Ah, the good old cup of tea – it is used for so much, from comforting after a heartbreak, to celebrating milestones. But, did you know why should you not
squeeze a tea bag?
It turns out most of us have been doing this wrong our whole lives! Read on, to find out why you shouldn’t do this, and what you can do instead.
Why Should You Not Squeeze A Tea Bag?
We all do it – you’re in a rush, you want a cup of tea, and you want it to actually taste like tea, so you hurriedly squeeze the bag with the back of a spoon.
This is all well and good, and if you have been doing it forever then you likely won’t notice anything untoward about your cuppa.
But… Squeezing the bag actually releases more of the tannin, which can make the finished result more bitter than it otherwise would have been.
You also run the risk of breaking the bag, and ending up with a cup swimming with tea leaves – not very appetising, as we all know!
It is very hard to be patient enough to allow the tea to gently steep by itself, allowing all the flavours to seep into the cup. In the old days, when everyone used a teapot, this was not a problem!
These days, the vast majority of us use tea bags for the ease and convenience of them. However, you can still enjoy the authentic taste of a perfectly brewed cuppa – especially if you don’t squeeze the bag.
Here’s an interesting article all about the ins and out of tea bags.
Should You Mash Tea Bags?
Mashing tea bags to release the flavour is a very common thing – in fact, it’s something that I am constantly guilty of!
However, mashing too vigorously may well cause you problems with your cup of tea, and you run the risk of damaging the bag and spilling tea leaves into your cup.
Most tea bags contain a certain amount of very small particles, formed when the dried tea leaves rub against each other.
If you mash your bag against the side of the cup, more of these fine particles can slip out, leaving you with that telltale brown dust at the bottom of your cup.
Interestingly, tea bags actually came about accidentally! Tea used to be sewn into small bags to help transport it, when a tea merchant in Boston realised that these little bags are actually perfect for brewing a small amount of tea.
The first bags were made of silk, but these days perforated paper is used (which is a good thing, or tea bags would be much more expensive!)
People like teabags as they are less fiddly than loose leaf tea, they create less mess, and they are certainly a more convenient way of making a brew.
Now that you know to treat it with care, you can enjoy the perfectly brewed cup of tea to enjoy at any time of the day or night.
Does Bobbing The Tea Bag Help?
The tea needs to have a little time to release all its flavours into the water, and as such, a little gentle bobbing might speed up the process.
This is actually not a bad way to make tea! Gently agitating the bag can help the tea flavours to be released from the bag.
Moving the hot water around the bag will also help to release those lovely tea flavours, as it penetrates into the bag and helps to steep the leaves inside.
Bobbing the tea bag around the cup also gives you something to do whilst you wait for the required time to produce a really good cup of tea!
You don’t actually have to do anything to your tea bags – the swirling hot water will release the flavours perfectly – but it’s nice to have something to do while you wait.
This video takes you through the steps to make a perfect cup of tea, without bobbing or mashing (you don’t have to use green tea!):
Can I Use Same Tea Bag Twice?
If you are short on tea bags, or you don’t like it too strong, reusing the bags is actually a very good idea.
The amount of tea still contained in one bag after being used in one cup is more than you would think – remember making tea in a pot, with one bag for two people?
Using the same bag twice can also be a bit of a money saver – you can get at least two cups of tea from one bag, meaning that you don’t have to buy as many.
Another handy tip is that the caffeine is roughly halved if you make two cups – this is great for those who love tea but are trying to cut down, or for pregnant women trying to consume less caffeine.
Do bear in mind that the second use of a tea bag will result in a much weaker final result, and you will almost certainly need to add less milk.
Does Squeezing Tea Bags Make It Stronger?
As a general rule, the longer you steep your tea bag in the cup or the pot, the stronger the finished brew will be.
However, this doesn’t mean squeezing out every last drop of colour and flavour in the bag!
Squeezing the tea bag can release higher amounts of tannic acid, which can actually make the whole cuppa taste nasty and bitter.
Have you ever had a senior moment, gone off and forgotten about the bag in the cup, then gone back to drink it to find that it has a strong, unpleasant flavour?
This happens when too much tannin has got into the water, and the result is an overly strong, bitter cup of tea. Not what you are looking for to dunk your biscuits in!
If you want a stronger brew, leave the tea bag to steep in the cup or pot for longer – between 3 and 5 minutes is generally considered the optimum amount of time.
If you like a weaker cup of tea, simply lift the bag out sooner. So, go and make your favourite cup of tea, now that you have a better idea of how to do it!
As we all know, there really is nothing like a good cuppa. And once you know how to make it really well, you’ll be amazed that you ever did it any other way.
Now you have a lot of information on the best way to make tea, go off and make yourself a cup – and remember to not squeeze the bag!