Drink tea long enough, and you’ll eventually come across one or two advertisements claiming their product to be the “authentic kind.” Accompanying the advertisement will be pictures of an assortment of tea leaves, all in colors and shapes you’re wholly unfamiliar with since you’ve only ever had the black processed dust kind.
But surely, you think, this authentic tea claim is merely a marketing ploy to get you to buy tea at a more expensive rate. After all, tea is still tea, and your regular kind is just as good as whatever they’re offering, right?
Well, not exactly.
Why tea dust and fannings just aren’t going to cut it
When it comes to how much flavor you get from every gram, low tea grades such as dust and fannings are at a great disadvantage against tea in its authentic whole-leaf form. This is because low grades lose a lot of their essential oils (the stuff that essentially carries the aroma and flavor, pun intended) through evaporation thanks to their larger surface area, which is ironically what helps low grades brew faster (leading to their rise in popularity when introduced).
Whole tea leaves, on the other hand, keep almost all of their moisture and essential oils inside them and so release a lot more flavor when brewed, giving you a stronger and more flavorful cup of tea.
A world of flavor to be explored
Another drawback of low-grade tea is that it is usually available in only one or two standard blends which are created using a fixed proportion of different tea leaves. While this does give you a consistent flavor every time, you choose the same brand, the experimentation, and myriad of flavors authentic tea of different types can offer you is lost.
Each tea brewed on its tastes different, and a mixture of different types will lead to the discovery of a whole new flavor, and for foodies always on the lookout for something new and delicious, this is an opportunity too good to pass up.
Convinced, right? But before you jump in…
You need to remember that switching to authentic tea is something that needs to be taken slow. Switching to a more potent blend demands you start with low concentrations and starting with the blends you’re already quite familiar with, lest you risk letting the strong flavor overwhelm you.
However, as long as you follow your tastes and brew it right, authentic tea is promised to be quite an experience.