Loose Leaf Tea vs. Tea Bags

There are so many benefits to green tea! Do you like loose-leaf or tea bags? We’re just about to get into why we choose one over the other.

It’s best to firstly understand the terminology we are using here. Loose leaf teas are predominately whole tea leaves. Teabags are often made from the opposite and consist of tea leaf dust, fannings and broken leaves which make it easier to package into tea bags.

The Science Behind Green Tea

Studies show that the polyphenols found in green tea have many health benefits.

Firstly, what polyphenols are found in green tea?

Before we answer this we really must understand the basics – antioxidants vs. polyphenols. These terms are interchangeably used and don’t refer to the same thing.

With that, polyphenols are a group of plant-based compounds that have plenty of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Because of their high antioxidant properties, they tend to be termed antioxidants as well.

Antioxidants are molecules that help reduce harmful free radical compounds in your body. Antioxidant levels in our bodies are essential to helping us keep our bodies healthy and illness-free. While the human body can produce antioxidants organically, they can also be supplemented by our diet of food or drinks with high antioxidant levels. There are many types of antioxidants, polyphenols being one of the many categories.

These, alongside the other compounds found in green tea have been shown to improve your energy, brain function, metabolism, mood, and general health. Along with exercise, people also use green teas like matcha for weight loss!

So, you’re fully sold on why you should drink green tea but the real question is…

sencha tea field
Japanese green tea field

Loose Leaf Green Tea vs Tea Bags

Whole tea green tea leaves contain a greater proportion of the essential oils that provide that calming aroma and flavour. When the tea leaves are broken it increases the surface area of the tea. Because of this, these essential oils evaporate more easily from smaller pieces of leaves which explains why tea bags often smell great but have lost their full flavour. It leaves them tasting a little flat and dull.

Alternatively, loose-leaf tea delivers a wider more complex flavour profile than you’d get in a teabag. The other benefit of loose leaf is that you can rebrew leaves several times to extract even more flavour. Green teas will rebrew 3-5 times depending on the type. Each time you brew, the leaves will deliver different flavour notes and a different taste experience. This isn’t something I would recommend with teabags. Due to the size of the leaf used in tea bags most of the flavour is extracted upon the first brew.

So why drink teabags? Speed and ease is the short answer. With a teabag, all you need is a cup of hot water and the clean-up is as simple as tossing your tea bag in the bin when done. The drawback here, though, is you often lose out on quality. You’ll only get broken leaves (fannings) and dust in a typical tea bag. While some companies do include bigger pieces, stick with whole leaves for the best quality. Broken leaves release lots of tannins and that’s what makes your tea taste so bitter!

Green Tea Quality

Some people choose loose leaf over tea bags as a rule of thumb but this doesn’t always assure quality. Some loose leaf teas can be of poor quality due to production factors completely out of your control. After harvest, the leaves are dried so they don’t ferment. Drying tea leaves preserves the aroma and locks in the flavours before packaging.

Once the whole leaves are removed, the dust and fannings go into tea bags. These smaller bits don’t infuse as well as whole leaves. This is why tea bags are single-use while not giving as much flavour as the whole leaf alternatives.

It’s best to store tea leaves at home in airtight ceramic or dark glass containers. The key is to keep it in a cool dark cupboard. Oxygen and sunlight are the biggest degradation factors in tea storage. Especially green tea.

Loose Leaf Tea vs. Teabags; Summary

Loose Leaf Green TeaTea BagsNotes
ConvenienceRequires a tea strainer and tea potNo additional equipment neededThis is really the only winning aspect of teabags/ They are easy and quick to brew. Is the compromise worth it?
TasteComplex, bright, alive and fresh notesDull and one dimensional with little complexity.
AromaVibrant, unique and boldDull, undistinguished and lacking
Cost£££Many people think that the quality and premium nature of loose leaf tea results in an expensive cup but it’s simply not true. Due to the amount of times you can rebrew loose leaf tea it is often the same price if not cheaper per cup!
Quality*******This really depends on the teabag you are buying. The majority of teabags use broken leaves and dust meaning that loose leaf tea will always deliver a better quality cup of tea.
Freshness*******Loose leaf tea is often far fresher because it is shipped quicker and handled less than its teabag alternative.
StorageCool dry placeCool dry placeIt is the same for both.
loose leaf tea vs. tea bags

In summary, it really does depend on what you are looking. For us, there is no comparison, loose leaf tea wins hands down. The convenience aspect of tea bags simply does not out weigh all the other benefits of loose leaf green tea including; taste, smell, experience, health benefits and cost.

More and more people are recognising the benefits of loose leaf tea and we want to be part of the revolution. Introducing people to amazing quality green tea one cup at a time. Shop loose leaf green tea today for same-day UK dispatch.