Loose Leaf v/s Tea bags; Which Option Is Better?

Tea bagsTea is one beverage that has the maximum fan following according to the recent statistics. The popularity of tea as a beverage has increased in leaps and bounds throughout the world perhaps because it’s not only a refreshing drink, but also a potent health booster. Currently the world is familiar with the two major styles of tea; i.e. loose leaf tea and the tea bags.

In the Western part of the world, for instance in nations like U.S. and U.K, tea bags are much more popular than loose leaf tea and one can find a variety of gourmet, flavoured tea and even personalized tea bag blends from the online tea stores to give their palate a warm treat. But over the recent years the popularity of online shopping has increased the access of the Westerners to many good online tea shops, where they can easily place order for even loose leaf tea and have it delivered to their doorstep without much hassle. Thus, loose leaf tea which for ages has been popular only in the Oriental world is now gaining popularity in the Occidental part of the world too.

Tea LeafsThe invention of teabags took place in the year 1904 and Thomas Sullivan, an American was behind its invention. Since that very year the debate ‘loose tea vs tea bag’ has actually raged on and continues till date. To judge which one is better, one has to o weigh the pros and the cons thoroughly. Both loose leaf and tea bags have their brighter and darker sides.

What is meant by ‘loose leaf tea’ & ‘tea bags’?
Before going into the details of this debate and casting a glance on the merits and demerits of the tea styles, you must first know what loose tea leaves are & what tea bags are.

Loose tea leaves may be defined as the large-sized loose tea leaves stored in a dried form in a canister or a tea caddy. Tea bags, on the other hand, contain tea leaf dust or leaf powder filled into portion sized tiny bags.

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Loose tea has larger sized tea leaf flakes but in the case of tea bags these leaves are crushed, broken down into powdery form so that they can be easily be accommodated within the tiny bags. Sometimes, during this crushing stage, most of the aromatic essential oils that could have imparted flavour to the tea are lost. Also,  some tea bags are generally made out of the left-over tea leaves inferior in quality commonly called Fannings or Dust while the superior quality tea leaves go in the making of loose leaf tea.

Thus if you are a discerning tea buyer and want to buy tea, you’ll find that your tea bags will be far cheaper than your loose leaf tea packs.

Quality-wise, loose tea is far easier to check for superior blends when compared to tea bags. Even tough today you will find a wide variety of tea bags made from fine, high quality rolled leaves with some spices and nuts added to each little rectangular pouch as well,  the more common notion that loose leaves are better in quality to tea bags is not really wrong in the general sense. Until and unless you really put in effort in to finding high quality tea bags from reliable manufacturers, knowing whether the quality if the tea produced will be good or bad the is not easy to ascertain.

And so if you put this question to some Purist; i.e. ‘Which would give you the best of cup of your favourite tea’, the answer would invariable be ‘loose leaf tea’.

Tea Bags: Convenience in this hectic life has made many opt for it
Actually, which is the better option depends on the tea drinker himself/herself plus the situation as well. Those who lead a hectic round-the-clock life and reside in the rush environments are more into using teabags for the convenience factor. They often carry some teabags to their offices or put them to use for a quick cup when they want a cup of hot tea in a jiffy. When the urge for tea calls, all you have to do is just dip a teabag in the cup and then pour into it boiling water and a cup of tea is ready instantly.

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There is no headache at all regarding measuring the quantity of loose tea leaves appropriately for each cup and regarding cleanup after tea preparation. Thus those who are start-up tea makers may find using loose tea leaves quite confusing. In households where life moves at a breakneck speed, teabags become an integral part of day to day life. And the fact that today you can actually find some very good manufacturers who give as much attention to creating their teabags as choosing their loose leaf tea blends removes the need to make a choice. After all, convenience shouldn’t mean compromising on quality only because your life’s so busy!

Loose leaf Tea: Flavour, taste, long-lastingness is what makes it the favourite with most tea lovers
When it comes to quality and flavour, most general or ordinary tea bags can never beat the loose leaf tea. Tea dust or left-over tea is usually used in the ordinary cheap quality and cheaply priced tea bag while the good quality full large-sized leaves go on to make the loose leaf tea.
When you are making use of loose tea leaves for preparing tea, the moment you put the leaves into a deep saucepan where the water is boiling already, the leaves will at once unfurl and start circulating vigorously throughout the water. This unfurling result in the extraction of maximum colour and flavour from the leaves making your tea taste really awesome!

Another reason why maximum vote goes for loose tea leaves is the leaf size. Loose leaf has bigger leaves than those contained in teabags. Smaller leaves release bitter tannins quite fast. Hence there are enough chances for the tea becoming bitter in case of tea bags which mostly contain tea dust that is left-over after the whole tea leaves have been moved from tea barrels and crates for packaging.

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Also it’s very difficult to preserve teabags. They have a tendency to go bad very fast. Tea brands & suppliers often package the teabags improperly to keep the tea fresh for long but this in the long run proves unhealthy. But loose tea leaf on the other hand can be preserved as it is for as long as 2 years or even more, provided you keep it a container with an airtight lid and place it in a cabinet that’s cool & dry.

Thus even if it creates a little mess or is soggy, loose tea leaves is favoured by maximum tea fans. They don’t at all mind cleaning and rinsing the tea strainer, tea infuser of the discarded tea leaves post tea preparation because after all they want to taste some great tea and can do anything for it!

The New Large Sized Tea Bag: Revolutionizing the World of Tea
Recently however the tea world & market has been revolutionized by the emergence of some innovative teabags that have been designed specially to better the taste and quality of the tea that’s bagged. That’s the very new Pyramid or Triangular shaped teabag larger in size when compared to the tea bags commonly found in the market. Since these bags are large sized, large sized tea leaves can easily be accommodated into the bags, therefore giving you a cup of tea that’s much better in quality than the one you used to get from your usual small tea bags.

To know which is a better option – loose leaves or tea bags; you really have to consider the merits and demerits of both the styles and find one that is best suited to your taste and lifestyle.

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