Why Loose Teas
If you’ve been buying generic tea bags from the grocery store to get your daily tea fix, you likely have been missing out. Bagged teas really have just one distinct advantage over loose teas, and that is the convenience of already having the tea packaged in a single serving bag ready to be steeped. That convenience comes at a price however, as the quality of the tea that is used in packaged tea is vastly inferior to loose teas.
Tea in tea bags is typically of the lowest quality, made up of tiny pieces of tea leaves called fannings or dustings, while loose teas are typically whole leaves or larger pieces. Essential chemicals and oils which are the basis for the flavor in tea are better retained in whole leaf teas. Loose teas overall have a brighter note, more body and more flavor nuances that is indicative of quality tea. The fannings in tea bags allow these same oils to evaporate, leaving a taste that is dull and one-dimensional.
Whole leaf teas also keep more of its powerful antioxidants and polyphenols so you’re getting more of the health benefits for which tea is recognized. Tea helps to prevent certain cancers, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, aid in weight loss and aging, and boost the immune system. Much of these health properties in tea bags are lost in processing these much smaller tea leaves.
Finally, quality loose leaf tea can be re-steeped many times as opposed to bagged tea that can only be used once. In fact, some teas taste better with each steeping! When calculated, the most high end loose leaf tea may in fact be cheaper than most tea bags..
- Steven Chou