Benefits of Loose Leaf Tea
Why use loose leaf over bagged tea?
There are plenty of reasons to go loose leaf instead of prepackaged tea bags. You can find plenty of websites that spend most of the time focusing on the negatives of tea bags: talking about the microplastics that are found present in commercial tea bags that leach into your drink and are bad for the environment. Or spend their time focusing on the lack of quality of the tea leaves found in a bag of tea from most companies, which is often the bottom shelf teas that couldn't be sold at a good price as loose leaf are then ground up and mixed together and sealed into cheap grocery store bulk boxes.
I've included these ideas at the beginning of this post, in case these thoughts are news to my readers that they had never considered before. But I'm not going to focus on them because this can be researched further if you are concerned and I would rather spend my time in this post today talking about the positives of changing your daily cup (or three) to loose leaf products.
You decide how much goes into your cup/pot: The flexibility of loose leaf is great. Like one flavor with more strength than another? Making a whole pot? Want to stretch out a flavor in small doses? Your options are as open as your method of straining. Tea ball? Silicone cutie? Large cheesecloth or pre-made mesh tea bag? Teapot that strains for you? No strainer-I'd like to read my tea leaves at the bottom? Possibilities are many and suited to individual or large group use.
It adds some ritual and reflection time to the process: Measuring, stuffing, straining, steeping, removing-all become steps that can be done with intention and purpose. Want more meditative action? Get a sand timer to watch the time pass as it steeps or pour leaves into a glass cup or glass teapot and watch the dried leaves slowly open in the hot water.
Creativity: Do you like mixing teas? That's how I got started. A scoop of roasted green mixed with a pinch of smoky black? Want dried cranberries in your black tea today? White tea with pinch of jasmine? Jasmine with a pinch of white tea?
Alternative methods of steeping: When you use loose leaves instead of a tea bag with powdered bits, you can steep using Eastern styles easier, such as Gong Fu, where leaves are steeped multiple times in short intervals. You can also get a more balanced second steep for the those who enjoy using tea leaves more than once. When you do this with a tea bag, since the leaves are powdered, the first steep takes the majority of the flavor and leaves a weak second cup.