Twinings Earl Grey K-Cups (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

Twinings Earl Grey K-Cups (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

The K-Cup Revolution is here, tea drinkers. Just as teabags forever altered the approach by tea lovers here in the U.S. and in many other countries to fixing a quick cuppa or even a potful, the K-Cup will change our approach once again. “How?” you ask. Good question.

In the beginning was the leaf, and the leaf was good. It fell into a pot of hot water and the rest, as they say, is history (or maybe just a nice myth). Tea became so popular that it was traded far and wide. The processed tea was packed as carefully as the tea producers could manage at the time, but hey, spoilage happens. When the tea reached Europe after weeks on the high seas or months traveling the overland trade routes, it wasn’t in the freshest condition. In fact, one story has it that black tea came about as a way to keep the tea for longer periods of time so that it would still be bearable when it reached those far off tea drinkers.

Those tea drinkers would heat the water, warm the teapot with a little of it, add some loose tea leaves, fill the teapot with more hot water, and let it steep. The tea would then be poured through a strainer into teacups. Alas, any liquid remaining in the pot with the leaves would continue to steep, getting a tad overdone. Sigh!

Enter the teabag. You can prepare one cup at a time or a whole pot of tea. And then you can remove the teabag so that the steeping stops. True convenience. Of course, the tea taste was not quite what it was when steeping the loose leaves, but it was neater, right?

Now we have the K-Cup and a big machine that sits on the counter and steeps a cuppa at the push of a button. What’s not to like?

Well, those little cups ain’t cheap. That’s one of the big issues with them. Someone did a comparison between the cost of the tea in K-Cups (usually sold in boxes of 12 or 24) versus the cost of buying that same amount of tea in a loose pouch. Much more expensive in the K-Cup. But you are buying convenience. What is your extra time worth to steep up a fresh pot of tea using loose leaf versus using a K-Cup? But then you have to clean the Keurig machine, so the time needed may be even here, except that you have to wash the teapot, strainer, etc., too. Sigh! It’s a trade-off: convenience or lower out-of-pocket expense and more of your time spent. That’s a strictly personal decision.

Awhile ago hubby and I tried a K-Cup. Our bank offers coffee, tea, and cookies to anyone who takes the time actually to come in to the bank versus banking online. Not having a Keurig machine, we cut open the K-Cup and dumped the loose tea into the pot to steep. The tea was okay but not what we usually like. So we picked up another one from the bank (with their permission) — this time Earl Grey tea. It was okay, too, but not as good as some other Earl Grey versions we’ve had. Of course, we don’t know what the tea tastes like when steeped using that Keurig machine. Time to head back to the bank to find out. Well, maybe not.

One person commented on the waste of the K-Cups. Quite. When hubby and I cut open that test cup, it was mostly cup and little tea. More waste than in a teabag and certainly more than when one steeps tea loose in the pot. As one with a true pioneer spirit where every bit and piece was put to good use, I would say this is quite wasteful unless you save up the empty cups and use them somehow. Not very practical, though.

If you prefer an herbal infusion, coffee, or even hot cocoa, there are K-Cups for those, too. In fact, the list of teas and other beverages available keeps growing, offered under major brand names such as Twinings, Bigelow, and Celestial Seasonings.

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