Does it seem funny to you that our generation is coming round full circle?
Not just ha ha funny, but interesting funny.
Our great grandmothers made everything themselves. Our grandmothers were enamored by the modern conveniences (think 1950′s housewife.) Our moms adapted to the convenient lifestyle. And we are going back to the better way of doing things.
We realize that the most convenient things are overpriced. Not eco-friendly. Cheap. Sterile. Impersonal.
But at the same time, we have the best of both worlds. Convenience is there, yes, but we are the first generation who has the option of doing what is best, not just whatever is available. We are the generation of possibilities.
We are cloth diapering our babies again for the first time in at least one generation. We are cooking our own food. We are taking our careers, our health, and our family’s wellbeing into our own hands.
And we are brewing our own tea.
Tea bags, you see, are one of those manufactured items that people didn’t used to buy in tea bags. But now we would hardly ever think of buying or drinking tea in any other form.
Tea infusers used to be quaint grandma items. But they are making a raging comeback in the tea community. Loose leaf tea not only tastes better, but it will steep in more water than you would imagine, spreading a long ways. Talk about resourceful!
Loose leaf tea is available in more varieties than tea bags, although tea bags are starting to compete and offer more flavors than ever before. Lipton black tea is so last year. Wu long, green tea, and oolong are the new magic potion for the young tea drinking crowd.
In ancient China, the mother of all hot tea, they used clay tea pots lined with mesh. Essentially, the loose tea leaves floated around in the pot, but the mesh strained the loose particles out of the water when it was poured. The infuser was invented when Western Europe discovered tea. The European Industrial Revolution led to the production of many different kinds of tea infusers, and it was all the rage for the Gibson Girls in that era..
Today, infusers come in all varieties, including little mesh balls that float in the tea pot, egg shaped stainless steel balls with holes for steeping, and many other kinds.
My favorite is the kind that is part of your tea pot. (You have to buy a real tea pot in order to have this feature. Teavana is the best place I know of that sells them.) When you lift the lid, you will see a small cylindrical shaped dish with holes in it like a colander that hangs inside the body of the tea pot from the rim. You then put your loose leaf tea (or tea pearls if you are fancy) into this small container. Pour your boiling water into the tea pot through this container, allowing the tea leaves to infuse the water.
And that’s it! It is so easy.
In the 20th century, some schmuck invented a tea bag. Apparently, Thomas Sullivan wasn’t considering health implications when he created it. He made a small muslin bag containing tea leaves and immersed it in the water. I have to give him credit for ingenuity, but he probably didn’t know that a lot of the flavor and nutrients are compressed, squashed, and trapped inside the tea bag.
(Yes, your tea leaves like going commando.)
Nonetheless, the tea bag was quickly marketed and increased in popularity.
With the recent boom of real tea leaves, the tea infuser is making a ridiculously unforeseen comeback.
So if you are a tea drinker, you need to give a real tea infuser a try. You won’t regret it!
It’s a great life!
This is my favorite website for advice related to cooking as well as cookware and other kitchen essentials. And recipes galore, too!
Originally posted 2010-10-03 12:23:36.