Cranberry tea, or cranberry leaf tea?
You may well be familiar with the blood red hue and fruity taste of cranberry tea and cranberry juice, as well as the various health benefits of this sharp, little fruit, but have you heard of the curious brew made from the leaves of the cranberry plant?
Unless you really have your ear to the ground when it comes to herbal tea, you probably won't have come across cranberry leaf tea. That's because Tea in the City sources our version of cranberry tea from a small farm in Western Georgia, where Davit Tenieshvili began making the tea as something of an experiment.
Luckily, the experiment was a success, and led to a fantastically rich herbal tea that can be brewed like any other loose leaf. The problem with most herbal teas is that they often promise too much, with their bright colours and fruity aromas, but deliver very little in the taste department, being more reminiscent of water than “fruity berry burst”, etc. Davit's cranberry tea manages to avoid this trap, and is a distinct brew in and of itself, rather than functioning as a caffeine free “substitute” for “real” tea.
Caffeine free cranberry tea
However, being caffeine free, it does also make a fantastic tea for those who are wary of caffeine jitters late at night. Our cranberry leaf tea can also lay claim to some of the same health benefits as fruity cranberry tea. Because cranberry leaf tea is a recent innovation, little research has been done on the concoction itself, but there is evidence to suggest that berry leaves in general harbour as many as, if not more, life affirming compounds than their delicious fruit.
Therefore, It is not unreasonable to attribute the health benefits often associated with cranberry tea to our cranberry leaf tea, including, but not limited to: containing cleansing goodness for the liver and kidneys; helping with oral and urinary tract health; aiding digestion; and helping to regulate blood pressure and sugar levels. It's also encouraging to know that Alaskan natives used to make a concoction with cranberry leaves to treat urinary complaints, as well as sore throats.
Cranberry tea for black tea drinkers
But even if this cranberry tea was actively bad for you, it would still be worth drinking a few cups now and then. Although made using a very similar method to regular tea, the taste is uniquely enjoyable. Using the tender top leaves and bud of the cranberry bush, Davit's cranberry tea is fermented a little longer than his black tea, though they look surprisingly similar. The cranberry leaf tea brews a little darker than black tea, and the aroma is an accurate prelude to the almost tart aftertaste of a strongly brewed cup.
In short, if you are a natural skeptic of brightly coloured herbal teas, then you should definitely give cranberry leaf tea a try. If you enjoy your herbals, then it's about time you upgraded to full leaf tea. Cranberry leaf probably comes with all the caffeine free health benefits of cranberry tea made with fruit, but it's certainly a tastier and more genuine brew.