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According to the Tea Association of the USA, Americans consumed over 84 billion servings of tea—more than 3.8 billion gallons—in 2018. On any given day, more than one half of the American population drinks tea.
Nevermind that thing that took place in the Boston Harbor in 1773. Clearly, we like tea.
How we choose our method of tea delivery, however, is completely a matter of personal preference. Knowing that there is no right or wrong choice—just like chocolate v. vanilla—having a little more knowledge about the difference between the three methods of preparing tea might come in handy.
If you’re a tea connoisseur, there simply is no other way to make a cup of tea. Tea leaves need room to expand for full-bodied flavor; loose teas, when placed into a tea strainer or infuser, are free to bob up and down in the water, which surrounds every part of the leaves and creates a fuller flavor experience. Tea balls are not ideal for brewing loose leaf tea because they don’t allow enough room for the tea to expand to its full delicious potential.
In addition, loose tea is the most economical method because tea leaves can be steeped multiple times, which means you’re getting more bang for your buck, or more glee from your tea! Brewing loose leaf tea also allows you to make a cup that’s all you: use more or fewer leaves depending on how strong you like your tea. Another point in loose tea’s flavor is its sustainability--less packaging is always a good thing.
If the paraphernalia necessary to brew loose tea just seems like too much to you, sachets may literally be your cup of tea.
Most sachets, like Harney & Sons’, are pyramid-shaped bags that contain whole leaf teas. The pyramid shape again allows for better flow of water to surround the tea leaves which expand to release their full flavor spectrum, much like in the loose tea steeping process—similar result without the loose-tea hardware entourage. Also, the quantity is measured for you, ensuring an awesome cup every time.
If you’ve never tried tea in a sachet, give our Gunpowder Green a try. This green tea has leaves that are tightly rolled, like little balls, that absolutely love swirling around inside a roomy sachet. Or try our commemorative RMS Titanic, a blend reminiscent of the era. Listening to “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion is optional.
Your third option, and the one preferred by many for their convenience, are tea bags. They contain broken leaves or sometimes fannings (small particles of tea leaf). Whole tea leaves are not used in tea bags as their size, while perfect for travel or on-the-go, does not allow whole leaves to expand as they do in strainers, infusers, or sachets.
However, one benefit of tea bags, besides their convenient size, is that broken leaves infuse faster than loose tea. So when you’re in a hurry, tea bags are definitely your go-to for a cup of your favorite tea anywhere, anytime.
Unlike other tea bags, Harney’s are made of unbleached paper, so all you taste is the quality tea that’s inside. They’re also compostable, so better for the environment. Some of our most popular teas come in tea bags, like Irish Breakfast, Paris, and Hot Cinnamon Spice. Perfect for those globetrotters who enjoy spicing life up while having breakfast in Ireland on their way to Paris. Or for those of us who just dream about it as we run out the door getting the kids to school and ourselves to work with tea in hand, made possible by the convenience of the small butmigh-tea tea bag.
BTW, we took a poll on Instagram asking which form of tea people prefer. The results? (drumroll….) 46% preferred tea bags or sachets, while 54% preferred loose leaf tea. Which do you prefer, and why? Tell us in the comment section.
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Our October Teafluencer is Chantal Larocque, a paper flower artist, author and owner of Paper and Peony. Chantal’s work runs from mini paper flowers to jaw-dropping wall-sized blossoms. Read about Chantal, who turns to tea for her afternoon forget-me-not pick-me-up.