Alright, you’re here to learn about what makes loose leaf tea better (or worse) than tea bags. This topic is highly debated and we’re here to settle it once and for all! The biggest question we’ll be answering here is whether loose leaf tea is better than tea bags or whether tea bags are better than loose leaf tea.
Let’s find out as we sip on some boba or bubble tea.
By the way, how do you describe or refer to milk tea anyways? Do you say boba or bubble tea? We tend to say boba but if you’re curious to find out what the difference is between boba and bubble tea read our full article about it here.
Okay, let’s begin!
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. Generally both loose leaf tea and tea bags start with the same process but they do not end their process the same way as some might think!
To start, tea leaves are usually harvested in farms and then plucked or picked from passionate tea farmers. Many great tea farms reside in Asia but there are quite a few other tea farms around the world just as great, like India. If you’re interested in some tea farms like matcha tea farms, be sure to visit Kyoto! Japan in general has majority of the best and highest quality matcha farms if you didn’t know already.
After loose leaf tea has been picked, it moves onto processing like being dried, hydrated and rolled into their cylindrical shape. Sometimes loose leaf tea is left as it is even after drying too, it really depends on who is taking care of the loose leaf tea and what brand it’s being made for. You’ll find both rolled up loose leaf teas, loose leaf teas that seem to have no pattern of form and some loose leaf teas that only include a certain part of the plant.
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 the tea leaves that are grinded up into finer pieces in tea bags or tea filters are actually not the whole leaf itself. Majority of the times the contents in tea bags are actually known as tea dust. In other words, it’s really just shavings or broken bits and pieces of full loose leaf teas that did not make the cut for the premium quality of loose leaf tea.
Most of the time you will find that tea bags are much more cost effective or cheap 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 but we thought of breaking it down into a few reasons to look out for when comparing tea bags and loose leaf tea. Based on these tips below we hope you’ll come to a conclusion on which one is better for you.
Like we mentioned above, you’ll find that loose leaf tea is typically more expensive per 1 pound of loose leaf tea than your typical 1 pound of tea bags from your favorite brand like Lipton. Take a look here, with a 1 pound bag of delicious Assam black tea, you’re looking at around $20-25. Whereas if you were to buy black tea bags that is equivalent to a pound of tea, you’re looking at about $10-15.
There’s obviously a big difference here in price but you get what you pay for, right?
Since tea bags are generally made with the tea dust or remainings of what isn’t used in loose leaf tea, the quality of your tea bags is dramatically different. Which makes sense! In tea bags you’ll find that the tea tastes good but it can be a lot better. When you drink loose leaf teas you’ll smell the aromas and taste the actual depth of flavors the whole tea leaves provide. Loose leaf tea isn’t as linear tasting, it has more of a flavor profile than tea bags do.
Also, with tea bags, typically you can only get a one time use with these. Where as loose leaf teas you can sometimes get up to 2 to 3 times the steeping usage depending on how you steep your tea. 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 a bit more to drink your tea. You’ll need tools like tea infusers or filters similar to this here in order to separate your tea from the loose leaves. This may cause more of a headache than anything if you’re looking to simply get a quick tea ready to go in 5 minutes or less.
If that’s the case, tea bags are your friends. With tea bags, you simply warm up some water with a water kettle or pot of water and pour water on top of the tea bag in your favorite cup. That’s it, nothing more to it. Sometimes you’re at work and all you have time for is a short 1 minute walk to the kitchen area and another 2 minutes to steep your tea before you have another meeting. You’re not the only one, we’ve been there, done that!
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 with some great tea steeping with our loose leaf teas. Our favorites are traditional assam black teas and green teas from brands like Positively Tea and Davidsons Tea.
3 Best Loose Leaf Tea Brands
Boasting about their “Exceptional Tea Experience,” Tea Forte is one of the top loose leaf tea companies in our go-to list of teas. They pride themselves in working directly (and very closely) with their growers. This allows them not only to control the processing but also control the quality of their tea. With the least amount of ingredients possible, they’re able to provide the “Exceptional Tea Experience” without sacrificing quality and taste. Our favorite teas from Tea Forte are: green mango peach, white ginger and herbal tea.
Cutting out the middleman, Vahdam provides some of the highest quality loose leaf teas in the tea industry. Sourcing directly from their planters they’re able to have a close eye on what goes on in the process of harvesting, plucking and packaging their tea. If you’re looking for tea that has the perfect amount of aroma and taste, Vahdam Tea company should be on your wish list!
Being less traditional in the flavors of their teas and tea blends, Stash Tea boasts about taking you through a tea journey. With their popular range of tea blends you’ll find yourself wanting to taste test more and more. We recently tried their root beer iced tea loose leaf tea and we actually enjoyed it. 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
With over 300 years of history, Twinings is one of the most recognized and well respected tea companies in this industry. Rightfully so too! 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, they’re so delicious and very easy to make!
Bringing the adventurous and explorational spirit into tea, Tazo is one of the few tea companies that does this right. They not only offer very traditional tea flavors but they take it to the next level with their tea bag quality and flavor profiles. Some of their most unique flavors are matcha mate grapefruit and lemongrass green tea.
Yes, the ever popular Lipton tea. Though it is very popular and some may think that it’s lower quality than some, 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! Something 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 18,000 boba lovers and just talk about boba! See ya!