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I’m a day late because it was my birthday this weekend, and I spent much of it hanging out with my family. Don’t worry – I seemed to have a cup of tea with me wherever I went. In fact, someone brought me Timmies 3 mornings in a row.

In Canada, we don’t say “I love you” we say “I’m going to Timmies ,do you want anything?”, and I think that’s really beautiful – Author unknown

I baked 2 birthday cakes – one chocolate and one vanilla, ordered Chinese food for dinner, went on a mid-life crisis adventure (pics to come), and opened my gifts, including a Tea Press from Hubby!

Tea Press

Isn’t it pretty?

So what’s the difference between a tea bag, an infuser and a tea press?

Let me start by saying, there’s nothing wrong with tea bags. They’ve been doing a grand job for a long time. Modern tea bags in the Western World appeared commercially around the early 1900’s. They were simply hand-sewn fabric bags (often silk). The rectangular tea bag was invented in 1944, and are commonly made from heat-sealed paper fibers. While less expensive and more convenient, you lose out more on quality and flavour. Lower grade tea is used and can be so crushed that nutrients, aroma, essential oils and flavour are compromised. It’s not a deal-breaker as far as I’m concerned!

Before my birthday, I steeped my loose leaf tea with an infuser. A tea infuser is like a cup-shaped strainer which rests on the rim of the cup. The water can then circulate around the tea, allowing tea leaves to unravel and expand for a more flavoursome tea. Large leaf teas such as Green, White or Oolong will need a larger infuser. The other advantage is that you can control the infusion time without risking tearing the bag when removing it. They can sometimes be difficult to clean, especially teas with fruit and nuts, as small particles clog up the mesh, but I think it’s a small price to pay for a good cuppa!

A tea press works pretty much the same way as an infuser, allowing you to extract the full flavour of your loose leaf tea. Just don’t squeeze the tea with the press so you don’t release bitterness. There are 3 advantages of a tea press over an infuser. First, the fine mesh screen on the tea press will strain out even very small particles. Second, you won’t have to remove a dripping infuser basket. And finally, it’s easy to clean. I rinse mine and use the sink strainer to catch the larger pieces. This tea press is a reinvention of a travel mug. It won’t break easily and it keeps my tea hot. Or cold! It was designed to make hot or iced tea! David’s Tea has a quick Youtube video that demonstrates how to use it. After my mid-life crisis adventure, I need to watch it a few dozens times!

I don’t want a lukewarm love. I want it to burn my lips and engulf my soul. – woori