From Bag to WHAT?! HEEEEELP!


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From Bag to WHAT?! HEEEEELP!

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Ago 3, 2012, 3:18 pm

Hi everyone.

I just came back from my summer trip recently and I have 3 bags of loose leaf tea. They smell divine but I noticed there's a hole in one of them and the smell is seeping out. This, naturally calls for TEA EMERGENCY. I was wondering yesterday about what type of container should I transfer them to? I read somewhere here that plastic containers might not be the best option- probably not even glass since the cover usually allows air to come out and in. In this case, what should I use?
I'm kinda a health-nut too so I don't like plastic or tin.

Any suggestions to rescue my tea?

Me and all my leaves would surely appreciate it.

Ago 3, 2012, 3:51 pm

I think that most of the time, tea storage containers that are called "tins" are actually made of aluminum or steel. I've always been under the impression that those "tins" are the best way to store loose tea, and that's how most of my tea comes from the store.

If you don't like aluminum or steel, I think you can also find containers made of wood or ceramic, though they are pricier and less readily available. You could try looking at , that is where I get most of my tea paraphernalia.

Ago 3, 2012, 4:36 pm


They hardly ever were made of 100% tin. Tins are often still made of tin-plate. This is steel plated with a tin covering. Although it wouldn't surprise me that stainless steel ones are also available.

You want an airtight seal - so metal or maybe something like a kilner jar would be good.

Ago 3, 2012, 5:22 pm

#2 Good idea. I think I saw ceramics jars with wooden covers in IKEA a couple of months ago. I hope they're still there! I'll pass by soon.

#3 & #2 - that kinda makes me wonder how healthy are the steel strainers used to dunk the loose leaves in our mugs. I bought one from Disney. It looks super cute but after inspecting it (and SNIFFING IT) I can't seem to like the idea of dipping it into my hot water.

I have a few strainers made of rubber so maybe those are less harsh.

What to do :/

Ago 3, 2012, 5:22 pm

oh and thank you both hehe :)

Ago 3, 2012, 5:58 pm


You don't use strainers to dunk the leaves.

You brew the tea in a proper pot for the relevant time and pour it through the strainer.

Nearly all the ones I've seen are silver, stainless steel, or china. So all are pretty neutral. However I wouldn't buy one from Disney!

I've not seen a rubber tea strainer at all. I would say that rubber is more likely to degrade more over time.

Ago 5, 2012, 4:19 pm

I can't afford to brew the tea in a teapot if I'm at work :/ At home that sounds like a good plan though.

Yes I was very surprised to see the rubber strainers myself. I got them as a gift. I have two actually. They look like flat disks when folded but once you unfold them, they turn into a rubber strainer.

You think? I dunno, but maybe you're right, they would actually degrade over time because of the heat which probably makes them just as unhealthy as the steel ones :/

Ago 5, 2012, 6:20 pm

...there are silicone ones, apparently...?

Ago 6, 2012, 4:15 am

Ago 7, 2012, 7:29 am

I would suspect wood is not an ideal substance, unlike metals it contains a lot of components that are soluble in hot water and/or will leach out over time, even in air. The reason why wood smells so nice is the volatile oils, which will combine with the tea flavours. Well washed steel will be completely absent of such compounds. It is possible that new steel will still have a layer or wax or oil on it, and hence this should be removed before storing tea in such a container.

Ago 7, 2012, 11:10 am

Personally I would also be concerned about mildew and bacteria with a wooden tea strainer

Ago 7, 2012, 1:22 pm

I can't imagine how stainless steel would be harmful or affect flavors; besides, you're presumably boiling the water in a stainless kettle to begin with.

Ago 7, 2012, 4:41 pm

#10 interesting information, thank u!

#11 Yeah, I didn't think of that.

#12 Well I don't know but sometimes using those small metal strainers leaves a metally taste. It tastes horrible. Maybe the quality wasn't good.

Ago 7, 2012, 4:55 pm

I've seen ceramic strainers; I should think they would be flavor-neutral and easily cleaned.

This is a sample:

Ago 7, 2012, 6:08 pm

>1 Teacup_: I'm kinda a health-nut too so I don't like plastic or tin.

What's your fear of tin (or steel, as you've noted in later posts)? There is a potential health issue with tin at very high levels over long periods of time, so you wouldn't want it in your regular drinking water, but the tin from a tea caddy is unlikely to interact at all with dry tea leaves.

Steel is iron and carbon, with some chromium. The chromium forms an oxide on the surface which forms a very strong bond with the iron, making it quite unlikely to interact at all with dry tea leaves. Plus, it's 100% recyclable.

However, if you'd like something to make a cup of tea using loose tea, you need the cloth mesh, re-fillable, reusable, washable tea bags I have. I posted a photo of them on another thread but can't find it.


Ago 8, 2012, 11:11 am

I have a ceramic strainer that came with a cup but it's too fancy and fragile for the office :/ They are flavor-neutral I give you that.

Ago 8, 2012, 11:12 am

#15, I see. I don't know, I guess I'm paranoid about tin in my food. I don't eat anything from a tin (not that I can help it at least) :/ I just assumed the strainer was made from the same stuff.

The washable tea bags sounds like a nice idea. I'll look for those!

Editado: Ago 9, 2012, 4:42 pm

>15 Osbaldistone:, 17

I took a new photo. One unused bag, one heavily used bag, one stainless steel, single cup, spring-loaded tea strainer (squeeze the handle to open). I prefer these bags because they are large enough to let the tea expand without squeezing (which is likely to squeeze out the bitter tannins). The stainless strainer is what I used before I found these bags, but it's a bit small for even one teaspoon of leaves.

These bags can hold two-three teaspoons of tea, so not bad for a mug or small teapot. The string is used to cinch up the opening. To be honest, I usually make a 4-cup pot with loose tea and then pour through a strainer.

Sorry I can't recall where I got the cloth bags, or what they are called. With the right material (un-dyed, un-bleached cotton with the right weave), they would not be hard to make for someone with basic sewing skills (the edges of the two pieces of cloth are sewn together and the seam is hidden inside the bag).

Ago 10, 2012, 6:21 am

I see! Thank you so much! I had a completely different mental image of them before seeing this hehe. Don't they seep out though? The leaves I mean?

I will try to find something similar. I think I saw a shop here that packs their own leaves. I will ask if they sell their bags.

The Stainless strainer is exactly like what we used to have before but I never used it. I think I might just go ahead and use it afterall because I can't drink a lot of caffein and I usually keep my teas very very light. I just dunk it once with very small amount of leaves anyway so this might be convenient.

Thanks again!

Ago 10, 2012, 10:04 am

>19 Don't they seep out though? The leaves I mean?

The drawstring cinches up the opening pretty well; tight enough unless you are pretty violent in swishing the bag in the water. I recommend pouring the boiling water (black tea) over the bag in the cup or pot and just letting it steep. I don't swish the bag around or squeeze it. It sounds like you prefer a light brew, so that should work quite well for you.

You can get tea-balls much like the strainer only part in the picture, with a chain and hook attached. I've seen them quite small (probably for a single cup) and larger (enough for a small pot). I prefer the style in the photo, because the spring keeps the ball closed better than the clip mechanism typical on a tea-ball.


Ago 10, 2012, 7:12 pm

I see. They look convenient :

Thanks Os, I think i'll look for those tea balls then afterall!

Editado: Ago 11, 2012, 2:23 am

>21 Teacup_:
Well, if so, here is a link to something like what I had at one time (you can see the clamp on the 'equator'). This one seems a bit large for single cup brewing, though. I've seen them about 1/2 that size. However, it will fit in a mug/beaker, and will certainly allow expansion room for a teaspoon or so of loose tea.

Remember, pour fresh, boiling water over black tea leaves; slightly cooler (180°F) for green/white teas.


Ago 11, 2012, 5:23 am

Will do! Thank you again so much. This has been really helpful! :