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I love tea just as much as I love coffee, and now that I use loose-leaf tea, I drink it every day.
In the past, I exclusively used teabags from the grocery store until this year when I was given loose-leaf tea as a gift, along with a steeping pot to brew it in. Now, loose-leaf has made me love tea more than ever.
I was initially hesitant to get into loose-leaf tea brewing simply out of ignorance. Had I known that is was just as easy (and in many ways, easier) than brewing with tea bags I would have switched a long time ago.
What Makes Loose-Leaf Tea Better Than Teabags?
Teabags Cause Tea to Go Stale
By their very nature, teabags do not contain the freshest tea. The tea is (in most cases) essentially powdered, and that exposes the maximum surface area of the tea to the air. That is not good for preserving the freshness of the tea. If you want something to stay fresh, you don’t want to crumble it up and put it in a paper bag.
Teabags Are More Expensive by Weight (a lot of the time)
Check this out. This 120 count, 6 box pack of flavored Bigelow brand black tea teabags contains 8.05 oz. of tea and costs $14.91 on Amazon.
In contrast, the 16 oz. bags of loose-leaf tea I recommend below are less than half the price by weight in some cases.
You could get cheaper teabags, but Bigelow is a good measuring point, being a very common brand that isn’t the very cheapest possible.
Teabags Are Less Versatile Than Loose-Leaf Tea
When brewing with teabags, brewing a pot of tea is much more complicated and expensive than when brewing with loose-leaf tea in the pot I recommend below.
Brewing a pot with teabags, you may need to steep 8 teabags at once, cutting off or somehow keeping the paper tags out of the water, then trying to fish all the bags out of hot water to prevent over-brewing. Avoid all this by switching to loose-leaf tea. I’ve done both, and trust me, loose-leaf is way easier.
Don’t get tied down to what’s in the teabag. With loose-leaf tea, you have the freedom to make any flavor or blend of tea that you want with the best ingredients.
With loose-leaf tea, you have much more freedom to control what type and ingredients go into the tea you’re brewing. You can start with a simple green or black tea and add fruit essences, mint leaves, herbs, or whatever you please and make the perfect pot with fresher ingredients than you could ever get from a teabag.
Davidson’s has some herbs and add-ons you can buy by the bag on the same Amazon listing as their tea, so go crazy and add Organic Peppermint Leaves to your green tea or Lemon Essence with Peel to your black tea. You can buy anything that’s in your favorite teabag and make your own fresh loose-leaf version, and it will be better.
Cold-brewing loose-leaf tea works incredibly well for iced tea.
I’ve tried cold-brewing teabags with mixed results. The Tazo cold-brew bags I ended up with were okay but were so expensive that I couldn’t use them every day like I do with loose-leaf tea.
I was shocked by how easy it was to cold-brew loose-leaf in the same pot I use to make hot tea. It works fantastically well, too, and I drink it literally every day.
Organic Loose-Leaf Tea is Excellent, and Affordable
In the US, in regard to tea specifically (it means something different for animal products like meat, milk and eggs), organic means this:
- Farmed with the intention of having a lower environmental impact
- Fewer pesticides are used during farming, meaning you’re less likely to consume pesticides when you consume to finished product
Maybe you already buy organic products, maybe you don’t. I use some organic and non-organic products myself.
Either way, I’m sure most people would rather be consuming less pesticide on a daily basis, and if you’re an avid tea-drinker like me, it’s worth getting organic tea for this very reason.
The amount and variety of teas offered by Davidson’s Tea Bulk is a bit bewildering, and I needed to do a significant amount of research before I want even able to know what to buy. Take advantage of my research and take a look at my picks.
All the teas I recommend below are good both hot and iced. I typically do not drink herbal tea, but Davidson’s has some herbal options that look top-notch as well.
My Loose-Leaf Tea Recommendations
Black Teas I’ve Tried and Recommend
Davidson’s Tea Bulk, Ceylon Op Black, 16-Ounce Bag
This is an excellent standard black tea suitable for hot or iced drinking. Very good with lemon. If you want a good base for a flavored black tea concoction of your choice, buy this one.
Davidson’s Tea Bulk, Peach Apricot Essence, 16-Ounce Bag
This is a very delicious black tea that tastes very peachy. Really, really good with lemon.
Green Teas I’ve Tried and Recommend
Davidson’s Tea Bulk, Green with Lemon Ginseng, 16-Ounce Bag
I love this tea. My wife does not because she doesn’t like ginseng. I’m a fan of lemon, ginseng and green tea so it’s a great combo for me.
Davidson’s Tea Bulk, Moroccan Green with Mint, 16-Ounce Bag
This tea is excellent. If you’re looking to make a Starbucks Zen hot tea (now discontinued) or any of the Starbucks Iced Green Tea varieties (anything Iced Green Tea Lemonade is recommended), try this tea. It’s so close that I can’t tell the difference.
How to Brew (recipe, hot or cold)
For hot or cold brewing loose-leaf tea, use this recipe (courtesy of Davidson’s Tea). I use this and adjust depending on my taste. I like my tea strong so I put more, but a weaker brew is still great, so have fun finding your sweet spot.
Recipe: Brewing hot tea
Per 8 fl. oz cup:
- Green/Yellow Teas (1-2 tsp.): 2-3 mins. with water under boiling point (170-190*F)
- White/Oolong Teas (1-2 tsp.): 3-5 mins. with water under boiling point (150-180*F)
- Herbs/Herbal Teas/Red Teas (2-3 tsp.): 5-7 mins. with boiling water (190-209*F)
- Black/Pu-erh Teas (1 tsp.): 3-5 mins. with boiling water (190-209*F)
Recipe: Brewing cold tea
Use the same amount of water and tea as the hot tea recipe above says, just use cold water and wait longer. I have had no issues following that rule.
In my experience, you can cold brew anywhere from 2 hours all the way up to 24 hours with no issues beyond a brew that may be a bit weak. I have never had any significant problems under or over-brewing tea this way.
I prefer my tea iced. In my experience, cold-brewing tea completely removes any possibility of bitterness in my tea.
Brew a Pot In This (hot or cold)
Hiware Glass Teapot with Removable Infuser, 45oz Blooming and Loose Leaf Tea Pot, Microwavable and Stovetop Safe Tea Pot and Tea Strainer
Brewing your loose-leaf tea (hot or cold) is as easy as buying this inexpensive brewer, measuring out some tea leaves with a tablespoon, filling the pot with hot or cold water, and waiting.
This pot comes with a strainer to put your tea in for steeping.
The pot is made of borosilicate glass, an excellent heat-capable glass that you can put very hot water in without it breaking. I brew tea in it and have a borosilicate glass mug I drink coffee out of, as well. It’s excellent.
Once your tea is steeped, you can remove the steeping cylinder and put the lid back on to serve your delicious tea. This is especially helpful when brewing hot tea, as you do not want to over-brew it and get bitter tea as a result (unless you’re into that).
For Brewing Just One Cup of Hot Tea, Brew in This
ME.FAN™ Silicone Reusable Tea Bag Candy Silicone Tea Infuser Strainer Set – Genuine Premium Loose Leaf Infuser Set In Bright Colors (6 Set) – Best Gift in Home Or Offices
The most popular and highly-rated of its kind on Amazon. I have these, and they are great for brewing just one or two teabags worth of loose-leaf tea. The hold a lot of tea, so even if you like your cup strong this should work well for you.