in the Tea & Herbal Infusions Europe (THIE) "Inventory list of herbals considered as food." See here.
Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance found in the leaves, seeds or fruits of more than 60 plants. Foods and beverages derived from coffee beans, cocoa beans, kola nuts and tea leaves are common sources of caffeine.
There are many herbal and fruit infusions that are naturally caffeine free, including rooibos (also known as red bush tea), chamomile and liquorice, to name but a few.
Some herbal and fruit infusions do contain caffeine such as yerba mate, or those containing Guarana or cola nut, and infusions made with cocoa husks or blossom from citrus plants.
Extensive research shows that a moderate consumption of 300-400mg of caffeine a day poses no health risks for the vast majority of people.
If you have any doubts about consuming any foods or drinks including herbal and fruit infusions, and for your own personal circumstances, always consult your GP for advice first.
Flavourings are ingredients that were first used by the ancient Egyptians, who added aromatic compounds (flavourings) to their food. Flavourings bring taste and variety to the food and drinks we consume in a safe, accessible and innovative way, for example vanilla, which can be added to puddings or ice cream. Some herbal and fruit infusions do have added flavours and/or food ingredients with flavouring properties, which are added to achieve a specific flavour.
When it comes to natural flavourings, nature cleverly produces substances which can be used to contribute to the taste of food and beverage products, such as fruit and herbal infusions.
When a beverage is labelled as containing ‘natural flavouring’ it means that the natural flavours have been obtained from a plant, animal or microbiological origin, by natural processes, that have been identified in nature. Natural flavourings, can be obtained from a huge variety of sources such as fruits, vegetables or spices and are obtained through specific processes including distillation, extraction or microbiological processes.
You can check the label to find more information and this will tell you if a product contains flavourings that are natural or not. For example, if the label says ‘Natural strawberry flavouring, natural Mango flavouring’ all of the taste of the strawberry and mango is derived from those fruits. If the label says ‘Natural strawberry flavouring with other natural flavourings, natural mango flavouring with other natural flavourings’ it is likely that the taste of the strawberry and mango is derived from these fruits, however other natural flavours or other flavours can be present. In this case then the percentage of flavour derived ‘From the Natural Food’ (FTNF) will be labelled e.g. ‘Strawberry is 51% FTNF, Mango is 51% FTNF’ will be stated on the ingredients list. The labelled will also state if artificial flavourings have been used.
All flavourings adhere to high safety standards based on sound scientific evaluation, and comply with the rigorous European legislative framework.
As well as tasting great, herbal and fruit infusions are virtually calorie-free when consumed as an infusion. Of course, if you add other ingredients like sugar and milk or if the infusion contains dried fruit, for example, this will add a negligible number of calories.
Natural sugar can be present in some ingredients, such as dried fruit pieces, but when the infusion is prepared with boiling water the level of sugar in the beverage is negligible.
In general, herbal and fruit infusions do not contain added sugar, however some flavourings do contain sugar to help with the manufacturing process. If there is any added sugar this should always be stated in the ingredients list on the label.
If you have any doubts about consuming any foods or drinks including herbal and fruit infusions, and for your own personal circumstances, always consult your GP for advice first
There is no evidence for safety issues with the consumption of herbal and fruit teas by children. However, care should be taken with children that are prone to allergies and/or very young children under the age of 12 months. In case of any doubt always consult with your GP for advice first.
Check the pack for information or contact the manufacturer.
Check the pack for information or contact the manufacturer.
Tooth erosion is caused by low pH (acid) and sugar and prevention is achieved through good oral hygiene and regular brushing.
The erosive potential of fruit infusions in practice is considered to be negligible. Scientific research published in 2018 compared different drinks and found that citric acid – commonly added to soft drinks – eroded teeth 40 times more than fruit teas. The authors commented that only a little erosion was induced by fruit infusions.
Nevertheless, a review published in the British Dental Journal in the same year warned that the acidity of some fruit teas could lead to erosion if sipped for long periods of time. As an industry we are undertaking more research so we can better understand this.