Many people are amazed the first time they get to try loose-leaf tea. Here in America, we are generally only familiar with teabags and instant tea, and so trying tea made from whole tea leaves, herbs and fruits can be a revelatory experience.
Most of the teabags that you can buy in your local supermarket are filled with finely ground tea leaves known as "dust". These teas can be quite stale even before they reach the shelves. As they don't usually go "off" they are often stored for a long time. Now, the greater the surface area of a piece of food, the more quickly flavor and aroma are absorbed in to the air. Thus, pre-shredded Parmesan cheese looses flavor much, much faster than a whole piece of cheese, and by this same logic, tea dust loses flavor much more rapidly than whole tea leaves.
Therefore, if you want to experience tea the way it is truly meant to be tasted, it is important to begin with fine loose tea leaves. High quality loose tea contains all the beautiful flavor and benefits contained in the plant, and since it is composed of whole leaves, whole pieces of fruit and herbs, the flavor is retained for a very long time and remains fresh for ages. High quality loose teas may seem more expensive, but many can be re-infused from 5-6 to 10 times, making the cost per serving much lower than that of bagged tea. Teabags also require more packaging , which has a significant cost on our environment. Used tea leaves can also be used in the garden as compost when you are done using them!
The reason that many people shy away from loose teas is that they are a little more complicated to use. To use a loose tea, you need some sort of herbal infuser to keep the loose tea leaves out of the final product. The most cost effective method is to select a muslin herbal infuser.
These reusable bags have drawstrings and are the perfect size for making a perfect single cup or a pot of loose tea. There are also larger bags available which are ideal for making certain herbal infusion and teas such as Kava tea that require more plant matter.
Another, slightly more expensive but somewhat easier to use method of making loose tea is to use an herbal infuser. High quality herbal infusers hold a good amount of loose tea, are easy to clean and dishwasher safe, and can be reused indefinitely. Our SwissGold
brand of herbal infusers are made with 23 carat gold-plated metal filters which allow maximum infusion while not reacting with your herbs or adding a metallic flavor. They also come in both hanging and cup sized models, for whatever type of tea cup you want to use.
Of course, muslim bags and herbal infusers can be used in a mug to make a single cup of tea, but if you get really in to making loose leaf teas, you may want to invest in a tea pot. Tea pots often come with their own filter, and hold several cups worth of tea at a time. Cast iron tea pots also have the advantage of holding in the heat o the tea for quite a long time. There are also amazing teapots
available that come with big mugs that stack right on the bottom for easy storage, and that hold about two cups of tea at a time, making them perfect for drinking tea throughout the day while you are working. Teapots come in an incredible variety of materials and styles, so you can be sure that you will find the perfect teapot for all of your loose tea needs in next to no time.
Loose tea is delicious, nutritious, and can be quite a lot of fun to make! If you re-use your loose tea leaves (which will result in no loss of flavor), you will find that loose tea is a much more cost effective and flavorful way to enjoy the benefits of tea. And with all the amazing styles out there, and all of the great infusion options available, there is no reason to hold back from trying loose tea leaves. So the next time you go to buy tea, try some loose tea leaves rather than picking up that box of tea dust. You won't be dissappointed!