The Great Tea Debate: Loose Leaf Tea vs. Tea Bags

Tea is something that not a lot of people talk about, but it’s an important component of many cultures, and is prepared differently in each, around the world. From iced sweet tea, to milky breakfast tea, to ceremonial teas to tea with stewed cherries, we’ve seen it all…

But the greatest debate when it comes to tea in general, still seems to be whether it should come loose leaf or in a tea bag. 

So, what’s the tea on tea you ask? Well, get ready to share your opinion on this popular beverage… but not before you read this guide on loose leaf vs tea bags.

Here are five dividing factors that could influence your decision to lean one way or the other:

  1. Quality 
  2. Convenience 
  3. Environmental Impact
  4. Customization 
  5. Preference

Read on to see how your favorite brewing method ranks.


When it comes to enjoying a delicious cuppa leaf juice, the quality of the product should always be a consideration. And the fact of the matter is that loose leaf tea is often higher quality than tea bags.

Mainly, because it has not been processed as much. With loose leaf tea you cannot hide poor quality tea leaves in bags, and you sure as heck won’t wind up with dusty leftovers packed into a plastic sack.

Of course, there are high quality teas available in bags. You just need to find them for yourself or as a connoisseur.


Obviously, when it comes to tea, convenience is an important factor. If you need a quick caffeine pick-me-up or don’t feel like doing much tea prep to enjoy your afternoon break, tea bags are the clear winner.

There is no extra step of packing an infuser and cleaning out the soggy leaves once your brew is completed. So in terms of convenience, tea bags have come out on top.

Environmental Impact

As a socially conscious consumer, it’s important to recognize the environmental impact of your tea habits. Those drinking tea from tea bags on a daily (or a few times a day) basis certainly contribute more waste than those using a reusable infuser.

In addition, many lower quality tea bags are actually made of plastic. Not only is this gross because really, who wants to be ingesting hot plastic water, but it is wasteful.  Of course, there are fully biodegradable tea bags, but these must be disposed of properly and it is certainly not the norm.

So it looks like the environmental impact of loose leaf tea is certainly lower than that of tea bags.


The great thing about loose leaf tea is that you can easily create your own blends/strength/convenience by bagging it yourself with any kind of tea steeper.

This is also a great way to ensure the quality of your herbal teas, like peppermint, lemon ginger, or echinacea.

So loose leaf tea definitely wins the customization category.


 Of course, after all of this, if the drink you like is in the cup then you have prepared your tea “correctly”. 

There is no right or wrong way to make a cup of tea, even if it’s in the microwave, as long as you like the drink.

There are so many types of tea out there that it is almost impossible to try them all, but if that’s what you’re all about we’re sure you’ll encounter a good amount of both bagged and loose leaf blends. 

Pros & Cons ─ Loose Leaf 


  • Whole or partially cut leafs
  • Range of flavor
  • Customization 
  • More freshness
  • More variety 


  • Longer brew time
  • Cleaning tea instruments 

Pros & Cons ─ Bagged 


  • Simple flavor profile 
  • Quick brew time
  • Convenient 


  • Dust or small broken pieces
  • Plastic in bags 
  • Not environmentally friendly
  • Potential for staleness
  • Limited options 

Note: One major PRO for both bagged and loose leaf tea is that the health benefits are the same no matter what the vessel.

If you’re drinking green tea for the antioxidants and the l-theanine, you’re going to get that whether or not you’re drinking a cup from a box or a cup from loose leaves.

Otherwise, it would appear that there are more pros for loose leaf tea and more cons for bagged tea, if that matters to you. But as we mentioned, if the drink you like is in the glass, this list really doesn’t matter 😉