Why and How Loose-Leaf Teas Is Worth the Investment
Let’s spill the tea on...the tea.
When you go to the grocery store, the tea aisle is overwhelming in varieties of brands and types of tea. Where our options fall short is how the tea is packaged. In many conventional stores, the options are constrained to boxes filled with bagged tea.
Teabags in those little boxes are inexpensive and easy to transport. The everyday, casual consumer is also used to the convenience of preparing a piping hot mug of water and dunking a prepackaged bag of tea.
The truth is, though, high-quality loose leaf tea is nowhere near comparable to the grocery store bagged tea. Traditional tea bags are filled with the "dust and fannings" from broken tea leaves. By the time these finely broken tea leaves reach your cup, they have lost most of their essential oils and aroma. When steeped, they release more tannins than whole leaf tea, resulting in bitter astringent brews
Okay before digging in too far, I must be fair.
There are some versions of bagged tea that are better in quality. They often are larger in size and give the tea more room to breath (the most recognizable is probably the bags with the pyramid shape).
Bagged whole-leaf tea are larger in size because they are filled with whole, unbroken leaves. These whole leaves are able to preserve precious flavors and aromas before they make it to your cup. However, bagged whole leaf teas are not currently common on the market, so do your research before purchasing bagged teas.
Why choose loose-leaf tea
The definition of loose-leaf tea is fairly straightforward, it is tea that is brewed without a teabag. Steeped, loose-leaf tea has room to absorb water and expand while infusing. As the water flows through the leaves, it extracts a wide range of vitamins, minerals, flavors, and aromas. Cost-wise, you can expect to pay two to three times as much for loose-leaf tea. That said, tea is one of the most inexpensive beverage options on the market. A cup of loose leaf tea may cost $0.50 USD on the high end, but many of us pay several dollars for a cup of morning coffee. A small increase in investment will make a huge difference in terms of your tea quality.
How to started with loose-leaf tea
There are two (easily surmountable) challenges that arise when switching to loose-leaf tea:
1) Where will you get the tea?
2) How will you brew the tea?
Where to find loose-leaf tea
Admittedly, loose-leaf tea is not as convenient to find as your standard bagged teas. You may need to go to a specialty grocery store or health-food store. There are also plenty of options to purchase your tea online.
How to brew loose-leaf tea
Brewing loose-leaf tea is not hard, by any means, but it does require an extra step or two. Since the notable difference between loose-leaf and bagged is the...bag, you simply need an extra piece of 'teaware' to get you started.
Learn more about how to brew the perfect cup of tea.
There are innumerable ways to brew tea, including a french press! But, I'll save those tutorials for another blog. Stay tuned!