To Tea Or Not To Tea
To tea or not to tea … is that the question?
If so, today I began the day with tea.
Three cups of tea, to be exact.
At the same time, that is.
Well, for starters, January is National Hot Tea month. A time to think about enjoying all kinds of hot tea, whether they come in traditional tea bags, tea pyramids (with larger loose tea leaves) or loose (again, with those larger, loose tea leaves).
I recently got sent a sampling of the three tea products from Choice Organic Teas: bag, pyramid, and loose. My challenge: to do a cross-tasting and see which I liked the best. I decided to focus on Earl Grey, my default standard tea of choice.
Now, as a general rule, I always prefer loose teas and tea pyramids to tea bags. Why? Because the tea leaves are full and more intact; tea bag tea has a dustier, smaller leaf quality to it.
Not to say that tea bag teas still can’t be a good tea. They are just of a different size – consistency, even.
Says Katie Bouchard, Sales & Marketing Assistant of Choice Organic Teas:
“The quality of the tea boils down to the quality and flavor of the leaves. And the way the tea leaves are grown and processed determines their quality, not the size of the leaves. Some companies do camouflage low quality teas or “tea dust” in their bags, but ultimately the sourcing and handling of the teas determines what ends up in the tea bag. In fact, tea bag cut leaves often deliver stronger flavors and brew faster since the smaller particles offer more surface area of tea leaves being steeped compared to fewer and larger pieces in whole leaf cuts.”
Adds Anne-Marie Phillips, Head of Sales & Marketing of Choice Organic Teas:
“At Choice Organic Teas we pride ourselves on sourcing certified organic and fair trade teas made from the first two leaves and bud in both our loose leaf and tea bags,” says Anne-Marie Phillips, Head of Sales and Marketing. “Regardless of whether it’s loose leaf or bagged, we are meticulous about every step of the tea process, from sourcing to production to packaging to ensure freshness and the best flavor, right from tea farm to cup.”
Granted, the tea quality – regardless of packaging – is key. Still, differences among the three types of tea packaging do exist, and not just with tea leaf size and flavor. Bag teas do infuse faster (given that the leaves are smaller and thus offer greater surface area) in a more concentrated space (i.e., typically a mug or cup) than loose teas.
In tasting the three differently packaged Earl Grey teas, I found them all to taste like Earl Grey … in fact, the pyramid tea had actual orange peel in it, which upped the citrus notes and was by far my fav (with the loose tea second and the bag tea third).