Bags or loose leaf?

41 Replies

Have you seen how tea leaves expand after being steeped? Having enough room for them to expand also makes a better quality tea.

Normal tea bags don’t usually have full leaves inside.

If you prefer to drink your loose-leaf tea in bags, pyramid sachets may be a better choice.

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Most people have no idea about looseleaf. They don’t know what they’re missing! Loose is the best because you can adjust everything to your preferences. Most of the time, the quality of looseleaf is better than bagged too, so the tea naturally tastes better. This is not always true because I’ve had some truly disgusting loose tea. I specifically recall that vomit tasting one I had not too long ago. It really all depends on the tea in the bag and how you like your tea.

For me, loose is better. I like having control and being able to observe my tea.

Vomit tasting one?! Can you recall the tea, company, etc.? I would like to avoid…

Kittenna said

Vomit-flavoured tea? Adagio’s Pina Colada!

Oh man! I got as far as “carrot shreds” in that list of ingredients and backed away fast. It was losing me at “almonds,” but I think “carrot shreds” is where it really starts to go wrong.

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Lynxiebrat said

Generally speaking: Loose leaf. But it depends sometimes in what flavors I’m looking for at that time. Like the other night I wanted a Earl Grey, but as it was evening and I had to work the next day, I had to settle for decaf EG from Bigelow, as I’ve yet to find a decaf looseleaf EG that I like, and I also promised myself that the next EG I buy have some lavender in it because I am really curious as to how that would taste…I love lavender.

Sometimes I am more looking for simple taste, convenience and warmth. That is when I look in my collection of bagged tea in Lipton’s, Bigelow’s and Good Earth, and plus, considering I cannot buy as much loose leaf tea as I would like, (Finances and Space.) It seems smarter to me to try and save my good tea for once or twice a week, especially when I need something that puts me in a contemplative mood, (More complex teas tend to do that to me, smiles) And to use the bagged tea for ‘everyday’ purposes.

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Okay, so for loose leaf teas: what is the best way to measure how much you should use per cup? I think that might be why a lot of people use bags because they don’t have to figure anything out. LOL.

Nik select said

Most of the teas I get say how much to use on the packet, but in general I use 1-1.5tsp per 8oz./~237mL of water. Purists use grams but that’s too much work for me. I don’t have a measuring spoon that is also a scale. =)

I guess I’m a purist then =).
But I only weight the first time for a new tea, to see more or less how much the appropriate weight is in a teaspoon. I mostly use around 3gr, 4gr for the teas that I drink (Japanese green teas).
You’ll be amazed at how much the weight varies for a tea spoon of different teas.

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Helena said

Loose tea and when I’m out and about I’ll put it in a David’s Tea bag. For measuring I generally use my David’s Tea scoop as it’s easier to get into bags then a spoon :D

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Dax said

I just started drinking loose leaf tea and I have noticed that it is stronger. Which is nice. I was actually considering trying to cut the bag open, thus making bagged tea now loose leaf tea.

Is there a difference in the tea that is in the bag versus loose leaf? I am just curious as to whether I should bother trying it or not.

I also haven’t had loose leaf tea because I have no clue where to get it. I don’t know about online purchasing, I have this weird feeling about buying anything you consume online. Maybe it’s just me being paranoid for no reason.

Lynxiebrat said

Andrew, I’ve done that recently just for the sake of doing it. Alot of the pieces ending up falling thru the infuser into the cup. The only big plus for me was no papery taste from the bag.
Buying online: I am not crazy about buying online ethier, though for different reasons, but I am getting over it because I don’t want it to limit my trying out different teas and enjoying them…but that’s just me and my take on it. Try googling searching your area and something like: Places to buy loose leaf tea in _________________(Name of city, town,state/region, country.) and you can also check on here, under places. If you are a resident of the USA, chances are there is a Teavana’s near you that you can check out. Though be careful because in the past (not the ones I’ve been to, though.) They have tried pushy sales tactics. Check out their website, look thru the teas and teaware, make out a list for sniff tests, (If it smells bad to you, don’t get it.) go with a budget in mind. Actually that can apply to visiting any tea store:)

Dax said

Those are good points, thanks for the help! :)

Uniquity said

As for buying online – I have tried a couple online tea shops after seeing their credibility through Steepster. I don’t like to buy things online, but I will do an order occasionally.

If you check the places tab (upper left) you can do a search and see if anyone on Steepster has listed or reviewed tea rooms in your area, or even online stores that you are considering.

Whole Foods is a good place to look for loose leaf teas if you have one near you. You might also try other health food or organic grocery stores…maybe even international markets?

Dax said

I tried Trader Joe’s and all they had was bags. Whole Foods I could try. Starbucks has loose leaf tea, but it is only the Tazo brand. I guess I will just have to order online and get over it, if all else fails.

Nik select said

Hey, Andrew, I hope that soon buying online is something that you appreciate as an easy and convenient way to shop rather than something you have to tolerate. =) There are small tea vendors that only sell directly from their web site and you’d be missing out on a lot of great quality tea if you limit yourself to local brick and mortar shops.

Dax said

I know, but I like brick and morter lol. I get to actually touch and smell a product before purchase. I do appreciate the convenience of online.

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mrmopar said

mandala tea you will not be disappointed.


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starfishey said

I much prefer my loose leaf teas to bagged. However, when I’m at work I really don’t have a means to steep loose leaf so I have to go with bagged. If only I could have my loose leaf at work… sigh. D:

Cedes said

You can get empty tea bags to put your loose leaf tea in :) I do it all the time tastes the same to me :)

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hannabling said

Foil Lined Tea Bags.
I like hermetically sealed tea bags since I travel often.
Foil-Lined tea bags are socially acceptable in corporate office enviroments and can be given away like if you had a candy dish on your desk.
Foil-Lined tea bags makes the tea inside “fresh” forever so it’s ok to have 10 a year stash.
Foil-Lined tea bags can be made into a tin-foil hat.
It’s ok to give out Foil-Lined tea to kids for trick or treating when you run out of Snicker bars.
That’s why Bigelow tea is da bomb.

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cteresa said

Loose leaf, if brewing in a proper pot is just better, agony of the leaf and all that (plus usually a lot of big name tea sellers use lower quality leaves for teabags). But come on, I am not always at home with my own tea things, so yay for teabags. And if I want just more than one cup for me, either I serve all cups at the same time, or I need to remove all tea at the right time or it gets all stewed up, and of course teabags are much more convenient. I actually got some disposable teabags so I can make my own teabags which is so much more better if you are making tea for several people and refills will be involved.

Confession time : and rooibos, I love rooibos but so hate cleaning up the teapot after rooibos. I usually use those make-your-own-teabags for rooibos. Good rooibos is almost always loose ( or ridiculously more expensive than good loose rooibos from the same brand) and it´s so so messy.

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