Video:Benefits of Whole Leaf Teawith Annelies Zijderveld
Is there really a big difference between the types of tea you can buy at the store? Find out what whole leaf tea is, and what benefits come from brewing loose or whole tea leaves.See Transcript
Transcript:Benefits of Whole Leaf TeaHi, I'm Annelies Zijderveld with Mighty Leaf Tea for About.com Food, and today I'm going to explain why whole leaf tea is better than your usual supermarket variety.
Whole Leaf Tea HarvestsThere are two ways of collecting the leaves off of tea bushes: by hand or by machine. To ensure the highest quality teas, the newest two leaves and a bud are plucked by hand off of tea plants. This practice of plucking takes time and low yields around 2 to 3,000 leaves only translates into a pound of finished product.
This repeated picking of the young leaves and buds promotes new growth throughout the year. Depending upon the origin, bushes are plucked anywhere from 3 to 12 times a year. Plucking is often referred to as flushes, so if your Darjeeling is a first flush - that means it was plucked during the first harvest of the year.
Cut, Tear, Curl Tea LeavesThe standard supermarket variety, known in the industry as CTC, means cut, tear, curl. CTC teas are comprised of leaves that are heavily broken.
Most of the teas found in paper bags are CTC. As you continue tasting tea, you will find that paper actually imparts some flavor to the tea. Whole tea leaves don't fit inside the bags made from paper.
Benefits of Whole Tea LeavesThe health benefits attributed to tea are found most prominently in whole leaves. As far as taste goes, you will get more of a nuanced and complex infusion with whole leaf tea.
Tea Bags and BrewingIt has become very en vogue to drink whole leaf tea in silken bags. They come in a variety of shapes like the pyramid, rectangle or square. An important thing to consider when you are evaluating whole leaf tea bags in the marketplace would be how they are sealed: with glue, heat sealing, staples or unbleached cotton stitching.
Next take into account the space inside the tea bag, since whole leaf tea needs a lot of space for the water and tea leaves to mingle and for the leaves to unfurl properly. Look at this tea pouch before it's been brewed and afterwards. The difference is pronounced.
Tea Packaging and ProtectionOne other important thing to consider is how protected the leaves are in their packaging. The enemies of tea are light, air and heat. Each of these elements will reduce the shelf life of your tea, so take care. You will want to make sure that they are packaged in a way that keeps out air. To store your tea at home, make sure to set it in a cupboard, out of the light and not on top of any contraption that will generate heat.
Drinking Loose Tea LeavesWhole leaf tea bags make it convenient to drink and brew great tea anywhere and do not require the measuring and brewing tools necessary for steeping loose whole tea leaves. So whether you brew your whole leaf tea loose or in bags, drink in the goodness of a full-bodied, antioxidant-rich infusion that is both good for you and tastes great
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