3 Reasons to Drink Loose Tea July 13 2011, 0 Comments
My second day in Japan, I ordered water in perfect Japanese. The waitress looked confused. She brought me cold green tea. I figured out that she was confused that I would want water over tea. I soon discovered the Japanese drink tea like I drink water. Growing in sunny Southern California, I aim to drink 8 cups of water a day. Living in Japan for that year, I discovered that you need a tea brewing system. I purchased a small glass teapot with built in infuser. Surprisingly, brewing loose tea is easy with the correct system.
Americans feel loose tea is complex, time consuming and expensive. Here are a few reasons to take the time brew loose tea: it is easy with the correct utensils, loose tea has robust flavor, and it is inexpensive. A simple tea system of a cup, strainer, and hot water allows easier brewing. Loose tea lasts longer than tea bags, saving you money. Consider that billions of people in Asia have enjoyed loose leaf tea several times a day for centuries. They have a simple brewing system.
People living in Asia easily brew loose leaf tea, because they have a system. In China, people drink around the leaves in a gaiwan cup or chew the leaves as they drink. The Japanese use accessories with built in filtering systems. Handmade clay teapots have built in metal strainers. Brewing tea is as easy as boiling water, pour water over the leaves, brew to taste, and pour into your cup. Leaves stay in the teapot. You can also find teapots with infuser or metal filters in Britain.
The next excuse I hear is that loose leaf tea is too expensive. Tea is the second most inexpensive beverage after water. A pound of loose leave tea brews about 200 cups, averaging 15-20 cents a cup. The price per cup depends on the type of tea. Especially with green, white, and oolong teas, the cost diminishes each time you re-brew the same leaves. You can re-brew the leaves between three to seven times. The leaves keep the same robust flavors with each infusion. Tea artisans spent hundreds of years perfecting the manufacturing process to extract all the flavors and essential oils in the leaf. On the other hand tea bags use tea dust, which allows for fewer infusions.
Tea bags yield one high quality flavorful infusion and watery flavors in subsequent infusions. A box of 20 tea bags cost about $5 or 25 cents per cup. For avid tea drinkers, you can buy two to three tea bag boxes in a month, spending $10-$12 a month. Purchasing 4 oz. of a loose tea you like can last up to 6 weeks for $12-14. Take the time to spend the money on better quality tea. The last excuse is brewing loose tea is time consuming.
It can take 10-15 minutes to make a cup of tea. Most of the time is waiting for the kettle to whistle. During that time, you can complete other tasks. Using a compact brewing system, you can brew your tea at your desk or table. You take the time to make coffee, wait in line to order a drink at a coffee shop, or purchase a soft drink. Why not take that same time to brew a healthy, aromatic and flavorful cup of tea?
Once I bought my tea pot in Japan, I found it easier to incorporate tea into my day. When I returned to California a few years ago, I invested in a new tea pot and continued to buy high quality tea.