Benefits of Loose Leaf Tea vs. Teabags


Although tea bags are one of the most common ways to drink tea around the world, they actually don’t work so well when it comes to producing a complex and flavorful cup of tea. Teabags are described as having a flat, one dimensional flavor. They can also be quite bitter and even take on a paper or plastic flavor from the tea bag itself. What we want to go for is high quality loose leaf tea, with a vibrant flavor and a smooth finish.

There are many benefits to consuming loose leaf tea over tea bags. First of all, there is less waste. Tea Bags contain various materials like staples, string, paper, plastic and even glue that can really add up over time. In the U.K alone, people consume 165 million cups of tea per day with almost all of that coming from teabags. That ends up being a lot of added materials and packaging compared to simply adding water to the leaves directly and then composting the leaves afterwards.

Another downside to teabags is that they tend to disguise lower quality teas by hiding them in the teabag. On the outside, all of the teabags look relatively similar but when you open them up you can see the quality is very poor compared to premium loose leaf tea. This is because teabags are often made from the leftover parts of the tea production process. They can be made from later harvests, with lower nutrient profile and flavor profile.

A tea bag is not a good way to brew green tea. Tea leaves need plenty of space to open up fully and release their flavor into the water. When the leaves are crammed into a teabag, they do not have enough space to open up and this is one of the many reasons why tea bags produce lower quality tea compared to loose leaf. What you want to do is take loose leaf tea and brew it in a teapot that has a built in strainer like this Kyusu.

Teabags may seem like a cheaper option, but they are actually more expensive than you might think. For example, a cheaper loose leaf tea like Bancha can be $16 for 100 grams whereas tea bags may cost around 20 cents for 2 grams of actual tea. Bancha can be used 5-6 times without losing its flavor whereas a tea bag will lose its flavor after one brewing. That means that you can get 100 or more cups of good quality tea out of one $16 pack of Bancha.

When you go for premium quality loose leaf tea, you will see the difference right away. You can examine the leaves and the various shapes they take on and you can watch how they interact with the water. There is definitely a richer experience that comes from not only tasting your tea, but also watching it brew, as the leaves expand and give off a pleasant aroma. 

If you have the proper tools, brewing loose leaf tea doesn’t need to take much time in your day. You just need to add the leaves to the teapot, pour in some warm water and then pour it out a minute later. This takes roughly the same amount of time as opening up a teabag and brewing it, but the taste is so much better. There are small improvements you can make overtime to get better results from your tea brewing, but the basic principles are simple.

Making matcha can be even easier than preparing a tea bag, you just need to add the powder to the bowl, pour in the water and then stir it up. You don’t have to let it sit and brew and you also don’t need to wait for the water to reach boiling because it doesn’t need to be that hot to extract the flavor. There are certain measurements that can create better bowls of matcha, but once you get used to it you will be able to prepare your matcha without measuring anything. 

Teabags are the first experience many of us have with the world of tea, and they can be convenient on certain occasions but once you learn how to prepare loose leaf tea, it will open up a whole new world for you. You will have access to so many different types of teas and you will be able to experiment with different ratios and brewing methods so you can easily find what works best for you. In the next segment, we will discuss how easy and rewarding it can be to prepare your own loose leaf green tea at home!