Not all teas are made equally. Teas are available in different forms with a wide price range and methods of consumption. Some teas have more aroma than the others, or you might find some teas easier to steep than the others. When you go out in the market, you will realize that there are teas packed in tea bags through porous, small, and sealed packet, with a string attached with label at the end of it, while there are specialty teas that are usually simply packed in a tin or paper can or foil with a bag of loose tea leaves in it. With this in mind, it is better to find the differences between specialty teas and those tea bags sold for masses.
Tea leaves are graded differently. The whole leaves and some broken leaves are the ones that are being packaged as specialty teas. Specialty tea is a high-grade premium loose-leaf tea. These are considered as high in quality tea leaves. The whole tea leaf is the type of tea leaf that can be used for multiple infusion and take the longest time to infuse. The broken tea leaves that are large enough are also considered in making specialty tea because it preserves its high quality. In fact, some broken leaf is better than a few whole leaf teas.
On the other hand, what is being used by those tea bags available in the market are fanning and dusts. Fanning are small broken pieces of leaves. Dusts are those that are left after the tea leaves are processed through a grading machine, which is already powdery in texture that are usually comparable to ceremonial matcha. Fanning and dust tea leaves are eventually packaged as tea bags.
An obvious difference between a specialty tea and a tea bag being sold off the market is that in a specialty tea pack, the consumer will be the one to control the portion to be steeped in a hot water. The consumer can gradually increase the quantity of the specialty tea leaves depending on one’s taste. If you want a strong tea, you can add more leaves. Everybody has some specific preferences and specialty tea using loose tea leaves will help to get the desired taste. The preparation method is also intricate for specialty tea compared to cheap teas sold for the masses. However, specialty teas require tea balls or strainers to put the loose tea leaves in a pot, to be steeped depending on the instructions or preference, while tea bags are simply soaked in hot water. Thus, the preparation of consuming tea bags is way easier compared to specialty teas. These are usually on the go and one would simply need a hot water. The tea bags sold for the masses are pretty convenient and easy to be steeped compared to a specialty tea and you can simply find these tea bags everywhere. The loosely pyramid premium nonwoven tea bags or sachets are designed to maximize the water flowing in and around the leaves inside the tea bags and this would already serve as strainers on the go without the need of bringing your own. Moreover, the leaves in the tea bags are finer than specialty teas and would prevent the fragments of the leaves to be consumed from drinking. If one is bothered in consuming particles of leaves together with the tea, then tea bags would be a better option.
The taste would also be a very important variant between specialty teas and tea bags, thus, another difference between a specialty tea and those sold for the masses is that loose tea leaves used by specialty teas are free from additives and retains its original flavor. The CEO and founder of the Art of Tea, Steve Schwartz and Founder of the Bellocq Tea Atelier, Heidi Johannsen Stewart said that specialty teas using loose tea leaves do not go through the processing and preserve the quality. Specialty tea or loose-leaf tea is produced for its exceptional qualities. The tea leaves being used in specialty teas are more superior that the tea bags since specialty teas use loose tea leaves. Since specialty teas use loose tea leaves that are larger, they impart more flavor than the finely cut leaves of a tea bag tea. Also, loose tea leaves contain more essential oils compared to tea bags. All these boost the flavor of specialty teas. On the other hand, the flavorings in tea bags are usually not their original flavors. Since the tea bags are already fanning or dust particles processed into tiny little pieces, tea manufacturing companies would already add flavorings to the tea bags to boost their flavors. The tea bags lose their aroma because of the several stages of processing it went through before being put inside a tea packet, that is why additives and flavorings are being put in them. However, this is usually true for paper tea bags. The tea leaves need to fully expand in order to release their maximum flavor and the design of the loosely pyramid premium nonwoven tea bags are advantageous for the leaves inside it to fully expand and to release its flavor, compared to loose tea leaves that a consumer still needs to use small strainerssuch as metal tea balls that are constrained in space and would not allow the loose tea leaves to expand at their maximum. Thus, those tea bags in loosely pyramid packets can easily release their natural flavors and aroma compared to specialty teas steeped through metal tea balls. Also, not all bagged teas lose its flavorings and health benefits. Take for example the stone grinded leaves that saves the intense bitter flavor, the rich green color, the earthy aroma and the grainy texture of the tea, as well as the benefits of enhancing the level of nutrients and antioxidants.
From all the differences between specialty teas and tea bags sold for the masses, one would have knowledge on what to buy depending on one’s personal preferences. Not because specialty teas are much more expensive than tea bags does not mean that you cannot find a high-quality tea bags off the market. High quality tea bags are in fact easily to be found as long as you know what to look for these tea bags, such as those mentioned above, since not all bagged teas are the same. Also, the same goes for loose-leaf teas that are not made equally in terms of quality. Despite the cheap teas being sold off the market, buying high-quality teas, be it a specialty tea or a bagged tea, would be a smart move considering the benefits that you would be getting from drinking them. After all, a tea drinker would really want to receive the real benefits of tea.
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We have conducted a contest to see which design would be the best option for our popular Nozomi, Kabusecha tea.
Thank you very much for participating and sharing your opinion.
Here is the result of the contest.