Do you drink bagged tea? If yes, are they prepackaged store bought bags, or do you buy empty bags to fill yourself?
At work, loose tea is just too much of a hassle. I do keep to the nicer pyramid style bags that seem to infuse better (Lupicia, Harney and Sons, etc).
At home I drink loose tea.
Denise, you should try fillable tea bags- Adagio has really cheap ones that work great. And DEFINTELY check out their ingeniTEA.
The ingeniTEA looks like the brewer that Teavana sells (and that’s how I was trying to make tea at work). Meh.
With bags I can do all of the brewing and such at my desk; much less hassle and interuption of my work day!
You don’t know anything about my workplace. Please refrain from making a value judgement about my decision. Thanks!
I simply meant it’s sad something like that doesn’t work for you. I said nothing about your decision.
I can see the perceived convenience of bagged tea, but once you learn to drink with the leaves in the cup, it can be a bit easier. You can’t quite get the perfect steep time at all, but you learn to drink with the increasing flavor. I think it also lets you get a good sense of the tea, under and oversteeped.
Question for you (hopefully I’ve not gotten annoying yet) : What temp do you normally use for your water when you do that? I’ve heard low temps, but I don’t know how low. I keep thinking this would be a great way to have my morning tea when I’m not in the mood for a black.
With a green, I’d probably use a bit cooler water, but for herbals and oolongs I use roughly the proper temperatures. Oolong is only really good if it’s hot, so it needs to still be more than warm by the time I drink it. Granted, that’s also how I like my (less expensive) oolongs – oversteeped and harsh. You could probably get a few good brews with a lower temp, though.
You’re not going to get the same precision as most tea…
But it’s a nice way to learn to appreciate the simplicity of brewing tea, ya know?
Lets you know that you could actually survive with only a cup :P
Simplicity and I don’t always get along… I tend to overthink too much but I try my best not to get caught up with it (recovering perfectionist, you know). So I have to challenge myself with stuff like this… and with using a gaiwan – but that one was totally worth it so I’m hoping the in-cup steeping will be too!
Heh. I can’t relate to that – I’m not compulsive in the least. It’ll be a good practice for you – toughens you up a bit, makes you a MAN.
But, but, but…. Kind of like my dad saying collards would put hair on my chest. Not really a selling point!
I prefer things either totally structured or totally outside of my comfort zone. But structure, while comforting, is boring. So I have to throw myself out of it every so often. But I’m totally going to stop doing it if it’s gonna make me a man! :)
Auggy, I’m JUST like you. I’m very type A when it comes to my tea. Nothing else really though lol.
Ah, I can’t handle structure. I tried it for two weeks when I started college… didn’t last at all. I push my zones, expand my horizons, be an adrenaline junkie, etc for the sake of breaking tedium.
Being a man is pretty awesome. Flexes muscles…or lack thereof
Hahaha – I’ll pass on the being a man thing, awesomeness notwithstanding.
Being out of my comfort zone is something I have to do every so often but even in the midst of intentional chaos, I have the urge to line things up in order of height or something. Yep, I’m a dork!
IN the cup? The closest I’m getting to that is my best friend, matcha:) I’ll stick to my ingenuiTEA. Although when I go out to eat and have bagged tea I keep it in the cup while drinking.
I agree. Most times restaurants don’t have the high-quality bagged teas, so they’re worth doubling up and resteeping. Sometimes I’ll let the leaves sit in the tea pot if I’m drinking tea with a friend and she prefers it stronger. Then I just go along with it if I want the same tea. Other times I’m a stickler for exact timing my brews and will use an infuser. Especially if I know the tea (I usually drink black) is notorious for turning bitter if brewed too long – then there is no amount of milk or sugar that will mask the over-tannined flavor.
I just clipped a coupon that Stash had in the Sunday adds. 10 bags of 13 different teas for $19.99. It expires in March so I’ll send it in around then. I MUCH prefer loose tea, but COME ON- that’s 15 cents a bag even if you don’t resteep. NOT taking advantage of it would be pretty stupid:).
I’m actually really curious of what everyone things of the more premium bagged teas that contain whole leaf, like Mighty Leaf, Numi, the Harney and Son sachets, etc. Obviously this is not the typical fanning/dust combo in a bag that is usually in a bagged tea. And usually these are in larger bags that give the tea more room to breathe.
How do they stack up against loose leaf, and regular bagged tea?
Personally, I’ve enjoyed Lupicia’s bagged teas. I haven’t tried the same tea loose so I can’t do a direct comparison, but I wouldn’t hesitate to buy their bags (though loose would still be my first choice if only to have more flexibility with cup size).
They are definitely better, but I’ll ALWAYS pick loose leaf. Here’s my preferences in order: Loose leaf that is not confined by a strainer (i.e. ingenuiTEA), reusable pryamid strainer (I haven’t actually tried it yet, but I will! hehe) loose leaf I bag myself, store bought pryramid bags, store bought regular bags. Notice how “no tea” is NOT on this list lol. Some people would rather go w/o tea than drink cheap bagged tea- but not me. “Life is too short to drink bad tea” is definitely true, but I live by “Life is too short to not drink tea”. I don’t think store bought tea is bad tea. The only tea to me that is bad is tea that is undrinkable- and that can come in any package.
This kind of tea is my backup kind of tea. The quality of the tea is still high, and the newer pyramid bags etc. allow for more room for the leaves to unfold. The problem I have is the ratio of tea in the bag to the size of the cup I’m putting it in. The amount of tea in those bags is usually 1 heaping teaspoon – which is perfect for 1 cup (measuring cup) of tea, however most commercial paper cups (like the ones at Starbucks etc.) are in 2 cup sizes or more. So to get a nicely full flavored tea I either have to double up on tea bags or put less hot water in the cup to get closer to a 1 to 1 ratio.
Bagged tea is all I can afford right now, as a college student. Also, since I’m in a dorm, the only heating appliance I can have is a microwave. Not very precise, and from what I’ve heard, loose leaf needs precision.
I’m fond of several of the bagged teas I’ve tried. I know that loose leaf has fuller leaves, but how does that enhance the flavor? What makes it so much better? I’m going to try it someday, do be sure, but I think I’ll still like certain bagged teas.
Loose leaf doesn’t really require precision, so don’t be scared off! You can be very precise in preparing it and results tend to be more consistent, but you can still make good loose tea with just water and a cup (well, and some way to heat the water). Expense is a different matter because some loose teas? Yeah, they can get pricey. But ROT and Rishi can be found in grocery stores (some vitamin stores carry them, too) and are pretty inexpensive and tend to be pretty good quality.
For me, I prefer loose because there is a lot more variety available and the flavor is more interesting. A lot of what is used in bagged tea is the broken leftover from the processing of the full leaf – the dust. It brews faster and tends to have less depth of flavor and more bitterness than the full leaf. I think it is supposed to have something to do with how much water comes into contact with leaf or something and more tannins (which cause bitterness) are put into the water? Something like that.
There’s more to it – leaf grades, etc – but I’m not all that up on that stuff so I’m sure I’d get it all wrong!
What about a hot plate? A microwave will work if that’s all you can do. Prepared the same way it is my own personal opinion that that loose leaf will still taste better. Also keep in mind that since the quality is higher, loose leaf will typically yield more infusions and thus drive the price down per cup. One of my faves goes from 49 cents/cup for single infusions down to 8 when steep it for the max amount of infusions that I can get. Most of my loose teas (I don’t drink blacks often) yield 6-10 infusions. And find companies that have customer reward programs:)
All very good points. Not even a hot plate is allowed. I agree, bagged tea does tend to grow bitter very quickly, and the surface area thought makes sense. I shall look for inexpensive varieties next time I look for something new! Thanks for the advice.
Friends of mine have used those little microwaveable pots with the strainer built[ish] in with some success. They’re sold all over, but here’s a link to the mother company.
Yeah, water heated on a stove is supposed to be better than water boiled in the microwave, but if you don’t have access to it you have to work with what you’ve got, right? Plus, even most people who use a stove to heat their water for tea need to wait for the water to cool if they’ve got a tea that requires it.
I’d recommend figuring out how long it takes your water to get cool enough to close enough to your desired temperature and downloading a timer or finding a site somewhere so that you don’t forget it’s cooling. [That’s the most annoying part. The inevitable time that you forget your water’s cooling and then having to start over.] I like http://steep.it and I think adagio.com has a free one you can download.
Also, if you aren’t already using a brita water pitcher or something similar I’d think about getting one if you’re starting to think more seriously about tea. Distilled water can make tea lose its flavor and most people will tell you that filtered water is better than tap because it gets rid of the chlorine and all that chemically stuff. It’s a relatively cheap fix to making your tea taste significantly better!
I have one of those but the lid and strainer are metal. I’m thinking this is not okay for microwaving, yes? Or is stainless steel okay to microwave?
(I once put a dish of my mom’s china in the microwave… apparently it had silver edging on it… the sparks were pretty but kinda freaky).
Since you have to go w/ the microwave (which is just fine!) look into Adagio’s ingenuiTEA- I’m addicted to mine til I find a glass version.
What I found when I was heating all my water with the microwave was that it didn’t get as hot as the electric tea kettle (or heating it on the stove). This works for you if you’re drinking greens or oolongs (though you still need to let the water cool for greens). It’s not as good at pulling all the taste out of blacks, though. I find that I watch the clock closer when I use my tea kettle which gets the water to boiling because it’s a lot easier to oversteep with the extra hot water.
I bring this up to point out that tea preparation is a dialogue between your water, your leaves, your time, your altitude, and your taste preferences and any time you change some part of the equation (microwave vs. stove boiled water for example) you need to be ready to change other parts of the equation to compensate.
at home it’s loose leaf only, but when i go to my parents or im out at a restaurant ill have bagged. stash is my fav out of the bagged teas.
I don’t mind bagged herbal teas for the most part. And the tea bags by Mighty Leaf aren’t bad either. I generally drink loose leaf all the time, though.
Late responding to this thread, but so far all I drink are tea bags. They serve their purpose for me right now- busy mom of 2 frequently steeping tea in the car, LOL. So I do Bigelow and Celestial Seasonings for the most part. Have tried Mighty Leaf before and it was soooo good that I am afraid to start such an expensive habit! There is a huge sale going on now at Mighty Leaf and I may have to take advantage of it, though. The other tea (bagged) I want to try is Republic of Tea. In particular, Ginger Peach Black, and their version of English Breakfast. Surely Republic of Tea is better than Bigelow, right? I love Bigelow, but am assuming for the price of Republic of Tea I am getting a better product. Any thoughts?
You sound a lot like me a week ago!
Republic of Tea and Mighty Leaf bagged are actually loose leaf tea in bags. Your normal, everyday tea bags are made up of dust and fannings, the lowest grade quality tea you can have. So ROT is probably going to taste better than Bigelow. I haven’t actually tasted any ROT, but I dislike Bigelow, unfortunately. :(
It’s probably more expensive because their bags are high quality.
Loose leaf is actually cheaper than bagged in the long run (you don’t have to pay for the bagging process!). I started with the IngenuiTEA teapot from Adagio, which comes with a sampler of your choice of four teas! Here’s a link: http://www.adagio.com/gifts/holiday_ingenuiTEA.html?SID=f1477eeb34922c89ed0a39c5f074a67b Those four teas will each make around 10 cups each. So it’s 40 cups of tea plus the teapot, which isn’t a bad deal at all. :)
Yea, that IngenuiTEA might make it on my Christmas list! It really is such a good deal. I’ve looked online and really can’t find this info, so perhaps you can help:) How many cups does it make? How exactly do you use it? Do you have to heat the water beforehand? It says you can use it in the microwave, but how? I really wish Adagio’s website would expand on details a bit!
The IngenuiTEA can make two cups of tea, so it’s really a personal pot more than anything else. You have to heat the water beforehand. You measure out the correct amount of tea (usually a teaspoon per 8 oz, but some teas call for more or less). You throw the tea into the IngenuiTEA, then you pour the hot water over it. Wait the appropriate steep time, then place the IngenuiTEA on top of a mug/glass/drinking vessel. The tea will rapidly drain down into the cup below, leaving the leaves behind. :) If you pick up the IngenuiTEA at any time, the flow will immediately stop. It’s very easy!
As for the microwave, I think they just mean that you can put the water in the IngenuiTEA and heat it up in inside the pot in the microwave. It’s microwave safe! Which I wouldn’t suggest doing if you already have a kettle, since the water temperature time is so hit and miss in a microwave.
@rabbymom. It’s easy! Put water in (remember it’s 16oz so that makes 2 1/2 cups if your “cup” of tea is 6oz, you don’t want watered down tea). Nuke in the microwave (3 mins-ish for blacks and go down from there). Add the amount of tea leaf you want. Steep for the time listed on the container or however long you want. Set the ingenuitea on your tea cup and the tea will drip down into the cup. Remember to leave the cover open if you’re going to resteep (not resteeping would be a HUGE waste of tea and money) as the tea will mold otherwise. To resteep you’ll need to heat the water separately (which will give you greater control of the temp anyway) as the leaves can NOT be microwaved. Pour the hot water over the leaves and add one min of steeping time per additional infusion. ENJOY! Directions area also on the box. The filter can be aggrivating as it gets heavily used so you may want to also get a teapot w/ a filter in the top. www.teagarden.com has a 16oz one for only $7.99. Unfortunately it doesn’t come w/ tea and can’t be microwaved.