Thursday, January 22, 2009

Loose tea rocks my world!

I'd like to devote this post to the greatness that is loose tea. I really try to avoid drinking coffee, for a few reasons: 1) I don't need to get addicted to caffeine 2) if I do need caffeine, I want just a little to be effective! While green and black teas do contain caffeine, its about a quarter that of coffee, so not nearly enough to get addicted to. Well, I guess you could get addicted if you drank like three pots a day, but that's a little insane 3) I'm vain and don't want to stain my teeth. Yeah, tea stains too, but not nearly as bad. A nice cup of tea in the morning perks me up, or is a great alternative to drinking plain water all day. Plus, I don't need to tell you about all the health benefits tea has been found to possess.

Why loose tea over the standard stuff that comes in bags? I've always chosen it because it is better-tasting and it just makes me feel cool. More details can be provided here and here. It also is a great value compared to bagged teas, especially as "craft" teas become more and more prevalent. If I'm spending $5 on tea, it's not going to be for 10 bags of the shit they sell at Starbucks, that's for sure. That is way too expensive for dried leaves!

Now, the problem many of people have with loose tea is the convenience factor. I think that's a crock, because there's barely a difference. Once you spring for the brewing supplies, the process is exactly the same. I really recommend Bodum teapots - it's what I use and it rocks! There are also a ton of other options out there, like individual mugs w/ mesh cups inside for the tea, tea spoons and balls you drop into a mug, etc.

Remember that your water should be just under boiling when you add your leaves to it. Follow the instructions for seeping (generally about 3 min. for green or herbal, 5 min. for black) and make sure it doesn't seep too long - this can lead to a bitter flavor.

One easy way to be frugal with your tea, loose or otherwise, is to seep it twice. I generally reuse my leaves once, essentially doubling the amount I can make. I'm not a crazy tea snob, so I can't tell a difference between the two batches.

Happy sipping!

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