Ketchup on Steak?
Whole leaf tea, also referred to as long leaf or full leaf tea, is made from traditional orthodox methods resulting in intact, loose leaf speciality tea. Due to the fact that the leaves are intact, they retain their flavour compounds, such as tannins and essential oils, that give tea its flavour.
When tea leaves are crushed and torn with machines with the CTC (crush, tear and curl) method, the flavour compounds dry out very quickly and are not as flavourful and actually bitter vs. their long leaf counterparts.
As tea drinkers begin to explore whole leaf tea they will be able to identify the flavours that come from the cultivation methods along with how the tea is processed. These flavours include floral, fruity, sweet, nutty, earthy and vegetal hints. To be able to truly experience these flavours, whole leaf tea should not be consumed with milk, sugar or other flavourings.
As a consumer of bagged tea for decades, it took some getting used to eliminating milk and sugar from my tea routine. That said, weaning off milk and sugar from whole leaf tea is much easier due to the great tasting natural flavours vs. bagged tea which contains CTC processed tea that loses a lot of the flavour during processing as mentioned above. A good metaphor would be comparing a hot dog to steak (sorry vegans!). We pour ketchup, mustard, relish and other condiments to cover up the taste of a hot dog but we wouldn't slather condiments or sauces on a high quality steak.
It took me about a month to wean off sugar and I now enjoy all the natural flavours of whole leaf tea. I am lactose intolerant so milk was never in the picture. Since I drink about 3 cups of tea a day, I was able to remove 6-teaspoons of sugar from my diet on a daily basis which adds to the already inherent healthy benefits of tea. Whole leaf tea is more expensive than grocery store bagged tea but at up to a dollar a cup, it's definitely worth the taste and health benefits. Whole leaf tea can also be steeped 2-3 times which helps bring down the cost.
I highly recommend... actually urge you to try orthodox loose leaf teas if you haven't already. Once you try whole leaf teas, it will be difficult to go back to bagged tea. You can blame me for spending more on tea but eventually you'll come around and thank me. :)
Tea made simple... TeaSimple!