Tea-drinking ritual is a part of human life. People all over the world drink teas. In fact, it is the highest consumed and most popular beverage in the world, after water of course.
Tea offers a number of other health benefits in addition to mental alertness. It is a healthy alternative to soda. Tea is calorie and fat-free.
Teas are available in different forms with a wide price range. Before discussing the availability and price, first, we will know more about tea. We will have a look at its history to know why this beverage is the second highest consumed beverage after water.
Brief History of Tea
Tea has a great history that starts from 2727 BC. Yes, your favorite beverage is even older than your imagination. The Chinese emperor ShenNong was the first who discovered the tea. He found several tea leaves into a pot while purifying water in a shelter. The superb fragrance, taste, and color impressed the emperor. Soon after, tea became a part of Chinese culture. People started drinking it every day. During the initial period, there were only a few types of teas.
People were using different methods to preserve tea for a long time. This attempt gave birth to the tea bags. Tea bags are also not a recent innovation. It was there since 1908s. However, form and usage were different. During that period, people were preserving teas in folded papers to retain the aroma and flavor. They were not using the papers to soak in water like modern tea bags. They were only using those preserved teas to prepare the tea in the traditional manner.
Types of Teas
In the current condition, you will find different types of teas that include white tea, green tea, black tea, yellow tea, and herbal teas. These are a few to be named. You can expect wide varieties with a wide price range. All these tea types are available in two categories. These are loose leaf tea and tea bags.
Loose leaf tea is more expensive than tea bags. You might be thinking that why the loose leaf tea is more expensive when tea bags are involved with a lot of packaging. We will discuss the factors in detail in the following paragraphs. Before that, we will know more about loose leaf tea and tea bags.
What is the Loose Leaf Tea?
Loose leaf tea is available in different grades. These are graded by quality and size. The highest quality loose leaf teas are whole leaf and broken leaf. There are also fanning and dust tea. It is worth mentioning that tea bags are prepared by using fanning and dust tea. Both these are considered the lowest quality loose leaf tea.
Whole leaf teas are known as the best quality teas. These are unbroken and whole leaves. This type can be used for multiple infusion and take the longest time to infuse. The broken leaf is referred to as broken tea leaves. Though these are broken, still, they are large enough. This type is a part of whole leaf tea and the quality is considered best. In fact, some broken leaf is better than a few whole leaf teas.
Fannings are small broken pieces of leaves. But these are still recognizable from the texture. The quality of fannings is not considered good. Dust comes after the processing. Tea leaves become dust after passing through a grading machine. The texture of this tea is powdery. It is the lowest quality of tea and comparatively cheaper than the above types.
What is a Tea Bag?
Tea bags come in a porous, small, and sealed packet. They contain dried plant material. Tea bags are more convenient and easy to use. You can simply soak a tea bag in hot water to prepare your favorite tea. The key benefit of tea bags is that you will find tea bags for almost all types of teas that might be green tea, white tea, and black tea.
Tea bags are available in different materials. The most commonly used materials are food grade plastic, filter paper, and nylon. Tea bags contain steeped tea and that makes it easier to prepare tea. Tea bags come with an attached string and a label on the top of it to offer easy usage. Tea bags are available in rectangular and square shapes with a brand name and flavor printed on them.
Is Loose Leaf Tea Expensive than Tea Bags?
Yes, loose leaf teas are more expensive than tea bags. You will find different types of tea bags and loose leaf teas. Even if you buy the lowest quality of loose leaf teas, you will have to spend more than tea bags. The reason is that loose leaf tea is free from additives and retains its original flavor. You can also expect a good flavor in tea bags. But these are not original flavors. Manufacturers use artificial flavors to boost selling.
Some tea bags are also expensive. If you buy from a popular brand, you might need to spend more on tea bags. However, if you buy a popular loose leaf brand, you will have to spend much more than tea bags. Take all these things into account while buying loose leaf tea or tea bags.
Related Article: How and When Can You Reuse Loose Leaf Tea?
Why Is Loose Leaf Tea Expensive?
As stated earlier, the quality of loose leaf tea is superior to tea bags. In a tea bag, you will find fanning and small pieces of tea leaves. These are the lowest grade of the loose leaf tea. Also, they add additional flavor and additives in tea bags. You will not experience this problem while using loose leaf teas. In addition, you can consider the following reasons.
1. Superior Quality
The CEO and founder of the Art of Tea, Steve Schwartz, said that there is a great difference in the quality between the leaf tea and tea bags. Loose leaf teas are better regardless of the type. You can use either whole or broken large pieces of leaves. They do not go through the processing and preserve the quality. As he explained, when tea producers sort through tea leaves, the dust falls on the ground. This dust is swept up and used to prepare tea bags.
Founder of the Bellocq Tea Atelier, Heidi Johannsen Stewart says the same. He said the fannings and dust are mostly used to fill tea bags. All these things prove that the quality of tea bags is lower than loose leaf teas. So, you can choose the better quality loose leaf tea to have good overall experience.
2. Better Control
Another benefit of loose leaf tea is that you will have control on portion. You can use the quantity depending on your taste. If you want a strong tea, you can add more leaves. Everybody has some specific preferences and loose leaf tea will help to get the desired taste. You cannot expect this benefit from tea bags. Tea bags are sealed and packaged. You will have to use that packet. You will not have control over the quantity.
Related Article: How to Properly Measure Loose Leaf Tea For Brewing
3. Magical Taste
You will find fannings and dust in small tea bags. The packaging process and additives will reduce the quality of your tea significantly. But the loose leaf tea does not need packaging and the flavor will not be trapped inside. They can fully expand and easily release natural flavors. Also, loose leaf tea contains more essential oils compared to tea bags. All these boost the flavor of loose leaf teas.
Tea dust or small tea pieces are used in the tea bag package. During blending, the natural flavor goes away. There is no doubt that you will find the same aroma in tea bags since tea manufacturers use artificial aroma and additives to prepare a similar kind of tea. However, you cannot expect the same benefits. In fact, additives can cause harmful effects. Some tea bags are believed to impair your immunity if you take them on a regular basis. Loose leaf tea offers original or natural aroma and is considered safe.
5. Health Benefits
In addition to great taste, flavor, and quality, loose leaf teas offer more health benefits than its contender. Loose leaf tea is rich in polyphenols, vitamins, and antioxidants. All these are known for offering a number of health benefits. With regular consumption, it improves your alertness and boosts your focus and concentration. It will strengthen your immunity and lower low blood pressure. You cannot expect all these benefits from tea bags since the quality and flavor gets compromised during processing.
From the above, you might have realized why loose leaf tea is more expensive than tea bags. Also, you might have found enough reason to switch to the loose leaf tea. Tea bags are cheaper and harmful as well. They come with additives to be stored for a long time. They do not offer the real benefits of tea. However, these are easy to prepare. You just need hot water to prepare your tea. Loose leaf tea will demand more time in preparation. But you will certainly find it worth spending if you consider the health and other benefits.
Related Article: Why Loose Leaf Tea is better than Tea Bag for the Environment?