What not to do with a teabag

Once in a while I will slum it — when I’m on the road, needing some caffeine uptake and have no tea with me, a tea bag isn’t a horrible thing. Not that it happens often, but it does happen.

Today’s little bag though intrigued me…. why, pray tell, would you make a teabag so small? It’s about 2cm in diameter or thereabouts. The leaves in the bag are obviously too tightly packed to have room to expand. While this is all right if you’re brewing it in a tiny vessel with short infusions and very hot water, it’s not ok if it’s a big (maybe 400cc?) cup with water that will soon cool to much less than 100C. Who designed this thing? Don’t waste my Assam!

I think sometimes when teabag makers try to get creative perhaps the marketing people get too much influence and this sort of thing happens. It looks rather interesting, but it doesn’t work.

The same can be said of all those tea balls out there — I remember having a friend who tried to brew tieguanyin using a tea ball. As you can imagine, it doesn’t work — the tea expands so much that there’s simply no room to expand in the cup, resulting in lots of wasted leaves. I suggested my friend to use one of those mugs with a removable filter (sort of like a Korean infuser cup — can somebody remind me of their name?). It worked much better.


Comments

What not to do with a teabag — 3 Comments

  1. Hello Marshal,

    Have you ever tried making your own teabags for the road? T-Sac and other brands make some handy paper filters of all sizes one can fill with delicious leaves :)! I always pack a few when going out of town. There is always somewhere to buy hot water. Recently though I was denied a hot water purchase from a national coffee chain at an airport. I ended up getting a cup of hot water (for free) at -of all places- McDonald’s.

    Not too long ago, I got from Shanshuiteas a box of roasted tieguanyin in tea bags. From what Brian W. told me, the gentleman he usually buys this tea from decided to make a limited run of tea bags this year. Interestingly, the bags themselves are large enough to let the leaves fully expand. Very handy for travel! Drop Brian a line, he may still have some in stock.

    Have a good tea 🙂

    Alex

    PS: Thank you sending the samples of roasted oolongs to Hobbes. Makes for good reading.

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