There's a lightly caffeinated trend brewing in America. Though Americans like to “spill the tea”, they are still behind the curve in tea consumption in comparison of the rest of the world. The numbers have increased 40% in the last 10 years. Coffee consumption has remained the same but Tea consumption has increased. Americans do love their black tea, but Green Tea and Herbal Tea are on an upward trend. Americans also love their iced tea quite a bit. Despite the country's growing interest in tea, Americans are very much still amateurs on a per capita basis. The average American drinks just over half a pound of tea per year, which is barely enough to crack the top 35 worldwide. Turks, by comparison, drink nearly seven pounds per person per year; the Irish drink just under five pounds per person per year; and the English drink just over four. 80% of the average American households do have some kind of tea in the home, whether loose-leaf, bagged or iced.
Americans are finding the health benefits of tea along with the relaxing ritual of drinking tea. The health benefits of tea include detoxifying body, weight loss, boosting immunity and mental alertness, preventing heart diseases, arthritis, managing diabetes, and delaying the aging process. It also helps prevent hair loss, fight fatigue, depression, cancer fighting, and treat dental issues and much more.
Organic loose leaf tea is the best option. The tea is fresh, cream of the crop, and the most flavorful. Loose leaf tea will keep in the right package or container for about 18 months without losing flavor or goodness. Tea bags pre-packed that you find in the stores have an aluminum staple, the bags are questionable, not sufficient room for the tea to expand, usually the poorest quality of tea, and they have been packed for years before making it to your home.
If you have made the health switch of adding tea to your daily diet, then do yourself a huge favor and drink loose leaf tea. There are many infusers and silken bags to use when brewing your tea, along with brewing systems that help add tea to your daily life. It is worth it!
We've had some people ask why we use resealable pouches for our tea instead of tins. There were so many factors that we considered when we made the decision but here are the main reasons:
We get questions regularly about re-steeping tea. I thought I'd put a little info out for everyone to help answer some of the questions.
High quality loose leaf teas are capable of being re-steeped. Tea bags purchased in the grocery store don't re-steep very well.
Best teas to re-steep: Oolongs, Pu'erh, Green, White, some blacks. Teas with a large leaf or buds have more surface, so they re-steep better. Some fruit tisane's and herbals can be re-steeped, but most lose a lot of their flavor on the second steep.
You can generally re-steep (western):
Oolong 3-6 times
Green teas 2-3 times
Black teas 2-3 times
Pu-erh, depending on the grade, can go from 3-5 times
White tea 2 times
Caveat: no oversteeping or water temperature that is too high
Many oolong connoisseurs feel that the best flavors aren't produced until at least the 3rd steep. However, they typically use the Asian-style steeping method to get the best flavors from their tea. What?!? There are different steeping methods? Yes, and they are very different, indeed.
Asian-style steeping method
Ever wonder why you see a lot of tiny little teapots on websites? It's because many Asians use a different steeping method than what is typically done in the west. This alternate method is achieved by steeping tea in small teapots or tea vessels that have a capacity of 3 to 8 ounces. Enough tea leaf is used to roughly fill the vessel half-full. Water of the appropriate temperature is added to fill the teapot to capacity.
The tea is steeped for only for 20, then 30, then 45 seconds, etc. and poured into cups to drink after each steep.
This steeping method enables one to better enjoy the flavor of the tea as it changes with each steep and keeps your cuppa at the optimum temperature.
The tea continues to be re-steeped until the leaf is exhausted of flavor. This is not a matter of frugality but a tea steeping method that draws the best flavor from the tea.
Depending on the tea used, some tea can be re-steeped as many as 15 times. This method allows the tea leaf to slowly release its flavor over a series of short steeps by using a large amount of tea to a small amount of water for each steep.
Each successive steeping of tea will taste full and rich and slightly thick – not watery or thin – until the leaf eventually becomes exhausted of flavor.
Western-style steeping method
Westerners typically use a large teapot with a capacity of 24 or more ounces with about a teaspoon of tea per 6-8 oz of water added to the teapot. For example, about 4 or 5 teaspoons of tea would be used in a 24 oz teapot.
The teapot is filled to capacity with water and the tea is steeped for 4 or 5 minutes (black) or 2 to 3 minutes (green or oolong). Typically, the tea is only steeped once, since an average quality leaf in a tea bag is exhausted with a single steep. Luckily, high quality loose leaf tea is capable of additional steeps. In either case, over steeping with too much time or using higher temperature water than recommended can cause your tea to become bitter. Poor quality tea leaf also tends to be bitter, no matter how careful you are.
Tea steeped by each method is quite different in character. Once you become aware of these different traditions, it causes you to appreciate how these different methods create a very different cuppa tea.
I'm frequently asked how we make our cold tea samples at the store. We keep it really simple but want to bring the best flavors out in the process. So here's our secret...
It's a hybrid between hot preparation and cold steeping that we think gives you the best flavor from both methods. Here's an example of our process.
In our example, we're going to make a gallon of tea as the final result, but you can adjust the measurements for the amount of tea you desire.
- Heat 1 quart of water to the temp needed for your tea or 1/4 of the final result.
- Place enough tea to make a gallon in a heat resistant 1 gallon pitcher. We use the large empty tea bags we sell to contain the tea while steeping. Then it's simple to remove the tea bag when you are ready to serve.
- Pour hot water over the tea.
- Let your tea steep for half the amount of time you would normally steep for hot tea. For example, most black teas have a full steep time of 4-5 minutes. For this method you would only steep for 2 to 2.5 minutes.
- Pour cold water into the pitcher to make up the rest of the gallon, leaving the tea in the pitcher.
- Put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, but 8 to 12 hours is best.
This method brings out many flavors that you can miss with a standard hot steep method. It reduces the tannin flavor that you get from hot steeping and increases the other flavors from your tea. Plus, it's so simple to do!