I am old enough to remember the days before teabags. I remember my mum having a plastic strainer in her sink to catch the leaves when she emptied the tea-pot and how she moaned about the mess when someone didn't use it! The sink became blocked quite frequently as with a large family the kettle was rarely off the boil. This was also the time when they were allowed to use chimps, having tea parties , to advertise tea and as children we loved them.
The first teabags were therefore viewed with favour as they stopped all the mess. Most people didn't realise that the quality of the leaves was mostly inferior, after all there were only a few varieties of tea available albeit in various makes. It also enabled a single cup of tea to be made more easily by dunking a teabag, a process which I use to this day. My mum was a little more frugal using a pot with maybe 3 bags among the family.
My mother-in-law and her sister used tea leaves throughout their lifetime and swore that it was a 'proper' cup of tea. They were both adept at the ritual of warming the pot first and to them it was an art. However it was easy to 'stew' the tea by letting it sit too long on a hot stove when it became tart and undrinkable.
More recently with such a wide variety of teas available the trend appears to be coming back to the leaf tea. There is black, green tea, grey tea and white tea, Then there are all the flavours like Camomile, Goji Berry, Ginseng, etc.. There are little stainless steel strainers which hold a teaspoon of leaves and can be dangled in the cup. However, some of these varieties are also available in teabags.
Here at Baskets Galore we pride ourselves on having a large selection of tea - both leaves and bags! Our cute little tins of SD Bell's tea leaves are from a company which has been producing tea for over a hundred years. Traditional black tea tends to be popular in our Christmas Hampers & although we thought about (perhaps) doing any with the loose leaves, we have kept it in some for the traditionalists amongst us!
For those who prefer teabags we also have breakfast style tea from Kenya. Our Qi Organic Tea also comes in teabags in a choice of Earl Grey, Digestif Oolang Tea,Pomegranate and Blueberry, Green Tea Plus and Lemon & Ginger Green Tea - these help to restore the balance and harmony of our bodies. All our tea variaties can be seen listed individually on our "Create Your Own" site here.
The debate goes on but one thing is certain, nothing promotes a feeling of well-being like having a cup of tea - no matter what you use, after all it's a pleasure we can all enjoy either alone or for a large social occasion. So go on now, put the kettle on!