So to squeeze or not to squeeze, that is the question....
I discovered when you squeeze the tea bag, it releases tannins ( a bitter astringent taste- mainly in black teas), which makes the tea bitter. It's not UNHEALTHY--it's just MORE of what's already in the tea. It doesn't taste good, that's the reason to avoid it. I have also read that large amounts of Tannins in conjunction with large amounts dairy products do cause Kidney Stones.... I guess it just gives another reason for this tea snob to avoid milk :) Although I do make the exception for the new mesh bags that seem to have loose leaf inside that gives tea better flavor.
Below are two articles I found on line. But, you know that "proof is in the pudding as they say", so I did my own test. See the results at the end of the blog..
Here is what are some are saying on line...
.if you’ve ever used a tea bag, chances are that you’ve squeezed the last bit of liquid out of it and into your cup after the tea has finished steeping – and possibly burned your fingertips doing it if you don’t have some ind of tea bag strainer. You might also have heard that squeezing a tea bag, once brewed, into a cup of tea will turn the tea bitter and that you should never, under any circumstances, do this.
If you put this to the test, you’ll probably find that it’s true, to some extent. Tea, especially black tea, contains tannins, a plant polyphenol that is known to have a bitter, astringent taste to it. It is not the same as tannic acid, a chemical present in different types of wood (such as oak) that is, among other things, used to tan leather. This astringency is more noticeable when your tea is stronger, and often squeezing the bag after steeping will release an extra little burst of well-steeped liquid from within the tea bag – and this can add a slight bitterness to the tea. That being said, if you are steeping your tea for a reasonable amount of time, you’re not going to notice a huge change.
It’s worth noting that herbal teas, as well as white and green teas, contain little to no tannins depending on the makeup of each individual tea. Those tea bags can be squeezed to your hearts content without any worry about adding unwanted bitterness to an otherwise good cuppa.
The British would never squeeze a tea bag because it upsets the brewing of the tea. The tea contains tannins, which give an astringent flavor to the tea. They don't dissolve as easily as the other flavor chemicals in the tea, but will come out when when you squeeze the leaves. You'd get the same effect by brewing it longer.
They say that if you want stronger tea, use more tea. Squeeze teabags upsets the balance of the flavor.
But it's not going to kill you. It's perfectly healthy. And sometimes, I like my tea on the astringent side, since I dampen the effect with lemon and sugar. (Milk is even better at removing astringency.) So go ahead and squeeze the bag, if the flavor appeals to you.
I'm not sure where that person got the notion, but it's fine to squeeze the tea bag. There's really nothing harmful in tea except tannic acid, but only in large quantities in conjunction with lots of dairy products (combines to make kidney stones). Anyway, the process of tea brewing releases everything in the tea leaves, so squeezing the tea bag will improve taste if nothing else.
My personal research:
Rituals Coffee Company
9755 Patuxent Woods Dr
Columbia, MD 21046-2286
Tel: (443) 259-2168
I took 2 exact bags of black tea...they say that is the tea where you notice the bitterness the most. So, I took these black teas, put each one in the cup of hot water, set the timer for 3 minutes, per the back of the tea bag and I waited.
Once the timer went off, I pulled both tea bags out of the water at the same time. I however, took the one bag and squeezed out the excess water/tea back into the cup.
What did I discover you ask....That the tea that had been squeezed was slightly bitter. So, I would agree that there is more of a bitter taste if you squeeze the bag. It was not awful, but I would say I DID recognize a difference.
Another note, I did like this tea. It is new for me. I picked it up at City Square Steak House in Wooster. I would prefer not to drink tea out of "paper" bags, but as far as taste goes, it was a good tea.