- Food and Cooking
How to Brew a Great Cup of Tea Using a Tea Bag
Do You Use tea bags? You can still make great tasting tea!
If you are a regular tea drinker, you probably have your own favorite teas and your own preferred way of making tea. In my kitchen, I have tins of loose leaf tea. I also have tins and packs of tea bags. I know that some purists prefer loose leaf teas. Other people prefer the convenience of teabags. Some people even make their own tea bags, so they can mix their own blends and carry them conveniently.
You might be happy to make your tea with water from the kitchen tap, but others will only use filtered or bottled water. You might be an indoor tea-maker, or perhaps a bit more adventurous - see below for making tea on the beach!
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Tea bag history
The earliest patents for tea bags date from around 1903. Mr Thomas Sullivan, a tea merchant from New York, is often credited with creating the first commercial tea bags in 1908. Instead of using tin canisters, which were expensive, Thomas Sullivan created the cheaper pouches to send samples of tea to commercial customers. They proved popular, with recipients demanding tea in bags. The original tea bags were handmade silk bags, then hand stitched muslin, and now usually paper.
The secret of making good tea is patience!
A team of scientists at the University of Northumbria's School of Life Sciences have discovered that the secret of brewing tea is patience!
After 180 hours of testing a panel of volunteers, they concluded that the best method was to add 200ml of boiling water to a tea bag in a mug. After two minutes, remove the bag and add 10ml of milk.
Now, leave the tea for six minutes until it cools to 60C, as this is the optimal temperature to let the flavours flood out and to avoid scolding. But don't let it cool too much, below 45C and the tea will be past its best.
Gourmet Tea Bags
Tea is becoming so popular now that even gourmet teas are available in convenient tea bags. Allow the water to drop off the boil before adding to the cup or pot, and follow the instructions on the packet carefully to avoid "over steeping". Leaving the teabags in too long can release bitter tannins which will ruin the delicate taste.
Earl Grey Tea is a classic, uplifting tea with a floral aroma and lovely refreshing taste. It is a fine black tea that has been expertly blended with theflavor of bergamot.
Lapsang souchong is a dark, smoked chinese tea, high in antioxidants. Lapsang can be served with or without milk. A word to the wise: milk adds a slightly malty tone. If you like to buy in bulk, this is a six pack, with 50 teabags per pack, giving 300 in total.
If you would like a change
I usually drink black teas, like Earl Grey. But, if you'd like a change, especially if you take your tea without milk, you could try green tea or oolong tea.
Light green tea with fragrant jasmine flowers. Three pack, with 18 tea bags per pack. Jasmine flowers contain essential oils that are used in aromatherapy.
The processing of oolong tea is between that of green and black teas. The tea leaves are only partially oxidized, so tea is reddish, and the taste is delicate and slightly sweet. Oolong has a lower caffeine content than black tea. Six pack, 20 individually wrapped tea bags per pack.
If you are looking for something special, you might enjoy white tea. It is made from spring leaf buds, picked before they open.
White tea, with rosebuds, has a smooth uplifting rosy taste. It is high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Three pack, 16 tea bags per pack
This delicious tea (Bai Mu Dan) is from the Fujian province. It is a delicate and fragrant, with a golden color.
White tea is also high in antioxidants. Triple Leaf's White Peony can be drunk hot or iced.
Six pack, 20 teabags per pack
How to make a great cuppa using tea bags
Everyday Tea Bags
Of course, even for everyday tea, it helps to start with a good quality tea bag. There are many great brands available, including Twinnings, Taylors of Harrogate, PG and more. Try different teas when you visit friends, or dine out, until you find the one you like best.
Taylors Yorkshire Gold is a premium English tea, from Harrogate. Yorkshire Gold, the original Yorkshire Tea has a distinctive full-bodied and malty flavor.
Making tea on the beach
Our favourite beach is a little bit remote. No cafes or restaurants anywhere nearby. But, just because you are at the beach, it doesn't mean you have to miss out on your tea. Here's what you need:
Twigs, dry grass
Matches or lighter
Milk & sugar to taste
Place some kindling in the chimney of the Kelly kettle.
Add water to the kettle.
Light the kindling, and feed more twigs until water boils.
Place tea bags in cups (make sure they won't tip when you add the water), then add water.
Allow the tea bags to steep, as required, then add milk and/or sugar to taste.
We've found PG to be a perfect beach tea!