Had this in my purse, couldn’t understand why clerk at Apple store looking at me funny
We’re a few month’s into cooking homework.  We’ve tackled orphaned appliances and dusty cookbooks. Last month, I encouraged bean soaking (sounds so sexy I know). As with most things food-related, I am taste motivated and I can say with certainty , in that department, soaked beats canned hands down. I cooked dried chickpeas and black beans shortly after the assignment in March. One little package yields a LOT of beans and though I had hopes of experimenting with other beans, there’s only so much hummus and huevos rancheros one family can eat. I pictured my kids in their future therapist’s office recounting their month of legumes. So it’s time to switch gears.
I like cooking tasks that are easy but often avoided. I also love tea. I have a tea kettle at work and one at home, tea is stashed in all my purses (see above) and  I travel with it. I’ve written about some of my favorite teas. More often than not these teas are in bags. I buy from good companies and seek out mesh teabags but always feel I’m drinking the tea-equivalent of boxed wine. Those who know tea, the tea connoisseurs or teas snobs drink loose tea.
I didn’t want to make a switch because it was “cool” or seemed more serious, I wanted to know why loose tea has a superior reputation. Sure enough, tea bags contain broken up pieces of tea leaves called fannings. Loose tea tends to be whole or larges pieces. The natural oils in tea leaves decrease when tea is in smaller pieces; this impacts the taste of your cup of tea. Fannings oxidize more which in green and white tea affects the catechin content. Assuming it’s fresh, lose tea generally has more taste and is better for you. If you’re ready let the tea out of the bag you’ll need:
1. Tea- find a shop or purveyor you like. I recently tried the teas from Bellocq in Brooklyn. I haven’t been to the tea atelier but love the teas I ordered.  You’ll need 1 to 1.5 tsp of tea per cup or 8 ounces of water.
2. Tea infuser or bags
Your tea will go in your tea infuser. Tea leaves, like people, need breathing room so if you’re purchasing one for the first time choose a larger size.
3. A small teapot ot or iced tea pitcher are optional but a lot of fun. I love this from Takeya.

I’ll check back with you after Memorial Day, steep well.
Did you do any soaking, how did it go? Are you a fellow tea freak? Bags or loose? Will you do your homework?


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