Aug 19, 2008

Teahouse of the August Spoon - 9

Early on, my tea experiences were solely with teabags, and I usually took tea with my sugar. On rainy days or trips to Chinese food restaurants, I drank multiple cups of tea, definitely favoring the sweetness. I treated iced tea much the same. Later, I learned to like tea without the sugar. I became more sensitive to the complexities of tea and eventually exchanged teabags for loose tea.

In my opinion, loose tea is to the teabag what French Press is to brewed coffee. There is a marked difference in flavor, aroma, and nuance.

Sean Paajanen at makes this comparison:
The main difference between loose teas and bagged teas is the size of the leaves. That's what effects the resulting cup of tea. Tea leaves contain chemicals and essential oils, which are the basis for the delightful flavour of tea. When the tea leaves are broken up, those oils can evaporate, leaving a dull and tasteless tea. Typical tea bags are filled with the tiniest pieces of broken leaves, called fannings. Loose teas are typically whole leaves or at least large pieces of leaves.

On top of the leaf size, there is also the space factor. Tea leaves need space to swell, expand and unfurl. Good water circulation around the leaves is important, which doesn't typically happen in a cramped little tea bag.

Tomorrow, we'll discuss how tea bags have received a new reputation...

There's a $25 Whole Foods Gift Card Giveaway at dkMommy Spot. Diane's motto is, "Chemical Free Living for You and Your Little Sprouts." You have until midnight EST on Friday, August 22, 2008, to enter.


  1. I read each of your post about tea and find them so very interesting!! Smiles...Mary

  2. KJ,
    I am with Mary your blog is very informative and interesting.
    Have you ever been to Cost Plus World Market?
    I went yesterday with my daughter she wanted to check out some things there. She bough nothing, I bought a huge cookie jar, pumpkin bread mix and English Breakfast Tea. I enjoyed a cup after my DH left for work before all the kiddos were awake, it was very good. I thought of you while I was drinking it.
    Hugs, Bobbi


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♫ Karen