If you’re like me, you may have questioned why anyone who loves herbal teas would want to go through the trouble of loose leaf tea. I mean, what a hassle, right? Plus, isn’t it more expensive? It must be for tea snobs; not regular people. And to get even more technical, herbal teas are not even “tea.” They are in a category of their own. They are beverages brewed from herbs or a combination of herbs. The fancy word for them is tisanes. It’s French for “aromatic” or “herb-flavored.”
Well, I got a little side-tracked but back to our original question—why loose leaf, herbal teas? Actually, loose leaf teas have a lot going for them. Generally, they yield a fuller taste and better aroma because the dried leaves provide more surface area than the crushed tea (called fannings) put into tea bags. Fannings are finely broken pieces of tea leaf. Technically, herbal teas are not part of the tea grading system that involves black teas, etc. but it is still good information to know.
Loose leaf teas are generally fresher. Ever wonder how long those boxed teas—even the herbals varieties have been sitting on a shelf at the grocery store? Or, in a warehouse before that? They just tend to degrade more quickly.
Finally, loose leaf, herbal teas are more economical than their bagged partners. You generally order them in bulk and then, only use about 1 tsp. or so per cup. Plus, loose leaf, herbal teas last about two years provided you store them carefully in non-transparent glass or metal containers with a good seal. I like using Ball jars like these with these Ball lids. Just keep these in a dark cupboard or pantry as you don’t want light exposure which also degrades the tea.
If you are interested in trying loose leaf teas, by all means, get yourself a good strainer like this one. If you don’t use a good quality strainer, you will end up with a mouthful of tea and debris instead.
Enjoy this very relaxing daily ritual—brewing a fresh cup of herbal tea. At first it might feel like it takes too much time, but soon, you’ll be doing this on autopilot. One more thing. Just think how brewing yourself a cup of loose leaf tea is better for the environment. No used, non-biodegradable tea bags to add to landfills anymore. I’ll drink a cup to that!