If you are new to tea drinking or are a long time tea drinker, than chances are you are used to making tea with a tea bag. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but you are missing out on having a really great cup of tea. Loose leaf tea makes a superior cup of tea for a number of reasons.
The tea leaves inside of a tea bag are usually the leftover little pieces of tea that are too small to be used in a loose leaf tea. These bits of leaves, or fannings, do not have the same quantity of essential oils that a whole tea leaf does. These oils are what gives a cup of tea their flavor.
A typical tea bag does not allow the tea leaves the chance to unfurl and expand in the water either. Tea leaves need to be able to do that to impart flavor to the water. A tea bag just compresses the leaves together and doesn't allow for that.
It is however possible to get a great cup of tea while using a tea bag. Look for a tea bag that contains whole tea leaves. There are several companies that offer tea bags that unfold into a pyramid shape. This allows the tea leaves to unfurl and expand so that the water can swirl around them. One of my favorites is Mighty Leaf Tea. Right now Mighty Leaf is on Sale Today! Check it out. I especially love their Green Tea Tropical and Chamomile Citrus.
If you have a favorite whole tea leaf tea bag tea, please share in the comments below. We would love to check them out and add them to our tea cabinet.
If you are just starting out or are a long time tea drinker, it is always a great idea to have all of the right tools for brewing the perfect pot of tea. Here is our list of the Top 5 Tea Essentials that you should have in your kitchen.
- Tea Kettle. You need hot water when making and having an appliance that is devoted to this task makes it very easy. We currently use this Chef's Choice Tea Kettle. I like that it is stainless steel, shuts off automatically, and will not operate if there is no water in it. It holds 1 3/4 quarts of water, which is perfect for making a pot of tea. It boils water in minutes and is much faster than trying to do so on the stove top and safer than using the microwave. Someday I would love to have the Breville Variable Temperature Kettle, as it brings water to 5 different temperatures no thermometer required. This is a great feature for tea making as different types of teas need different temperatures of water for the perfect steep. For now the Chef's Choice is a great tea kettle though.
- Teapot. When brewing loose leaf tea, it is necessary to have place for the tea to brew. Tea leaves that have a chance to open, infuse the water with more flavor than your standard teabag tea. There are many different ones to choose from, made from a variety of materials. The standard teapot is ceramic, but there are also glass, stainless steel, and cast iron ones.
- Infuser/Strainer. Many people that brew loose leaf tea prefer to steep their tea inside of an infuser basket. These generally sit within the lip of the teapot and then can be pulled out when the tea is done steeping. We prefer brewing the tea loose inside of the pot and then pouring the tea through a stainer into a tea cup. We are currently using the Rösle Tea Strainer and absolutely love it. It is a very fine mesh, so even the smallest of tea leaves do not get through.
- Tea cups. It is always nice to have an assortment of teacup to choose from. Sometimes you want a large cup of tea and other times it is nice to have some smaller cups to share a pot of tea with friends. It is all up to you to have all matching cups or an oddball assortment of cups to choose from. Our tea cabinet has a collection of tea cups and mugs that we have gathered over the years.
- Tea. This is definitely the most important component of all to making a great cup of tea. All teas are definitely not created equal. Personal preference is also a very important part of deciding just what kind of tea you are going to keep in your tea cabinet. Some of our favorite teas come from Teavana and the American Tea Room. We will be giving reviews of them in future posts.
We hope that gives you a little peak into what we keep in our tea cabinet. These are definitely the tea essentials that you need in order to brew a great cup of tea.
Growing up, I was never really a tea drinker. My parents were more into coffee, so it wasn't really something we had around the house. About 10 years ago, my husband's aunt gifted us a teapot and some loose leaf tea for Christmas. It all got placed on a shelf somewhere and we forgot about it. Fast forward about 4 years ago, we were again given some loose leaf tea. The teapot was remembered and we used it to brew the tea. It was wonderful.
I had tried many different types of tea, in their teabag form before that, but this was something else entirely different. The flavors were so much stronger. Plus I loved the ritual of setting the tea leaves to steep, pouring through a tea stainer and into a teacup. Whether it is a enjoyed alone or with a group of family and friends, there is something very comforting and appealing about tea.
My husband and I have a whole cabinet in our kitchen devoted to our love of tea. Now we would like to share that love with you. Welcome to the Tea Cabinet. Brew up a fresh pot and enjoy this journey with us. We can't wait to get to know you better and explore the world of tea.