So within my job selling tea, I often was asked by individual customers (those buying one or two boxes at food markets) ‘how do I actually use these’ whilst holding up a loose leaf packet. As I have been slowly advancing in my love of loose leaf, I have also been developing a keen interest in the different ways you can actually use loose leaf tea & how technology can assist with the equipment. Now I won’t go into ALL the different methods otherwise this will be an incredibly long blog post & honestly I haven’t tried every way (YET) , so I will do the basics & most affordable ways.
DIY TEABAG/TEA FILTERS
Now this method, is one that most people might find not too complicated to do & doesn’t require any other accessories such as teapots. These bags essetianlly open with either a string tie or are long enough to stand up in your cup or mug giving you the ease of a teabag but gives you the better drink as you can use proper loose leaves. These ones I have in the photo are ok, not my favourite I’ve used but definitely are convenient. What I’ve been using in the office at the moment have been these. They are long enough to stand up in the cup & allow movement of the leaves. The tea filters can come in various sizes so you can use in cups, mugs or pots.
Now thse I am not too keen on. Again they are great for convenience BUT they really don’t allow for any movement for the leaves. If your using a broken leaf blend & really aren’t using a lot then I suppose they should be ok but I wouldn’t want to use these for something like a Silver Needle where the leaves are full length. If your keen to try using loose leaf teas but don’t have a teapot, these are a great beginners tool.
Now these do make me confused. It certainly makes your tea drinking experience feel like more of an occasion & I do feel terribly posh using my Fortnum & Masons one. But but BUT as I don’t like my tea too strong & I don’t drink it too fast, I like to be able to control my brew & when the leaves are just loose my second cup is often far stronger that I’d like & I often feel I’ve wasted the latter part of the pot. However if your a quick drinker or will be emptying the pot immediately at brewing time for a group or the pot is small, they are great! It means that you re-infuse the leaves again if your after a second cup. Though its a bit of a miscellaneous one, I think my glass teapot would fit in here. It doesn’t allow you to take the leaves out but strains it as you pour. As its such a small pot, I tend to empty the whole pot for one cup, plus with it being glass your able to see the leaves & the water change colour so its not one that you use in a rush. It’s detachable so means that I can wash it out properly or not use it if I done need to.
TEA STRAINER & DETACHABLE SPOUT STRAINER
TEAPOTS WITH INFUSER BASKETS
Now this is my favourite method! I get the best of both worlds, the leaves are allowed to move, creating a better drink but when its infused, I take the basket out & can put it to one side to re-brew later. Then I am not rushed to drink the pot & can actually enjoy the drink. There are a hundred & one different types of teapots that you can buy that have infusers in them, you can buy some infusers on their own to put in a pot you own already. There are also infusers that you can use just for your mug but I don’t have one of those as I tend to use the tea filters if I’m just going for a mug. At the moment I am using my cast iron Asian style teapot (amazing bargain of something like 8.99) but I have my eye on a STUMP one, as they are so smart looking & come in a range of colours so that will probably be purchased soon.
I’m looking at some other accessories such as travel mugs with infusers inside them, the mug strainers I mentioned earlier, so perhaps I’ll do an ‘accessories part 2’ post when I’ve bought & tried them out. How do you like drinking your loose leaf tea? Do you have any recommendations for anything fun & interesting I can try?!