Tea Quality: Loose Tea Leaves vs. Tea Bags
My last post was about my favorite teas to drink during the wintertime. For this post I will continue discussing the topic of tea. The way tea is absorbed is important because it dictates the amount of health benefits you obtain. Though loose leaf teas and teas in bags (particularly the commercial supermarket brand tea bags) originate from the same plant, there are a few factors that influence the quality, taste and longevity of the final tea.
Tea leaves are picked from Camellia sinensis (a species of evergreen shrub or small tree whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea.). These tea leaves are the leaves finest hand picked buds, whole tea leaves, large pieces of leaves or a combination of these parts. The time of year and growing conditions greatly affect the quality of tea. The tea’s distinctive flavors and characteristics depend on all these factors.
Although the convenience of tea bags may be attractive, it is important to keep in mind that the tea found in tea bags usually consist of smaller pieces of tea leaves or tea fannings (dusts) which may give a quicker brew, but lack the distinction and full flavor of the larger loose leaf teas. In fact, some loose leaf teas, can even be re-steeped to yield multiple cups of delicious and healthy tea. I personally drink my tea from both loose leaves and tea bags; depending on how much time I have on my hands. Tea bags save me time and are easier to use but I do prefer loose tea because they are better quality and I feel more of the health benefits.
I’m sure we are familiar with the feelings of mental relaxation and physical invigoration after yoga; the past hour has been all about us but now we must go back into the chaos of reality. This extreme change from complete peace to the busy streets of NYC can be assuaged with a soothing cup of tea. Tea is the best drink after yoga! f you are performing yoga in the morning, enjoy green, ginger, chai or yogi tea after your session. They all have invigorating and stimulating properties. After evening classes, choose calming teas such as chamomile, lavender, mint or jasmine.
For those of us that prefer the convenience of tea bags but love the health benefits of tea, there is a perfect solution that combines the best of both worlds, Perfect Paper Tea Filters (can be bought at teavana.com). Like a tea bag, the paper tea filter can contain your tea while steeping, eliminating the need for an infuser or strainer.
I hope this post was informative and you now have a better guide to get the best quality of your tea. Enjoy the goodness!