Most tea geeks agree that whole leaf tea is far superior to the highly processed stuff found in tea bags. Even within the remarkable variety of whole leaf, there is wide variety of quality depending on processing, storage, and freshness. Starting each morning with multiple pots of Doke Black Fusion, brewed from whole leaf picked and packaged just a few weeks ago, my husband and I are eternally grateful for the quality and freshness found in each aromatic cup. We enjoy the subtle nuance of each successive steep.
Nevertheless, much of the tea-drinking world relies upon the ubiquitous tea bag for their daily cuppa. Tea bags are quick and convenient, can easily be packed in the lunch box, and give the consumer a mess-free fix in just a few minutes. Like whole leaf, there is tremendous variety of quality and price in the offerings you will find at the local supermarket. Before you grab a box of the most familiar brand, note that many of the popular brands contain illegal amounts of pesticides.
The worst offenders have some twenty different pesticides. Ideally, your brew should contain NO pesticides. Do yourself a favor and pick up a box of organic tea bags. Even Lipton has an organic offering, but you will find Numi, Newman’s Own and Stash all have organic offerings. If you’re like me, you drink bagged brew only when you’re on the go. May I suggest buying a box of twenty bags and splitting it with a tea-drinking friend? That way, you will have just eight or ten of the freshest bags in inventory. As always, store the bags just like you store your whole leaf – in a cool, dark, dry place in your pantry.