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Harriet's Tea Blog

Why choose loose leaf tea?

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CHOOSE LOOSE LEAF TEA FOR A PREMIUM TEA DRINKING EXPERIENCE.

I, like many, used to use teabags regularly. For ease, portability and for simplicity. Although teabags are a wonderful invention (we can thank the Chinese of the Tang dynasty for that!), we can confuse 'ease' for 'best quality' when it comes to our tea drinking. Now, I'm not suggesting you throw away your teabags but when you have the time, make yourself a nice, proper pot of tea. Your taste buds will thank you for it! 

TEA DRINKING IN MY EARLY DAYS (before I started a tea company!)

I simply didn't know that our world has such amazingly delicious teas on offer before I immersed myself in the delightful world of tea. I would buy my usual packet of tea from the supermarket and be quite happy but I can tell you, once I tried a range of the freshest, full leaf, loose leaf teas, I could never be happy with lower quality teas or teabags again! 

A FACT OR TWO ABOUT TEA QUALITY

There are many different grades of tea, incredibly intricate and complicated codes to define the quality and type of tea leaf. For example, Orange Pekoe is used to describe the highest quality tea leaf, while 'fanning' or 'dust' is used to describe the lowest quality tea. 

The high grade Orange Pekoe can be further categorised into even higher quality levels such as:

Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP)

Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (GFOP)

Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (TGFOP)

Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (FTGFOP) - the joke is that this tea leaf grade is FTGFOP (far too good for ordinary people).

Tea masters attend incredible tea auctions in order to procure the very best tea leaves for their companies.

TEA BAG QUALITY VERSUS LOOSE LEAF

Until the advent of the modern silk pyramid tea bag, most teabags were flat and contained a lower quality tea leaf; they contained the 'fannings' or 'dust' from the tea leaf harvests. These are the small pieces of tea left over after the higher grades of tea leaf are sold. Many companies use fannings because they are inexpensive and brew very quickly. 

Pyramid bags sometimes contain full leaf teas but even still, usually there isn't enough tea in the teabag to brew a proper, full favoured cup of tea. Full leaf tea needs room to expand in the hot water to infuse all the flavours properly. Cramped leaves will give you weak, bitter tea.

Premium, loose leaf tea provides a beautiful pot or cup of tea every time. You can use as much or as little tea as suits you, the leaf itself is full and of high quality and the tea can move freely around in the pot, unfurling and bringing out all the intricate flavours, that you might just miss out on if you settle for a teabag. Just like wine, tea can and should be so much more intricately flavoured, well rounded and unique. You should be able to taste all the flavour notes even from a simple black tea (that is, if it is a high grade, loose leaf tea).

CHANGING TEA DRINKING CULTURE IN CAFES

When we started High Tea with Harriet we were dismayed with the way tea was being served in cafes. A few of our favourite cafes served full, loose leaf tea, in a teapot and it was just beautiful! We would only go to cafes that served tea with love and respect. How often have you been served a teabag at a cafe or a tea that is too strong or too weak or not hot at all. It was amazing to us that cafes would spend so much time and energy perfecting their coffee service only to completely forget about tea. 

Now that we have our own tea company, we are helping cafes make their Tea Service just perfect - no more weak, flavourless teas! We provide thorough brewing instruction and support, as well information on the different types of tea and how each needs to be treated differently. Our aim is to give cafes the opportunity to serve premium tea perfectly. We hope that by providing this support that we can give tea drinkers everywhere the chance to enjoy a beautifully made pot of tea when dining out.

WHY CHOOSE LOOSE LEAF - A SUMMARY 

* It gives a premium tea experience for the tea drink.

* Loose leaf tea blends use a higher grade of leaf quality. Premium, large, full leaves which give a much better body and flavour to the tea.

* The leaf has room to expand properly in the pot, allowing the full body and intricate flavours to be released.

* Fully compostable.

* Tea drinkers appreciate being served loose leaf and will pay more for a pot of premium loose leaf.

* For many tea drinkers, tea bags are akin to instant coffee. We have many cafes who have changed from tea bags to loose leaf and have sold more tea than ever before.

* Loose leaf is just delicious :) 

How do I brew green or white tea?

For years I thought I didn't like green tea. I wanted to like it. I saw others drinking it regularly. I read all about the benefits of green tea, but I just never enjoyed it. Why is green tea so bitter, I said to myself. I thought it was either an acquired taste, or it was [...]

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