Let’s get real about tea bags

Three problems with most ordinary tea bags:

  1. They’re full of dust
  2. Tea bags in pouches in a box generate a huge amount of trash
  3. The resulted brew tastes awful and looks cloudy

Dust

Yes. Most tea bags are filled with very finely ground particles of low quality tea, most of which is the end result from the production and handling of tea leaves.

Dust
The dust from a Lipton tea bag (center) sits next to real Chinese green tea leaves.

Waste

A tea bag made of paper sits in a foil or plastic pouch. Twenty of these sit in a box, sometimes wrapped in plastic again. It ends up being a very small about of tea dust and a huge amount of trash.

Packaging waste comparison
The pile of trash generated from 20 bags of Chamomile dust versus the amount of loose Chamomile you could buy for the same price.

Taste

The taste from tea bags poorly represents the true flavors and nuances you’d get in loose leaf tea. This is like eating the lowest quality of chocolate (tastes and feels like plastic). For many there is no comparison since loose leaf tea is not part of their routine. Another factor is how tea bags are packaged. A tea bag typically lives in a sealed foil or plastic pouch, stuffed into a cardboard box and sometimes wrapped in plastic again. The marketing speak indicates this preserves flavor, but there’s no real flavor to preserve from tea dust. All this packaging adds to the lame smell of tea bags.

Tea comparison
Left to right: Lipton green tea bag, Mighty Leaf tea bag, loose leaf.

But buying loose leaf tea is overwhelming and expensive!

There is a solution.

5 thoughts on “Let’s get real about tea bags”

  1. I, unfortunately, still drink a lot of bagged tea. For me, it’s not as much the cost of loose leaf tea that’s prohibitive, but that I would either need to brew a pot, get a brewing spoon (I don’t know the name of those devices – something like a metal tea bag), or empty – fillable – tea bags. The convenience of tea bags, and the lack of availability of fillable tea bags in my area, lead me to buy bagged tea. Advice on how to shift to loose leaf tea is appreciated!

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