The Difference Between Loose Leaf and Tea Bags

Here we are, at a topic that has been covered many times before. Not including the most obvious difference of one being in a bag and the other being loose, what is the difference?  Well here are four big differences between loose leaf tea and tea bags.

Difference #1- Quality of Leaves 

In most mass-produced tea bags a grade of tea called “fanning” or “Dust” is used, which is the lowest quality of tea that there is. Fannings and dust are very finely broken tea leaves. There are some artisan tea bags that use a higher quality of tea, but in general, the quality is low.

Loose leaf tea is naturally higher in quality because there has been less damage done to the leaves. Also, tea companies that are producing tea bags know that you can’t really see the leaves, so it doesn’t matter what grade of tea they use, while companies producing loose leaf know that their leaves are on showcase.

Difference #2- Quality of the Brew

This is directly affected by the quality of leaves, but for our purposes we’re going to focus on the mechanics of brewing.

Let’s say that the tea bag in question is made of the same exact leaves as the loose leaf tea. Tea leaves need room to expand and to absorb water. Loose leaf tea brewed in a tea pot has more room to brew and infuse than the leaves restricted in a tiny bag.

Restricting the room for your leaves to expand affects the flavor, the color, and the aroma. It also makes it harder for the water to extract all those vitamins and essential oils out of the leaves.

Speaking of flavor,

Difference #3- The Flavor

Teabags have tannins and chemicals in the bag material that can leach into your cup and leave a bitter taste.

Another factor is the packaging of tea. In most cases, loose leaf tea is packaged in foil bags or metal tins, while tea bags are stored in thin-cardboard boxes.

Tea leaves are sensitive to light, air, odors, and moisture. The foil bags and metal tins protect the leaves from all of these elements! Unfortunately, the cardboard box of the tea bags only protects from the light. With tea bags, they are shipped in crates with other types and flavors of tea bags. They can sit in warehouses for months, and when they finally get to the grocery store they sit on a shelf with all the other tea bags in that section. By the time you get your tea bag it had been exposed to almost all the elements which means you are not getting the highest quality which affects the flavor because it can end up stale or spoiled.

Difference #4- Health Benefits

Tea leaves are like vegetables, they are the most full of nutrients and vitamins the moment they are picked. Once you pick the leaves, or vegetables, they decrease in health value each day you wait to consume them.

In general, loose leaf tea is fresher and has the packaging to retain as much of that freshness as possible. Tea bags are exposed to all the elements and have a longer journey to your cup, often resulting in stale tea with very little of those original health benefits left.

Overall- What do I prefer?

Let’s recap the pros-

Loose leaf is fresher, healthier, a higher quality, and more flavorful.

Tea bags are more convenient, they’re cute, and there are really good flavors out there! Plus, not all tea bags are created equal.

In the end, while I drink both, I prefer loose leaf. It will always be my sweetheart.

I have found that most people drink tea for two reasons, either for the taste or for their health. Does this sound like you?

If you are drinking tea because it just tastes so darn good, then drink away my friend! I’m right there with you! You can find great options on both sides of the divide.

If you are drinking for those health benefits I suggest you stick to and/or get into loose leaf tea, because you will have much better results.

If you are drinking tea because it tastes good and it is good for you than high five! You are on a happy road that cannot fail you.

I hope you guys have enjoyed this video, if you have any more questions about loose leaf or tea bags, let me know down in the comment section and I will answer them in a future video.

I hope you guys are having an amazing day full of tea and happiness and I will see you next time,

~Rebekah

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