The Brutal Truth: Why Loose Leaf Tea Is Superior To Tea Bags
“It’s just tea. What does it matter if it’s in a bag, or a silly ball? I can’t live without my Lipton’s iced tea,” said the lady in the grocery. “What’s the difference?”
Well… It may not seem like it, but there’s a world of difference in big box store tea brands versus organic loose leaf teas. The win is that they are in bright packaging, they’re easy to use and can be a little cheaper in price, but the loss is huge when you consider that convenience isn’t always what’s best for our bodies (and more often than not, that’s the case), then, you will find reasons to look elsewhere.
That convenience of a quick tea bag means you’re inviting chemicals into your body which make you feel awful, as well as carcinogenic glues and microplastics, and not to mention there are freshness issues with paper bags in paper boxes. But what’s more is you are likely receiving the worst selection of the plant. That means there’s little to no medicinal value from that brown pulverized dust that’s come from the ghost of the plant, having been grown with poisons then quick dried before being bombarded with radiation, then covered up with synthetic flavorings to hide the sadness. Turning the water brown doesn’t make it tea.
Look, we’re all guilty of using tea bags for quick and easy iced tea. That’s okay, but don’t expect much more than a tasty beverage. As herbalists, we are passionate about plants, and we understand how they interact with the body and influence our health in a such a positive and beautiful way. There’s a whole world between 99 cent dollar store tea versus us skipping around our gardens with sheers. You don’t have to pick one or the other.
Researchers from McGill University in Montreal have found that, “Plastic teabags release billions of microscopic particles into tea. To conduct their analysis, the researchers purchased four different commercial teas packaged in plastic teabags. The researchers cut open the bags and removed the tea leaves so that they wouldn’t interfere with the analysis. Then, they heated the emptied teabags in water to simulate brewing tea. Using electron microscopy, the team found that a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature released about 11.6 billion microplastic and 3.1 billion nanoplastic particles into the water. These levels were thousands of times higher than those reported previously in other foods.” Source: McGill
Furthermore, Greenpeace investigated 49 brands of tea and found terrifying discoveries. “An investigation carried out by Greenpeace India has found residues of hazardous chemical pesticides in a majority of samples of the main brands of packaged tea produced and consumed in India. Over half of the samples contained pesticides that are ‘unapproved’ for use in tea cultivation or which were present in excess of recommended limits.” Source: GreenPeace
On the flip side, my (Brandon) favorite loose leaf tea is a simple one, made up of only five ingredients: Lavender, Lemongrass, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Passionflower. I originally made the Sweet Dreams loose leaf tea blend to aid his quality of sleep, which was traditionally made up of just Lavender, Lemongrass and Chamomile, but it has evolved to include Lemon Balm for its lovely citrus flavor and nervine properties, and Passionflower for its soothing sedative action on the body. I source only organically grown from reputable growers, where most of the ingredients come with a certified organic emblem. When choosing the best sources for these dried herbs, I consider how they were grown, dried, how they were treated post harvest, and I take a long hard look at the aroma, taste, color and overall health of the medicinal plant before blending into a tea. To learn more about how to tell the quality of a herb, read Brandon’s blog article here.
While there are many reasons to opt for loose leaf teas over most store brands, there’s a major contrast between factory made tea and artisan made tea. Making recipes in small batches gives us the ability to sift and watch over every piece that goes into our tea blends, guaranteeing the absolute highest quality known to man. It’s like having your mama standing over your shoulder, whispering “Isn’t that a stem? Nobody wants stems in their tea. Haven’t I taught you better than that? I mean, honestly, no one’s going to want your tea with stems in it.” One of our favorite parts of loose leaf tea is you can see the quality of the plant, you can see it still has life in it, and that it’s not some dead brown dust. You can’t do this with tea bags, but you sure as heck can with loose leaf tea.
As a herbalist, I prefer loose leaf because I can pick out the ingredients and see that the life force is still intact, and then gain a sense of confidence that I’m actually giving my body a healthful tonic, rather than a flavored cup of plastic and glue. With loose leaf, you’re choosing plants that were handled with respect, so they contain superior quality, depths of flavor, and you gain control over the purity of your tea, the strength you make it, and you have a wider range of flavors to choose from. By employing a tea ball or infuser, you cut out the needless waste of paper, ultimately saving trees, and you avoid ingesting a cocktail of pesticides and chemicals.
And it’s simply more fun, since you can mix your own! But if you’re not brave enough to try that yet, you can support a small business like Woodland Herbal, who takes great pride in every aspect of what they do. We have a fantastic variety of loose leaf teas crafted by our family of four generations of herbalists, each made to support optimal wellness and overall awesomeness, equally for enjoyment as well as medicine.
Why choose Woodland Herbal’s teas? With Woodland Herbal, you can always trust the quality of the final product, because our small family of herbalists have their hands in every aspect of production once the herb has been dried and sourced to our workshop. We always focus on making our products with positive intention to ensure the medicine is alive and well with each cup of herbal goodness.
I (Brandon) design most of our loose leaf tea blends, and Jenni makes a few like Honey Peach… yum! My absolute favorite tea blends are Red Nebula, Blue Galaxy, Daily 8, Age Well, Solstice Spice, and Sweet Dreams. With each of these tea blends, I focus on a medicinal effect, marrying intent with great flavor, and finishes each with an artistic label and brand, so each tea in itself is a work of art. To learn more, peruse our website for a full list of our family’s loose leaf teas, offered in sample sizes so you can try them out before purchasing larger tins of your favorites.
So while “It’s just tea,” there’s a lot to consider when it comes to treating your body in positive and healthful ways. Just because the product says natural or the pretty packaging makes it seem healthy, it may not be so. Give loose leaf tea a try over the big store brands, because you will be opening up a whole world of opportunity you never knew existed. You won’t be disappointed!