Tea leaves are packed into a small envelope (usually composed of paper) known as a tea bag.
Tea aficionados commonly believe this method provides an inferior taste and experience. The paper used for the bag may also be tasted, which can detract from the tea’s own flavor. Because fannings and dust are a lower quality of the tea to begin with, the tea found in tea bags is less finicky when it comes to brewing time and temperature.
Additional reasons why bag tea is considered less well-flavored include:
- Dried tea loses its flavor quickly on exposure to air. Most bag teas (although not all) contain leaves broken into small pieces; the great surface area to volume of the leaves in tea bags exposes them to more air, and therefore causes them to go stale faster. Loose tea leaves are likely to be in larger pieces, or to be entirely intact.
- Breaking up the leaves for bags extracts flavored oils. The small size of the bag does not allow leaves to diffuse and steep properly.
The “pyramid tea bag” (or sachet) addresses one of the connoisseurs’ arguments against paper tea bags by way of its three-dimensional shape, which allows more room for tea leaves to expand while steeping.. However, some types of pyramid tea bags have been criticized as being environmentally unfriendly, since their synthetic material is not as biodegradable as loose tea leaves and paper tea bags. Tea Squared uses a biodegradable tea bag material.