Bagged Tea vs. Loose-leaf Tea - Part 2
Is loose leaf tea definitely better than bagged and what is the difference?
Recap - Last Time on Battle Teas
Last week, Part I of Bagged Teas vs. Loose-leaf told the history of the tea bag and the difference in quality between bagged teas and loose-leaf. This week, we’ll start from where we left off by delving into convenience. So, welcome-back tea-friends, buckle up, and let’s continue!
Convenience - The Need for Speed
The same reason why tea bags became popular in the early to mid 1900s is the reason why they remains popular today. Many people like their teas like they like their sports cars: Fast and strong. While there is nothing wrong with that, we believe that there is a large misconception that loose-leaf teas are not convenient. Without a doubt, pulling a tea bag from its container, placing it in boiling hot water, and within minutes, enjoy a strong brew of tea, is easy. However, preparing loose-leaf teas can be comparably convenient. Loose-leaf tea can be made seamlessly without any special tea-equipment.
Add tea leaves to one cup ⇒ Add hot water ⇒ When steeped, place a small strainer over another cup ⇒ Lastly, pour the tea and tea leaves through the strainer.
Arguably, this method would take only seconds longer than brewing from a tea bag. In this manner of brewing, the full tea leaves are allowed to expand and release more of their essential oils. The resulting brew produces a higher quality, more flavorful, and more aromatic tea than the average cup of tea from a tea bag.
Another aspect of bagged teas' convenience, is their taste. As mentioned before, the process in which bagged teas are prepared produces teas with homogenous flavors. The distinct tea taste that tea bags have is, for some, a boon; it's comforting and convenient. There is no guessing if one's tea bag will taste like tea. However, solely drinking tea that has a distinct taste is limiting. We believe that, "variety is the spice of life." If you want to appreciate and broaden your knowledge of tea, you have to go outside the teas that have that taste. In our experience, loose-leaf is the only form of tea that allows consumers to appreciate all that the tea plant has to offer. As one of the oldest forms of tea, loose-leaf provides innumerable variety when it comes to not only tea types, but also flavors, complexities, and aromas. From strong and bold to mellow and crisp, loose-leaf tea runs the gamut of possibilities (or possibilitiTeas)!
We are always flabbergasted when tea bag drinkers argue that loose-leaf tea is weaker than their beloved tea bags. In our experience, there are numerous robust loose-leaf teas (Xiao Zhong, for one!) that will put any tea bag’s strength to the test. With that said, that wrong assumption is not the only one that has been made about loose-leaf tea. We have already put to rest the assumption that brewing loose-leaf tea is complicated. Let's delve into another wrong assumption: that loose-leaf tea is more expensive than bagged teas.
Cost - The Price we Pay as Tea Champions
When it comes to tea bags, unlike the popular game show, the price is not always right! Generally, there are 2 grams of tea in a given tea bag. Per ounce of loose-leaf tea, you will find that there is an average of 12 cups that can be brewed. We have seen that typically, when it comes to tea bags and loose-leaf, the price for the for a particular tea in loose-leaf variety ranges from half the price to the same price as the equivalent tea in tea bag form. What this means is that you are either paying the same amount or more for a lower quality cup of tea. With these price points, it appears that when purchasing tea bags, you are truly paying the cost of the packaging and not the tea itself.
Furthermore, there is another cost that some tea drinkers may not consider when sipping from their favored brews: environmental cost. The amount of material that goes into packing tea bags is immense. Tea bags are not only individually wrapped in a small bag, they are often wrapped in foil or cellophane. On top of that, these small bags are then packaged in a small box or tin. And lastly, that small box or tin is frequently wrapped in air-resistant cellophane. With all of that said, the package that is created for the convenience of bagged tea is not at all convenient for the environment. Much of the material used for tea bags is not biodegradable and even when the tea bag itself is, the packaging that surrounds it is often not. Conversely, the environmental impact of loose-leaf tea packaging is drastically smaller than that of tea bags. Loose-leaf tea is either packaged in a large bag or a tin; both of which can be re-used.
Final Words - The Power is Yours!
To summarize what has been said, let's first take a look at this fun table of facts!
|Ingredients||Whole tea leaves||Tea fannings and Dust|
|Quality||Highest grades of tea||Lowest grade of tea|
Artistically somewhat unpredictable.
Predictable, distinct tea taste.
|Cost||Inexpensive per cup
|Expensive per cup
In the battle between loose-leaf and bagged tea, as Captain Planet famously said, "the power is yours." Whose side in the battle you choose is up to you. With that said, it is easy to see why we at Yezi are champions of Emperor Loose-leaf. With better quality, more variety, and lesser cost, it can be argued that loose-leaf tea is a better choice than bagged tea. We would say that even a low quality loose-leaf is better than a high quality bagged tea. (Though, you will not find any low quality loose-leaf at Yezi!)
From our experience, no tea connoisseur claims a bagged tea to be their favorite. However, there is nothing wrong with liking a certain bagged tea, or any tea, for how it makes you feel. For example, many may feel that a specific bagged tea reminds them of home. At Yezi Teas, we simply feel that if you want a full and balanced tea experience, with a developed knowledge and appreciation for tea in its fullest capacity, then sampling loose-leaf tea is a must.
For some it may take time to taste the difference, for others, the difference will be noticed immediately. Tea affects different people in different ways, and that is part of what is so wondrous about it. Those differences bring us tea drinkers together. Those differences invite conversation and sharing. We would love to invite you warriors for bagged tea to give loose-leaf tea a chance.