Find the winner in the battle – tea bag vs loose leaf:
Whenever we buy tea, most of the time we have two choices before us: tea bag vs loose leaf. Many of us accustomed to the ease of using tea bags. Most of the time we hardly think twice before taking the plunge. Now stop for a moment and read this before you buy. This may help you to take a more informed decision.
1. Loose tea has variety and more choice-
If you visit the market and search for quality loose tea, you will find whole leaf, high-quality teas with endless options and varieties. I can assure, you would be able to choose the tea on different factors like flavour, leaf size, blend or grade. It is possible to choose loose tea even on the basis of locality! Because there are loose tea also with specific garden tags available in the market. Don’t be surprised if you see a loose tea even with mention of the season (like second flush Assam). As you may know, harvesting season also plays a crucial role in determining the quality of tea.
Manufacturers prepare tea bags mostly with blended tea. This mostly consists of smaller sized dust and fannings grade tea grains. Again they collect the teas from multiple locations with least or no concern for the reputation of the origin. In buying a commodity like tea, you can ignore these highly important factors only at your own risk.
2. Bagged teas can loss the flavor sooner-
For being smaller in size, dust and fannings have a larger surface area than the whole leaves. As a result, the bagged teas will loose most of the essential oils due to evaporation. Thus the tea becomes more dull and stale in respect of taste and flavour.
3. Tea bags may come with unwanted flavor-
Tea producers pack loose tea in airtight and odorless containers. Then they seal it in such a manner so that freshness and flavor of the tea remain intact. Tea bags are made with bleached filter paper, food grade plastic materials or silk. This may possibly result in an addition of some chemical and/or unwarranted flavor in your brewed cup. Lost freshness and fragrance is another challenge the tea bags face in case the seal is less than perfect.
4. Loose tea has a price advantage-
Another factor in case of loose tea you attract you which is price. It is a known fact that companies charge extra for the tea bags for the ease they offer to the user. But if you opt for the loose tea, for the same amount of money you get more in terms both of quantity and the quality. However you may have to sacrifice the ease offered by tea bags for this.
5. Variety of brewing process-
Loose tea can be enjoyed in different ways. For example, in India, tea leaves are boiled in water to prepare the liquor, and ginger, milk etc. are added as condiments. If we use tea bags, we are left with only one way of making the tea – by dipping the bags into hot water.
6. Multiple Brewing – more value for your tea-
If we use loose tea, we can get many servings of tea from just one serving of leaves. We get more value for the money, and also get to taste the tea as it develops from one brew to the next brew. It becomes possible as loose teas with whole leaves release the flavor and color over a longer period of time. In some cases you may get an even better brew when leaves are re-brewed. However the brewing time increases with each subsequent re-brewing. Tea bags, unless contain whole leaves, release most of its flavor and color in the very first brew due to the bigger surface area offered by its smaller grains.
7. Loose teas are more natural-
Loose teas can keep their natural form in a more efficient manner. If you observe minutely, you will see that the spread out leaves have more surface areas. Because of this, the leaves are capable of containing larger amount of natural oils and natural chemicals. Needless to mention that these invaluable natural ingradients are very much beneficial to us.
Also, loose tea offers us the option to enjoy least processed cup. You can even get choice of whole leaf teas, that are fully handmade. Thus loose tea offers us the opportunity to be closer to nature.
At the same time, manufacturers make tea bags mostly with two particular grades of tea, which are Fannings and dusts. These are mostly the bits and parts of the whole tea leaves. Both of these tea grades, used to make tea bags, pass through a series of slicing and dicing processes, during manufacturing. They loose most of the natural qualities due to this.
From the above discussion, you can see that though tea bags offers you more convenience, in overall consideration, loose tea has more weights in terms of price, variety, quality. However at the end of the day, it is you who will have the final say. But, one thing is certain, whatever type you choose, the ultimate winner will always be the same – tea!