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View Full Version : What's the Difference Between Loose Leaf and Teabags?


Starscream
01-07-2010, 09:36 AM
Flavorwise, what's the difference? Is loose leaf superior to teabags, and if so, with my inexperienced palate would I notice any difference?

md4958
01-07-2010, 09:43 AM
Many tea bags have tea "dust" in them. That is, they are tiny particles of the leaves. Loose leaf is typically whole leaf. There are some whole leaf tea bags. I serve Harney & Sons silk sachet bags in my shops. They contain whole leaf.

As far as flavor, it could probably be compared to longfiller handmade cigars, and shortfiller machine made.

Starscream
01-07-2010, 09:48 AM
So being whole leaves as compared to dust, the flavors would be quite similar but the whole leaves would be very more pronounced? Thanks for the help, Moe.:tu

md4958
01-07-2010, 09:53 AM
So being whole leaves as compared to dust, the flavors would be quite similar but the whole leaves would be very more pronounced? Thanks for the help, Moe.:tu

The whole leaf is typically a higher quality leaf. Im no expert on tea, but when I was looking to "upgrade" from using lipton in the caffes I sampled many different types at various coffee shows.

Perhaps someone with more tea experience can chime in on why the whole leafs are worth the premium price.

In the mean-time, pm me your addy and ill let you try some assorted whole leaf varieties.

Don Fernando
01-07-2010, 09:58 AM
In the mean-time, pm me your addy and ill let you try some assorted whole leaf varieties.

:r Andy is getting screwed

Zanaspus
01-07-2010, 10:59 AM
Flavorwise, what's the difference? Is loose leaf superior to teabags, and if so, with my inexperienced palate would I notice any difference?

Night and day really. The first thing you'll notice about whole leaves is they're not as "strong" tasting as broken leaves or fannings and dust used in bags. The flavors are more subtle, but there's so much more there to taste. Non-broken blacks are hard to find but can be gotten.

Generally, when I think whole leaf, I think green, oolong, or mao cha(the leaves before they are pressed into cakes for pu-erh). These teas are not cream and sugar, but straight drinkers as cream and sugar would mask everything. I know I sound like a broken record, but if you go this route, get a cheap gaiwan and experiment with gong fu brewing (lots of leaf, very short infusion times).

The other thing about whole leaf is they are more "durable." There are whole leaf blacks that can take 5 short steeps. There are good oolongs and pu-erhs which I get 20-30 steeps out of (small cup a la the Chinese is the route).

Probably more than you wanted to hear. :r

Starscream
01-07-2010, 11:14 AM
Night and day really. The first thing you'll notice about whole leaves is they're not as "strong" tasting as broken leaves or fannings and dust used in bags. The flavors are more subtle, but there's so much more there to taste. Non-broken blacks are hard to find but can be gotten.
So if I like my tea somewhat stronger and use sweetener, then I should probably stick with tea bags?

T.G
01-07-2010, 11:23 AM
:r Andy is getting screwed

Teabagged is more like it.

Starscream
01-07-2010, 11:39 AM
Teabagged is more like it.

:fu2:fu2

Zanaspus
01-07-2010, 03:28 PM
So if I like my tea somewhat stronger and use sweetener, then I should probably stick with tea bags?

Well, the simple answer is yes, but if I may use an analogy, "If I like Padrons, I should just stick to Padron's?" A bit over-simplified, but you get the point. I was a black tea drinker (cream and sugar) for many years before I went to the dark side. It's yet another slippery slope. It's up to you if you want to peer over the precipice.

Starscream
01-07-2010, 09:53 PM
As far as flavor, it could probably be compared to longfiller handmade cigars, and shortfiller machine made.Well, the simple answer is yes, but if I may use an analogy, "If I like Padrons, I should just stick to Padron's?"

Whodathunkit? Cigar references used to describe tea.:tu

Actually, the cigar analogies work well in explaining the difference. Thanks guys.:tu

Cigary
01-07-2010, 10:19 PM
Thanks for asking this question Andy. I love tea but always drink the flavored tea like Bigelow and others. A good friend sent me the whole set of tea leaves, press and flowering teas,,,have not used it yet but will this week sometime. My favorite so far is the Caramel/Vanilla with a spot of cream and two sugars. I got interested in teas when the wife and I took a cruise on the Queen Mary 2 a few years ago and they had a tea time every day with some amazing teas, scones, sandwiches and more. We got really interested in this ritual and stay with it to this day.

M1903A1
01-07-2010, 10:20 PM
Whodathunkit? Cigar references used to describe tea.:tu

Why not? I can remember times when my RyJ Cazadore tasted like tea with honey, or my black tea reminded me of a Monte 4. :2

SilverFox
01-07-2010, 10:21 PM
I can say that in two teas I drink straight Green Tea and Jasmine........I really am not interested in anything but loose leaf and the fuller the better.