Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags: Which is Better?

By November 20, 2016

A brutal battle between loose leaf tea and tea bags has been waged for decades. Now the lines have been drawn. You must choose where you stand: loose leaf tea or tea bags?

Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags

Throughout North America and Europe, the average person will tell you that tea bags are the best thing to make tea. A tea bag is clean and convenient, and gives you a reliable tea flavor each time without the mess of measuring and dumping out the tea leaves. But from others’ point of view, it is the murderer of a proper cup of tea. Since tea bags need to be produced quickly and cheaply, the quality of the tea itself have to suffer. The only way to enjoy tea, they claim, is through the traditional method of loose leaf tea.

Both sides have merit to their argument, but the issue may not be quite as black and white as they present it. We’ll take a closer look at the pros and cons of each method from the aspects of “flavor” and “steeping”, to find out if there truly is a clear winner.

Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags: Flavor

loose leaf tea

The biggest advantage of loose leaf tea is that its leaf doesn’t need to be cut before it is steeped. No matter folded, twisted or curled, once steeped, the leaf unfurls and provides a strong, powerful flavor. While the leaves of tea bags have to be packed into such a small space that they cannot release a delicious and complex flavor as a whole tea leaf could. Most loose leaf purists claim that this means the loose leaf tea will always have a better flavor than a tea bag.

However, if you compare the same leaf steeped with both methods, it is true the loose leaf would win. But one thing the fans of loose leaf tend to forget is the quality of the leaf you start with. If a tea company prepares their tea bags using high quality leaves, the flavor will be stronger in spite of the cut leaves. On the other hand, if the tea is poor, it won’t matter if it is loose leaf or not.

Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags: Steeping

tea bags

In terms of convenience, the tea bag wins out for sure. You never have to think about measuring the proper amount. What you need to do is just to heat the water, throw in the tea bag and steep as desired. But each tea bag is only good for a single steep, which means that you’ll have to change another tea bag if you are a regular tea drinker.

While steeping a loose leaf tea is certainly a more complex effort than a tea bag. You have to measure out the proper amount each time, and if you don’t pay attention, it may affect the end result. But loose leaf tea does have an advantage: you are free to use as much or as little as you want, customizing it to your own taste. And loose leaf tea will also provide flavor even if steeped multiple times, so you can effectively brew several cups throughout the day easily.

drink tea

Finally, as you can see above, each method has its good points and bad points. So who is the real winner in this competition? Ultimately, you are! You can choose the one that suits your preference. In the end, go ahead and brew up a cup in the way you like.

Comments (16)



  1. I really love loose tea but usually tea bags are more convenient for just one cup.

  2. I only use loose leaf tea. I had read a horribly scaring article that stated that the bleaching process used to make tea bags is very nasty. I switched that day. I love my loose leaf :)

  3. For me it depends if it is a quick cup of breakfast tea in the morning then I’m happy to use a tea bag, but for pure tea enjoyment nothing can beat a freshly brewed pot of loose leaf tea and your favourite biscuit.

  4. Team Teabag – Less Mess

  5. Loose tea vertime

  6. Tea bags – who needs to drink leaves?

  7. I like loose leaf, the flavor is much stronger

  8. I prefer loose

  9. I prefer tea bag

  10. Tea bags i hate the floaty pieces in loose leaf tea

  11. I love loose tea for us, but if I have visitors I use bags for convenience

  12. loose tea especially earl grey

  13. Teabags

  14. Tea bags can’t go wrong then there’s no chance of getting tea leaves in your mouth