12 Feb Loose Leaf Tea vs. Tea Bags: Which Option Is Right for You?
As regular tea drinkers learn more about the beverage and how to brew it, many transition from tea bags to loose leaf tea. However, this is largely up to personal preference, as both options have advantages and disadvantages.
Below, we’re discussing the difference between loose leaf tea and tea bags, so you can make the best choice to improve your home tea brewing experience. Let’s take a look!
The Convenience of Tea Bags
Tea bags are often considered advantageous because they are significantly more convenient than loose leaf tea. Few processes are easier than dunking a pre-portioned bag in hot water, making this method popular among casual tea drinkers. Tea bags only take a few minutes to brew, which can be done while you’re getting ready in the morning or chatting with friends while waiting for the bags to steep.
Most loose leaf tea doesn’t offer this level of convenience; however, brewing tea leaves isn’t difficult. All you need is a metal tea filter, a single cup tea infuser, or an empty paper tea sachet to fill with leaves before brewing. Then, dunk your device of choice in hot water and let it steep. Once you’re done brewing, you can dispose of the tea leaves just as you would when using a tea bag. The additional step of filling the tea leaves only takes a moment, but it does require some knowledge of proper measurements.
The Quality of Loose Leaf Tea
There’s a significant difference between standard tea bags and loose leaf tea when it comes to quality. This can be quite noticeable in a brewed cup in terms of flavor.
Standard tea bags are often filled with “fannings,” which are small pieces of broken tea plants and leftover tea dust. If you were to open the bag, you’d find something that resembles powder or dirt inside. Fannings are the smallest bits of processed tea plants and are among the lowest quality and cheapest forms of tea.
Loose leaf tea isn’t comprised of fannings; instead, it is made of visible tea leaves. However, the quality of loose leaf tea can still vary, with the lowest-quality consisting of broken tea leaves and the highest having leaves that are still attached to stems. Regardless of where the loose leaf falls on the spectrum of quality, even broken pieces provide a better taste than fannings.
The difference in quality comes across when infusing tea and drinking it. You’ll notice the loose leaves unfurl as they steep, creating a richer color than a tea bag typically does. The taste of loose leaf tea is also fuller, more complex, and less bitter because the leaves don’t infuse as quickly.
Loose Leaf Tea Brewing Is Environmentally Friendly
Another great benefit of loose leaf tea? Because there’s no bag to dispose of, it’s better for the environment! After brewing, used tea leaves can be added to a compost pile, and the metal tea filter can be reused again and again. This means that there’s virtually no waste when you make your daily beverage – especially if your loose leaves come in eco-friendly packaging!
Tea bags can still be used responsibly to minimize your environmental impact. Some bags can be partly composted or recycled, depending on the material they’re made of. However, even some biodegradable options have components that must be removed before composting or recycling, such as staples or glues that attach the string to the bag.
Although the environmental impact of just one tea bag may seem small, the difference between the two techniques can be significant if you’re a regular tea drinker.
What Is the Best Way to infuse Loose Leaf Tea?
Wonder how to infuse tea? If you’re ready to make the switch from tea bags to loose leaf tea, the brewing process is quite easy. First, you’ll need to fill the tea infuser with the proper amount of leaves. Generally, the infuser should be about half full to allow plenty of room for the leaves to unfurl. If they don’t have enough space, your tea won’t steep properly, leaving you with a less-than-desirable flavor.
After you’ve filled your tea infuser, brew as you would if you were using a tea bag. Then, sip and enjoy!
Café Brew: Your Go-To Source for Loose Leaf Tea Accessories
If you need accessories to help you infuse your tea, Café Brew can help! We offer a variety of glass whistling tea kettles, stovetop glass tea kettles, tea kettle parts, metal tea filters, single-cup tea infusers, and more. The best part? All of our products are made with the highest quality materials and are offered at an affordable price, so you can enhance your home tea brewing (or coffee brewing) process while sticking to your budget.
Contact us for more information about brewing loose leaf tea or our products!