Since I spend some of my free time strolling around downtown areas of Germany, especially the Fußgängerzone (pedestrian zone) of Kaiserslautern if I'm home on weekends, I've found some wonderful treats here. One of my addictions is loose-leaf tea but I'd like to say it's a loosely defined problem ;)
I hardly ever drank tea in the US; when I did, it was herbal tea packaged in tea bags and made by big corporations. I thought that tea was okay, but not that great. However, after wandering a downtown area and picking up a bag of loose-leaf herbal tea on a whim, I found that I like it so much better. In Kaiserslautern alone, there are some fun tea shops, including TeeGschwendner, which is a chain; Teehaus Elsässer, which is kooky and fun (I reviewed it here); and the fair trade store just down the street from the Teehaus.
The loose-leaf tea seems to have a much more vibrant taste. I feel as if some of the bagged teas seemed somehow strangely chemical-y, which sounds totally bonkers, I'm sure. However, maybe there's something to that since they do have the bags and it's possible that they could've been made from bleached material. The added bonus of loose-leaf tea is that there's less packaging and it's easy to compost. I'm not sure if loose-leaf tea is cheaper; it normally costs between 2.50-5 euros per 100 grams. I get a good number of cups of tea per bag.
Especially during the summer months, I like to make iced tea. I fill up an infuser with tea and let it soak in a cup or two of boiled water, removing it after. Then I fill the rest of the jug with cold water and stick it in the fridge, and enjoy a drink of it when it's cold. There are no added sweeteners nor overly strong flavors for me. I like a drink that has a decent flavor yet is still somewhat subtle. Of course, one could add more tea and dump in sweeteners, but the drink is very pleasant by itself.