Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Frugal Luxuries: Loose Leaf Tea

I love loose leaf tea. It’s generally much more fragrant and full-bodied than teabags. It always makes me feel a bit special that I gave myself the treat of a great cup of tea. It takes a little bit more time, but not a lot if you have the right tools. And it’s less expensive than good quality teabags.

Here’s the breakdown:
Pricing for both are based on what’s available at my local stores.

I use ½ teaspoon of black, loose leaf tea per 12 oz mug of hot water.
$12 for 1 pound, or 32 tablespoons, or 96 teaspoons, or 192 ½-teaspoons
$12 for 192 servings
I got my measurement conversions from here


$12 will buy approximately 4 boxes of decent tea with 20 teabags per box. That’s $12 for 80 servings.

I’d say that’s a big difference!

Now, the tools: (links are to show an example of the item, not to encourage sales of that particular item)

If you drink only a cup or so a day, a strainer basket is your best choice. I got mine at a kitchen store for $1.99, though you don’t need to spend more than $5. It sits in the top of your mug, you put your tea leaves in it, and then you pour your hot water over the leaves. When the tea has steeped you just take the basket out and it takes all of the tea leaves with it. Or at least the vast majority, if you have a finely ground tea there will be some residue.

There’s also the infuser ball on a chain or with a handle (aka spoon) for single servings. I never liked them as much, they’re a pain to clean out compared to the basket. But if you’re likely to spill the contents of the basket all over, you might like that they’re more contained.

For those of you (like myself) that drink a lot of tea, the best solution I’ve found is a French press. For my 1-liter press I put in two teaspoons of tea and fill it up with hot water from the kettle. If you’ve never used a French press before, it’s simple. There are two parts – the beaker and the top/plunger. Remove the top/plunger, put tea and hot water in the beaker, replace the top/plunger with the plunger pulled up to the top, let the tea steep, and when it’s done steeping press the plunger down and pour. Viola!

I make myself tea every morning. I set the pot to boil while I make my lunch, steep the tea while I feed the pets, and pour the prepped tea into my travel jug. I get jealous looks from my coworkers when they smell that Earl Grey every morning.


~ Regan said...

I really dont drink a lot of tea.... I think Ive just developed a taste for coffee, and since thats also my hubby's go-to warm drink, I have just never really given tea much of a chance. I never thought of using a french press for it though! (DUH!)

~ Regan said...

Oh, AND.....

I LOVE your kitchen canisters. Are you kidding me?? They are so cute. I love glassware... Never goes 'out', always looks great. Love it. :)

Jessie said...

I love that I can put the French press away, a coffee maker is always so ugly on the counter. Just get coarsly ground, otherwise it'll get through the filter.

And, thank you. I love the canisters too! :)

Jenny said...

We drink a lot of tea at our house. My dh really likes the loose tea too & had been making it in an old coffee press. Then I found this & bought it for him for Christmas.

He loves it & it does a better job than the press. Also, the tea doesn't get left in the water to steep too long.

This is my first visit to your blog. I followed a link from 'A day in the Life....'