Why Loose Leaf Tea

Something that people ask me is why should I drink loose leaf tea when I can just go to the grocery store and grab tea bags. Aren’t tea bags easier? I’d like to talk through some history and the key differences between loose tea and tea bags so you too will understand why I drink loose leaf tea. 


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History on the tea bag

There is a few different stories on the beginning of a tea bag, my favorite is that of Thomas Sullivan. Thomas was an importer of Tea and Coffee back in the early 1900’s. Thomas would ship samples of the latest and greatest tea’s he had imported to his potential buyers. In order to reduce the cost of shipping these samples he switched from using metal tin’s to hand sew “bags”. The buyers thought that these bags were a new way to brew the tea so they simply put those bags directly into their water and were over the moon at how easy it was to use and cleanup afterwards. The rest is history 🙂

Quality matters

There are three levels of quality when you are looking at tea. Loose Tea, Tea satchels and Tea bags. 

Loose tea is the highest quality as it contains whole, unbroken leaves. When this is steeped the leaves unfurl and you can see the entire shape of the original leaf. This contains the most oils as the leaves are unbroken which will give you the highest amount of flavor.

Tea Satchels are the middle grade in quality. They contain a combination of some whole unbroken leaves and some broken leaves. Because some of the leaves are broken it looses the oils and thus will not give you the highest amount of flavor for your dollar. The tea satchels are usually pyramid shaped bags. 

Last and lowest on the quality grade is tea bags. These are referred to as dust in the industry. It is what is left after Loose tea and Tea satchels are harvested. It is the dust at the bottoms of the barrels. 

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Most people when first starting out prefer the convenience that is associated to a tea bag or a tea satchel and skip the loose leaf tea thinking that it is messy or hard. This is certainly not the case any longer. You can actually purchase your own tea bags (preferably biodegradable and non-bleached) to make your own “tea bags”. I often do this when I am traveling so I can reduce some of the amount of space in my luggage. Most bags you can seal with a low amount of heat or you can purchase bags which already have a drawstring, but be careful of what is in the bags you purchase as some are not very good quality and will make your tea taste badly.  

If you are looking for full flavor, aroma, antioxidants, and real whole ingredients then be sure to reach for a nice cup of loose leaf tea the next time you are getting ready to pour yourself a cup.

Why loose leaf tea pinterest image

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