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What Makes Whole-Leaf Tea Better?
Whole-leaf or loose leaf tea refers to the size of the tea leaves. The main difference between whole-leaf tea and the typical tea bag is the size of the leaf. The less broken tea leaves available in the tea results in more essential oils being retained in the leaves, the basis of the tea’s flavor and aroma. Typical tea bags consist of tiny broken pieces of tea leaves called fannings or dusts. When the leaves are broken up, the essential oil can evaporate quicker resulting in a tasteless tea.
When you use a whole-leaf tea, the leaves need space to swell, expand, and unfurl to release the essential oils, minerals and vitamins contained within them. Therefore, good water circulation around and through the leaves is important. Do to the size of the typical tea bag, there is not enough room for the leaves to expand which does not allow the water to circulate around the leaves. This results in a less flavorful cup of tea.
Typical grocery store tea bags contain a blend of different types of teas. This is done to help keep the cost of the tea low. The quantity of each type of tea can vary based on the cost of each tea. While the amount of each tea added to the blend may vary, the flavor profile changes very little due to the number of teas blended together. Also, the good leaves are packaged and sold as whole-leaf tea, the left over tea is put into the tea bags.
Whole-leaf tea usually consists of one type of tea from a specific region. This results in changes in flavor from year to year and season to season. Therefore, the time of year the tea is harvested will yield a particular flavor profile. Because the leaves contain more essential oils, some whole-leaf teas can be re-steeped to yield multiple cups of flavorful tea.
Two leaves and a bud tea company has found a way to put whole-leaf tea into a bag that allows the leaves to unfurl and release their full flavor. The pyramid shaped bag also allows the water to circulate through the tea leaves resulting in a rich and flavorful cup of tea.
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