5 Reasons To Lose Tea Bags and Go Loose
We could give you many more than five reasons why you should choose loose leaf over tea bags. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve already made the move or are considering it. But first, let’s look at our rivals.
The Ubiquitous Tea Bag
Since the middle of the 20th century most people in the West have made their tea from tea bags. Those bags are cheap, tidy, and convenient. And you always know what you’re getting, or think you do (the flavor’s on the label, right?). Perhaps you’ve one box at the back of your kitchen shelf that’s been there since the dawn of time. At a pinch, you’ll take a few bags from that - maybe for a visitor who just called by - and fling them in the garbage when you’re done (the bags, not the visitor). No ceremony then. Just regular, boring, dependable tea. A quality tea infuser is the way to go.
The Precious Loose Leaf
Loose leaf teas call to mind more ancient, ritualistic times. They might even convey a certain aura of magic and mystery. After all, you won’t find many people trying to read a tea bag. But for some, they also carry associations of preciousness and over-refinement. And they’re rather more expensive. Plus those leaves look kinda weird. And you secretly fear they’ll taste strange, and brew much too strong. Do you really need the fuss?
About Those 5 Reasons
At a glance, that’s how tea bags and loose leaf teas stack up - average Joe vs something more exotic and demanding. But when we walk through the five reasons that perspective starts to shift.
1. Seeing is Believing
The humdrum nature of tea bags means we tend to overlook the obvious: we can’t actually see what they contain. If we tear one open - particularly the cheaper kind - we’ll see a mixture of very short cut leaves, fragments, and tea dust known as fannings. That faint bitterness you get with some bags? Well, it could be the poor quality of the leaves or even tiny bits of stem left in the mix, souring the flavor. Hard to say, though… it’s all hidden away.
With loose leaf you really see and feel the leaves, and smell them too. You can easily distinguish the difference between whole and partially cut leaves and buds. There’s a connection with the natural world - the color, textures, and the individual leaf varieties. Everything is fresher and more present. With loose leaves, there’s really nowhere to hide. If it’s a trusted artisanal brand you’ll know it will be the finest selection, and nothing but. A fine glass tea infuser will allow you to enjoy every bit of your tea leaves.
2. Choosing Strength
Tea bags don’t give you a lot of options when it comes to strength. You can leave the bag in for a bit longer or throw in an extra one for a bigger or darker brew, but that’s about it. And then there’s the sad sight of those bags sitting on the washboard or on a saucer. Deflating.
Loose leaves allow you much more control. To keep a brew going you can add a few more leaves to the ones you’ve already got going. And you’ll need far fewer of them to get that rich, deep flavor. Over time, you’ll know precisely how many to add - and when - to get the strength you desire. With a quality tea infuser you will be able to do that!
3. Ditching Plastic
That’s right, plastic - the stuff we’re supposed to be reducing - is still used in the vast majority of tea bags. The edges of regular bags are often sealed with plastic, but those fancy ‘silky’ mesh numbers are entirely made up of nylon or polyester. So If that’s your preferred option, congratulations - you’ve been brewing through the world’s smallest pantyhose!
There’s much more we could say about just how bad these things are for the environment. For instance, you should never put mesh or even conventional tea bags in a home compost bin, because they won’t fully compost. But that could fill up a whole post… like the plastics filling our entire world. So just don’t. Use loose leaves instead. They’re fully compostable and come without the redundant packaging. Need we add more? Reusable tea infusers are the best way to solve this issue!
4. Variety is the Spice of Life
It might seem as though boxed tea bags give you a fair selection of flavors, but really the choice is very slight compared to the range of loose varieties out there. Why stick with what’s on the typical store shelves when you can sample a world of organic loose leaves (white, yellow, and fermented as well as black and green) rising up to the very finest Japanese blends, overseen by absolute masters of the craft. Now you don’t have to go quite that far, but it’s nice to know that you can. And that you can mix loose leaf mixtures just the way you like. Now try doing that with a bag.
5. Begin Your Journey
Enjoying your favorite tea on a hike is one of life’s little pleasures. However, tea bags take up a surprising amount of space, and once they’re used, you’ll have to take those sodden little bags all the way back with you (remember, most aren’t compostable). Loose leaves are far handier. You can bring exactly the amount you need, filter them to your preferred strength with a portable Ukiyo Sense Infuser, and keep on with your journey. And if you do have to change the leaves, disposal won’t be a problem, even in the great outdoors. So we think it’s about time to ditch those bags (responsibly, of course). Go loose for a change. You won’t go back.