Making tea is simple and requires just a couple ingredients and tools. Hot water and your desired cup or mug are a given. But when it comes to steeping the tea itself, you can opt for an infuser or tea bag. Tea bags are a more convenient option, but if not used properly, you could be cheating yourself out of the highest amount of flavor and benefits from consuming tea.
So how do you know if you’re using your tea bag most effectively? In order to see if you’re doing it right, let’s see what you might be doing wrong. We have listed five common mistakes people make when using tea bags.
1. Squeezing Out Tea Bags
It’s so tempting to squeeze out every drop of tea goodness after steeping it. But squeezing tea bags is not releasing the extra flavor that you think. Because of the high levels of tannic acid in tea, you’re actually making the tea more bitter.
It’s not only weakening the taste, but it’s also wearing the strength of the tea bags itself. By squeezing it, you run the risk of tearing the bag and releasing some of the tea leaves into your cup.
2. You Are Not Reusing Your Tea Bags
To follow up with our last point, instead of squeezing your tea bag dry, you can enjoy a second cup of tea using that same tea bag. The quality of your second steep may depend on the type of tea used. As reusing green or white tea works better than darker blends.
3. Using The Wrong Type Of Tea Bags
Today, teabags come in a range of shapes, sizes and materials. From single to double chamber bags, muslin sacks or stringed and stapled. But there are a few tea bags you want to avoid using to ensure your tea is chemical free.
Plastic Tea Bags
Most tea bags are made with a variety of plastics – such as food grade nylon, PVC, polypropylene, which when heated, melt and act as a sealant to help the bag retain its shape when in boiling water. As a result, these plastics are released into your tea.
Bleached Tea Bags
Tea bags that are typically made from both wood and vegetable pulp are usually chlorine-bleached to make the bag whiter, resulting in small amount of toxic chlorine compounds ending up in your tea bag and ultimately your tea.
4. Leaving Your Tea Bag In For Too Long
The length of time you steep your tea for will vary based on the the type of tea leaves you use. So it’s important to follow the instructions listed on the back of each of your tea pouches. If you avoid following the suggested time, you risk having a bitter cup of tea.
5. You’re Using Pre Bagged Tea
Pre bagged tea is definitely a convenient option for those that want a fast cup of tea at home or on the go. Being able to dunk your tea bag into your cup of hot water, then easily discarding it when it’s done, is so much simpler than adding the extra step of using a tea infuser and then having to clean it out later. Even though you’re saving time, you may be sacrificing quality.
Grocery-store tea bags are made of the leftover, broken tea leaves, known as the "dust and fanning’s.” These remnants are just that - loose endings that didn’t qualify to be used as whole tea leaves. This means you’re not getting the most out of your tea. Instead you’re getting little essential oils, a faster shelf life and more bitter flavoring.
As our list suggests, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your tea when using tea bags. This starts with the type of tea bags you use. Premium Steep offers a non-bleached option for tea bags. Shop our Paper Filters. They are biodegradable, perfect for on-the-go steeps and are free from chlorine and chemicals.