A Beginner's Guide to Loose Leaf Tea

Never tried loose leaf tea before? You've come to the right place.

What is loose leaf tea?

In a very general definition, loose leaf tea is tea that does not come prepackaged in tea bags. Because it is not crammed into a tea bag, loose leaf tea uses tea leaves of a much higher quality than your typical tea bag. The drinker places the tea leaves inside of a steeping ball, french press, or some other infuser to prepare the tea.

What is the difference between loose leaf tea and tea bags?

Tea can be categorized into many different grades. There are four overarching categories: dust grades, fanning grades, broken leaf grades, and whole leaf grades. Whole leaf grades being the best and highest quality. The tea bags you can buy at the grocery store normally contain dust and fanning grades of tea. Tea must be crushed to be packaged into tea bags and even pyramid tea bags. Dust and fannings are the small particles that are created when the tea is crushed.

Why does this matter?

When tea is broken down, it actually affects the taste of the tea. Tea that is broken can taste more bitter due to a higher amount of tannins being released when steeped.
Whole leaf tea expands and unfurls as it is steeped. This produces more flavor, and provides a certain taste of freshness to the tea.

How to Make Loose Leaf Tea

Step 1: Bring 8 ounces of filtered water to a boil.

Step 2: Place 1 teaspoon of tea inside an infuser.

Don't have an infuser?

Step 3: Place your infuser inside of your mug, and carefully pour the hot water over the infuser filling up your mug.

Step 4: Let the tea steep for the desired amount of time

Not sure how long to steep the tea? Check out the suggested steeping time on the packaging.

Step 5: Enjoy!

How to use Full Leaf Tea Infusers

How do I choose which tea to drink?

There are so many choices, but you really can't go wrong!

Black Tea

Perhaps the most common tea, black tea is made from the camellia sinensis plant and is highly oxidized. This gives the tea leaves their dark color.
Common blends with black tea include English Breakfast, Earl Grey, and Chai.
Black tea is also a popular choice for making iced tea.

Green Tea

Green tea is made from the same plant as black tea, but it is minimally oxidized. This is why the leaves are green in color. Green tea has a lighter, more vegetal taste. Green tea is known for being a high source of antioxidants and for its many health benefits.
Some common green teas include floral tasting Jasmine Tea and smoky tasting Houjicha. Matcha is a green tea powder.

White Tea

White tea is the least processed tea. It is made from the same plant as black and green tea, but the tea leaves are exposed to heat as quickly as possible to stop oxidation. This gives the tea a mild and delicate flavor.
White tea is known for many health benefits, including helping lower blood pressure. This makes it a popular choice for heart health. It is featured in our Organic Healthy Heart Tea.

Herbal Tea

Herbal tea is a blend of herbs and spices. Any tea that does not contain tea leaves from the camellia sinensis plant is considered an herbal tea. Almost all herbal teas are caffeine free (one exception is yerba mate).
Because so many different herbs are used, a large variety of flavors can be achieved in herbal blends. Some common herbal teas are Chamomile, Peppermint, and Rooibos.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea falls somewhere in the middle of black tea and green tea. It is oxidized more than green tea, but less than black tea. The tea is rolled into unique shapes which can result in a variety of different flavors.
Dark oolong is more oxidized and has a bold nutty flavor. Green oolong is lighter in flavor and is extremely smooth.

Pu-Erh Tea

Pu-erh tea also comes from the leaves of the plant camellia sinensis plant, but it goes through a unique process of oxidation and fermentation. Pu-erh is aged to get a unique flavor that no other tea has. Pu-erh has a strong earthy flavor that lends itself well to chai and cocoa blends.
Pu-erh is commonly used as a substitute for coffee because of its high caffeine content.

Tea Health Benefits

Click on the images below to learn more about the specific health benefits of different tea types.