Concerned about how many disposable items you use in a day? Or the ridiculous over-packaging that’s rampant in our stores? Or the mountains of plastic accumulating in our oceans?
Want to make a bit of a difference with minimal effort?
If you drink mainly teabag tea, just switch to loose leaf. Besides having a dramatically better cup of tea, you can help the environment:
- First, whether teabag or loose leaf tea, buy from a reputable company or tea shop, ensuring that your tea has been grown by organic or biodynamic methods.
- Buy loose tea in bulk, packaged in one bag or a reusable tin, thereby avoiding teabags that, even if they aren’t individually wrapped, often come in a plastic-wrapped box.
- To brew, measure out loose leaf tea into something reusable and simply strain the leaves out with a reusable strainer, thereby not putting any bits of plastic from teabags into the environment.
- For tea on the go, use a thermos with a filter, or brew your tea and pour it into the thermos.
- Depending on the tea, re-brew the leaves.
- Toss used leaves into your compost bin or work into the soil in your garden.
Brewing loose leaf tea—sans time, effort, or mess!
1. Measure your tea into your strainer, cup, teapot, or thermos.2. Add your water, using the recommended temperature for your tea.3. At the end of the recommended brew time, strain out your leaves. Straining methods and reusable devices are endless!
Use a teapot with a built-in web or strainer:Use a teapot with a removable brew basket:
Use an infuser mug (simply remove the brew basket):or use any cup with a Finum fine mesh brew basket (my personal favorite of the cup strainers)
or a stainless steel brew basket.Alternately, you can brew your tea in a measuring cup or teapot and pour it through any strainer, such as this kitchen strainer:or if you have large leaves, just use a fork to hold them back!Teaballs are always popular, but in this photo you can see why they shouldn’t be used for whole leaf teas. Even for CTC (cut-tear-curl) tea—which means the tea leaves have been cut into small pieces—the teaball should be large enough to allow the pieces of tea to fully expand.For on the go, either brew in any of the above methods and pour into a thermos or travel cup, or use a thermos that has its own brew basket. However, you don’t want to leave the leaves in the thermos because you will overbrew your tea (exceptions are tisanes, which generally can brew for hours).However you separate leaves from liquor, remember that you will get the best cup of tea by:
- having quality loose tea to begin with
- brewing with water that is the correct temperature for your particular tea
- allowing the leaves to fully expand while they brew
- removing the leaves at the end of the brewing time