Making the Most of Bagged Black Teas

My godmother at a recent gathering where we served tea from bags.

We tea lovers like to indulge in leaf teas. The fragrance, body, taste, ritual and beauty of tea shine through in leaf teas. But let’s face it: we can’t always afford our favorite teas.

Thankfully, the perfect need not be the enemy of the good when it comes to tea. Teabags can make for a rich tea experience, too. You’ll have to avoid a few common pitfalls, though.

  • Don’t oversteep! Black tea in bags really only needs about two (2) minutes to brew properly. All the caffiene will brew out by about two minutes, and leaving the bag any longer will make the tea bitter.
  • If you oversteep, try adding the teensiest pinch of baking soda to the pot. This will take off the overly bitter edge. 
  • Ask friends for recommendations before buying if you’re new to tea. The grocery store brands that I’ve found most consistently good are Twinings English Breakfast, TAZO Awake, and PG Tips. If you’re lucky enough to have access to Taylor’s of Harrogate or Harney and Sons, the breakfast blends (or Assam or Keemun) are very nice in leaf or bag form. Sometimes a store brand (like the Whole Foods generic black tea) is good, too. Try to catch it on sale.
  • Teabags that come in bulk (not individually wrapped) work great in hotel coffee makers. They are also usually geared to frequent tea drinkers. I’m thinking of PG Tips, Lighthouse, Rose’s, the Whole Foods brand, and Taylor’s of Harrogate bags. They make good tea on a budget, and they travel well. 

Later this week, I’ll share some bag blends that work well for different health needs. 

What’s your favorite black teabag?

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