Loose Leaf Tea vs. Tea Bags (What You Need to Know!)
Second only to water, tea is the most popular drink worldwide. But in the United States, it's not nearly as common as it is in the rest of the world. Over 85% of tea consumed in the USA is iced tea. Across the globe, tea is part of the culture. Here, we're familiar with a coffee shop on every corner, but abroad, tea shops abound.
So, we thought we'd share some of the wisdom we've learned about tea over the past eleven years: why we love it, why we started this company, how you can best enjoy it, and so much more! So, let's dive in.
Loose Leaf or Bagged Tea?
The obvious distinguisher between loose leaf tea and bagged tea is its presentation. Loose leaf is exactly what it sounds like – loose tea. Meanwhile, bagged tea is tea in a bag.
Tea bags are a relatively modern invention, before which loose leaf tea was the only way to buy or brew tea. Tea bags are likely the way you've been exposed to tea in the past – dunking a bag of tea in some hot water. Sure, it's an easy method. But it's certainly not the most flavorful. And, while loose leaf tea may seem intimidating – it's just as easy to brew, full of health benefits, not to mention significantly more flavorful.
Taste & Quality
While bagged and loose tea differ in presentation, we argue that that's not the most important difference between the two. Instead, it's the taste and quality.
Loose leaf tea, generally speaking, is considerably higher quality tea than that found in bags. In fact, tea bags are often used as a way to disguise lower-quality tea. We're talking about the dust from broken tea leaves hidden inside of a bag. These broken bits have lost most of their aroma and flavor, they release more tannins than whole leaf tea, and we're left with a bitter brew. And we wonder why Americans aren't too hot on tea!
The bags themselves inhibit the tea from brewing to its potential. The leaves –– if there are any whole leaves –– are packed in there and not allowed to unfurl fully, leading to, you guessed it, an inferior brew.
Meanwhile, you get to see the premium tea leaves, fruits, spices, and herbs with your own eyes with loose leaf tea. That means there's no hiding if it's poor quality. Luckily for you, Tiesta Tea scours the globe for the highest quality ingredients that treat the eyes and the tastebuds.
Loose Leaf Tea vs. Tea Bags Cost
Sure, at face value, tea bags cost less than many loose leaf blends. But don't be fooled. There's more to this than meets the eye.
Traditional tea bags contain a teaspoon or less of tea. That means you're going to get one mug full of tea per bag, and it'll likely be a less-than-ideal flavor profile. Meanwhile, with the recommended 1.5 teaspoons of loose leaf tea per mug, you get a full-bodied flavor, and you can rebrew those same leaves for another mug at another time—twice the bang for your buck.
Of course, when you have a loose leaf blend, you can control the amount of tea you're scooping. Whether that's a little or a lot—you're in control. There's no need to grab another tea bag if you just want a slightly stronger brew.
When you buy loose leaf tea, you're actually paying for the tea. With bagged tea, you're paying for the tea, the bag, the string, and the packaging in which it is stored. Money wasted!
We already covered the difference in quality between loose leaf and bagged tea, so it's clear that you're getting better quality tea when you pay a bit more. Just like with clothes, we know that a $5 shirt will likely not be as good of quality or last as long as its more expensive counterpart – the same goes for tea.
Loose Leaf Tea Benefits
If you're drinking tea for its health benefits, loose leaf is the way to go. The higher quality, unbroken leaves and its ability to fully unfurl means loose leaf tea is, in fact, a healthier option. Higher antioxidant count, lower caffeine level (often), and typically blended with healthy blends of spices and fruits.
Beyond health, loose leaf tea just tastes better. That's why we say once you go loose, you never go bagged! There's a reason that loose leaf tea is the choice for any tea ceremony worldwide – it's higher quality and more delicious.
Loose leaf tea is also a win when it comes to the planet. Loose leaf tea is environmentally friendly – not only does it avoid single-use bags and excessive packaging, but you can buy it in bulk to cut down on the packaging as a whole. Use biodegradable tea filters or reusable options like a Brewmaster or tea ball, and you're on the right side of environmental history.
Ready to Try Some Premium Loose Leaf Teas?
At Tiesta Tea, we travel around the globe to source the best quality ingredients to produce the best cup of tea. We believe in making loose leaf tea that's accessible and affordable without sacrificing quality. Ready to brew up some premium loose leaf tea? Check out our blends here. And whether you're brewing up a mug of breakfast tea or a pitcher of tropical black tea, cheers to Living Loose!