T1=Premium whole leaf tea – that’s what we recommend. Today you can find whole leaf tea available in pre-packaged containers. The quality is substantially better than tea bags from years past, but we still prefer and recommend people use whole leaf tea. One of the problems with tea bags (and loose leaf teas as well) from the supermarket relates to freshness. How long was it sitting before it even made it to the shelf of the market? How long had it been sitting at the market? How long was it at the market chains main distribution warehouse? What was the amount of time it sat in the wholesalers warehouse? How long was it sitting in the marketplace or auction house before it was purchased by the wholesaler etc.? You get the picture. High quality, whole leaf, green and white tea has a shelf life of about 1 year assuming it’s stored properly. That’s one year from when it’s picked to when you make a cup of tea. We’ll be providing detailed information about storage in the weeks to come. There are many reputable tea companies that sell high quality tea that is available to the consumer. We will be sharing lots of easy, convenient, economical ways to prepare whole leaf tea without the traditional tea bag.

I was told an interesting story by a tea master a few years ago which I believe is worth repeating. Tea is graded based on quality, resulting in many different levels. For the sake of this story, we’ll say there were 5 grades of tea, with #1 being the best grade which was available only to the Chinese as it wasn’t being exported. The Chinese did not consume tea from the 5th grade, as it was merely the left over tea pieces, twigs, broken leaves, fannings from the floor. Basically tea that they considered not worthy of consuming. This is what had been exported to Europe and the U.S. and put into tea bags and sold as black tea. Thank you Lipton. Is it any wonder that tea didn’t catch on much in the U.S?

part 1