|Seeking to offer tea drinkers as good an experience as their coffee lovers enjoy, Starbucks has gone “full leaf” with its Tazo line of teas, available in black, green and herbal infusions.
Full leaves, or whole leaves, make the finest tea. Many tea bags are filled with broken leaves which don’t have as much flavor. Less expensive supermarket brands use fannings, the dust (think “crumbs”) left over from processing the leaves.
Open up a tea bag from the brand you favor, shake the contents on a plate and look at them closely. If you see broken bits and fannings, you’re not getting quality tea. (That’s also why sugar and milk are required to make the drink enjoyable for many people. The finest tea can—and should—be drunk straight.)
By the way, “whole leaf” refers to black, green, oolong and white teas, made from the Camelia sinensis plant. The term doesn’t apply to herbal infusions, although as with every product, there is a range of quality of the ingredients.
Learn all about fine tea in our Tea Glossary.
The bags are now whole leaf. Photo by
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