Tea Bags; Convienence or Compromise?

You may have heard that the tea bag was an accidental discovery. The story goes that in the earlier part of the last century Thomas Sullivan, a tea merchant, sent out samples in hand sewn silk pouches. His customers actually brewed the tea in those and demanded more. He was shipping loose leaf tea, and had that been the end of the story, we would not have had the great advantage of being able to dunk tea bags containing fannings in tepid water, and having that considered to be what tea is. Okay, maybe I am being just a little harsh. After all tea bags are used all over the US and Europe, even in Afternoon Teas. And you can get some nice teas and flavored teas in them, and they certainly are convenient.

My gripe is that like so many other things, we have traded convenience and speed for quality and taste. When I say quality, I am not referring only to the taste of the tea, but to the quality of the experience of tea as well. The process of making a good pot of tea, serving it, and drinking it is not a complicated process, but it does take a little time. Time which can allow us to slow down a little, and actually enjoy tea and the process. After all multi tasking is not absolutely essential to our existence.

Next time you want to ‘enjoy’ your tea, heat the water to the proper temperature, (and not in a microwave, that is cheating), measure out the amount of tea that should be in your cup or pot, give the leave the proper time in the water, and after you pour your first cup, let it cool slightly so that you can really sense the aromas and taste that is in that wonderful leaf that you bought.

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