If you have ever been to a specialty tea shop, they probably told you that loose leaf tea is better than tea bags. The reason behind this is in the tea manufacturing process. After the tea leaves are dry, they are packaged into either bulk loose-leaf tea containers, or into standard tea bags. If you look at the tea leaves in a typical teabag, you’ll notice they are quite small, and it’s often impossible to see any indication of an actual leaf. Higher end sachets and loose-leaf teas show full shapes of leaves and stems. During the final process, the top-quality tea leaves from the top of the batch are packaged in bulk while the remaining crumbs and pieces that fall to the bottom (we call it “dust”) are then packaged and sold as teabags.
What’s the big deal if I’m drinking tea crumbs vs the full leaf? Isn’t it the same thing?
The dust that you may find in tea bags has a higher chance of becoming stale, and the breaking of the tea leaves causes many of the natural oils and medicinal properties to evaporate. This causes this tea to taste quite different than loose leaf tea. Full leaf tea holds more of the natural flavors and nutrients inside the leaf, creating a more bold and complete flavor with much stronger medicinal properties. Not only that, but loose-leaf teas can be much more economical than tea bags. Since the flavor and medicinal properties are stronger, you don’t need to use as much to steep a cup of tea – and you can rebrew the leaves more than once.