- Tea Pouches
- Loose Tea
- Iced Tea
- Why Mighty Leaf?
Benefits of Loose Tea
Adapted from Prevention, April 2003
In general, the if you are seeking antioxidants in your tea for health reasons, or just for fun, the higher the quality of the tea, the higher the antioxidant level. In most cases, loose teas are higher quality and are handled less (Mighty Leaf pouches and exception), and thus in the main loose teas contain a higher level of antioxidants than tea pouches. Premium teas are an exception to this general rule, as they are generally to top quality and handled under the best conditions, thus maximizing their antioxidant content. If you are a purest, however, you might wish to prefer loose teas over pouches, on the theory that they are handled the least, and have no barriers to the steeping process to reduce the level of antioxidants. Keep in mind that antioxidant levels vary widely from tea to tea, year to year, and type of tea and manufacturer. As a general note, antioxidant levels can vary widely between types of teas, from white to green, oolong and black, as well as herbal 'teas' and other teas, such as rooibos and Matcha.
Taste and Aroma
Mighty Leaf teas are renound for their flavor and aroma, both in loose and pouch form. However, some tea connoisseurs insist that the fines tea experience can be found from steeping loose teas under ideal conditions of water quality, heat and time, as well as the whole experience of how you enjoy your tea, and that not only the loose teas themselves, but the entire way you make and drink your tea, heightens the enjoyment, and that using loose teas is part of the ultimate tea experience.
One common misconception among many tea drinkers is that tea pouches are more convenient than loose teas - although some argue that it is easier to boil some water in a microwave and pop in a tea pouch, there is a lot to be said for taking an extra minute to boil the water right, and pop your favorite loose tea in a tea ball or other strainer, and steeping the tea in your favorite teapot - either single serving or larger. Either way, the brew can be top notch, but there is a lot to be said for taking that extra minute. Fans of loose tea swear by this approach, and for those who have not tried it, giving this approach a try is one of the best lifestyle choices you may make.
If you are looking for new teas, and the best teas, consider loose leaf. Mighty Leaf carries a great selection of teas in our hand crafted tea pouches (click here for details about our pouches, and click here for a menu of our teas available as pouches) - over 30 great tea choices, plus over 30 tea pouch samplers - but for comparison, we carry over 140 loose teas, and may loose tea samplers too (click here for a menu of our teas available as loose). In particular, if you care about the latest first blush teas, top quality connoisseur teas, and specialty teas, then loose teas are the best way to go.
Don't Forget the Water
Watch your water. Chlorine in tap water can lower antioxidant levels if it is not brought to a full boil first. For the best tasting tea, ideally use distilled, de-ionized or OS water - the minerals in water change tea's flavor. Time it for best results. Steep for just 2 to 3 minutes to avoid a bitter taste. Experiment to see what tastes best for you.
Keep It Loose
High-quality, loose-leaf tea offers tremendous variety, often more healthy properties, and a better taste than most tea bags offer. The aroma and taste of loose-leaf tea offer sensory pleasures no bagged tea can match. According to scientific research, high-quality, fresh, whole-leaf teas may be up to 300% healthier than low-grade teabags. Most of us have only encountered the mass-produced teabags we see on grocery store shelves. This is unfortunate because teabags are typically the cheapest, poorest form of tea.
With most commercial tea-bags, a low-grade product is ground into dust and packaged in the standard thin-paper box and plastic wrap -which does little to protect the nutritional value of the leaves. Nearly all of the teabags found on grocery store shelves are well-past their prime; the small bits of tea infuse unevenly in hot water so the resulting brew may have more caffeine and less healthy benefits.
Loose leaves unfurl in the cup and release the full flavor of the tea, so when filling your own tea bags, or using tea balls, be careful to not overfill.
Consider Tea in Food
By selecting loose leaf tea, you have the additional option of actually adding some of the plant to your daily food intake. Scientific and medical research tells us drinking tea may improve our health. But it goes further to say some of the beneficial components in tea are not water soluble and so ingesting the leaf may provide even greater benefits. With teas such as Matcha (ceremonial tea) or Sencha (Japanese green tea), some of the actual leaf slips into your cup. In Japan it is common to eat the very fine fresh Shincha (first harvest Sencha) or Gyokuro (shaded green tea) leaves, after enjoying the brew. Simply add a little dressing and eat the brewed leaf like a small salad or add them to a stir fry or rice dish. I have eaten brewed tea leaves several way - they are delicious and full of vitamin A, vitamin E and protein.
Good quality loose leaf tea can be re-infused several times. The most important thing to remember when brewing tea is to brew only what you can serve into your cup or serving pot at one time. Steep your tea and then pour ALL of the liquor off the leaves into your cup or serving pot. This practice allows you to then re-infuse your leaf with more hot water over and over again. Brewing tea in this way is also the trick to keeping your green teas from turning bitter or your black teas from becoming burnt tasting. Most high quality loose leaf teas can be re-infused 5 or 6 times, with some Puerh or Oolongs giving up to 10-12 infusions from a single serving. This makes the actual cost per serving of premium loose leaf teas very inexpensive.
Storing Loose Tea
Loose tea should be stored in a cool, dry, airtight, opaque container. Tea tins with tight-fitting lids are ideal. Do not store loose teas in the freezer or refrigerator.
When it comes to brewing a nice warm pot of tea, there is quite a lot of argument over whether or not to use loose tea or a tea bag for the job? As with so many things, there are both benefits and drawbacks to both brewing methods, but which one may be right for you? Do tea bags really allow you to get all of the flavored goodness from the tea, or are do you end up truly exciting your taste buds only if you use tea that has not been constrained by a bag?
Just about any so called tea expert will tell you that there is simply no better alternative than loose tea – as it just tastes better. But, tea is not just about the taste, and who is to say that a batch of tea brewed from a tea bag cannot be just as delectable as tea brewed from loose leaves. In fact, really the only problem with the taste of tea from a bag is that many people cheap out and buy tea bags that simply do not contain tea that is of the same level that you would get with loose tea leaves.
So what is the solution then? If you want a no hassle way of brewing your tea, then you should always stick with tea bags, as they provide a clean and simple way of brewing an amazing pot of tea. On the other hand, if you truly want to experience a heavenly cup of your favorite tea, then loose leaves are the way to go. However, if you can find some of the material that is used in creating tea bags in your local supermarket, you can use it in conjunction with your favorite loose tea leaves to create a tea bag that is totally superior to anything that you could ever hope to find in your grocery.