Many of us assume that making a cup of loose-leaf tea is much more complicated than using a tea bag. On the contrary, it’s just one extra step to use an infuser or tea pot, and the benefits are really worth it:
- It tastes better.
Like interesting people, a cup of tea made from quality loose leaf tea shows greater personality than a cup made from your average tea bag. Loose leaf tea made by conscientious farmers from a pure single source reflects the characteristics of the soil and environment where it’s from, and so the flavour really shines through. Most tea found in tea bags is industrial, made from a blend of sources to create a homogenous preconceived flavour profile that’s designed to sit on the supermarket shelf for any length of time.
- It’s better for you.
Just as you might shop for food carefully, avoiding processed foods in favour of ingredients grown more naturally, it’s worth applying the same standards to tea. Loose leaf teas are higher in nutrients as the catechins in tea (the antioxidant properties) are strongest in fresh full tea leaves. Tea that’s put in a tea bag is mostly broken leaf minus the essential oils and flavour. The less your leaves change hands before they enter your cup, the fresher and better for you they are.
- It’s better for the environment.
Tea bags contain small amounts of a non-biodegradable plastic called polypropylene which seals the bag and retains its shape in hot water. Not only does this prevent the bag from fully composting, but it also leaches billions of microplastics into your cup. The particles go on to seep into our water, soil, and oceans, and impact marine life, taking thousands of years to decompose.
- It’s a deeper and richer experience.
Enjoying a cup of tea is as much about slowing down and taking some time for yourself as it is about a simple means to end whether that’s just having a hot drink or a quick pick-me-up. A cup of loose leaf can remove you from the familiar and predictable in flavour and lead you to new and different discoveries. There’s also a certain pleasure in handling the loose leaf; you’re able to touch, smell and see the leaves, both in the wet and dry forms. When tea is in a tea bag, you can’t touch it, smell it, or properly see it.
- It’s better value.
On the face of it, loose leaf tea is more expensive than most bagged tea. But it’s worth remembering that loose leaf tea can be brewed more than once. You can control the strength of your tea by adding as much leaf as you like. Plus, you’re generally a much better quality of tea with multiple health benefits. The cost of a cup of loose leaf (around £0.30/cup) is still not a high price to pay for better health and flavour.