Loose Leaf Tea vs. Tea Bags...What is the Argument?

loose leaf tea vs tea bags

If you are a person that enjoys tea, or is just starting to involve yourself in the experience, do you question why there is loose-leaf tea and tea bags to choose from? There are some great benefits to loose-leaf tea, and convenience to a tea bag. In this article, we will dive into the pros and cons of both, as well as how to make your perfect cuppa with the most flavor.

Loose-leaf tea has been around for ages; nearly 5,000 years! China is the known birthplace of the sipping drink. It was discovered when an Emperor was sitting under a Chinese wild tree and some wind blew some leaves into his boiling water that he was preparing to drink. He took a sip and was surprised and elated at the flavor the leaves brought. Ever since, he continued to boil leaves not only for flavor, but for the medicinal properties as well. We can all thank Shen Nung for tea today!

Is Convenience Key?
Throughout the years after tea was discovered and delivered to the western world, Americans needed a more convenient way, as we always do, to steep their tea. The process of measuring out a teaspoon of tea leaves into boiling water, then having to fish out the used leaves became too much for the hustle and bustle of the American citizens. Low-and behold, Roberta C. Lawson and Mary Molaren patented the first tea bag! From then on, the tea bag became very popular and loose-leaf tea was left to the wayside...for now.
Convenience is always a nice thought, right? Thing is, when tea is put into a bag it has significantly less flavor. Tea bags contain more powder and broken small leaves that lose their luster faster, and don’t contain as much flavor or nutrients as loose-leaf. Loose-leaf tea leaves are whole which allows more of its flavor to seep into your cuppa that you want to enjoy so much. Also, a lot of loose-leaf tea includes flower buds, and other herbaceous ingredients that are whole and beautiful and tasty!
While on the topic of convenience; yes, loose-leaf tea is more “expensive” when looking at the price versus a box of bagged tea. Surprisingly enough, a person can re-steep loose-leaf tea multiple times, as each boil brings out different flavor profiles. Bagged teas are a “one and done” product. One steeping session and that’s it for the teabag. In the long run, loose-leaf tea is a better deal, a better aromatic tasting experience, and better for the environment.

A Better Way to Brew Your Cup

Never used a tea infuser before? They are so easy and simple and, most importantly, a convenient way to steep loose-leaf tea. Before infusers, people would need to fish out the tea leaves from their fresh cup, but with an infuser, it keeps the beautiful tea contained, while allowing the leaves to expand and bloom and release all the wonderful flavor profiles that tea has to offer. There’s also no waste going into our oceans and landfill like the millions of tea bags thrown away daily.  Click here to see our collection!

purple amethyst crystal on a chain attached to a tea infuser
To bring us back to those lovely flavors, did you know each tea has a different perfect boiling point and steeping time? Loose-leaf green tea, herbal tea, black tea, they all have different needs! Below is a diagram of steeping times and temperatures of different tea types:
Loose-Leaf Tea Ratios
A big question amongst loose-leaf tea drinkers is how much tea to use per cup? Per pot? Pergallon even! If you are using a standard 6 oz teacup, one teaspoon of tea is the perfect amount. Most people nowadays sip out of bigger mugs, up to 12 ounces and 16 ounces. Here are some ratios you can lean on when wondering how much tea to water you will need.
● Single cup: Measure 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea per cup of water. (6oz water)
● Quart: Brewing 1 quart of tea, measure 1⁄2 oz of loose leaf tea.
● Small Batch: For cold brewing a small batch of tea, 1 to 10 gallons, you’ll want to measure justover 2 oz (60 grams) of loose leaf tea per gallon of water.

tea steeping chart with temperature guide

 Keep it Fresh
Loose-leaf tea needs proper storage to keep it as fresh as possible. Store away from light, odors, moisture, heat, and oxygen. A vacuum sealed container in a cabinet at room temperature would be a great option. Also, there are many containers that have plungers to remove any air that resides on top of the tea. We will link a few different options for you below.
Tea Tin Canister with Airtight Double Lids for Loose Tea and Tea Bags

Veken Coffee Canister, Airtight Stainless Steel Kitchen Food Storage Container with Date Tracker and Scoop

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