The Tea Bag Story
Tea is an ancient art form, handled with care and kindness it bring so much joy into one's life. For over 5,000 years, when tea was accidentally discovered by a Chinese Emperor, when tea leaves blew into his pot of boiling water there has been no return, and ever since then tea has been part of history. All tea comes from an evergreen plant known as Camellia sinensis, which thrives in highland tropics and sub-tropic regions. There are hundreds of varietals of the tea plant grown with four main types: China, Assam, Cambodia, and sub-varietals of China and Assam types.
Most tea or Camelia sinesis plants that are harvested are kept at an ergonomically sound level of about 3-4 feet in height. There are over 2500 unique varieties of tea. Like wine, tea comes from one bush, and depending on the region, weather conditions, soil, and particular crafting of farmer and artisan the tea will deliver varying finished results with a desired category fitting into one of five major categories: White, Green, Oolong, Black, and Pu-erh Tea. While herbal select botanicals and/or fruit infusions are referred to as tisanes.
The brewing of tea is also something, which when done correctly, will heighten your senses and increase your tasting experience. First, begin by filling your kettle with purified water, and bring to the boil. Proceed to placing a recommended amount of loose leaf tea into your choice of teaware. For a stronger tasting tea, simply add more tea to the infusion. Then, pour hot water over the tea leaves, ensure it is not boiling, and leave to infuse for recommended or preferred time. Once you have waited for the tea to infuse, pour into dishware and allow your tastebuds to go on an adventure. Also note that most teas can be re-steeped multiple times. Below is a basic guide on steep times.
|Tea||Water Temperature||Steep Time|
|Green Tea||160 degrees F||1 - 3 minutes|
|White Tea||180 degrees F||4 - 8 minutes|
|Oolong Tea||190 degrees F||1 - 8 minutes|
|Black Tea||Rolling Boil||3 - 5 minutes|
|Herbal (tisanes)||Rolling Boil||5 - 8 minutes|
Two other important factors in the art of tea, is storage and water. It is important to store tea away from heat, moisture, and exposure to light. Store your tea in airtight containers to ensure long life which should minimize exposure to air and humidity contact. Fine teas are fragile and can easily be changed due to neighbouring strong spices and aromas. Storing of tea is about flavour control and ensuring value long after production. It is of most importance that the water used is fresh cold water, preferably spring or filtered water. It is best to avoid reheating the same water to ensure the water is fresh. By experimenting with different types of water, you will find that the taste of the tea is altered in accordance to the water used, so play around and find one that suits your needs.
Tea style and evolution began with tea being compressed into brick-like, where hot water needed to be added to dilute it, and hence consume. However in 1301 a decree was issued that selling of loose leaf tea was permitted. As a result, the production of loose leaf tea increased rapidly and continues to grow. The next discovery after establishing loose leaf tea was centuries later by a man named Thomas Sullivan who accidentally invented the tea bag. The blooming tea followed, which was invented in 1986 by Mr. Fangsheng Wang from China.
As accidentally as tea was firstly discovered, was the origin of the tea bag. Thomas Sullivan, a New York tea importer, mistakenly invented tea bags in 1908 when he sent the loose leaves to clients in small silk bags to cut costs. In turn, they steeped the entire bag to make their brew. As a result the tea bag came to be, when Mr. Sullivan realised that his clients were more interested in the tea bag idea, rather than the contents within. Evidently loose leaf tea is far more superior to the tea bag version as it does not contain traces of dust and fannings, however for a consumer who is looking for a quick, tasty cup of tea; tea-filled bags are an easy, convenient and portable choice. They can be found in countless varieties and are easily accessed from the supermarket. Upon purchase ensure the teabags are made from silk, this guarantees a high quality product.
The tea bag compromises of two main things; processed tea leaves and filter paper bags. The filter paper is mainly made using abaca, the leafstalk of Philippine bananas also known as Manila hemp. The manufacturing process begins by firstly preparing the tea to go into the bags and then producing the filter bags. This is done by, as according to ENotes, large rolls of filter paper bring fed over the top and underneath the doser wheel. As each chamber arrives at the bottom of the doser wheel, it releases the tea onto the bottom paper layer of paper as it moves along a conveyer belt. The top layer of paper is lowered onto the lower layer so that each measure of tea is sandwiched between the two layers. A conveyer belt moves the three components to a heat-sealing drum fitted with an indentation pattern. The drum quickly seals the paper along the indentation lines. The timing of this process is closely monitored because too much heat would adversely affect the tea. The sealed paper continues along a conveyer belt until it reaches a perforation blade that is calibrated to cut the paper into precise squares. After a string and tag are stapled to the bag, they are dropped into pre-printed boxes.
Even more exciting is the revolutionary new pyramid tea bag, which is changing the way people drink tea. The silk bags have been growing in popularity since its introduction to the marketplace in the United States. The advantage that pyramid tea bags have over conventional ones is that they are made from nylon strands woven into net-like mesh, creating larger holes which allow for the water to come in contact with more of the teas surface area, thus releasing more essential oils and character into the cup. The triangular structure gives the tea more movement, hence more flavour is released. This freedom of motion makes a pyramid bag functionally the same as a larger cup or loose leaf infuser, making the high-quality flavour of loose leaf tea conveniently available in a pouch that anyone can brew.
In celebration of the tea bag, a British jeweller, created the world's most expensive tea bag for the 75th birthday celebrations. The tea bag was studded with 280 diamonds and carried a value of $11,340. The tea bag was donated to a charity auction for Manchester Children' Hospital in England.
Blooming tea is a flower tea made using complex technology from specially selected leaves. It is also very difficult to harvest as there are only 2-3 weeks each year it can be picked. When they are picked the leaves are tied together around fresh flower blossom, before being carefully rolled into a tight ball and undergo gentle steaming. This newly formed ball then dries giving it a delicate texture and appearance and when immersed in hot water it truly is an art form to see the ball evolve into a magical blooming flower.
There are numerous types of tea out on the market however; here is a summary of the main and most popular ones to help you choose the right one. Specialty teas refer to high quality crafted tea which is handpicked and processed by artisans on estates of gardens that harvested the pant. Green Teas are roasted and/or steamed shortly after the leaves have been plucked to stop the oxidation process and preserve the colour of the leaves. There are thousands of different types of green teas. The taste of each particular cup of tea will depend on the tea's origin, time of harvest and method of processing. Green teas contain many active, healthy constituents and powerful antioxidants. Black tea is simply green tea leaves that have been through the oxidation process. White teas are handpicked in early spring. White tea is the least processed of all tea types and only semi-oxidized giving them subtle, refreshing, complex and sweet liquors. Oolong teas can vary in oxidation, and are the most difficult to process.
Tea is a wonderful part of a natural daily routine and balanced diet.
With so many options on the market, why choose Tea Blossoms? Tea Blossoms combines the very best from tea around the world, to formulate a range that is suitable and easily accessible for everyone. We pride ourselves on our commitment and dedication to high quality produce, and are constantly searching for way in which to improve. We have incorporated the most popular ideas in tea drinking worldwide such as the blooming tea, and the pyramid silk bags, and added our own flavour, by mixing tastes to appeal to our wide customer base.
We not only offer high quality products but also advice on how to maximise your tea drinking experience and our beautiful range of tea ware means you don't have to spend your time shopping around. Using only the highest quality leaves, Tea Blossoms combines everything you need to create a unique, invigorating and satisfying tea party for you and your guests.