Are you switching from coffee to tea, or are you trying tea for the first time because you heard about all the health benefits? No matter what your reasons for starting to drink tea may be, the tea world can be hard to navigate alone. There are many different tea and teaware options, so you may not know what exactly you need or where to start. This beginner's guide to the tea world will help you better understand tea and figure out where to start when getting into loose leaf tea.
Why Pick Loose Leaf Tea?
Many people who say they are tea drinkers usually just pick up tea bags from a local grocery store. While this is a convenient option, tea bags can sit on a grocery shelf for months at a time and can go stale and lose their flavor. When choosing loose leaf tea, you are ensuring the best flavor and quality of tea. With loose leaf tea, you get whole tea leaves without the ground bits and fillers that often go into bagged tea. On top of great taste and quality, loose tea is also environmentally friendly. Since there is less packaging for loose tea leaves, you are reducing your carbon footprint.
Different Types of TeaThere are many different types of tea. You're likely familiar with some of the more common types such as green tea, black tea, and herbal tea. But there are many other options to choose from. Here are just a few types you should be sure to try out as you begin your tea adventure
- White Tea: light, mild flavor, and very little caffeine
- Oolong Tea: full body, sweet, aids in weight loss, a natural pick me up
- Rooibos Tea: caffeine free and sweet
- Chai Tea: dark, full flavor, spicy, gives an energy kick
Brewing Loose Leaf TeaYou may feel overwhelmed when it comes to brewing loose leaf tea. While it may not be as simple as putting a tea bag in some hot water, the flavor is well worth the extra steps. Here's a simple, step-by-step guide to brewing a mug of loose leaf tea.
- Step 1: Heat water on the stove to the proper temperature using a tea kettle
- Step 2: Measure your tea (the more leaves, the stronger the tea). A good rule of thumb is 1 tsp per 6oz of water for most teas, 1.5 tsp for herbal teas.
- Step 3: Put your tea in an infuser, make sure you have left room for the tea to expand, never completely fill an infuser.
- Step 4: Put infuser in the mug, and pour in hot water
- Step 5: Steep for the appropriate amount of time for the tea variety
- Step 6: Remove infuser
- Step 7: Enjoy!