Differences between tea, infusion, and decoction

In general, herbal drinks in boiling water are called teas, but there is actually a difference between them: teas are drinks made only from the plant  Camellia sinensis ,

Thus, all drinks made from other plants, such as chamomile, lemon balm, dandelion and mint are called infusions, and all those prepared with the stem and roots are called decoctions. Check the differences between the preparation method for each of these options.

Main differences and how to do it

1. Tea

The teas are always prepared with  Camellia sinensis  which gives rise to green, black, yellow, blue or oolong teas, white tea and the so-called dark tea, also known as red or pu-erh tea.

  • How to do it: Just add the green tea leaves in a cup of boiling water and let it stand for 3, 5 or 10 minutes. Then cover the container and let it warm, strain and take it warm.

2. Infusion

The infusion is the preparation of the tea in which the herbs are in the cup and the boiling water is poured over the herbs, allowing the mixture to rest for 5 to 15 minutes, preferably covered to muffle the steam. The herbs can also be thrown into the pot with hot water, but already with the fire off. This technique preserves the essential oil of plants and is usually applied to prepare teas from leaves, flowers and ground fruits. The infusion is used to make drinks from leaves, flowers and fruits, and can be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within 24 hours.

  • How to do it:  Put the water to a boil and, as soon as the first bubbles are being formed, turn off the fire. Pour the boiling water over the dried or fresh plants, in the proportion of 1 tablespoon of dried plant or 2 tablespoons of fresh plant for each cup of tea of ​​water. Smother and let rest for 5 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink. The dilution and preparation time may change according to the manufacturer.

3. Decoction 

In decoction it is done when the parts of the plant are boiled together with water, for 10 to 15 minutes. It is indicated for preparing drinks from the stems, roots or barks of plants, such as cinnamon and ginger.

  • How to do it:  Just add 2 cups of water, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 cm of ginger in a pan and let it boil for a few minutes, until the water is darker and aromatic. Turn off the heat, cover the pan and let it warm. 

The so-called blends are mixtures of teas with fruits, spices or flowers, used to add flavor and aroma to the drink. These mixtures are great options for those who are not used to the taste of pure teas, in addition to bringing even more nutrients and antioxidants by adding fruits and spices.

Difference between Camellia sinensis teas 

The leaves of the Camellia sinensis  plant  give rise to green, black, yellow, oolong, white tea and pu-erh teas. The difference between them is in the way the leaves are processed and the time when they are harvested.

White tea does not contain caffeine and is the least processed and oxidized of all, having more polyphenols and catechins, antioxidant substances. Black tea is the most oxidized, having a higher caffeine content and less nutrients. See how to use green tea to lose weight .

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