Tea Bags or Loose Tea

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

Dec 11th, '06, 21:56
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Tea Bags or Loose Tea

by sidaust » Dec 11th, '06, 21:56

I am a new tea drinker and wondering which is better the tea bags or the loose tea...I just purchased the tea maker from adagio teas. Could one just open the tea bags and use it like loose tea...Just wondering..

Dec 11th, '06, 22:46
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by Proinsias » Dec 11th, '06, 22:46

loose tea.

Open your tea bag and look at the tea, the difference should be obvious - unless it's one of the adagio teabags which uses the same tea.

Loose teas tend to look like leaves, teabags tend to look like the dust that fell through the mesh on the production line.

Your tastebuds will guide you.

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Dec 14th, '06, 08:20
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by sjschen » Dec 14th, '06, 08:20

I personally side with loose tea. That way you can be sure you are actually drinking what you paid for (tea) and if there are aspects of the tea you don't like you can examine the tea leaves for problems (fine twigs, black leaves, whatnot).

But then again if you find that you enjoy teabags and don't think the taste of loose teas justify the price, then drinking fannings and dust is a good way to save money.

May your tastebuds (and nasal laminae) be with you... :wink:

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Dec 14th, '06, 08:23
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by Samovar » Dec 14th, '06, 08:23

I favor loose teas - the taste is much richer.

For trips on the go or at work, I use the Nissan Termos. It comes with an infusor for brewing loose teas.

Swiss Gold also makes a Tea Traveler that includes a cup with a Swiss Gold infusor.


Jan 5th, '07, 02:39
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For better quality, definitely do loose tea

by snuvidkid » Jan 5th, '07, 02:39

When I first started really becoming interested in tea in August 2005, I never heard of loose tea. After drinking the loose tea I have never wanted anything to do with teabags. Just out of curiosity, several months ago I decided to try one of Lipton's pyramid tea and I must say it was quite a perversion of tea to say the least. I tried their black tea and white tea and they both tasted like some fruit drink more than anything. They call that their "premium tea" believe it or not.

Sorry if I seem to get carried away with loose teas vs. teabags. I'm just a big advocate of loose teas, esp since so many people are unaware of how much better they actually are so bare with me hehe.

To be honest though, like someone mentioned earlier, if you want cheap, stick with teabags but you'll suffer quality. I also don't know how true it is, but I have heard that loose teas do offer more health benefits than teabags you'd get in the supermarket. It sounds like it would make sense to me. Hope that helps!

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Jan 5th, '07, 12:07
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by Madam Potts » Jan 5th, '07, 12:07

There is no doubt that loose tea is better hands down. The quality equations are pretty simple.

Loose tea = tea leaves

Bagged tea = crushed up tea leaves

Bags can be more convenient - which is really their only merit.


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Jan 12th, '07, 17:03
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by Mike in KY » Jan 12th, '07, 17:03

:roll: This is a joke - right? You bought a tea maker, but haven't already tried a variety of loose tea?

I started out using a thin walled steel camping mug (still do occasionally), a $1.50 tea strainer, and a small digital timer. That humble simple teaware gives much greater contol over brewing than many fancy gadgets. Some such convenient devices may not work as well with some teas.
Spend money buying a variety of loose teas to find out what you like. Price can sometimes be a guide, but there are many expensive teas I dislike and less expensive ones I like. I often blend high priced Assam with lower priced Assam to get a tea that has the body and flavor I want at the moment.

:arrow: Once you find out what you like, buy tea accessories that suit your habits and needs. :wink:

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Jan 28th, '07, 05:14
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by Space Samurai » Jan 28th, '07, 05:14

I think all tea connoisseurs are in agreement, if you care about your tea at all, loose the tea bags.

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Feb 26th, '08, 14:06
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by JM » Feb 26th, '08, 14:06

I wondered which is better so I tried lose leaf and found it to be less...ahhh...bitting? It didn't seem as strong or bitter as bagged tea but I'm still new to the tea world and haven't tried many kinds of lose leaf yet.

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Feb 26th, '08, 23:22
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by henley » Feb 26th, '08, 23:22

I started drinking tea apr 2 yrs ago & only did grocery store brands (Bigelow & Twinings). After finding this site last fall, I decided to try loose leaf tea & have been hooked ever since. It is a little more time consuming but the taste difference is well worth it.

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Mar 5th, '08, 22:08
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by splray » Mar 5th, '08, 22:08

Space Samurai wrote:loose the tea bags.
Exactly. :P

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Mar 6th, '08, 07:31
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Re: Tea Bags or Loose Tea

by MoGa » Mar 6th, '08, 07:31

sidaust wrote: Could one just open the tea bags and use it like loose tea...Just wondering..
I'm not sure this question was ever actually answered :eek:

You can do this - but it's horribly messy. You'll need a particularly fine strainer in order to sift out the tea bits - which sort of become a sludge. (When a tea bag breaks in a pot it's not a particularly joyous occasion).

Going on to the overriding topic

I'm quite schizophrenic when it comes to black tea.
On the one hand I'm a bit of a tea snob (like most people here) and appreciate fine loose leaf teas, which I rarely drink with milk.
On the other hand, living in England, I've been endowed with a healthy appreciation of the tea bag - milk is pretty much mandatory for this kind of brew.
What you get is entirely different, the resulting teas just can't be compared. And the kind of British Tea I'm referring to (such as http://www.yorkshiretea.co.uk, PG Tips, Tetleys etc...) is rarely found abroad and even in this country it's rarely made well outside of people's homes... so not something most tourists will get to try.

The strange thing is that with high grade leaf teas I can brew them in London, Spain and Japan and get consistent results using mineral water. Good tea from 'Working class style' tea-bags (I don't bother with Liptons-yuck! or Twinings - if you're going to go 'upmarket' you might as well drink better tea from leaf) is somehow more elusive. For whatever reason, it's something I can only get right in England. It's pretty icky in Madrid or Tokyo... perhaps it's the milk as well as the water. Alas, with more teas being formulated to pander to the current trend of brewing tea in a mug :cry:, the kind of tea Britain excelled at in the 1950s/60s/70s is becoming harder and harder to find.

I'm obviously just as much a snob about tea bags as I am about leaf tea (I warm the pot, ensure the pot with tea bags is near the kettle so I can pour it in within moments of it boiling, cover the pot with a teapot cozy while it brews, and, controversially, add the milk to the tea last.). A good, strong, English style 'cuppa' is what I most miss when I've been away. It's as quintessentially a part of our culture as Paella in Spain (Valencia) or Ramen in Japan. And just like with paella and ramen, few outside of their originating regions will have ever had a good one. There's a lot to be said for peasant/working class tastes, no need to eat/drink like a Princess every day :D

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Mar 6th, '08, 08:53
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by silverneedles » Mar 6th, '08, 08:53

Yorkshire Gold rules!
with milk and sugar that is

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Mar 6th, '08, 11:00
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by hop_goblin » Mar 6th, '08, 11:00

Space Samurai wrote:I think all tea connoisseurs are in agreement, if you care about your tea at all, loose the tea bags.
Totally! Teabags just get in the way!

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Mar 31st, '08, 00:28
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by motokochan » Mar 31st, '08, 00:28

For taste, loose tea is the best way to go. It just brews better. I can't see myself going back to bagged for my tea needs.

That said, I drink a lot of iced tea, and so I keep the bags for brewing that up. Three bags of Lipton in a big jar (about 4L) of warm water from the tap and leave it on the counter while I'm at work. It actually tastes fairly good, but I'm also used to it.

Interesting comment on the PG Tips, MoGa. I actually saw that at the store, interestingly enough. I never thought an Albertson's in the middle of suburbia, California, USA would carry that stuff. Of course, they are somewhat more of an upscale store compared to the other Albertson's that have been in the area. Considering PG Tips and Lipton are both by Unilever, I figure it isn't something special enough to try. I'd rather buy a box of Pocky or something (yes, they carry that too).

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