Brewing Tea bag Vs loose leaves
I must admit, having a toddler doesn’t always give me the time to brew the perfect cup of tea (or shower, wash my hair, eat and other “insignificant” life things) – so sometimes I dunk a tea bag in hot water and think well that will do.
The reality is, tea bags contain the dust and fannings from broken tea leaves. This makes the leaves to lose their essential oils and aromas – SACRILEGE.
Have you ever thought your bag-brewed-tea taste bitter? That is because when steeped, they release more tannins than whole leaf tea.
In order for the leaves to release their full aromas and benefits, they need to expand and the bags don’t offer much space to do so – neither do the tea balls (now, now, don’t you think I’m talking about actual balls of cramped up tea leaves – I’m talking about the metallic tiny strainer-like thingy that encloses the leaves before being dunk).
Paper bags are not what I would go for, as sometimes one can actually taste the paper in your brew, thus adding insult to injury.
What I would go for is the bio-degradable tea bag that is pyramid shaped. They are much bigger than regular tea bags and although it looks like there’s not much product there, that’s because it allows the leaves to expand, giving you a better flavor and aroma experience.
If you do have the time and pleasure to brew loose tea leaves, please note that it is the way to go!
Whole leaf teas provide you with more aroma, antioxidants and pleasure than the tiny leaf dust found in most of the commercial tea bags.
Time is also of the essence. You don’t want to brew black tea for 5 minutes, the same as you wouldn’t like your green tea brewed for 10.
Black tea usually needs 3-4 minutes for a rich taste, otherwise the leaves will burn and it will leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth (both literally and hypothetically.)
Oolong and green teas need around 2 minutes to brew, 3 if you’re going for a stronger brew.
Also, don’t over do it with the quantity. It just doesn’t make sense to throw in a handful of leaves in a 250ml mug. It doesn’t, okay?!?!?? Firstly because it will just taste like grass and secondly because it is expensive to go through a bag of fine leaves in 2 days just because you didn’t want your guests to think you’re tight *sigh* *roll eyes*; one teaspoon of leaves would do for a regular 250 ml mug – the final water quantity being around 236ml so yeah, one teaspoon or for you recipe-followers, that’s 2 grams.
Temperature is crucial also. You want steaming-hot-fresh-out-of-the-kettle water for black, dark Oolong and a variety of herbal teas, but for white, green and green Oolong, you want it slightly cooler.
The latter being a more delicate tea, burning it with 100 degrees water again, just doesn’t make sense – the brew will lose its flavour and benefits so you might as well drink hot water.
Equipment is very important (d’uh, that’s why I rambled on for a few paragraphs about how commercial tea bags are not the solution), but most importantly, you MUST HAVE good tea.
All in all, if you are in a rush, please opt for pyramid sachets as they often come with whole leaves and have the room to expand, but always, like always try and go for loose leaves and brew your happiness down to perfection.
Hope this helps!
With steaming hot love, Ale.