Is loose leaf tea better than using tea bags?
If you drink tea, you have more than likely had a cup with a tea bag at some point, whether that’s part of your daily routine or when you fancy an occasional brew a tea bag is the standard go-to for many drinkers. They’re quick, easy, and easily accessible in most supermarkets. However, what if there’s a better alternative? Unless you’re a tea enthusiast you might not know much about loose leaf tea, but with the help of this guide, you could discover that it is actually the better option for you and your tea drinking habits.
What is the difference between loose leaf tea and tea bags?
Apart from the fairly obvious fact that tea bags are set amounts of tea in a bag and loose tea is tea leaves that aren’t brewed in a bag, there are some notable differences between the two tea options.
Quality and flavour
Traditionally, tea bags contained tea “dust” or low-quality particles of tea that are cheap and easy to access. This significantly reduced the flavours and overall drinking experience of tea bags which offered no competition to the natural flavours and benefits of loose tea leaves.
Nowadays though tea producers have adapted the tea bag to improve its quality by using better grades of tea that bring more depth of aromas and flavour profiles to the table. Despite the improvements to the types of tea being used in the bags, in terms of the flavour you will get and the quality of the brew, many tea lovers will say the difference between using tea leaves and tea bags is night and day.
A big downside to tea bags has been that they are too small and restrictive, not giving the tea enough space to expand and infuse the water with its flavour as it steeps. By contrast when you brew them properly, tea leaves will have no limits to their expansion and flavour depth.
Even though they take longer to brew and steep than tea bags, if you have the time to commit to the process, it will be well worth it for the resulting tea. However, changes have been made to tea bags, making them bigger and adapting their shape to allow more room for the tea to naturally expand, which is why pyramid shaped tea bags have become increasingly popular.
Variety of teas and flavour profiles
The tea in your local supermarket tea bags is always going to taste the same because the tea used is blended to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. This standardisation means that you can’t pick out the unique tastes of each tea even though a higher price will be assigned, and claims made about the quality of the tea used in the bags.
Loose tea is pretty much the opposite as in many cases they will be in the same natural form they were when they were grown and carry the unique flavours of the region they originate from. The aromas, flavours, and even appearance will change year upon year and in different growing seasons. You will get so many more individual flavours, a better variety of tea to choose from, more potency, and a much better drinking experience overall with tea leaves.
Preparing loose leaf tea vs tea bags
One of the biggest advantages if not the main advantage of using tea bags over tea leaves is that they are quicker and easier to prepare. If you just want a fast cup of tea at work or on the go, then a tea bag will definitely do the job. All you need is your kettle, hot water, and a cup. Tea leaves aren’t difficult to brew by any means but in comparison to tea bags you will need an infuser, pot, or filter to steep the leaves in and they will take longer to infuse their flavours into the hot water. This can be an important factor when weighing up whether tea leaves are better than tea bags.
To answer the main question of this article, objectively speaking yes, in most cases loose leaf tea is better than tea bags. However, if you’re used to using tea bags for your daily brew then you shouldn’t jump head first into loose leaf tea as the differences can be quite stark. Do your research and make sure you’re buying your tea from a quality supplier.
At Pumphreys we provide a wide range of high-quality loose leaf tea in Newcastle. Whether you’re just getting started with loose tea or you’re an experienced connoisseur, we have teas to suit various palettes and preferences. Find the perfect loose leaf tea for you online with us today and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.