Tea 101: Tea Delivery Methods
Did you know? According to The Tea Association of the U.S.A., more than half of the American population drinks tea on any given day.
While there is no “best” tea delivery method, so to speak, knowing more about the way tea is packaged and processed can help to ensure a positive drinking experience.
There are three main delivery methods for tea:
• Loose: For many connoisseurs, loose tea is the only kind worth brewing. Placed in a strainer or an infuser, loose tea leaves are enveloped by the water, which results in maximum expansion of the leaves and a full-bodied flavor. Loose tea can also be steeped multiple times, making it a more cost-effective delivery method. Plus, using more or fewer leaves, you can custom tailor the strength of the beverage to fit your tastes each and every time. Note: Tea balls are not typically encouraged as a brewing method, as they do not allow for the expansion that tea requires for optimal flavor, aroma, and antioxidant delivery.
• Bagged: Perhaps the most popular vehicle for tea delivery, tea bags are a convenient, quick way to enjoy a quality cup no matter where you go. Tea bags contain broken leaves or small particles of the tea leaf (fannings), which infuse at a more rapid pace. While many serious tea-drinkers consider this to be an unacceptable compromise, tea bags prevail as a popular delivery method thanks to their convenience, allowing those who are on the go to have a quick cup, anytime, and virtually any place.
• Sachet: These pyramid-shaped bags provide a similar result to brewing with loose leaf teas, without requiring any special equipment. Each sachet contains pre-measured quantities of either high quality whole leaf tea or larger tea leaf pieces, and the bag’s unique shape allows for a better flow of water and complete permeation of the leaves. This, of course, allows the leaves to expand flavorfully and delivers a better tasting cup of tea.
Keep in mind when purchasing tea bags or sachets to seek out brands that use unbleached paper, which is more sustainable and fosters a more natural flavor for your tea.