Jan 17
A box of 100 Finum tea bags

Finum Tea Bags

With the new year, a lot of us are trying to live a more healthier life.  Perhaps that involves drinking less bad things (like soda) and more good things (like tea).  I have to admit, I am a recovering Coca-cola addict.  I haven't had a soda since February 26, 2014 (that's over 1000 days)!  I drink mostly unsweetened iced tea and water now.  I started drinking loose-leaf iced tea in the fall of 2015 and have figured out how to make a gallon at a time to my liking.

So when my awesome parents bought me some tea in bags for Christmas, I had to figure out how to make it.  Loose-leaf tea is a little different than tea bags, in that the leaves in tea bags are generally smaller, and you can't exactly make it with my tea ball.  I know that I need to measure out 1/3 cup of tea in order to make a large pot of tea, but if I'm using tea bags, how do I know how many bags equal 1/3 cup?  Prior to finding loose-leaf tea, I could never figure out how to make it just right.

Enter large Finum Tea Bags.  I can't tell you whether they are better or worse than other tea bags, because I haven't tried any others, but I can tell you what my experience is.  These seemed to work out pretty well.

A Finum tea bag and normal sized one.

A Finum bag next to a regular tea bag.

These tea filters can hold a lot of tea.  As you can see, when compared to a normal size tea bag, these are ginormous.  When you're making a gallon of tea at a time (actually I measured the other day and it's closer to 5 liters) then you really need to have your tea filters hold a lot of tea.

So to try out these tea filters, I got out my tea, along with some of the tea that I got for Christmas.  I like to blend different flavors, and since I still have some Christmas tea and Candy Cane tea from Adagio.com, I decided to mix them with some Earl Gray tea.  The first step, of course, was to measure out the tea.

1/3 cup teaAfter I measured out the tea, I used a funnel to pour the tea into the tea filters.  I didn't want to spill any.  One of the chunks from the Candy Cane tea got stuck in the funnel, but I dislodged it and the rest poured into the bag quite nicely.

The entire 1/3 cup of tea fit into one tea bag; however, because I know that tea expands when you put it in water, and the bag was pretty full, I decided to use two tea bags, and there was plenty of room in both bags.

Because I had never used tea filters before, I didn't really know if they would stay closed.  For the purposes of this experiment, I decided to tie one bag shut (using the string from one of the tea bags that I was using, and fold the other bag over a couple of times.  Since I was going to put both bags into my tea ball anyway, it wouldn't really matter if the folded bag opened while the tea was brewing (other than the fact that some of the smaller tea leaves would escape through the mesh of my tea ball.

My tea ball in a pot of water.tea bags in a tea balltwo tea bags tied differentlyThen I put both bags into my tea ball, and I put the tea ball into my pot of (almost) boiling water.  This is how I will probably be making it at home most of the time.

After I finished making my tea, I checked the tea bags to see if either one of them had opened up.  Fortunately, both of them were closed.  I think when I make this tea in the future, I will probably just fold the bag over a couple of times.

There are a lot of good things about these tea filters.  You can fit a lot of tea in the bags.  Not only are these good for tea that you get from tea bags, but there are a lot of other fine teas (like Roobios) that would probably work better if you make it in these filters than in a mesh ball.  If you don't like the little bits of tea that end up in the bottom of your pot (or cup) when you make regular loose-leaf tea, then these would be helpful as well.

I can find one drawback for these tea filters.  There is no string at the top of the bag.  That isn't a problem for me, since I just put everything into my mesh filter anyway, but if you were making a big pot of tea, you might have to use a slotted spoon to fish the bag out.  Also, since I made my tea in my tea ball, I can't tell how the bags will react if you just put the bag in normally.

For the way I make tea, I would definitely get these again.  Since there are 100 filters in this package, and I won't need it for most of the tea that I make, even if I use two bags at a time, this package will last me a very long time.

Finum tea filters come in an extra large size (the size I bought was large) as well as some smaller sizes.

Jan 17

"It's all fun and games until your pants don't fit".

I've seen that meme floating around on Facebook a couple of times, and perhaps you have as well.  My only honest response that I can make to that sentence is "yeah, don't you hate it when you've been exercising so much that your pants are falling off of you?

Fitbit Zip (Magenta)

My Fitbit. Thanks to my kitty for allowing me to use her black fur as the background.

Right now, that's about where I am.  Half of my pants are falling off me, and whenever I go to the store to get new pants, it seems like one size is ready to fall off, and the next size down is too tight.  Maybe I'm just so used to my pants being loose that I don't want anything that is too tight fitting?  I don't know.  I even ended up putting a shirt that was too big into the Goodwill box for the first of the year :-).

At any rate, my pants aren't fitting very well, and I can partially thank my Fitbit for that.  My parents got me a Fitbit Zip for Christmas a year ago, and it's a nice little motivator (they got me the magenta one, but it comes in other colors as well).

Before I got my Fitbit, I was using a Wii Fit Pedometer.  The Wii Fit pedometer is fun to use, and I like the way that it syncs with Wii Fit and has your Mii walk around virtual tracks or climb virtual towers, but it does have some drawbacks.

One advantage of the Fitbit pedometer is that it stays attached to your clothes a lot easier than the Wii Fit pedometer.  The Wii Fit pedometer fell off of my clothes on multiple occasions (usually when I was getting in or out of the car).  The clip just doesn't grip tightly to your clothes.  This caused me on more than one occasion to walk around frantically trying to find it.  Although it did cause me to walk more steps, those steps weren't counted.

Pokémon Kitty in the snow

I rescued this poor kitty from the cold while having fun with my Fitbit.

Another advantage that the Fitbit has is that it can connect to a lot more applications that are fun to use.  For example, I participate in virtual walks at Walking 4 Fun.com.  I've been doing the Pacific Crest Trail for a while now, and I'm almost out of California.  My Fitbit syncs automatically, so even if I forget to log into Walking 4 Fun, it counts my steps anyway.  Fitbit also connects to Sparkpeople.

I almost always remember to put my Fitbit on (even when I'm trying to fall asleep and I have to use the bathroom... don't want to miss out on those extra 25 steps).  I've thought about getting one of the Fitbit watches before, but I hate the fact that they have "silent" alarms and I don't trust them to not wake me up in the morning (maybe somebody has experience using those; if you do, please leave a comment).  I don't really want to have to wear a watch and a Fitbit.  Maybe, since I'm good about taking off and putting on my Fitbit at night, I would remember to put on my watch before I went to bed.  Maybe I'll try that one of these days.  I do have a loud backup alarm clock just in case anyway.

My Fitbit takes one of those little flat batteries (CR2025).  They aren't rechargeable, but they do last for several months.  I've found that once the batteries start going, they will go fast, and you'll want to have an extra on hand to replace it as soon as possible.  I bought a 10-pack of these batteries for pretty cheap on Amazon.com; I think I've had to replace the battery four times in the last year of constant use.

The Fitbit App that works for your iOS device (and I'm assuming Android devices too, but I've never used it) allows you to easily track your steps for the day, see how far you've walked, and participate in challenges with your friends.  You can also earn badges for losing weight, and hitting different walking milestones.  You can also log into Fitbit on your PC.

If you're looking to move more in the New Year, and you're hoping that you're having so much fun and games that your pants don't fit any more (too big, of course, not too small), then maybe you want to try out a Fitbit.