Tea is one of the oldest and most common drinks. It has become a part of many cultures because it’s one of the highly traded products between Europe and Asia. But the typical household would most likely know of tea as those slightly bitter drinks packed in tea bags. The more sophisticated drinkers, however, prefer loose leaf tea over tea bags for a variety of reasons.
Why Loose Leaf Tea?
There are numerous tea flavors processed and packed as loose leaf tea. Some of these are the most flavorful and aromatic ones you’ll ever taste. If you’re looking for specific flavors.
1. Extracts More Flavors
Loose leaf tea is the type of tea that’s not brewed in a teabag. When you steep loose leaf tea, you should leave enough room in the pot for the leaves to expand. You’ll find out after steeping them, the leaves absorb water and expand during infusion. This is an important part of the process because the water will flow through the leaves during infusion. When it does, it extracts flavors, aroma, vitamins, and minerals from the leaves.
By contrast, the size of a tea bag could limit tea’s infusion. Even if you pack full-leaf tea into a small bag, it won’t yield the same flavorful cup because you won’t be able to pack the leaves into a bag as you could with the dust and fannings typically used.
The more meticulous tea drinkers, however, often find the brew from tea bags too uniform and bitter. Some entrepreneurs tried to solve this problem by packing full-leaf tea into larger bags such as tea socks, tea pouches, and tea pyramids. This makes it possible to pack high-grade tea with a more sophisticated flavor and aroma.
The result is so much better than what you get from the flat taste of tea bags. Larger tea bags have enough room for full leaves to expand during infusion, resulting in a richer and more flavorful drink.
2. Offers More Variety
Despite the attempts to reinvent the tea bag and make it more appealing to drinkers, they still fail to get acceptance from most tea connoisseurs. These drinkers like the wide variety of tea flavors they get from loose leaf tea since they adhere to the traditional tea making and drinking rituals.
These rituals can be very ornate, with great care being taken to come up with a tea brewed to perfection, including close inspection of the tea leaf by unrolling and smelling them. Tea bags often tend to be more affiliated with the culture of instant drinks, and connoisseurs have this belief that the preparation, brewing, serving, and pouring of the tea are an indispensable part of drinking itself.
In some East Asian societies, tea making can be a solemn ceremony. Drinkers would sometimes say they already have a glimpse into the character of the person making the beverage just from how the process is done.
3. High-Grade And High-Quality
Both tea bags and loose leaf tea can come in low or high qualities, but loose leaf tea is generally made of higher standards coming from the harvest. The leftover from the production, which is usually made up of dust and fannings, are the ones used to make tea bags.
Tea makers have recently come up with the alternative of pyramid-shaped pouches made of silk, so they can also contain a high-quality and unbroken full tea. But this is usually made of plastic and these materials can potentially release high amounts of microplastic and nanoplastic during the infusion process.
4. More Flavorful And Aromatic
Another distinct benefit of drinking loose leaf tea is they’re more flavorful than those in tea bags because there are leaves with intense aromatic flavors. If you pack these tea leaves in tea bag filters, the resulting brew wouldn’t be as flavorful and pleasant. For instance, there are Chinese tea leaves not suitable for tea bags. Some of these are silver needle buds, rolled oolongs, and Dancong teas. These leaves need space to expand and release their flavor during infusion.
With loose leaf tea, you’re able to control the strength of the flavor by adding more or fewer leaves into your cup. By contrast, tea bags usually contain a fixed amount, usually around 3 grams.
The flavor is also regulated by the temperature of the water. Most people who brew do so using hot boiling water, and this tends to overburn the tea and dull the flavor.
There are a lot of reasons why you should choose loose leaf tea over tea bags, one of which is to have more variety. Loose leaf tea is usually made up of high-grade leaves. You’re able to extract more flavors and aroma because the hot water can make the leaves expand, giving off flavor and aroma and bringing out all the healthy vitamins and minerals.