Teabags are easy to use and save time. However, nothing can be as pleasant as quality loose leaf tea brewed with care. If you spend a bit of effort to learn and choose high quality loose leaf tea, which yields quality in flavor and fragrance, you will enjoy it so much more. If you are a little lost in a myriad of choices, this article is going to help you to get the basics of choosing a quality loose leaf tea.
What Is Loose Leaf Tea?
Loose leaf tea is simply the processed tea leaves that come without the pre-packaged version of teabags. To get a taste of the best loose leaf tea, you can look for establishments with considerable experience in tea cultivation such as the Yoshan Tea in Los Angeles, U.S.A. Their Taiwanese oolong tea is quite popular with tea-lovers. They are tested and certified by SGS, an international inspection agency.
Different Types of Tea
The first step to choose loose leaf tea starts with the knowledge of types of tea. Every tea has a unique flavor and scent. The most commonly consumed black tea has a rich aroma and flavor, unlike green tea, which is less processed and has fresh tea leaves. They have rich antioxidants and help remove toxins and increase metabolism. The oolong tea is a traditional Chinese tea that falls between black tea and green tea. White tea has more delicate flavors. Something special like Pu-erh tea (a type of fermented tea) tastes better the more aged it is.
Now, it is up to your preference what you like the most. Not everybody enjoys the same taste in food and drinks.
Fragrance and Color
Taking a whiff from tea leaves can surely give you a hands-on quality check. Looking for a fresh batch, you would always see that they give off a delicate fragrance and are fresh in color. If the loose tea leaves look dull in color and give off close to no smell, consider it stale. Darker roasted leaves would brew a strong flavor.
The different geographical locations of tea cultivation give the tea leaves unique and complex flavors specific to that region. African tea cultivation is known for their black tea, whereas the biggest producer, Chinese tea cultivation, is known for more varieties like black tea, white tea, and jasmine tea. Similarly, loose leaf tea from Darjeeling and Assam in India are famous for their rich flavor and aroma. Taiwan is famous for growing and producing Oolong Tea. Japan is known for its green tea production.
The position of the tea leaves on the stem can determine the quality of the final product. The finest quality of tea leaves is the fresh buds from the tips. The leaves have different grades according to the location of the leaves before plucking.
For the final step, check the ingredients list for added artificial flavoring or allergic ingredients. When you add artificial flavoring and sweetening, the natural benefit of tea reduces to some extent. It is best to have well made loose tea leaves by itself for the taste, flavor and health benefits.
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