What is the difference between Tea Plays Bonbons and typical tea bags?
Whole-leaf tea bonbons in comparison with tea bags of fannings and dust: it is high time that we cared more about what we're actually drinking.
I like to break open any tea bag I order and check what tea it contains. Most of the time, I can't really tell. Good ones might have chopped leaves of approximately 1mm length. Common ones will contain fannings or tea dust with or without some natual dried flowers and fruits. Often, I see only blends of artificially fragranced ingredients, without any trace of tea! I end up checking the packaging to confirm that yes, it says I'm drinking tea.>
Most tea bags contain chopped leaves of approximately 1mm length, from multiple origins. This size maximizes the contact surface of each leaf, allowing tea to infuse faster from fewer leaves and increasing profitability. During the chopping process, tea leaves get oxidized, and this means the tea generates bitterness when in contact with water. This is the reason tea bags can only be immersed once and for less than 5 minutes. There is a saying in China:
"Into the water, a leaf falls. With taste and life, tea was born."
Just as carrots and eggplants are not grown from the supermarket shelves, tea bags are not the way tea is natually supposed to be savored.
Lovers of traditional Chinese teas, on the other hand, look to the origin and picking time of a tea, just like wine. Prices of a dragon-well green tea can range from over 2000 US$ per kilogram to 20 US$ per kilogram, depending onwhether it comes from Longjing village. Wether the tea picking time falls before or after the spring rainy season also matters. And trust me, it does taste different even if you are not an expert.
After all the tea bags I've had all these years across many countries, I see a huge value in the convenience. I will still put my support behind the Chinese attitude of natual whole-leaf teas – no chopping, no artificial flavoring!
After all, we are what we eat and drink.