Here's why-The main difference between loose teas and bag teas are the size of the leaves. Tea bags contain only the dust and fanning's of tea. These are considered to be the very lowest grade of tea.
Whole tea leaves are often rolled and shaped during processing. When brewed in water the leaves unfurl and expand to release their essential oils. The flavor is allowed to develop in the cup.
This can be true quality tea.
Watching this happen is part of the relaxation of tea for many of us. Some teas called Blooming Teas can be really fascinating. I have watched the tea leaves open and expand to reveal a flower (often a jasmine) inside.
The tea bag does have something that many people want, convenience. Just drop the bag in water. It has a string attached for pulling it back out. Flavor is sacrificed for this convenience.
I personally prefer to use an infuser. Many teapots sold today come with one. It will fit down inside the pot.
I add the dried leaves and pour the right temperature water over them. Allow the tea to brew for a length of time for the particular kind of leaves I'm brewing, then I lift the infuser out.
One of my tea pots is clear glass. I can keep an eye on what's going on in the pot while it is brewing.
Some tea companies today are trying to reinvent the tea bag to allow space for longer leaves and better quality. Instead of a flat envelope style, some new bags are three dimensional. The new shape resembles a pyramid. It allows for some movement of the leaves inside.
This is a step in the right direction. But these new bags are very few and far between.
The next step would be to fill the bags with very top quality leaves. Perhaps that is also on the drawing board for the future.
I wonder if one day even I will return to this method of brewing. I doubt it. I'll still want to see the flower emerge.
Here's a quick exercise for you to try. Make tea with a grocery store tea bag. Afterward cut the bag tea opened. Do you think you will find a tea leaf? I don't, but you will understand why bagging tea affects quality.
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