The "agony of the leaf " is the term for the slow unfurling of a tea leaf in hot water. It is the process by which the leaf softens and begins to express its flavor, color and strength-- it’s essence-- into the water. It is beautiful and mesmerizing to watch.
While teabags offer convenience, they simply cannot offer the enchanting experience or depth of flavor of a loose-leaf tea that has been given the freedom to unfurl completely, unencumbered by strainers, baskets, tea balls or filter bags.
We call this Open Vessel Steeping: The act of simply placing leaves in an open pitcher or pot and adding hot water. When steeping is complete, the tea is poured from the teapot into a cup and enjoyed until it is time to add more water and reveal a new layer of flavor. A long handled strainer can be placed on top of the cup to catch any renegade leaves.