Tea, it's the second most consumed beverage in the world. It is in almost every culture, and has found its way into billions of cups around the world. It makes a great companion when you're feeling sick, and offers a lifetime of drinking enjoyment. So, how are you preparing it? Is it loose leaf style, or are you simply dunking a bag and getting what you think tea really offers? If it is the latter, then this read may prove insightful. Loose leaf tea is without a doubt the best way to enjoy tea...and for several reasons. Five of which we will explore below.
Since loose tea consists of larger leaves it keeps more of its powerful catechin antioxidants and plentiful plant polyphenols. What does that mean? You get more of the goodies that tea is noted for, health benefits! Tea can help prevent certain cancers, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, aid in weight loss, and boost the immune system. Tea brewed by the bag contains fewer of these properties. Loose tea will always give you a healthier cup, and for best results, it is recommended the leaves are brewed within the first year...6 to 8 months preferred.
Loose tea has more surface area than the "tea dust" (fannings) that go into bags. The larger the leaves, the more natural oils you get to steep out of them, and this of course means great flavor, along with a pleasant scent! Loose leaf will have a nice fresh and clean taste, and depending on the variety may taste sweet, floral, vegetal, malty, or earthy along with many other distinct nuances. Bagged tea will almost always taste bitter, old, stale, fuzzy, and muddy, and will leave you with a funny aroma that doesn't promise much. Bags will add a color to your cup, but not much after that!
A big advantage loose leaf has over bagged tea is the age factor. In order for tea to have a good quality, it must be young and fresh. Did you ever wonder how old those bags are? If I told you they can sometimes be over 18 months overdue, would that surprise you? As mentioned, it is recommended that all tea is enjoyed within the first 6 to 8 months of the flush. Even loose leaf can go bad so it is important that you get steeping after your purchase and avoid letting it linger.
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