Beverages:Loose-Leaf Tea or Tea Bags: What is Your Preference?

COPYRIGHT © TERRIE PLOWMAN 2012

Loose-Leaf Tea or Tea Bags?

Unless you are in retail or marketing you have probably not given a great deal of thought to your tea drinking habits. Generally, in a hectic lifestyle, you are only concerned with having a hot drink that can be made quickly.

There are certain cultures, however, that make tea drinking an art form. In Japan, a tea ceremony is a ritual that is done leisurely and in style. It is an occasion to enjoy and remember. The emphasis is on the tradition and the culture of the people. You will not feel hurried; you will relish the experience.
But in your day to day fast-pace of life there is little thought given to getting out the teapot, the tea strainer and the loose leaf tea. But are you missing something?

The Advantages of Loose Leaf Tea

Firstly, if you read tea leaves you will need to use loose-leaf tea!

However, there are some valid reasons why loose-leaf tea is preferential to using tea bags. First of all, the tea is of a superior quality. It stays freshest if it is stored in a cool, dark and dry place in an airtight container. Black tea that is stored in a bag inside a canister can be kept for two years.
If you are storing green tea be aware that it may begin to lose its freshness after one year.
As the consumer, the tea drinker, you can decide on the strength of the cup of tea by using more or less of the loose tea. The cup of tea can be made exactly to your taste.
If using loose-leaf tea you will need a teapot and a tea strainer. Make sure the teapot is warmed first before adding your loose leaf tea and brew for a few minutes before pouring. This process will force you to drink your tea in a more leisurely and relaxed fashion. Savour the moment. Enjoy the taste.

The Disadvantages of Loose-Leaf Tea

Loose Leaf tea is inconvenient and takes longer to prepare and clear away, assuming you have teapots to warm and teapots and strainers to wash afterwards. But you are more likely to notice the taste of the tea you are drinking.

The Advantages of Tea Bags

Tea bags were introduced by an American tea merchant in 1907. Thomas Sullivan distributed samples of tea in bags.
Rationing in the Second World War halted any innovations but in 1953 Tetley launched their tea bags.

Tea bags have become popular and convenient.
The pyramid tea bags introduced by Lipton’s allow the three-dimensional shape more room for the dried leaves to expand while brewing.

The Disadvantages of Tea Bags

The tea used in tea bags is an inferior quality. It is the ‘fannings’ or the ‘dust’, that is, the waste product that is produced when sorting the higher quality tea.

Some people believe that the inferior taste is also caused by the taste of the paper bag.

The dried tea loses its flavour quickly when it is exposed to the air. It goes stale faster.

Your Choice?

So, next time you want a cup of tea decide whether you want to savour the taste of loose-leaf tea or have a quick, hot drink with a tea bag.

You know if you are in a hurry or you have all the time in the world.
The choice is yours!

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