- Loose Leaf vs. Teabags: The Real “T”
We all know about the feud between tea drinkers and coffee enthusiasts - the “which-beverage-is-better-for-you” debate has stirred quite a few pots. But there is one feud that is slowly reaching its pinnacle - that between loose tea vs. teabag users - which one is better.
In the end, isn't it just “Tea”?
Yes, that may be true, but it's not so cut and dry, after all. While everyday tea drinkers may tell you that teabags are better, tea aficionados will tell you that loose leaf teas rule.
So, when you add up the good, the bad, and the steaming, which way does the balance tip?
Let's look at the pros and cons of both loose leaf and teabags to see which soothes you.
Loose Leaf Tea vs. Teabags
Let's begin by looking at the pros and cons of teabags.
Easy to Brew:
The most significant advantage of teabags and the main reason why they are so popular - Easy to Brew. Who wants to spend time figuring out the measurement of tea and how long it needs to simmer, right? Instead, just dunk a bag in some boiling water, and you are good to go.
Easy to Buy:
Buying a box of teabags is as easy as ordering a pizza. You can just pop into any grocery store and pick up the nearest box of teabags available. Brand? Who cares? They all taste the same anyways. Who has time to trudge to the exotic tea stores and carefully select the blend?
Easy to Dispose:
Nothing is more straightforward than this. Once you've dunked the bag enough, just pull the bag out using the string and toss it into the garbage. While most teabag advantages are linked to convenience, the cons of teabags are more related to quality, flavor, and taste.
When buying a box of teabags, you don't expect quality, do you? Most teabags are filled with leftover dust and fannings from broken tea leaves - that's the stuff that's left after the quality leaves have been harvested.
Space constraint is a significant issue that impacts the quality of the tea. Teabags are too small to allow the leaves to unfurl, and because of this, companies fill them with tea dust and fannings.
Have you ever considered the bag used in making teabags? If you buy teabags from expensive boutiques, then that's different. But most locally available teabags are made using chemicals. These chemicals may leech into your tea. And let's not forget the small staple pin that comes with every packet. That pin is also dipped in the tea and can leave a slightly metallic taste.
How many cups of tea can you make from 1 teabag? If you directly compare prices then obviously teabags are cheaper. But if you compare it as cost per cup, then the loose tea will beat teabags every time!
Just like teabags, loose tea leaves do have their pros and cons. Let's jump into them before the kettle boils.
The main reason people drink loose leaf tea is quality. Any loose leaf tea is better than the best teabags available. This is because when the whole leaf is left intact, the full flavor profile of the tea to be released and also helps retain the essential oils that are released in the brew.
With loose leaf tea, you will always be able to taste the unique flavor profile of that specific tea.
Depending on your range, loose tea leaves can range from hundreds to thousands. But, no matter which type you choose, the quality is guaranteed.
The most significant advantage of loose leaf tea is - numerous steeps. With one teaspoon full, you can brew almost 6-7 cups of tea - enough for you and your family.
Freshest of the Fresh:
Loose leaf tea is generally packed and sealed when it’s fresh and brought to the market faster. Whereas with teabags, no one checks when it was made - who checks the manufacturing date of teabags?
Retains the Health Benefits:
When you steep loose tea leaves, the oils, vitamins, and minerals that are packed and contained are all released into the brew. This ensures you get all the health benefits of drinking tea.
Difficult to Brew:
No doubt, making that perfect cup of tea requires some level of finesse. You need to boil the tea to the correct temperature, add the right amount of tea leaves and strain out the leaves before serving. It's a science in itself.
Disposing of the tea leaves is a tedious task. You need to clean the tea out of the filter and throw the tea away. That's unless you have a garbage disposal. But, you can do a lot with the used tea leaves - you can add it as mulch for your plants - they make great fertilizers.
Good quality loose leaf tea is tough to get. Unless you live in China or India, getting exclusive shops that sell loose-leaf tea is pretty tricky. But with Amazon and multiple online tea stores popping up, buying loose tea is much easier than before.
The Final T
Almost all tea connoisseurs prefer drinking loose leaf tea rather than using a teabag. But, most will tell you that if you want something quick and can be easily brewed with milk and sugar, then using a teabag is better.
In the end, what you want matters the most. If you want a cup of tea that's hassle-free and easier to make than instant noodles than teabags are for you. But if you want to get the quality, taste, and not to mention the health benefits of tea, then we would suggest loose leaf tea.