Peggy Stephens, owner of Premium Steap (111 S 18th St.), believes that drinking tea is an affordable luxury. But you won't catch her brewing a cup with a tea bag.

"Tea bags are made up of tea 'dust,' which is what's left after the broken grades have been sifted out," she explained.

For an enhanced tea experience, Stephens suggests brewing with loose tea because "leaf teas simply taste better. You should drink what tastes good to you."

Stephens says loose tea is less expensive than tea bags.

"Some of our more expensive teas are actually cheaper than pre-packaged teas," Stephens said. "There are a couple extra steps but in the end it's worth it."

Before brewing, Stephens suggests using good quality, fresh tea and buying an infuser with a large basket so tea can float in the water to release optimal flavor.

(Pictured: Everyday Glass Mug, $24)

So how exactly do you brew loose tea? Stephens breaks down the steps to brewing a cup of her best selling black blended tea, Mt. Everest.

Scoop two teaspoons of tea into your infuser.

Pour water brought just to a boil (don't over boil the water, you can scorch the leaves) into the infuser.

Let the tea leaves steep for four minutes.

Remove infuser and discard tea leaves.


(Photo credit: Colin Kerrigan/