by Emeric Harney September 05, 2019 3 min read 20 Comments
According to the Tea Association of the USA, Americans consumed over 84 billion servings of tea—more than 3.8 billion gallons—in 2018. On any given day, more than one half of the American population drinks tea.
Nevermind that thing that took place in the Boston Harbor in 1773. Clearly, we like tea.
How we choose our method of tea delivery, however, is completely a matter of personal preference. Knowing that there is no right or wrong choice—just like chocolate v. vanilla—having a little more knowledge about the difference between the three methods of preparing tea might come in handy.
If you’re a tea connoisseur, there simply is no other way to make a cup of tea. Tea leaves need room to expand for full-bodied flavor; loose teas, when placed into a tea strainer or infuser, are free to bob up and down in the water, which surrounds every part of the leaves and creates a fuller flavor experience. Tea balls are not ideal for brewing loose leaf tea because they don’t allow enough room for the tea to expand to its full delicious potential.
In addition, loose tea is the most economical method because tea leaves can be steeped multiple times, which means you’re getting more bang for your buck, or more glee from your tea! Brewing loose leaf tea also allows you to make a cup that’s all you: use more or fewer leaves depending on how strong you like your tea. Another point in loose tea’s flavor is its sustainability--less packaging is always a good thing.
Ready to get started? Try one of our outstanding Darjeeling, oolong or green teas and follow the steeping instructions for a perfectly brewed cup.
If the paraphernalia necessary to brew loose tea just seems like too much to you, sachets may literally be your cup of tea.
Most sachets, like Harney & Sons’, are pyramid-shaped bags that contain whole leaf teas. The pyramid shape again allows for better flow of water to surround the tea leaves which expand to release their full flavor spectrum, much like in the loose tea steeping process—similar result without the loose-tea hardware entourage. Also, the quantity is measured for you, ensuring an awesome cup every time.
If you’ve never tried tea in a sachet, give our Gunpowder Green a try. This green tea has leaves that are tightly rolled, like little balls, that absolutely love swirling around inside a roomy sachet. Or try our commemorative RMS Titanic, a blend reminiscent of the era. Listening to “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion is optional.
Your third option, and the one preferred by many for their convenience, are tea bags. They contain broken leaves or sometimes fannings (small particles of tea leaf). Whole tea leaves are not used in tea bags as their size, while perfect for travel or on-the-go, does not allow whole leaves to expand as they do in strainers, infusers, or sachets.
However, one benefit of tea bags, besides their convenient size, is that broken leaves infuse faster than loose tea. So when you’re in a hurry, tea bags are definitely your go-to for a cup of your favorite tea anywhere, anytime.
Unlike other tea bags, Harney’s are made of unbleached paper, so all you taste is the quality tea that’s inside. They’re also compostable, so better for the environment. Some of our most popular teas come in tea bags, like Irish Breakfast, Paris, and Hot Cinnamon Spice. Perfect for those globetrotters who enjoy spicing life up while having breakfast in Ireland on their way to Paris. Or for those of us who just dream about it as we run out the door getting the kids to school and ourselves to work with tea in hand, made possible by the convenience of the small butmigh-tea tea bag.
BTW, we took a poll on Instagram asking which form of tea people prefer. The results? (drumroll….) 46% preferred tea bags or sachets, while 54% preferred loose leaf tea. Which do you prefer, and why? Tell us in the comment section.
December 08, 2021
I have purchased a few teas from Harney & Sons. I have a granddaughter named Autumn, so I bought African Autumn (lol), Little Women (I’m from a family of five girls – again, lol), Blueberry Green tea, Wedding tea, with the ‘Tag along’ tin and the Chocolate Mint. They are ALL so good ~ I think the chocolate mint is my favorite. I love the tins, as well. I do like the loose tea ~ and I’m learning a lot about tea practices. By the way, their. Us timer service is beyond fantastic. I ordered three different tag along tins. They were supposed to be three different names on them, but they sent me three of the same one. They said they will resend the other two and that I can keep the two extras. THAT is good PR and is so appreciated ~ it’s a lost art. Love you guys ~ got to go ~ my tea kettle is whistling!!!🎄
September 22, 2021
Good morning, Good day, & eve to this worldwide tea loving group!
I first tried Harney’s Earl Grey Supreme as a loose tea while on a visit to my friend Ram who lives in the Punjab. Exquisite, sip after sip.
Upon return to this on-time USA, I confess that I have drifted into the time saving bags & sachets (may the tea gods forgive me!) Today I experimented by cutting open a bag, and brewing the tea loose – and like a snap of a finger, I was back sitting with Ram.
I’ve already ‘cut the cord’ and may continue to ‘cut the bag’ until I drift back in-time to loose tea.
July 15, 2021
I prefer loose leaf tea. I tend to do multiple steepings and enjoy the different tastes after each steeping.
May 04, 2021
Wish all teas came in unbleached, compostable, non nylon earth-friendly small (1-cup) and large 1-pot bags. Won’t buy the nylon sachets and loose teas are less convenient. I buy elsewhere because of your packaging.
May 04, 2021
I find it very frustrating that a few of my favorite teas ((Ambessa teas, for instance) are only available in sachets from you. Paper tea bags decompose quickly in my compost bin, but I have to rip apart the sachets and empty them out because the sachets do not compost. Also, recent research shows that we ingest quite a bit of micro plastics (inviting health issues) and I’d rather not increase the amount. And it’s ironic that you’re asking people to purchase carbon offsets when ordering, but contributing to the micro plastic problem. Maybe you could use cheese cloth to make your sachets?
I prefer loose tea at home, using a tea basket in my mug or an individually sized French press if the leaves are really large and need lots of room to expand. Tea bags (paper) are most convenient for travel.
April 21, 2021
Loose tea always. I want to see what I’m getting. I don’t trust the contents of tea bags, though I do have some for emergencies. Loose is more economical. When a pot is finished I add one additional level tsp and re-brew. The leaves from the first brew get used 3-4 times. Each pot becomes increasingly mellow and tasty. Yum! Lastly, loose leaves end up in the garden. I’ve buried tea bags to see what happens. Nothing happens. They just lay in the dirt. Don’t even get moldy. Some day a mummy will be opened in Egypt. Tea bags will be found inside. And they will still be viable! Loose is best all around.
February 17, 2021
I prefer the loose leaf tea because I can compost it. And I seem to like the odder teas such as red tea and herbal. I react too much to the caffeine in tea and coffee though I love the flavor.
October 26, 2020
I prefer loose tea or sachets because of the robust flavor. I drink Darjeeling throughout the day and simply love the fresh mountain taste, especially in loose form. It’s very relaxing and enjoying when I’m able to brew the loose tea at home.
May 19, 2020
I love your loose leaf tea. I would love to see all the teas available for purchase in loose leaf. It seems wasteful cutting sachets open to brew them so I rarely buy anything
that only comes in a sachet. I have to avoid sachets because of the micro plastics being a migraine trigger for me.
November 14, 2019
I wish all of your teas were packaged in environmentally friendly, compostable tea bags.
September 27, 2019
I am curious if this article by BBC news changes anyone’s thoughts about Sachet’s.
“Microplastics: Premium teabags leak billions of particles – study”
It changes mine.
September 25, 2019
I use all three and all three work for me. Like most everyone here I fit brew time into my time. Loose when I ‘m at home relaxing, bags or sachets when I ’m on the go or if I’m really busy and also when I make a pitcher of iced tea. I gave up soda 16 years ago and coffee as well 4 years ago. I am an extreme tea drinker and enjoy it in many different varie-“teas”. Harney and sons has everything I need to keep me happy and three types of brewing options for that.
September 19, 2019
I favor loose tea for the best tasting tea flavor, and for the best quality to serve friends and family. I love to use loose tea in my fine china teapots (I use a tea filter with tea pots for easy cleanup). Tea sachets and teabags are good for traveling.
September 19, 2019
I’ve used all three. I had preferred the sachets until I learned they weren’t compostable. I wish that the tea bags weren’t individually wrapped but were packaged like the sachets (although perhaps there’s a reason the tea bags need to be wrapped). I travel with bags or sachets and now use loose tea at home. I throw the loose tea either in the garden or in the compost bag.
September 12, 2019
As Janise said, I’ll take Harney Tea in all forms! I prefer loose leaf because I can steep it multiple times, and the in-mug strainer is convenient. I used to think that tea bags were more convenient, but my commute to work would allow the tea to steep too long, making it too strong. While I’m at work, I use tea bags or sachets because it’s easier.
September 06, 2019
Tea bag, sachet or loose- I’ll take Harney Tea over all the others! The absolute, hands down best tea in the world!
September 06, 2019
Loose tea! You can customize and make your own blends for whatever flavors strike your fancy at the moment.
September 06, 2019
I use all 3 but only use the loose leaf tea when I am home because it is easier to prepare than when I am at work . At work I use the tea sachets or tea bags. I also set out tea bags for my coworkers as I love to share tea & those are packaged. I also send tea bags to my friends when I write a letter or send a card. When all is said and done I do prefer the sachets, they are whole leaf but the convenience of a tea bag.
September 06, 2019
In the morning, I use my teapot and make English Breakfast tea using loose leaf tea. Later in the day I use hot cinnamon spice teabags to make tea. I read that tea sachets (the sachets not the tea) have plastic in them. Is this true?, because that’s why I don’t buy tea in sachets.
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January 21, 2022
i was introduced to having tea by my best friend, Verlie, since meeting when we became sorority pledge sisters. her mother, Dorothy Randall, had been a ballerina in England when she was a girl. i have the most sacred memories enjoying tea with The Randall family; of being served with a lovely tea service and the cutest stainless steel pot of tea. i remember the table setting, the teapot and the smell. it was the ambiance of happiness and heaven. we shared toast, scones, crumpets, fresh raspberry jam and black tea. the cups held the milk and honey waiting to be splashed with hot tea made from loose tea leaves. there is no tea more delicious than loose leaf. with a tear in my eye i have shared an antique memory which i hope you have enjoyed. i admit that when hurried, i will use a sachet but prefer a tea diffuser made to fit a tea mug. you know my true favorite is a pot of tea with loose running leaves which The Family and i enjoyed throughout the day especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas.