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I have been a hot tea drinker for several years now, and I've almost always used tea bags. I received two packs of loose tea that came in a carved wooden box I bought, and I've tried using it a few times. I even purchased one of those tea strainers that you sit on top of your tea cup from someone in Britain off of ebay. I put the leaves in the pot and pour the hot water over it. When it's ready, I pour the tea through the strainer into my cup. The problem is, it is such a mess to clean out of the pot. I end up having to rinse most of it down the drain in the sink because it's so hard to get out.
Question: How do you prepare loose tea? What am I doing wrong? There must be a better way!
I often brew tea one mug at a time, with a strainer that sits down inside the mug, and works the same as described above.
The Chatsford line of teapots and mugs come with their own strainers, and have a special notch at the rim of the pot to allow the tab to stick out so you can take hold of it:
The Bodem range of glass teapots with removable filters are stylish and very effective.
If it is wet we strain the tea leaves and put them in our compost box and empty them with all the veggie pealings into one of the three compost bins.
7> PixieMum, thanks for the tip! I plan to water tomatoes this way from now on. Unfortunately, it's too warm for roses here.
ETA: As a second choice, I prefer paper filters over the mesh or other tea balls (although they're less environmentally friendly than the reusable tea balls).
I think you can find Twinings everywhere. I don't remember buying any other loose-leaf tea in supermarkets in Louisiana. I was also getting tea from the Republic of Tea (California) and Upton Tea (Massachusetts). Strictly paper catalogue/phone service at the time, although now I buy from Upton online.
I think everyone else has covered the various brewing methods, though I would advise against those little tea balls . . . they don't provide enough room for the leaves to expand.
I will add one thing I learned from the folks at Teasource . . . how to quickly decaffeinate your own tea! (They have decaf teas, but I didn't like the flavor, or lack thereof.) I use a mug with the screen mesh insert to hold the leaves. I boil enough water for two cups. I pour enough water over the leaves to just cover them . . . and let it sit for 10-15 SECONDS . . . then dump that tea (but not the leaves) down the drain. The leaves are now decaffeinated (or at least decaffeinated enough for me) . . . now you can cover them with water and brew a cup as usual (which for me is 3-5 minutes).
No!! Blasphemy!! ;D
My roommate does that to her tea. I brought a lot of tea back from China to give to people... and she doesn't get any. Tea must be treated like fine wine.
No reason that wouldn't work well enough though. I looked up the solubility of caffeine and it's 67.0 g/100 mL at 100 degrees Celsius. Salt is 38.99g/100 mL.