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The Better Choice: Loose-Leaf vs. Bagged Tea

May 14, 2017

The Better Choice: Loose-Leaf vs. Bagged Tea

Around the world there are generally 3 forms of tea; whether it is a true tea or other varieties of herbal/flavored teas. These forms include bagged, loose-leaf and premixed. In bagged teas, the tea will already be packaged and sealed. In loose leaf form, the tea is poured into a container, such as a stainless steel infuser, where it can be manually measured for drinking. In the premixed form, the tea has been already mixed and packaged in a bottle. Premixed teas are only for teas that are served cold, commonly known as Iced Tea.

In the United States, and around the world, bagged and loose leaf teas are the most common. 


Bagged tea is typically easier to use than loose-leaf tea. This is because everything comes ready to go. All you need to do is to drop a bag inside your pot or cup, add water, and wait for the required time. This allows for ease of use and reduced spillage during steeping. 

Loose-leaf tea, on the other hand, allows the drinker to manually measure the quantity of tea desired. The process of measuring occasionally creates a problem for those who are new to drinking this type of tea. Yet, it is very advantageous for drinkers who are trying to control their tea-drinking level or those under medical surveillance. More so, brewing the loose-leaf tea requires a specialized pot, cup, or strainer to steep.

Conclusively on the ease of use of both tea forms, loose-leaf tea tends to be highly beneficial as drinkers are able to determine the amount of tea they drink. Loose-leaf tea is relatively easy to steep, but there may be a need for a little clean-up after brewing.


Bagged tea is very popular and widely available in the US; both in online and offline stores. Examples of the common bagged teas available are Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, Stash, and Bigelow.

Loose-leaf teas, on the other hand, are rare and delicate compared to bagged tea. These teas cannot be found in most of the common shops and stores; they can only be found in specialize stores, thereby adding to its authenticity and originality. 

Flavor and Quality Issues

When it comes to quality and flavor, loose-leaf defeats bagged tea hands down! Bagged teas usually contain “the remains” of leaves: whereas, loose-leaf teas are typically made from the finest leaves. In fact, many people do not like to refer to bagged teas as “tea leaves” but rather “tea dust”. Regardless of the qualifications attributed to the bagged tea, the loose-leaf tea contains significantly more flavor due to the originality and quality of the ingredients. Typically you want your tea to be able to expand to three times its size when wet.  When you have a tea bag, it does not allow the tea to open up properly, thus reducing the intricacies, delicacies, and flavors of the tea.

However, recent developments may, in the long run, raise the quality of bagged tea. Newer and larger tea bags with pyramid/triangular shape are now appearing in the market which is usually called “pyramid bags”. These larger bags give room for larger leaves to be added in the bag, leading to significant increase in the flavor and quality of bagged teas.

Here at Boulder Tea Shop, we only offer loose-leaf teas.  We want to bring you the best quality, flavor, aroma, and atmosphere available in a cup of tea.  You can check out the many varieties of loose-leaf tea by visiting us here.

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