Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags – What’s the Difference Between the Two?

loose leaf tea vs teabags

Over the course of a few years now, there has been a lot of back and forth about why loose leaf tea is much better in flavour than tea bags.

Today we are going to take a look at both and determine what differentiates tea bags from loose leaf tea and why loose leaf tea is usually better than tea bags.

If you are interested in switching from the normal tea that most people drink to a more flavourful cup, read on!

Loose-Leaf Tea vs. Tea bags

The name “Loose-leaf tea” came about because it is basically tea that is not brewed in a teabag.

loose leaf tea vs teabags

When you brew loose-leaf tea, the leaves have room for expanding. What this does is allow the tea to absorb water and expand as they infuse.

This allows the water to flow through the leaves and extract a wide range of vitamins, minerals, flavours, and aromas from the leaves.

Tea bags Don’t Get Great Results

Typically, the tea bags that you purchase are blended for standardization. Because of this, the teas that you buy at the grocery store tend to have the same taste as just yet another tea bag.

The material of the tea bag, the shape that it is and the size of the bags all play an important role in how this tea tastes.

loose leaf tea vs teabags

Most tea bags constrain the tea leaves, keeping them from expanding to their full flavour and aroma potential.

The reason for this is because it’s blended with teas from around the world. They vary from each location because the buyers are purchasing based on price and the final flavour profile.

Often, a higher premium is placed on a tea’s price and standardization than on its quality and character of the flavour profile.

Loose-Leaf Tea Results in More Flavour

Loose-leaf tea is exactly the opposite of those supermarket or grocery store tea bags.

These Loose-leaf teas, especially those that are rare and single origin teas are speciality teas from a single region or even a single portion of a single estate.

Each tea has a distinct flavour profile, aroma, and the appearance varies from year to year and season to season.

Just like the coffee we sell, these teas come from estates and regions where the processing styles and growing seasons are what these teas are known for.

There is a far larger range of flavour and aromas available from loose-leaf tea than there is from standardized blends.

The Difference in Leaves

The differences between loose leaf tea and those supermarket tea bags are just too many to list.

The number one difference is that the leaves used in most tea bags are actually the “dust and fannings” from broken tea leaves.

This is a definite compromise in quality from full loose leaf tea. When tea leaves are broken down into finely broken tea leaves it causes them to lose most of their essential oils and aroma.

When steeped, they release more tannins than whole leaf tea, resulting in bitter astringent brews.

How to Switch to Leaf Tea

If after reading all of that you are ready to switch over to loose leaf tea and away from your normal supermarket tea bags, here are some excellent tips to get you started.

First, think about which flavour profiles you like in tea and then seek them out from a tea shop or simply subscribe to a Blue Tea Box where you will get three different teas each month.

If you prefer black tea, try black loose-leaf teas. Ask your local teashop for recommendations or check out different companies’ online offerings.

Once you’ve selected a few different loose leaf teas to try, now you need to figure out the best way to brew your tea.

brew perfect cup loose leaf tea

There are a lot of choices out there such as brewing in sachets, balls, infuser pots and more.

Be sure to expand your horizons and your taste buds. Try more than one tea. You may find you prefer it after your palate has developed a bit more!

Also, if you are serious about your tea drinking, consider investing in better teaware. And, above all, follow your tastes! If you drink what you love and infuse in something that’s beautiful and sensible for you, you’ll never look at tea bags the same way again.


Here’s the bottom line — drinking tea with loose leaf tea will provide you with more flavour, aroma, antioxidants, and pleasure than the tiny leaf bits and stale tea dust in most mass-produced tea bags.

Although not every day allows you the time and tools needed to make loose leaf tea, that doesn’t mean you need to compromise quality for convenience. Invest in your tea drinking!


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