(and explore a new dimension…)
Many people around the world who love tea every day engage in the same ritual.
Grab a tea bag from a box, drop it into a cup and pour hot water over it. Wait until there is some uniform color appearing in the cup and pour some more ingredients into it like sugar, milk or a slice of lemon. Then take a sip and hope that this mixture will not be terrible.
Or sit in a plane and after the meal service the flight attendant will come around announcing the arrival of the tea (or coffee) to be poured into your little plastic cup.
And many of us who are attending a conference or workshop, grab a teabag from a ‘selection’ box and hope for the best.
This is the daily reality, mostly in the western world, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is a beverage you made for yourself, you like it, it comforts you, and so of course that’s good for you.
I am an ambassador for tea and my goal is not to criticize the way you like your tea.
My job is to show you options and other ways which might enhance your tea drinking experience. And trust me, there is better tea out there and I am trying to help you to find it.
I used to be a “tea bag dunker” myself for a quick and convenient experience.
But after over several years now I have seen the other side and let me tell you…it is worth exploring!
It is like flying economy and once you experience flying business class, you do not want to go back.
It is like loving your mid-size family car and being amazed the first time you ride in a Porsche.
This new world is called loose leaf tea.
Many think that preparing loose leaf tea is complicated and not worth the extra work. Living in Myanmar I have learned that preparing loose leaf tea is even easier then preparing tea with a tea bag. In many tea shops, a spoonful of loose leaf tea is added to the water and voila, ready to drink!
Now I have to admit there are indeed a number of tea types which require a good understanding of tea amount, temperature and steeping time to achieve the optimal result.
But once you achieve this optimal result you will be amazed about the taste and the experience of drinking this tea. It is like drinking a very fine wine from a special winery.
I dare you to open up a tea bag and look at the content. What you will find will be tea dust and tiny broken tea leaf pieces. The goal of these tea fannings is to get the content quickly into the water in order to have a quick cup of tea.
It’s a different story for loose leaf tea. When we brew tea, over 400 components are released into the water and the way you prepare tea will influence how you will taste the tea.
When loose leaf tea has room in the cup to release components into the water at the right time, it will enhance the taste experience of the tea.
It will not taste flat but you will experience a taste journey, from the moment the tea enters your mouth, mingles with your tongue, until it starts its journey down the throat and leaves your taste buds begging for more.
If you remember the amazing taste of your last sip minutes after you drank it and you continue to feel a tingling sensation in your mouth, you have arrived.
I would suggest you start with a “forgiving” tea that does not mind 5 degrees of temperatures too high or 30 seconds too long of steeping time.
I always have good experiences with pearl tea (in the western world known as gunpowder tea). Or try a loose leaf tea in your local supermarket. The instructions on the box or bottle are a good starting point in terms of brewing time and temperature.
If you want to go for convenience, many loose leaf teas are offered in tea pyramids or in tea sachets which give the loose leaf tea enough room to diffuse properly.
And whatever you do, be mindful of the quality of water you use. Use the best water you can get suitable for tea.
If you use bottled water, the label should indicate a ph– level of around 7 and a low TDS value, ideally below 30.
I sincerely hope that my thoughts make you consider giving loose leaf tea a try. And feel free to ask me your questions or share with me the loose leaf tea you like the best!