Tea is the most popular beverage in the world after water. Tea is an important tonic herb used by hundreds of millions of people around the world every day. It has been used for at least 4,000 years for its many health benefits, its delicious flavor and its mood elevating effects. In the Far East, tea is considered to be a health elixir, and significant amounts of modern research now support the widely held notion that drinking tea is linked to good health and longevity. Tea was not known or thought of as a healthy beverage in the West until recently, and was used primarily because of its uplifting effect on the mind. However, its use is growing dramatically because of an avalanche of new studies that support its many health benefits.
Why are premium loose leaf teas superior to teas in commercial tea bags? Most teas are sold in various grades in their original leaf form. After going through the necessary processing steps, the tea leaves are sifted through progressively smaller mesh sieves to be sorted by size. Generally, the best teas are chosen from the largest leaves, and lower grades of tea continue down in size. The remaining small and broken leaves, and leaves with bruises from the processing, are then used to make commercial tea bags. Finely cut leaves lose their aromatic oils more easily than whole leaves due to their increased surface area. They also oxidize more easily for the same reason. These are all reasons why teas in commercial tea bags are not considered premium teas.
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