Explore the world of Loose Leaf Teas
Thursday, 23 July 2015 | Sam Sameen
Loose leaf tea or whole leaf tea as it is sometime referred to means teas that are primarily made up of whole, unbroken leaves. During the grading process of majority of the tea types, large whole leaf teas are categorised as top grade teas. The smaller crushed particles are referred to as fannings or dust are categories as lower grade teas. The larger whole leaf teas unlike the fannings contain high proportion of Flavinoids.
Grading of tea is a complex affair, whole leaf loose teas are graded into “Ceremonial”, “Extra Special Grade”, “A+”, “A”,“B” and so on, depending on the tea type and country of origin. Therefore a top grade loose leaf tea is far superior in taste and flavours than other similar teas, as they consist large amount of tender leaves and buds. In general a decent loose leaf tea is much better than the regular teabags you would find in your local supermarkets. Most common teabags are made with bleached paper pouch that hold between 1-2grams of teas. In order to achieve the required colour and strength with this small amount of tea, often companies use teas made with CTC technique (Crush, Tear, Curl) mixed with fannings. These teas are specifically made for the teabag industry and the main purpose is to provide a darker looking liquor in a very shot brewing time. However these teas lacks any flavour and bitter in taste.
More recently introduction of larger nylon mesh teabags (commonly known as pyramid teabags) with whole leaf teas have gain in popularity. The extra space within these teabags allow the leaves to expand more than traditional paper teabags, thus creating a better brew. This too have its issues as it does not work for all teas types, for example very large leaf green or white teas. Unlike the paper teabags, nylon mesh teabags are not bio-degradable, hence not environmentally friendly. At The Tea Makers, out selection of twelve triangular teabags or as we like to call them “Tea Triunes”, are made of bio-degradable corn starch, which is an environmentally friendly. We have chosen the best loose leaf teas for our range of Tea Triunes to offer the authentic loose leaf tea experience.
There are three main reason why people tend to stick with the same old teabags. The first reason being, it is a lifestyle choice, where it is generally considered that teabags are a convenient way to brew a quick cup of tea. It is also much easier to pick up a pack of teabags with your regular shopping without having to allocate additional time and effort. The second reason being not many people are exposed to good quality loose leaf teas, therefore unaware the difference between the bland and bitter teabags vs the superior taste and flavour of loose leaf tea. Finally the general perception is that the loose leaf will require far more effort to prepare. This again is the lack of awareness of the simple tools and techniques that could be used the make a quick cup of tea using loose leaf teas.
Although switching from standard teabags to quality loose leaf tea can seem overwhelming at first, a little research online to understand what is around will greatly help. At the The Tea Makers we pick only the finest of leaves to be included in our collection over 100 varieties of loose leaf teas. Our premium quality teas are selected from tea estates renowned for producing some of the best teas over the years as well as we source our speciality loose leaf teas from small scale artisan tea farmers who continue to use ancient tea production methods passed on to them by their ancestors. We work very closely with the tea farmers to understand the growing condition and weather that can influence the quality of the tea. This way we are always better informed when sourcing our teas.
Switching to loose leaf tea is easy. Do your research and select the type of tea that you like whether it is black tea, green teas, herbal teas or fruit infusions. Make sure you have the essential tools like the appropriate strainer or filter. There are many varieties of teaware and tea accessories available in the market from simple tea-balls, mugs with tailor-made infusers, glass teapot with infusers, traveller flask etc. Select what is suited for your need. Learn how to brew the tea of your choice. Always remember the three most important variables when making that perfect cup of tea, amount of tea to use; correct temperature and brewing time. Get this wrong and you will end up with under-brewed and plain liquor or over-brewed and bitter liquor. Enjoy the endless selection of amazing loose leaf teas we offer at The Tea Makers of London!