Surprisingly enough I had never had any type of tea up until last year. The first tea I had was at Pho Minh, a Vietnamese place here in Pittsburgh. I really enjoyed it and started looking into tea, and since I watch Diggnation and follow Kevin Rose on twitter, I learned about loose tea. So I went online and found an infuser, tea pot, beginner set of tea, and a tin of jasmine pearls, because that was the type of tea they served at Pho Minh. So why use loose tea? Most people I know that drink tea use tea bags, but tea bags usually consist of smaller pieces of tea leaves that give a stronger, quicker brew, but lack the fine quality of larger loose leaf tea. That means tea bags will have a more harsh flavor and since they lack the quality of loose leaf tea you can not re-brewed over and over like you can do with loose leaf tea.
So how do you brew loose leaf tea? First you need an infuser, I got the glass mug & infuser from Adagio, which is great for brewing tea for 1 person. Now take your tea and put the proper amount in the infuser (you can look this up online, but most teas will have a label that tells you how much to put in per cup and how long to brew). Today I am brewing the Jasmine Pearls from Adagio, so I just put the infuser in the mug and boil water. Once the water is boiling just pour it in the in mug with the infuser and close it up. Now just let it brew for the designated time then take the infuser out and your ready to drink the tea!
The thing that is great about loose leaf tea is that you can re-brew it quite a few times before it loses flavor. So besides the fact that tea tastes good, why drink it? There are many health benefits, just a few I will go over here. First tea is practically calorie-free and can play a major role in maintaining bodily fluid balance. Many teas contain anti-oxidants, which may help to reduce the risk of cancer. Tea contains polyphenols, which are thought to help inhibit the absorption of cholesterol into the blood stream and help prevent the formation of blood clots. And the best part is the tea contains caffeine, which we all need from time to time and why not get the caffeine jolt from something that is good for you!
So where should you start? If you want to look online Adagio is a great place to start. You can get the infuser and 4 sample teas for under $20! They also have the Jasmine Pearls I was talking about, which is probably my favorite everyday tea as of right now. If you want a more hands on experience you can see if Teavana has a location near you. They just opened a location in Ross Park Mall here in Pittsburgh.
I just starting to get into tea and I love it! If you ever had doubts about tea go ahead and try and out and see if you like it.