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Loose Leaf Tea FAQs

Loose Leaf Tea FAQs: the answers to questions you may be asking!

What is loose leaf tea?

Loose leaf tea is tea leaves, whether blended, black, green or oolong, flavoured or herbal that is not contained in a bag. Conventionally this may be a paper bag such as a string tagged bag, or a mesh pyramid style infusion bag designed for larger leaf grades.

Is loose leaf tea better than teabags?

Teabags are only suited to small leaf teas. They are designed for quick infusing so small leaf teas are necessary. The problem is that the most balanced flavour profile for a tea is only achieved once the tea has been given sufficient time to infuse. However, a small leaf tea would be unbearably tannic if allowed to infuse too long as tannins are amongst the first flavour to be infused. Large leaf teas avoid this problem but are unsuited to teabags as they need more space to infuse and do so too slowly for most people who choose teabags.

How much loose tea per cup?

When using an individual cup infuser use one heaped teaspoon per cup – around three grams. When using a teapot use one teaspoon per cup plus one for the pot – around nine grams for a two-cup teapot as there is a little waste, especially if it is a traditional, non-infuser, teapot. For green teas use three grams per cup with no addition.

Can loose tea be reused?

Yes, if the tea is green or oolong. Do not reuse black tea. When reusing tea increase the brewing time with each successive infusion to ensure sufficient taste.

Why does loose leaf tea need more time to infuse than teabags?

Loose leaf tea generally has a larger leaf size. This means that the tea can be infused more slowly, enabling the full flavour profile to be infused without excessive tannins being drawn into the liquor. The result is undoubtedly a more distinctive cup of tea. Teabags need less time but have a narrower flavour profile resulting in a less balanced cup of tea. Tannins for instance infuse more quickly than other flavour components. The small leaf size in teabags means that the tea cannot be infused too long without becoming bitter.

Is loose leaf tea cheaper?

All things being equal loose leaf tea would be cheaper because there is no cost of bags and bagging. However, most producers of loose leaf tea use a more expensive blend of tea or higher grades to give a better flavour.

Does loose leaf tea go bad?

Black tea has a long shelf life – of two or three years. Green tea has a shorter shelf life of around six months to one year. The biggest factors in determining the life of tea are the storage conditions. All tea should be kept in dry, cool, airtight conditions away from light. Therefore do not store in glass jars.

Which loose leaf tea is best?

If we assume best refers to taste then the best teas are the most distinctive – depending upon your preferences. The most distinctive may be blends that have a well-known character of their own such as Earl Grey or Russian Caravan. They may well also be teas from a specific area of origin or method of production. An example of the former would be Darjeeling and the latter, lapsang Souchong.

Does loose leaf tea have more caffeine?

Loose leaf tea has no more caffeine than a cup of tea made from teabags

How long should loose leaf tea be brewed?

Black teas can take five to seven minutes to infuse depending upon the type of tea. Assam teas, Ceylon teas, Dimbulas and Yunnan black teas take amongst the longest as a good robust flavour with good body is desirable. Darjeelings and China Keemuns can take around three minutes to infuse. Oolong teas and white teas require as little as two minutes but can be brewed for considerably longer according to taste. Blended teas generally take around five minutes. Patience is the key with loose leaf teas as the leaf is often larger and the high-grade loose leaf teas need the longest time to brew as their surface area relative to the mass of the tea is less.

How do I make the perfect cup of tea?

See our information pages for making black tea and making green tea.

What are the health benefits of drinking tea?

See our information pages on the health benefits of black tea and the health benefits of green tea.

Have we answered all your questions in our loose leaf tea FAQs?

If not please contact us or go to our Home page to start your tea journey!

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