High quality loose leaf tea offers tremendous variety, more healthy properties and a better taste as well as being more economical. Because tea is picked and processed seasonally, loose leaf teas are usually fresher and are available in a wider number of types from whites through pu’erhs and several varieties such as Darjeeling, Ceylon, Assam, Yunnam, Keemun and Lamsang Souchong black teas even within a certain type, not to mention all the blends available. The younger the leaves the more nutrient rich they are. Loose leaf teas are made up of whole leaves or broken leaves and therefore have more surface area for water to extract the full flavor, aroma and characteristics of the tea. Plus, one may also enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the unfolding leaf while the tea is infusing. Finally, even the most expensive loose leaf teas rarely cost more than 25 cents to steep. Today, many loose leaf strainers are also available that are more effective and easier to use for those demanding convenience.
Tea bags make up about 95% of all tea sales in the U.S., since quick and easy clean-up makes them enticingly convenient. However, taste, aroma and health benefits are compromised by using pre-packaged tea bags. Tea bags do not typically offer the freshness and quality of loose leaf tea due to their extended time in storage, sometimes becoming stale before they even reach the store shelf. They are also typically made from the fannings or dust from the bottom of the tea barrel and do not infuse evenly creating a strong cup with more caffeine. The tannins are also rapidly released when brewed making the flavor more bitter. The small paper bags do not allow the hot water to flow very well through the leaves which have lost most of their essential oils, further reducing the quality and aroma. The standard box and wrap does little to protect the nutritional value of the leaves either. However, today higher quality nylon bags filled with larger leaf pieces are being produced as “tea sachets”, allowing more water to flow through, bringing more flavor to the cup.
TEA TIME TRIVIA
According to scientific research,
fresh whole leaf teas
may be up to 300% healthier
“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”