Author Archives: Adam Rosenthal

squeeze tea bag

Should You Squeeze Tea Bags? – The Debate Is Over

Should You Squeeze Tea Bags? – The Debate Is Over

One of the most common questions that we hear at Finest English Tea is: “Should you squeeze your tea bags before you drink?” And while there are many pools of thought in regards to this question, most tea aficionados would agree that you shouldn’t squeeze your tea bags after it has steeped.

Contrary to popular belief, The logic behind the reasoning of not squeezing your tea bags is actually much more scientific than it simply being a matter of preference.

Why You Shouldn’t Squeeze Tea Bags

Tea leaves contains a chemical known as polyphenols, a micronutrient found in a many fruits, vegetables and plants. Because of the high levels of tannic acid in tea, the levels of polyphenols associated with tea are very high. And while the benefits of the micronutrients in polyphenols include it being an anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic, there is one major negative associated with these elevated levels of tannins:


The liquid that remains trapped inside the tea bag has even higher instances of tannic acid than what is able to steep out of the bag on it’s own. By squeezing the tea bag, you inadvertently release these tannic acids into your tea and in turn create a far more bitter, sour and acidic cup of tea.

In addition to this, when you squeeze your tea bag, you run the risk of it splitting the bag and letting some of the loose leaves into your tea. Overall this makes for a more cloudy tea and of course a much less enjoyable cup of tea.

So the next time you think about squeezing your tea bag, remember the ill effects associated with doing so and leave it be. You will in turn have a much more balanced tea and overall a more enjoyable experience drinking it.

Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags

Loose Leaf Tea Vs. Tea Bags

Loose Leaf Tea Vs. Tea Bags

At Finest English Tea, we offer a multitude of tea varieties in both loose leaf teas and tea bags. However, many tea drinkers are unsure of which form to choose based on their teaware, lifestyle and overall preferences that they have.

While the difference between loose leaf tea vs tea bags are numerous, it is really quite simple to determine which will work best for you in any given situation. And while there are pro’s and cons to both types, the tea type that you should choose is really based on your own personal preference and the manner in which you like to prepare your tea.

The Case For Tea Bags

Tea bags are an obvious choice for tea drinkers who are looking for ease of use, convenience and quickness when they are preparing their tea. All one needs to enjoy tea from a bag is simply a cup or mug, hot water and a tea bag of your choice. This makes tea bags the optimal choice for tea drinkers on the go because it’s a quick, easy and delicious way to enjoy your tea.

However what tea bags make up for in convenience, they somewhat lose out to loose leaf in terms of quality.

The Case For Loose Leaf Tea

Loose leaf tea may be more involved in terms of it’s preparation, however the flavors that you get from loose leaf tea are far more bold than that of tea bags. While it isn’t necessarily an everyday ritual for busy individuals who are on the go, loose leaf tea has a greater aroma, flavor and more antioxidants making it the better choice for those looking to get the most out of their cup of tea.

Tea needs space to expand during the brew process in order to fully release the flavor components in the leaves. Inside of the tea bag, there is simply not enough room for the tea’s expansion, so you are left with tea leaves that are not fully steeped. In addition to this, the material of the tea bag is not as permeable as loose leaf tea devices meaning less water can penetrate the leaves and release their full flavors.

Should I Choose Loose Leaf or Tea Bags?

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong in terms of the type of tea that you choose to buy, prepare and drink. At the end of the day, whether you choose loose leaf tea vs tea bags is entirely up to your preference, lifestyle and the given situation. The flavors, aromas and health benefits will still be there whether it’s loose leaf or tea bags.

At Finest English Tea we appreciate both methods for tea preparation and provide a wide selection of teas in both bags and loose leaf forms.

If you have any further questions regarding tea bags vs loose leaf tea or need help finding the right variety for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly.

English tea in a small cup

How To Make English Tea

How To Make English Tea

While there are many ways to enjoy a cup of tea around the world, perhaps none is more famous than a proper cup of English tea. It’s no secret that the British love their tea and throughout both history and in recent years, tea has played a large role in the British culture as well as their everyday life.

Despite their reputation as tea drinkers, the way in which you make English tea is far from common knowledge for the average tea drinker. At Finest English Tea, we respect the tradition of English tea and have outlined the steps for how to make a proper “cuppa” English Tea for yourself at home.

1. Choose Your English Tea 

The first and arguably most important step in making English tea is to choose the right type of tea to brew. In general, British tea is typically made from black tea leaves which is often simply referred to as “black tea.”

Keep in mind that English tea is far stronger than most American varieties containing more bitterness and caffeine. Some of the more classic varieties include Earl Grey and Breakfast Tea. You will also need to determine whether you will use loose leaf or tea bags as this will also determine the teaware required to make English tea.

Some of the teas we recommend are:

Earl Grey

Breakfast Blend

Traditional 100’s

2. Boil Water

Be sure to always use fresh water in your kettle for each individual tea steeping. The quality of water you use will have an impact on the overall taste of your tea so you don’t want to use tea that was simply left in the kettle.

Boil the water to at least 200 degrees F in your electric kettle, stovetop kettle, pot or microwave if you’re in a pinch.

3. Prepare Your Tea and Teaware

While you wait for your water to come to a boil, it’s time to begin preparing your tea and your teaware.

If you’re using loose leaf tea, the rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of tea per cup in addition to one extra teaspoon for the pot itself. So if you have a 3 cup teapot, you would use 4 teaspoons of high quality tea in your brew. Loose leaf tea is also often steeped from within a diffuser to maintain quality.

More commonly however, teabags and mugs are used when making everyday English tea rather than cups and saucers like many would assume. In this instance, you would use one teabag per mug.

Or, if you’re hosting a larger group, a teapot is the preferred method in which the tea ratio would be 1 teabag per person.

4. Pour The Water

Once your water has reached the boiling point, remove the water from the heat and prepare to pour it into your receptacle. It is imperative that your water is boiling in order to fully release the flavors of the tea.

Slowly pour the water and when you teaware is nearly full, give the tea a good stir to infuse all of the tea leaves in the boiling water.

5. Wait

A good cup of tea requires time for the flavor to fully develop. Typically a minute or two is all it takes for a cup of tea, while a pot requires at least 3-5 minutes for the steeping process to finish. 

6. Remove The Teabag

Next remove the teabag from your cup or teapot and throw it away. Used tea is also a great addition to your compost bin. Remember to never squeeze the tea bag as this can release added bitterness and cause unwanted flavors to enter your tea.

7. Add Milk or Sugar

Because of the strength and bitterness of English Tea, milk or sugar are commonly used to dilute and enhance the tea’s overall flavor.

The key to adding the right amount of milk to your tea is hidden in the color. The perfect cup will have a dark brown-orange hue not dissimilar to that of an American coffee. Once stirred, the tea should be nearing the perfect temperature to drink.

8. Optional Step: Grab a Biscuit or Cake

Another staple of English tea has nothing to do with tea at all. Biscuits, cakes, crumpets and other pastries are often served alongside tea in England especially when enjoying the tea with the company of friends or family.

9. Enjoy

At this point there is only one step left to complete your lesson in the perfect cup of English tea — Sip and Enjoy!

If you have any other questions about how to make English Tea, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Afternoon Tea Vs High Tea

High Tea Vs. Afternoon Tea

What’s The Difference Between High Tea And Afternoon Tea?

If you’re a regular tea drinker, chances are you might have heard a reference to the terms “afternoon tea” and “high tea.” More often than not, the phrases are used interchangeably because many people mistakenly believe that there’s no difference between the two. However, though both tea traditions are found in British history, the differences between the teas lies in their origins within the culture itself.

What is an Afternoon Tea?

Afternoon tea is a tradition in British culture of sitting down for a cup of tea along with scones, sandwiches or cakes. Popularized in the 19th century, afternoon tea is generally served around 4p.m., and was not intended to replace dinner but instead fill in the gap between lunch and dinner. Afternoon tea was most commonly enjoyed by royalty along with the wealthy upper class Brits.

Due to changes in the work/life balance many people are no longer afforded enough time to sit down, relax, and sip tea while eating cakes late in the afternoon, and thus the ritual of afternoon tea has become more of a luxury for modern Brits rather than a necessity.

If you find yourself in London, an excellent place for an authentic experience of delicious afternoon tea is at the Ritz in London. In addition to this, Yorkshire boasts a variety of tea rooms that have barely changed since they opened in 1919.

What is a High Tea?

While the history of afternoon tea was the preserve of the wealthy in the 19th century, for lower class workers in an industrialized Britain, tea had to come after work. During that hour, tea was served with heavier dishes, such as bread, potatoes, and vegetables. Workers needed substantial meals after work, followed by a strong pot of hot tea.

Today, evening meals in working households are sometimes called “tea,” but many households now refer to an evening meal as supper or dinner. The addition of the word “high” to “high tea” differentiates between the afternoon tea as served on low, comfortable chairs or relaxing in a garden, and the high tea is served at a table and seated on high back chairs.

Whether afternoon tea or high tea, confusion often arises as to what exactly each entail. At Finest English Tea, we have a diverse selection of teas for any tea party or gathering of yours. Give us a call at 408.444-1013 today!

health benefits of tea

The Health Benefits of Tea

The Health Benefits of Tea

No matter what the season, tea is always be a tasty choice of beverage. But its benefits go beyond taste and refreshment. The rich taste and fullness of each cup of tea is high in nutrients, antioxidants, and offers a number of additional health benefits.

Here are the top health benefits of tea presented by Finest English Tea:

1. Antioxidants

Almost every tea contains natural antioxidants found in the plants. While black tea is lower in catechins and polyphenols, it’s naturally high in antioxidants. Antioxidants can help protect your body from kidney and liver damage, digestive health problems, and environment toxins. Antioxidants can also keep you feeling young and healthy.

2. Lower Risk of Heart Attacks

Because of tea’s high antioxidant levels, scientists discovered that tea can also lower the risk of heart attacks. When black tea is consumed and part of a normal diet, your health and wellness can improve. Drinking green tea is also associated with lower total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, and higher HDL (“good” cholesterol levels).

3. Tea and Caffeine

The caffeine content of tea is significantly lower than coffee and healthier for you. Although the caffeine content varies widely, typical tea levels are less than half that of coffee, ranging from 20 to 90 milligrams per 8 fluid ounces (compared to 50 to 120 milligrams in coffee).

4. Increase Wellbeing

Studies have shown that black and green tea’s caffeine content may provide increased stimulation, hydration, and mental perk when consumed in small amounts. Green tea, for instance, can increase your energy levels while providing you more beneficial properties than vitamins C and E.

5. Tea is Calorie-Free

A cup of tea contains zero to very few calories. Processed, artificially-sweetened tea beverages are loaded with extra calories and unnecessary sugars. Adding lemon or honey to tea is fine, however, the addition of cream, sugar, whipped cream, and other flavorings can turn tea from a healthful beverage to a not-so-healthful one.

6. Boost Immune System

Herbal teas, in particular, can help boost your immune system and sooth your digestive system. Hot tea can help ease sore throats and kill bad bacteria when sick. Ginger teas can help cure nausea or stomach pain, as well. Peppermint tea, in particular, is loaded with antioxidants and can decrease your chances of experiencing cold symptoms and the flu. The health benefits of tea are endless!

At Finest English Tea, we have a variety of teas available for you. Experience the many health benefits of tea with one of our unique tea varieties in our shop.

Teas From Around the World

Teas From Around the World

Teas From Around the World

Though there is little definitive evidence to suggest where exactly tea was first discovered, most historians believe that it was first consumed accidentally by an ancient Chinese Emperor. And, while the origins of tea may begin in ancient China, the evolution of the beverage and how it is consumed has varied greatly from country to country over time.


Fast forward to today and tea flavors, preparation and drinking methods differ dramatically depending on where you are in the world. From green tea in Japan to ice tea in the U.S., it is easy to see that tea can accommodate many different cultures or lifestyles.


Below we take a look at some of the various teas and preparation methods that you will find from cultures around the globe.



Japanese green tea

Japan is one of the earliest adopters of tea drinking, with the earliest references dating back to the 9th century. Matcha, or more referred to as Green Tea, is finely ground powdered tea. Well known for it’s flavor and antioxidants properties, the Japanese tea ceremony focuses primarily on the preparation, serving and drinking of matcha.


indian tea

India has a storied history of using tea for it’s medicinal properties as well as for consumption. Commercial production of tea began after the British East India Company began producing tea on conquered lands.

Little has slowed down for tea production in India and they remain one of the worlds largest tea producers. Renowned teas such as Assam, Darjeeling and Masal Chai tea are grown exclusively in India and are often combined with other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

United Kingdom

United Kingdom tea

Tea drinking in the UK is wholly engrained into every day life, making the UK one of the greatest consumers of tea in the world. Tea drinking is far more diverse in the UK than anywhere else in the world. While most tea is served with milk, many also drink it black, with lemon or sugar added in. Be it formal or casual events, tea is always a welcome element of UK culture.


Turkish Tea

Turkish tea, referred to as Chai by the locals is a very important aspect of Turkish culture. Chai is a black tea that is produced on the Black Sea coast and is consumed without milk. Chai tea is served everywhere, for almost every meal throughout Turkey which is why it is considered by most to be a sort of obsession for Turkish people. Generally, Chai is served in a tulip shaped glass on saucer accompanied by two small sugar cubes and small spoon for stirring.


Tibet butter tea

Tibet is home to one of the most unusual tea blends in the world. Butter tea or po cha in Tibet, is made from the churning of tea, salt and yak butter. The particular tea used in Butter Tea is unusually potent and smoky type of black tea coupled with a salty, oily and sometimes rancid flavor which makes it an acquired taste but also a long time national favorite.


moroccan tea

Morocco is world renowned for its Magheribi mint tea, a tea unlike anything else in the world. So unique in fact that many travel to Morocco for the specific purpose of sampling authentic Moroccan tea. The preparation process, referred to as tai, is an important part of the tea tradition and is performed right in front of the guests.


Russian tea

The cold climate of Russia has created a rich tea history for the country and it is widely considered as a national beverage that is closely associated with Russian culture. However, what sets Russian tea drinkers apart is that they drink tea almost exclusively at the end of meals along with dessert.


Chinese Tea

Currently, China holds claim to being the earliest tea drinkers in the world. Legend has it that Chinese Emperor Shennong discovered tea when a leaf accidentally fell into his boiling water. He liked the taste that it created so much, that he spread the idea across ancient China. In addition to being a popular drink, the Chinese also utilize tea in traditional Chinese medicine and cuisine.


Egyptian tea

Tea has been ingrained in Egyptian culture since ancient times and as such it is no surprise that Egyptians are big tea drinkers. The national Egyptian drink, Karkadeh tea, derives its bright red color from dried Sudanese rose flower bracts. Karkadeh tea contains a sweet and sour flavor that can be enjoyed either hot or cold.


Argentinian Tea

Tea drinking in Argentina places added emphasis on the medicinal properties of tea as the national tea, Yerba mate, is a vitamin packed green tea grown locally throughout South America.  well known for it’s signature earthy, smokey flavor and is services in a small container that is shared throughout a group, making tea drinking a very social experience in Argentina.


USA Iced Tea

The United States is a cultural melting pot and the tea consumed is no different. Different varieties of teas as consumed throughout the U.S. However, there is none more famous than good old fashioned Iced Tea. Usually prepared from bagged tea, this iced sweet tea has become commonplace throughout much of the U.S and especially in the Southern states.

Tea Production

U.S. Demand for Quality Tea Skyrocketing

U.S. Demand for Quality Tea Skyrocketing


While tea has always been the preferred beverage of choice amongst many nations across the globe, it has always taken the backseat to the likes of coffee, soda and many other beverages in the U.S.


However, a recent study seems to contradict the idea that Americans do not enjoy drinking tea and, on the contrary, it suggests that they are actually developing quite a taste for the beverage. According to the U.S. Tea Association, the U.S. market for tea has skyrocketed from under two billion dollars to approximately ten billion dollars between the years 1990 and 2013.


During this same time period, the market for coffee, arguably the tea market’s greatest competitor, has remained relatively stable in its growth.


American consumers aren’t the only ones picking up on the tea trend, as many corporations are looking to cash in by acquiring smaller tea companies. Most notably, Starbucks purchased the tea retailer Teavana for over a half of a billion dollars in 2012 in order to keep up with the recent surge in the demand for tea.


Though the demand for tea has increased, the type of tea Americans are drinking is surprisingly different than what the rest of the world prefers.  Black tea and iced tea have been long-time American favorites, with fruit and herbal varieties following suit. However, the fastest growing teas in the United States are artisanal and green tea. In fact, green tea has seen nearly a 40% increase in consumption since 2000.


While tea has long been praised for its medicinal properties across the world, the U.S. seems to be only recently catching on to the trend and much of the demand for tea is now being attributed to the medicinal benefits that tea provides.


The increase in U.S. demand for tea is great for the industry; however, global tea producers are struggling to keep up with the uptick in worldwide demand. Tea imports in the United States have risen by 40% in just the last decade. And the majority of this supply is coming from China, where tea was first discovered thousands of years ago.


Stricter guidelines and regulations for tea production has dramatically changed in recent years, which makes producing drinkable tea much more difficult for suppliers. However, more rules for tea results in a healthier product, something that we now know drives the demand in the U.S.


Though consumers may not feel the effects of these regulations directly, the increase in demand will certainly put a strain on tea producers around the globe. Couple this with the increased demand for tea in the massive U.S. market and it is looking like tea production will do anything but slow down in years to come.


Sugar in you tea

The Relationship Between Sugar and Caffeine in Tea

The Relationship Between Sugar and Caffeine in Tea


People are drawn to tea for a variety of reasons. The taste, the social element and of course the caffeine. However, caffeine is well known for, at times, leaving somewhat of a bitter taste in your mouth.


The higher the concentration of caffeine in your tea, the more pronounced the bitterness becomes. Tea drinkers know that the best way to supplement the bitterness in their cup is with a healthy spoonful of sugar.


Up until recently, most people thought that the bitterness in tea was curbed by sugar due to the fact that our taste buds are reacting more strongly to the sugars taste. However, a group of scientists may have found out a scientifically backed reason as to why this actually occurs.


A recent discovery by chemists at the York Structural Biology Laboratory at the University of York, England found that sugar can greatly reduce bitterness in tea on a molecular level by forcing caffeine molecules into clusters.


In his most recent research paper in the journal of Food and Function, Dr. Seishi Shimizu found that the bond between sugar and water molecules traps caffeine, thus masking the bitterness it gives off.


This is contrary to what was the previous rule of thought in which sugar masked bitterness by altering the taste experience itself within your taste buds. Very little food studies like this one have been conducted on a molecular level. However, this finding sheds light on the fact that even the smallest details of life, like sugar in your tea, can be better explained and then ultimately improved upon.


Dr. Shimizu said of the findings, “It is delightful indeed that food and drink questions can be solved using theory, with equipment no more complex than a pen and paper. Encouraged by this discovery, and our recent success on how to make jelly firmer, we are working hard to reveal more about the molecular basis of food and cooking,”


So go ahead and channel your inner chemist and add that spoonful of sugar to your favorite tea.