Loose Leaf vs Bag Tea
What is the difference between Loose Tea and Bagged Teas?
Loose Leaf vs Bag Tea. Is there a difference? Does it matter? Well, all true tea is from the Camilla Sinensis plant. But the similarities pretty much end there.
The grocery store may be the most common place to pick up a bag of tea but it is not the place to begin if you truly want to enjoy a pot of amazing Tea. True- some specialty stores do carry whole leaf teas in pre-bagged form- but this is not the norm, especially in mainstream grocery stores. There are also Tea Bags, made of filter paper or silk available that can be used to put Loose Tea in.
Loose Tea is usually made up of whole leaves, or at least larger parts of tea leaves. Because the flavor and aroma of tea are primarily made up of essential oils that evaporate quickly, the smaller bits of tea leaves primarily found in Bagged Teas, known as fannings or dust, allow more of the oils to be exposed to air permitting them to evaporate thus diminishing the flavor of the tea.
Another difference in the quality of Loose Tea and Tea Bags is the ability of water to circulate the leaves. If Tea Bags are packed too tightly the tea leaves will not have the room to absorb water, swell, release oils, or uncurl. This means that the tea will lack body and subtle nuances that play the part of the crucial flavor of the tea.
Certainly, Tea Bags are very convenient. There is no straining needed no fuss, no special equipment, just water, a stove, and a cup. This makes tea portable, fast, and easy to prepare. While these are all great qualities, the flavor of the tea is negatively impacted. If possible, one should at least give Loose Tea a chance when relaxation is the primary goal, when a tea drinker has the time to savor the subtle notes of the tea and to allow it to impact all of the senses.