Tea Bags – To Squeeze Or Not to Squeeze – That is the Question!
Recently, I stopped for breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants. As I was waiting for my meal to arrive, an elderly couple caught my attention. They too were waiting for their food to be served. He was reading the morning paper and enjoying a pot of coffee. She was dunking a tea bag up and down in her cup. When she was done, she wrapped the tea bag around a spoon and to my utter dismay, squeezed every last drop of liquid out of it. As I sat watching her, I wondered how many people have really experienced a great cup of tea?
I could write pages about how this woman took a so-so cup of tea and turned it into a bitter brew. The discussion could include the quality of tea bags, the way the they are stored, the water temperature that her cup of tea was made with, or even why you should never dunk your tea bag when brewing a cup of tea, but I want to focus on what happened when she wrung it dry.
It is so very tempting to squeeze a tea bag. First of all, who wants it leaking all over the place? Where do you put a drippy tea bag after you are done with it? Plus, with the economy today, should we not squeeze every last drop out instead of wasting it? Makes sense, but can being neat and frugal ruin a cup of tea?
When you squeeze out that last bit of liquid from your tea packet you release tannins and oils that make the tea bitter. Also, if you squeeze too hard, you run the risk of breaking the bag and releasing all of the fannings into your drink.
The best way to handle that sopping wet tea bag is to gently press the excess liquid and then discard it in a slightly soggy state. This way you will end up with a less bitter liquid and a more drinkable cup of tea.
Now, if you insist on squeezing tea bags I have good news for you. Start drinking herbal teas and squeeze away. Herbal teas contain bits of herbs, flowers, dried fruits, and other assorted plant material so actually squeezing an herbal tea packet releases the potency of its contents.