Have you ever opened up a standard teabag to take a look at what’s inside? No, probably not that would just be weird. But if you did, you would likely find very fine, dust-like tea leaves.
The tea used in these bags are smaller, lesser quality leaves, often referred to as dust or fannings. This means that the tea can be cheaply mass machine packed into bags, and infuses in water extremely quickly. However this tea lacks so much of the flavour and releases many more tannins, which makes the tea taste bitter.
Loose leaf tea on the other hand consists of the higher quality, larger and fuller tea leaves. The best way to brew tea is to use loose leaf in a large infuser, so that the tea leaves have plenty of room to move. Just think of those sad little tea leaves stuck in a cramped tea bag, just wanting to be set free and swim around…
Many people may worry that loose leaf is a hassle over tea bags, however all it really takes is one scoop of tea into a infuser and you’re done.
You will be surprised at the flavour difference when you brew loose leaf tea over tea bags. Dusty tea leaves, which you find in the majority of tea bags, have lost much of their aroma and essential oils before you even purchase them. Because of the quality of loose leaf tea and the room it has to infuse, the leaves are able to release their full aroma and healthy essential oils into the water for you to enjoy.
It may take seconds longer to make a flavoursome loose leaf tea, however we don’t question when we spend time brewing quality coffee in a cafetiere – because it's just better!
2) Healthy for you and Healthy for the Environment
Loose leaf tea leaves, as opposed to dust, retain much of their essential oils and powerful antioxidants before reaching your cup. They therefore pass all of this goodness on to you when steeped in water. The more room for the leaves to move, the better the infusion.
There is much deliberation about whether tea bags are safe for us to use everyday. Many people worry about the chemicals that bags are made out of and whether we consume any of these chemicals in our brew. It started with the worry of chlorine bleached tea bags and more recently it is worried that the new wave of ‘silky’ pyramid tea bags (which are often made from nylon, a form of plastic), may release harmful chemicals when added to boiling water.
There is not enough research to say for definite either way, however many people prefer to drink loose leaf tea, which has been the customary and healthy way to drink tea for centuries.
Loose leaf tea is also better for the environment. The guardian reported that we use about 55bn teabags in the UK each year – which is approximately 370,000 tonnes of waste that mostly ends up in landfill. With loose leaf, there is no waste as there is no tea bag to throw away. Imagine if the whole of the UK used loose leaf tea!
3) Cheaper and Reusable
It is hard to believe as loose leaf is much higher quality tea, but it is often much cheaper than tea bags. Machine packing tea into tea bags can be costly, so you can usually purchase the same amount of tea, loose, for less.
Not only this, due to the quality of loose-leaf tea, the leaves can be re-steeped more than once. So instead of just getting 15 cups from your 15 teabags, the same amount of tea could make over 30 cups if bought loose.
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