Loose Leaf Vs. Tea Bags: Which is Better? August 12, 2022 01:59
For millennia, tea has been consumed in the form of loose leaves but nowadays almost everyone starts their tea journey with tea bags. It’s because they are widely available and very convenient to brew. As a tea lover, you would definitely want to try loose leaf tea at some point, and once you taste it you will already see the difference. Loose leaf tea undeniably tastes superior to what you brew with the tea bags. Don’t believe me? Keep scrolling and find out how Loose leaf tea is better than tea bags. Here, we’ll also be discussing the differences between loose leaf tea and tea bags.
What Are Tea Bags?
In the majority of cases Tea bags are small bags filled with broken tea leaves that are used to brew tea. Tea bags are often made with filter paper; some higher-quality tea bags are made with silk or cotton. Tea bags need to be put in a teapot or a cup of hot water and left for a few minutes to infuse the flavor into the tea. Tea bags are easily available in supermarkets and it is very convenient to use.
History of Tea Bag
Tea bags were invented in the early 20th century in the United States. Two women, Roberta C. Lawson and Mary Molaren, from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, reportedly invented tea bags to allow easy steeping in 1901. Before that tea was only available in loose leaf form or powdered form.
Another story says that the tea bags are the invention of tea merchants. In 1908, tea merchant Ed Sullivan created silk pouches to package tea to protect it during the overseas journey to America. Americans figured out not to unwrap the pouch before brewing the tea because it was convenient. They simply dumped the pouch into the hot water, and the tea bag was born.
What Are Loose Leaf Tea?
Loose-leaf tea is made with whole or broken tea leaves that do not have a protective seal. It is directly steeped into the hot water and it is steeped, and the loose tea leaves are removed by filtering it using a strainer or tea infuser. Loose leaf tea usually has a stronger flavor and nutritional profile than bagged teas.
Loose leaf tea has four overarching grades and those are:-
- Whole leaf
Whole leaf is made up of whole dried tea leaves and it is the highest grade of tea. Tea steeped with only the whole leaf has the strongest flavor profile. Whole leaf tea can be steeped multiple times.
- Broken leaf
Broken leaves are basically crushed tea leaves. They are darker in color. Broken leaves still have plenty of the flavor of whole leaf tea, and it can still be consumed after multiple steepings.
Fannings are fragments of leaves and these are considered of lesser quality than whole or broken tea leaves. Fannings are collected during the crushing process of tea leaves. Fannings are primarily used in Tea bags and it can only be used for one steep.
Dust is the lowest grading of tea and it is also collected during the crushing process of tea leaves. Tea bags often have tea dust inside it and they don’t retain flavor after one steep.
Quality of the tea depends on what tea grades are being used to steep tea. In general, loose leaf tea is of a higher quality than regular tea bags as they usually contain tea fannings and dust in them.
Don't believe it? Cut up your tea bag and compare what’s inside with any Whole or Broken leaf loose leaf tea, you will notice the stark difference right away. Then sit for a tea session, comparing the taste and texture of both teas.
How Loose Leaf Tea is Better than Tea Bags?
There are plenty of benefits to using loose tea leaves. Below are some of the key reasons why you should switch to loose leaf tea.
The leaves of Loose leaf tea are fresher than tea packed in tea bags. Moreover, tea bags separate the warm water from the leaves making its flavor more dull. These are the reasons why loose leaf tea has a stronger flavor profile than tea bags.
Tea brewed with tea bags is found to release more caffeine and bitter tannins than tea brewed with higher quality loose leaf tea due to the nature of tea, which is generally lower quality, like fannings or dusts that are normally packaged in the tea bags.
Tea bags are typically intended to be steeped once while loose leaf tea in Gong-fu brewing can often make up to seven or more cups of tea using the same loose leaves.
One species of tea leaf can produce different tastes, depending on if it has whole leaves or broken leaves. Thus, loose-leaf tea offers a greater variety of your tea. Tea bags, on the other hand, contain only broken or powdered tea leaves, which limits your options.
Types of Loose Leaf Tea
There is a wide range of Loose leaf teas produced in the Eastern Himalayas of Nepal. All loose leaf tea comes from the same Camellia sinensis plant; the difference in the final tea comes from how it is processed. There are many factors that influence the appearance and flavor of the tea. One of the factors that plays a role in the flavor profile of the tea is oxidation. Oxidation is a process where tea leaves are exposed to oxygen in the air which causes the browning of the leaves. This is similar to how an apple turns brown when it’s cut and left aside. Below are listed the best Loose leaf tea available in the United States.
Golden Tips Tea
Golden Tips Tea is the highest grade black tea that is produced from the early-harvested tea buds at high altitude (7000 ft- 7500 feet). Downy tea buds “tips” are hand-plucked before they unfurl into leaves to make this highest-grade tea. Golden Tips tea has a nutty taste close to popcorn and roasted peanuts when brewed. Click here to know Why This Unique Beverage Should Be in Your Kitchen.
Silver Tips Tea
Silver Tips Tea is another highest-grade tea that is produced at a high altitude of 7000 ft to 7500 feet. Unlike other teas which are mostly made from tea leaves, only the single-origin unopened tea buds are used to make Silver tips tea. Silver tips white tea smells sweet-sweet forest honey and when steeped, it taste like juicy Banana Cantaloupe. Click the link to learn the complete manufacturing process of Silver tips tea.
Oolong tea is a traditional orthodox tea where tea leaves go through a special oxidation process. Bulky leaves are picked carefully, hand-rolled, and then oxidized until their oxidation level reaches between 50-70%. It creates an aromatic taste in the tea. Unlike Oolong tea, black teas are fully oxidized; they have an oxidation level between 80-100%. Oolong teas are darker in color and it gives a fruity and earthy taste when brewed. Click the link for the complete guide to Nepali Oolong tea.
Green Tea is a top-notch loose leaf tea that is widely produced in the Eastern Himalayas of Nepal. They are made from unfurling leaves which gives it an aromatic sweet and juicy taste with a deeper flavor. Unlike Oolong tea, throughout the making of Green tea, the leaves are protected from being oxidized. Green tea leaves smell like sweet vanilla and buttered asparagus and as you take a sip of it, you feel a slightly dry but lingering sweet aftertaste.
You can purchase types of loose leaf tea from DanfeTea. We are true Purveyors of Himalayan Mountain Teas from Nepal.