Seven Steps to Great Tea: Step 6

Allow for Full Leaf Expansion

Traditional tea balls make terrible tea because they don’t allow enough room for the leaf to expand.

At its most basic, tea is just a dried out leaf. As when you re-hydrate any dried food, that dried food will expand, sometimes dramatically so. Tea leaves will expand 2-5 times in size when they’ve re-hydrated after steeping. You have to allow room for that full leaf expansion, or you will not get the flavor you expect.

Our suggestions:

  • If you must use a tea ball; use the largest honking tea ball you can find, even for a single cup.
  • Steeping or infusing baskets work great, and they can fit into individual mugs or teapots.
  • T-sacs (individual, do-it-yourself tea bags) work great. They are made of unbleached teabag paper, you just put your own tea in them. And then pull them out at the proper time.

The bottom line: use some method that allows the leaf to fully expand during the steeping time.

Brewing loose leaf tea is easy and completely extracts all flavor from the leaves into the liquid.

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