For a lot of us, mornings don’t begin without the staple cup of tea. While some prefer black tea, others reach out for healthier options, and there are few who won’t drink anything but a ‘kadak chai’. Whatever your choice of tea is, the real debate here centers around the question: Are loose tea leaves better than bagged tea? To find the answer to the above question, let us weigh both options from different perspectives.
In general, there is a vast difference in the quality of loose tea leaves and tea bags. Teabags are made up of dust and fannings from broken tea leaves that, when immersed in water, release more tannins than whole tea leaves and form a bitter, astringent brew. The bags can often mask the inferior quality of the tea leaves. Also, there is a chance that tea bags are constructed from substandard paper, increasing health complications. Since tea bags are often constructed from 25% plastic, they can release up to 11.6 billion microplastics into a single cup upon reaching brewing temperature.
Taste and nutrition
Whereas taste is a matter of subjective opinion, the vast majority of tea lovers swear by the superior taste of tea leaves which absorb water and expand fully when brewed in a pot. This process also allows the leaves to impart a host of vitamins, minerals and aromas as they brew for a longer time. The leaves in a tea bag cannot expand fully, as they are restricted by the limited size of the bag. Furthermore, tea made from loose tea leaves stays fresh for longer as opposed to the one made from bags that has a tendency to go stale quicker. No guesses who the winner here is.
Teabags are more portable and you can brew tea in a cup of hot water without the need for a stove. Disposing of the teabag is also easier, which bodes greater peril for the environment given its use-and-dispose nature. It pays to make the switch to loose tea leaves as it can drastically reduce the amount of trash generated. Additionally, the ingredients involved in manufacturing tea bags further makes it a burden on the environment. On closer inspection, it has been observed that tea bags use a certain type of polypropylene as a sealing plastic. While this does its job of keeping the construction of the tea bag together, the plastic isn’t biodegradable, making it a non-recyclable item. It further contributes to pollution as the plastic won’t be broken down for years to come.
If you’re looking to do your bit for the environment, it pays to make the switch to eco-friendly tea leaves that won’t leave behind a plastic or waste footprint in the environment. When it comes to saving the environment, no step is too small. You do not have to do away with that morning cup of brew that we started this article with but it would be great to use loose tea leaves instead of teabags.