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Patroness said

Steeping bagged tea outside the bag?

This may be a silly question, but I’m not accustomed whatsoever to using tea bags and was curious if I could possibly take the tea out of the bag and put it in an infuser so it could steep better.
Or is this generally not done/shouldn’t be done? I truly have no idea. It seems fine to me, but I don’t want to mess up my one-bag samples..
Answers are much appreciated!

16 Replies
Dexter3657 said

I can’t honestly say I’ve done it with “bagged” tea, but I have done it with whole leaf sachets….
I’m of the opinion that there is no wrong way to handle tea, and I agree that it should steep better with more room for the leaves to expand.
I’d say go for it, but that’s just an opinion…..

Patroness said

Thanks for the response! Might as well give it a shot, I suppose.

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Hmm, depends on the teabag I suppose, if it is made from dust and tiny leaves then you might end up eating tea rather than drinking it…at least that has been my experience when I tried that.

ifjuly said

Yeah, I was going to say that most tea bag tea contains dust and fannings, things that most loose infusers could let through but bags don’t. There seems to be a trend of making more bagged/satcheted tea higher quality in some cases though, so if the dust quality thing isn’t an issue I bet it’d be fine.

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It would be an interesting experiment to try it. When people say to me why is tea better I split open a tea bag and put some loose tea on the side next to it and say there’s your answer – which looks better

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K S said

I wrote a post on my blog sort of about this subject a year and a half ago: http://theeverdayteablog.blogspot.com/2012/03/tea-dust-experiment-and-lesson-learned.html

Today I would add to use a Finum basket as clean up is much easier than the mess it makes in a press.

Patroness said

Read! Thanks for the link.

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By far, most bagged tea is processed for use in thosebags. That is, even if not dust or fannings, it’s CTC tea- tiny pieces of tea leaf which expose more surface area to the hot water, resulting in a faster brew (some would say faster coloring of the water). Bags allow ample space for brewing the smaller leaf pieces and with a smaller amount of leaf. It’s not just the size of the bag but the size and quality of the tea in the bag. If you take it out of the bag, even if it doesn’t get through your strainer, it will still be a lower quality leaf and may still get through your lips when drinking it. It will also “brew” much faster and be harder to get (all) the much smaller leaves out of the water when it’s reached the level of brewing you want, without becoming-over brewed or too tannic. So why go through the bother of cutting the bag and dumping the tea into a cup or brewer in the first place?

Even using so called full leaf tea bags, there is less tea than you’d use brewing in a pot. All in all, if you’re just making one cup, either use a bag if you like the taste or get a better quality loose leafed tea and use a strainer or cup brewer.

Patroness said

Very informative! Thanks for the info.

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boychik said

I used to do it when i had Kusmi muslin tea bags. I just hate those bags, they are tiny and tea taste different than in loose form

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Pyramid silk bags hopefully are the future replacement for the bog standard tea bags. Question is will people pay that extra.

Personally I wouldn’t use tea bag tea outside of a teabag and when needs must ie in work or at the cinema etc

Don’t kid yourself. They are called “silk” but they are made from food grade nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PET and food grade nylon (either nylon 6 or nylon 6-6), have a “glass transition” temperature (Tg)lower than the temperature of boiling water. This means the molecules that make up these plastic tea bags begin to break down in hot water. They could leak harmful chemicals like phthalates.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/04/are-tea-bags-turning-us-into-plastic/274482/

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As a rule I stick to loose tea but thanks for the heads up on that

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I’ve cold-steeped tea like this. The Bigelow Chinese Oolong worked very well. When it was done, I filtered it through a coffee filter placed in a strainer. I don’t think I’d really want to mess with it for hot tea, though.

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alice said

I usually cut open those pyramid silk bags and steep the leaves in a Korean style cup, I think called a Koryo. Usually the bags are filled with leaf tea rather than dust so don’t find it an issue.

I don’t know for certain that there is anything wrong with the plastic bags but I don’t really like the idea of them. Health concerns aside, I also feel like they muddy the ritual and experience of drinking tea for me.

I wouldn’t do it with dust, unless I was making something like chai on the stovetop or steeping milk for ice cream or perhaps making a cake?

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