Alright, you’re here to learn about what makes loose leaf tea better (or worse) than tea bags. The differences between loose leaf tea and tea bags. Why is loose leaf tea usually better than tea bags. And everything between.
This topic is highly debated and we’re here to settle it once and for all. To clarify, the biggest question we’ll be answering here is whether loose leaf tea is better than tea bags. And vice versa, whether tea bags are better than loose leaf tea.
Let’s find out as we sip on our boba or bubble tea.
What is Loose Leaf Tea?
Loose leaf tea is exactly what it sounds like. It is simply tea leaves that have not been further broken down into smaller or finer tea leaves (shavings). Generally, both loose leaf tea and tea bags start with the same process but their end product couldn’t be more different.
Tea leaves are usually harvested in tea farms and then carefully plucked or picked from hardworking tea farmers. Many great tea farms live in Asia. For example, you’ll find beautiful green tea farms in Japan. These leaves will make your best green tea leaves and matcha powders. There are other tea farms from other regions outside of Asia too!
After the tea leaves have been picked, it moves onto processing. They’re dried, hydrated, and rolled into their cylindrical shape. However, it’s important to note that some companies do not roll their tea leaves. There are different ways to process teas depending on what flavor profile is desired.
Sometimes tea leaves are left as it is even after drying. It really depends on who is taking care of the tea leaves.
What is a Tea Bag?
Just like loose leaf tea, a tea bag is exactly what you think it is too! It is tea within a small pouch or bag that allows you to filter out it’s deliciousness and aroma when hot water is added.
Many times teabags contain tea leaves that are ground up into fine bits. The majority of the times the contents in tea bags are actually known as tea dust. In other words, it’s shavings or broken tea leaves that didn’t make the cut for premium tea.
Most of the time you will find that tea bags are much more cost-effective or cheaper compared to loose leaf tea. Because of the quality and the scraps used for tea bags, these tend to be much more affordable than loose leaf tea. Plus, the convenience factor of tea bags is huge!
Tea Bags vs Loose Leaf Tea: What’s Better?
It’s difficult to tell which type of tea is truly better for you. After all, it’s your preference and how convenient you want your experience to be. We thought of breaking it down into a few reasons to look out for when comparing loose leaf tea and tea bags.
Based on these few things, we’re sure you’ll find what fits you best. But if you’re interested, we think loose leaf tea is far better in taste and overall tea experience.
Loose leaf tea is typically more expensive per pound compared to tea bags like Lipton tea bags. Take a look here, with a 1 pound bag of delicious Assam black tea, you’re looking at around $20-25. Whereas the equivalent for black tea bags is about $10-15.
There’s obviously a big difference here in price but you get what you pay for, right? The big factor in how each is priced is the processing. There is more attention to detail when it comes to processing loose leaf tea leaves than tea leaves in tea bags.
Tea bags are generally made with the tea dust or remainings of what isn’t used in loose leaf tea. This makes the quality of your tea selection noticeably different. Which makes sense!
You’ll still find that tea brewed with tea bags taste delicious, but it can be better. When you drink loose leaf teas you’ll smell the pleasant aromas and taste depth of flavor, unlike tea bags. Loose leaf tea has a better tasting experience.
Also you only have a one-time use with each individual teabag. Whereas with loose leaf teas, you can sometimes get up to 2 to 3 uses. Keep in mind with each use after the 1st, it will have a less intense flavor. Find out more about steeping loose leaf tea the correct way here!
The biggest factor of all, besides quality, the convenience factor.
Obviously with loose leaf tea, you have to do more to drink your tea. You’ll need tools like tea infusers or filters like this. This may cause more of a headache than anything if you’re looking to get a quick tea ready to go in 5 minutes or less.
Especially in the earliest of mornings.
If that’s the case, tea bags are your friends. With tea bags, you boil some water with a water kettle or pot and pour water on top of the teabag in your favorite cup. That’s it, nothing more to it.
With these 3 factors in mind, you quickly find out what works for you the best. Here in the office, we’ll tend to stick to tea bags during the day while there are meetings. But once it’s later in the day and things start to slow down, we spoil ourselves. We’ll steep our favorite loose leaf tea from brands like Positively Tea and Davidsons Tea.
3 Best Loose Leaf Tea Brands
Green mango peach from Tea Forte
Tea Forte takes pride in their “Exceptional Tea Experience.”
It’s one of the top loose leaf tea companies in our go-to list of teas for a couple of reasons. They pride themselves in working directly (and very closely) with their growers. This allows them not only to control the processing but also to control the quality of their tea. They create real relationships with their partners that make for high-quality tea.
We also enjoy that they try their best in using the least amount of ingredients as possible. They bring out the best flavor in their teas with the fewest additives. Which is amazing! Here are our favorite tea blends from Tea Forte: green mango peach, white ginger, and herbal tea.
Vahdam cuts out the middle man in tea making. Reducing the number of steps in their process allows them to control the quality hands-on. They source directly with their growers. This enables them Vahdam Tea to stand by the highest standard of quality.
The best part is the pleasant aroma that comes from their teas. There’s nothing like it. You should give Vahdam Tea taste sometime. Here are a couple of tea blends to try that we have in our inventory: Assam black tea and green tea.
English breakfast blend from Stash Tea
Stash Tea has less traditional flavors in their tea blend. Which is great! This makes them so unique in the tea industry and sets themselves apart from the pack.
We recently tried their root beer iced tea loose leaf tea and we surprisingly enjoyed it. We thought it wouldn’t be our cup of tea (pun absolutely intended). It’s so different compared to traditional tea, you’ll just have to try it for yourself! Other popular, more traditional flavors are the Jasmine Green Tea or Earl Grey Black Tea.
3 Best Tea Bag Brands
Earl grey black tea from Twinings
Twinings is one of the most recognized and well respected tea companies in this industry. Rightfully so too, they’ve been operating for more than 300+ years!
They make some of the best tea you’ll drink in your office or at home. They tend to have more traditional flavors but don’t let that stop you from drinking their tea. Our favorites are their green teas and herbal teas.
Tazo is one of the few tea companies that take you on a journey. They have some of the most adventurous tea flavors. But of course, they also have traditional tea flavors. Some of their most unique flavors are matcha mate grapefruit and lemongrass green tea.
America’s favorite tea (black tea) from Lipton
Yes, the ever popular Lipton tea.
Some may think that it’s lower quality but don’t be fooled. It actually has quite the flavor when steeped correctly. We personally like this brand simply because of the range and variety of tea they offer. You can have your traditional black tea bags to drink at work but you can also try some adventurous flavors too. Like their orange passionfruit jasmine tea!
So have we answered your questions about the difference between loose leaf tea and tea bags? We hope so! If you enjoyed this read be sure to send it to a friend, maybe they’d like to know too! And if you haven’t already please join 44,000 boba lovers and just talk about boba! See ya!
Make some milk tea with your tea bags or loose leaf tea!