The Ladies' Tea Guild

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Disposable tea filter bags: lightweight, convenient, and so useful for tea-drinkers!

Japanese tea filter bags.
If you're going to get into drinking loose tea, or would like to carry tea with you when you go to restaurants (to avoid using the random stale tea they usually serve), it would be a good idea to have some disposable tea filter bags to prepare your tea. Several places in San Jose carry them. These filter bags are modeled on paper coffee filters, and on those cheesecloth sacks that we use to contain whole herbs and spices when infusing flavor into soups and other liquids. They are made in a few different designs, and are meant to be used and thrown away, although the sturdier kind can be hand-washed and re-used in a pinch.

One style is white, made of a kind of sheer fabric, and designed like those clear plastic sandwich bags with the fold-over tops. They hold enough loose tea for a 6-cup pot (about 1 to 2 tablespoons of tea leaves) and are sturdy enough to be hand-washed (or emptied, rinsed and soaked in boiling water) and re-used once. This style is an imported Japanese product. The other, more common, style is made of white or tan paper, like paper coffee filters, formed like a tube, closed at one end, with a long tab at the open end, which is meant to hang over the rim of your mug to keep the bag from turning upside down or sinking to the bottom of the cup. They hold about a tablespoon of loose tea, and are not strong enough to be re-used. This kind of filter bag is sold in San Jose under two primary brands: T-sacs, and Finum.


Finum brand tea filters.
Tea filter bags are sold at the many Asian markets in the San Jose area; the two grocery stores in Japantown (one on Empire between 5th and 6th Streets, and the other at 6th and Jackson) almost always have the Japanese mesh fabric kind, and often in more than one size. Certain San Jose shops sell tea accessories as well as tea and tea-based beverages; these include Lupicia and Teavana at Westfield Mall, and various Peet's Coffee & Tea locations. The tea and coffee shops tend to sell the T-sac style filter bags, along with the hinged metal tea balls and the washable fabric tea "socks". The Japanese fold-over tea filter bags are especially useful because they enclose the tea leaves and are less likely to let any of them escape if the bag turns upside down in your cup! You can also put them in your water bottle and turn your drinking water into cold-brew tea.

1 comment:

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)