Many of us tea drinkers start out with the proverbial tea bag and a mug of hot water when we make our first forays into drinking tea. Often, this is due to influences at home or from other tea drinkers. Mainly, it is a result of the extreme popularity of tea bags as a convenient way to steep tea. However, with the advent of some of the different bag designs filled with larger leaf pieces instead of fannings and dust, tea drinkers are barely a step away from steeping loose teas. So, why not take that final step? The process is a fairly natural progression.
Over time, we learn more about tea and sooner or later try loose teas. This could start with blooming teas, which are gaining in availability and popularity, since they put on quite a show. From there, the more venturesome tea drinkers move on to steeping their jasmine, earl grey, apple spice flavored black tea, etc., in an infuser. These come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from looking like spoons, to heart-shaped, balls, little baskets, and even little teapots.
The real tea experience explorers among us discover pu-erh tuo chas shaped like little birds nests and find that they can be popped into a pot of hot water as is to steep up to their best effect. They can steep multiple times, and with each subsequent steep, they open more. This can lead to further trials with other teas steeped loose in a teapot, gaiwan, or other vessel. Things start to get more complicated, with having to strain the steeped tea (so it doesn’t get overdone and so another steep can be made) into another teapot or cup. It pays off, though, when the superior flavor and better value (being able to get several steeps out of the same leaves) become apparent.
In a way, the evolution to steeping teas loose brings tea drinkers closer to the tea experience, transitioning from tea being just a beverage to it being a real event. This can make people slow down at least long enough to prepare a really nice cup or two or three of Japanese Sencha or some Taiwanese Oolong, maybe even some loose Chinese Black tea or a calming cuppa white tea like Adam’s Peak or Snow Dragon.
Go ahead and give it a try. Who knows… you may never go back to bagged tea again!
Getting Started with Loose Leaf Tea: Basic Equipment
Have Bagged Teas Gotten a Bad Rap?
Putting the Squeeze on Tea Bags
No Strings Attached (to My Teabag)
Are You Tasting the Tea or the Teabag?
Are Loose Teas Straining Your Love for Tea?
Evolution of the Tea Bag
What’s Your (Teabag) Type?
Loose Tea on the Go
Tea Bags vs Loose Tea — Which is Better?
The Tea Bag Story
Celebrity Tea Bags, Tea Bag Art & Fragrances
Tea Bags: Evolution and More
The Tea Bag
The Great Bag Debate
Comparing Tea Bags
The Tea Bag Story
Loose Leaf Tea
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