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Bagged v. Loose

This morning I made my morning cup of organic Earl Gray and it occurred to me, I often use bagged tea when I’m in a hurry. Other times I use loose tea.  A question presented itself to me, is there a difference between bagged and loose tea?

The answer  is a resounding YES.

I have been researching this question all morning. I came acrosss this incredible article about exactly this. Loose tea and bagged tea, although both tea, are quite different.

Tea leaves contain oils and chemicals which gives tea flavor. The smaller the tea leaf the less of the chemicals and oils are present. The larger the leaf the more flavor it may have. Bagged is small, loose is big. Simple. Maybe.

Loose tea, indeed, does have a better flavor but it is not for the on-the-go kind of person. The tea has to be measured out, a special tea pot or cup must be used so one does not drink the tea leaves, and then the clean up. It sounds like a pain, but it truly is the best way to get the full flavor of tea. I own a special pot with a strainer that I love to use, but mainly at night when I don’t have to worry about rushing out the door.

For this reason, I prefer my morning tea to be bagged. Tea bag in cup, hot water on top, snap lid on travel mug and out the door. Much easier, but still not the same.

After further research, I found that there are grades of tea. Grades? I thought the same thing. I knew that loose tea was better, but now I understand why. 

The grades of tea vary by size and appearance. It does not necessarily relate to taste. The larger tea leaves are reserved for loose tea, while the remaining pieces are reserved for the infamous tea bag. Many regions that produce tea also have varying grades of tea. This article  gives an entire run down of varying grades of tea.

Whether you prefer loose or bagged tea is really a personal choice. I prefer both, although if I had to choose I would go with the loose. It’s fun to watch the tea leaves rehydrate in water!

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