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RiverTea said

Tea bags vs loose tea

This is indeed an old dispute. Which is better, why? Should we replace tea bags with tea leaves? Should we have the best of both worlds?
We have recently published and article on our blog where we have listed our reasons for preferring loose tea. The main reasons are:
1. Loose tea means flavor and superior quality
2. More varieties to enjoy
3. Real Health Benefits
4. Loose tea brings you closer to nature
5. Loose tea is a great gift

What about you dear tea steepster friends? Have you renounced to tea bags or do you prefer to have both sides of the story?

10 Replies

The problem with tea bags has nothing to do with it being bagged tea but more to do with the quality of tea that is commonly in them. You can buy high quality tea bags as well. Try Harney tea Sachets. Then you’d have an apples to apple argument and there wouldn’t be a huge difference. But when comparing loose tea to your common grocery store tea bags, loose wins hands down. In response to your points.
1. In general sure. Against things like Harney tea sachets? Not so much
2. It can be harder to source quality tea in bag form
3. I would love to see a study confirming health benefits from loose leaf surpass comparable bagged tea. If you can back this claim please do.
4. …
5. I’ve found loose tea is a terrible gift as most of my friends don’t care for the tiny amount of extra effort that goes into loose leaf. Even my siblings who say my tea is far better – still buy bagged tea. I wish i could change that. ugh!

That said I ONLY buy loose leaf and matcha.

RiverTea said

Hey, thanks for your extensive reply. Indeed we agree that there are brands which sell high quality tea bags like the one in your example. Our article is based on comparing loose tea with the common grocery store tea bags. (Maybe you’ll like to check it out as to see what we mean. Here it is: http://rivertea.com/blog/new-to-tea/5-reasons-to-stop-using-tea-bags-and-start-enjoying-loose-tea/)
2. I agree that it is harder to source the quality tea in bag form, that is another point we made in our article. “More varieties to enjoy” refers to loose tea.
3. In order to be packaged in bags (and this again refers to grocery store tea bags),tea leaves must be chopped, sliced and diced into small particles known as Fanning and Dusts. This process causes the tea to break down quickly due to its interaction with moisture and oxygen. Additionally, more caffeine is lost as a result of this process than with loose tea. More leafy surface area means more natural oils and health-boosting natural chemicals.
4. I guess buying bagged tea is really comfortable and the actual preparation of tea seems simpler than the preparation of loose tea.
Matcha is again an amazing choice. Have you ever participated to a Japanese tea ceremony?

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Sammerz314 said

Personally, I think its the larger surface area, which leads to the extraction of more natural oils, that makes loose leaf a better choice. Many of the subtle notes are lost when steeping fannings. Also, the larger leaf yields more polyphenols. Hence, one would benefit more from consuming loose leaf tea.

RiverTea said

I perfectly agree with you Sammerz314. It is what I stated in my comment above and also in the article.

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Alphakitty said

I like both! Obviously my preference is for loose tea and it’s what I consume the most, but I think tea bags have their place. I am the opposite of a tea snob and some days I just want a nice, hot cup of tea that requires zero effort. Especially for herbals—I’d honestly much rather brew ginger & lemon or peppermint in bagged form.

Lala said

I agree. I like both. There are some teas I get in bagged form, that you just can’t get as good loose.

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LuckyMe said

Does anyone have thoughts on teabags restricting the transfer of flavor and/or color? I heard that theory somewhere and thought it made sense since a paper bag is more likely to absorb the tea’s flavorful oils than a metal strainer.

Lala said

I don’t see why there would be a problem with the flavour. The flavour may seep into the bag, but it will be dissolved once the tea is steeped. No different that using a metal strainer.

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sandra said

i drink loose teas, pref. premium/gourmet teas.
However, I have to admit, I recently bought bagged green tea (sencha) from a local Japanese store, and I like it, A LOT, (and easy when commuting or at work.)
don’t know the brand, package is all in Japanese. Will keep this one def. on my shelves as well.

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john12 said

It’s hard to be the ease-of-use factor of bagged tea, but there is more variety in loose leaf and it’s easier to control how you brew it. (Like how much tea to use, for example.) I think loose leaf tea ends up being cheaper for me. If there’s a reason why I can’t use loose leaf, or if there is a tea that I love in a tea bag, I’ll use them. If not, it’s loose leaf for me all the way.

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