What is your favorite caffeine-free tisane?

Tisanes prepared from plants not belonging to the Camellia genus
Post Reply
User avatar
doomslayer
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Wed May 13, 2020 7:36 pm

While I love my teas, I also have passion for coffees. Even though I probably built some tolerance after being soaked in caffeine for decades, I still have to manage my caffeine intake. Usually around the equivalent of 6 espresso shots per day, things start getting tricky so I am trying to keep it around 4.

I am not very much into drinking plain water or sodas so I had to embark on the quest to find a good every day drink without caffeine. My first choice were some of my favorite herbals I remembered from childhood, with linden topping that list. It is a widely used herbal medicine for light colds in the part of the world I grew up. I love its warm sweet feeling and remember harvesting and drying it as a kid.

Then I started googling things and discovered that many of these herbs, including linden, come with a list of potential side effects if consumed excessively. All of these side effect claims of course come with a lot of words like "maybe", "potentially", and "more research needed" but still it got me worried a bit and I tried to find a tasty caffeine free drink without (known) side effects.

So far I have these:
- Red rooibos. Not crazy about it but not hating it either. It's okay I guess. Still need to experiment with cold brew method.
- Green rooibos. Never heard about it but apparently it's a thing. Have a sample waiting for evaluation.
- Honeybush. I read that it's like rooibos but is a different thing all together. Have sample, will try.
- Chamomile. It's okay, not my favorite.
- Mint+Lemon. Pretty good but I cannot drink it all day for some reason. Also fresh mint is painful to keep supply of. Someday I'll get a house and will just grow it.

A few odd ones that I never heard about before and discovered thanks to my wife who is from Korea.
- Roasted barley tea. Apparently it's a thing and a popular cold brew drink in Korea in summer. It's pretty good but I like it occasionally only, there is something strange in its taste for me.
- Roasted corn tea. Similar to barley this was an entertaining find and probably is my favorite option so far. It's pretty hilarious to make - boiling water and throwing in a handful of roasted kernel and it does have a mild and pleasant corn flavor which I find easy to drink regularly.
User avatar
pantry
Posts: 291
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:34 am
Location: San Francisco, Ca

Wed May 13, 2020 8:31 pm

Chrysanthemum is my favorite. I love it more than many tea teas out there! Sometimes with goji berries and NEVER with sugar!

Another herbal drink I just discovered last year is Sanchi flowers, which also can be mixed with Goji berries :D

Other runners up are soba-cha, butterfly-pea, and red Roselle, though in SE Asia the latter two are treated more like juice than herbal tea.

Roasted corn tea sounds interesting! Do you use freshly roasted corn or dry one?
User avatar
doomslayer
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Wed May 13, 2020 9:25 pm

Oh interesting, I didn't know about all those herbs! Will definitely add to my list to try. And yeah, I drink all of these without sugar too.

The corns are dry, it looks like this:
Attachments
Image from iOS (19).jpg
Image from iOS (19).jpg (60.72 KiB) Viewed 1116 times
User avatar
debunix
Posts: 960
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:27 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Thu May 14, 2020 11:44 am

I've bought some roasted grains like corn, barley, even beans, to make those roasted tisanes that I've enjoyed in restaurants, but have been discouraged by less than optimal results--I just get burnt grain taste, not that sweetness that the restaurants serve.

How do you get that sweetness from them?
User avatar
doomslayer
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Thu May 14, 2020 12:06 pm

debunix wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 11:44 am
I've bought some roasted grains like corn, barley, even beans, to make those roasted tisanes that I've enjoyed in restaurants, but have been discouraged by less than optimal results--I just get burnt grain taste, not that sweetness that the restaurants serve.

How do you get that sweetness from them?
For corn at least my recommendations would be:
- Experiment with different teas. I tried two different corn teas and one of them had distinctively less burnt and more ... corny? ... taste.
- For me at least the amount of "tea" needed was surprising - e.g. for 2 liters I use one shallow handful of corn kernels (for some reason I expected to use much more than that).

In other news I tried green rooibos today and I am liking it much more than the red version. Green has more mild citrus notes, rather than the root-like taste of red tea. Which is surprising results to me - typically I am very big into earthy and root flavors, both for teas and foods. But something for rooibos specifically just doesn't work for me.

I also did side by side A/B testing of two organic red rooibos teas from different vendors and... wasn't able to notice any difference. :D Strongly suspect they might be coming from the same original source lol.
User avatar
debunix
Posts: 960
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:27 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Sun May 17, 2020 10:50 pm

thanks for the suggestions. I've got plenty of whole corn at present: maybe it's time to try to roast some corn myself and go for it.
User avatar
doomslayer
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Sun May 17, 2020 11:16 pm

debunix wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 10:50 pm
thanks for the suggestions. I've got plenty of whole corn at present: maybe it's time to try to roast some corn myself and go for it.
Yup, I think you've got the right idea! So, like I mentioned above, I've had two corn teas - one was okay and the other one was very noticeably better. The other day I asked my wife if we can buy more of that better one and she told me that the worse one was some random tea from a store and the good one was roasted at home by her mother. :D

And thus we embarked on a quarantine project - making roasted corn tea at home! Several days ago we had a call with her mother and transferred the ancient secrets of how to make it. Today we got several corns delivered to our home, and in a few days we'll attempt it. Very roughly, at least the way we understood it, the corns need to be dried (dehydrator maybe?) and then lightly roasted. One concern is the corn itself - US corn is pretty different from the rest of the world, it's much sweeter. But who knows, maybe this will end up working to the advantage. I'll post update if we end up making anything worthy of sharing.
User avatar
Bok
Vendor
Posts: 3301
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:55 am
Location: Taiwan

Sun May 17, 2020 11:49 pm

doomslayer wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 11:16 pm
US corn is pretty different from the rest of the world, it's much sweeter.
Is it? I thought the problem is that the whole world is pretty much using the same kind of generic factory farmed corn, which is why they all taste so bad... The native variety of corn crops in the Americas is getting smaller and smaller due to pressure on the farmers from agricultural conglomerates. Same with Bananas, all the same bland, boring taste in most super markets of the world...

Remember going to Mexico and being blown away by the variety of corn there! So many colours, sizes and flavours – all different! Same with Bananas in Asia, so many different kind, each and every one of them so much tastier than what I had been used to before. It is quite sad what is being done in the name of profit and practicability.
User avatar
doomslayer
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Mon May 18, 2020 8:37 am

Bok wrote:
Sun May 17, 2020 11:49 pm
Is it? I thought the problem is that the whole world is pretty much using the same kind of generic factory farmed corn, which is why they all taste so bad... The native variety of corn crops in the Americas is getting smaller and smaller due to pressure on the farmers from agricultural conglomerates. Same with Bananas, all the same bland, boring taste in most super markets of the world...

Remember going to Mexico and being blown away by the variety of corn there! So many colours, sizes and flavours – all different! Same with Bananas in Asia, so many different kind, each and every one of them so much tastier than what I had been used to before. It is quite sad what is being done in the name of profit and practicability.
Yeah, I might have been too hasty with "rest of the world" statement, I can easily believe that Mexico has it even better! :) And I agree that it is boring with the same sweet corn going around in the US, similar to bananas. Yet the alternative in my random eastern european country is also a single corn going around but it's much less tasty. So it's like they are also growing a single banana but for whatever reason they picked a not very tasty banana to grow.

From what I heard, the corn situation in Korea is similar to my country. However, what implications this has for roasted corn tea remains to be seen, for all we know it may turn out even tastier!
User avatar
wave_code
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:10 pm
Location: Germany

Mon May 18, 2020 9:54 am

I really like snow chrysanthemum in the late evening. Also I guess its still "tea" not a tisane, but I really like sannen bancha. I really like the roasted light hojicha like flavor, but a little more woody and much sweeter and mild. Plus it can usually keep going for many long steeps and isn't fussy like brewing hojicha, so its a good lazy late drinker.
User avatar
debunix
Posts: 960
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:27 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Thu May 21, 2020 12:57 am

I've actually got several different options for roasted corn for tea, including some heirloom dent corn that I mill for cornbreads and muffins etc; some heritage blue corn that makes lovely lavender corn muffins; and some ridiculously deep purple corn that IIRC is actually imported and sold for use in a traditional Peruvian drink.
User avatar
doomslayer
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Thu May 21, 2020 10:05 pm

debunix wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 12:57 am
I've actually got several different options for roasted corn for tea, including some heirloom dent corn that I mill for cornbreads and muffins etc; some heritage blue corn that makes lovely lavender corn muffins; and some ridiculously deep purple corn that IIRC is actually imported and sold for use in a traditional Peruvian drink.
Where do you get these corns from? I always see just one single type of corn at stores. I've tried my first experiment with it yesterday and the results were disappointing - it shrinked/deflated into nothingness inside my dehydrator. Next I'll try drying it outside instead of using dehydrator, although I am not holding my breath (plus Seattle usually doesn't cooperate very much with "drying outside" plans).
User avatar
debunix
Posts: 960
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:27 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Fri May 22, 2020 10:54 am

I've been milling my own flour for 40 years, so I always keep an eye out for new and different sources of grist for the mill. Corn has been surprisingly hard to find at times, despite field corn being a top crop in the US and worldwide, because very few home cooks work with the whole grain. Wheat and barley and rye and oats are much easier to find, because they are often cooked & eaten whole in soups, stews, cereals, & salads. But I've never seen a recipe for cooking non-nixtamalized kernels of whole field corn

The purple Inca corn from Peru comes from international markets that have a selection of foods from South America; I'v been getting that at Jon's markets since I moved to Los Angeles, sold as dried whole cobs of corn that are ridiculously easy to shuck.

Heirloom blue corn was from Los Chileros, whose Hot Chile Molido ground chili is an essential ingredient for one of my favorite versions of morning hot chocolate. They don't list it for sale directly, but in an e-mail conversation they were happy to send me as little as 10 pounds of the plain blue corn & yellow corn, usually sold as nixtamalized for masa harina/tortillas.

I also got some yellow corn from them at the same time, but it ran out before I needed to order anything else from them. When I couldn't find any at my local health food stores (who usually would require a mininum of 25 or 50 lbs before they'd special order it, more than I really need at a time, I found a farm-direct source on Amazon (currently out of stock).
User avatar
doomslayer
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:45 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Sat May 23, 2020 10:03 am

Oh wow that's a lot of corn info, thanks for sharing! I'll see if I can find anything and experiment further. Someday when I own a house, I'll probably just plant a small patch of corns for tea purposes!
Post Reply