Herbal Teas: Loose Leaves Vs Tea Bags

by marciag

Drinking herbal tea is healthy. But what should you use: loose tea or tea bags? Loose tea has its benefits, but tea bags are easier to handle overall. So which type is best?

The Herbal Tea Debate

There is an ongoing debate about which type of herbal teas to drink: from loose leaves or tea bags. Whenever I speak with anyone about it - anyone who actually cares about drinking herbal teas - there is an urgency and determination in their voice about which of the two is best.

So I've decided to write here about it, and ask for more oppinions.

The fact is that I like both - and I drink both. I have at home various herbal tea bags in packs that I bought at the local supermarket and some that I bought at the nearby health store, but I also have dry leaves of various herbs that I mix for making my own tea brews.

This article will discuss some of the benefits of both ways to brew your own herbal tea and then you can decide which one you like most.

Also here I've written about the main herbs for relaxation that I use for my own herbal tea brews.

Which Herbal Teas Do You Prefer?

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Benefits Of Using Loose Leaf Teas

I admit: I might be a sucker for punishment. I prefer loose tea over tea bags, but I have my reasons!

Make your own tea mixes

For example with loose tea leaves, I can make my own herbal tea mixes. I buy the dry leaves from the store and then make various mixes based on what I want to drink at the time. Not only that, but I also dry my own herbs.

I like to dry strawberry leaves and cherry stalks (they both make yummie teas), so I can pick a few leaves or stalks and simply add to the herbal mix. I can't add them to tea bags!

Just the sheer enjoyment of it

Also there is something to say about the feeling of the herbs in your hands, as you pick, crush and mix them, and add them to the boiling water.

Better and fuller taste and flavor

And something else that many people don't think about. When you break the leaves in smaller pieces, over time many of the natural oils (that are needed in the tea) evaporate. Loose leafs are usually much bigger, so they contain more of these essential oils. This makes the tea taste better, fuller and leaving you a nice aroma in your mouth (and around your nose).

Benefits Of Using Tea Bags


If you are not much into herbal medicine, then the benefits of using tea bags are clear: tea bags are much easier to use for making teas, they are more convenient overall (no need for strainers, for mucking around with leaves), and can be easily disposed of.

Wider choice

Furthermore, these days you can find herbal teas in tea bags for just about any ailment you might have. From tea bags for insomnia, stress and anxiety, for stomach pains and headaches, there are herb mixes for everything.

So you don't need to learn what to mix for which problem. You simply go out and buy your tea.


Something else to consider is that tea bags are more widely available overall compared to loose teas. You just don't find so many types of loose herbs even in a health food store. On the other hand, a ton of different types of tea bags can be found in pharmacies and drug stores, in supermarkets and health food stores.

Other Points To Consider About Herbal Teas

When you buy your herbs, be it as loose leaves or tea bags, you need to consider a few facts.

First of all, you might not know this but both have an expiration date. Overall after about 6 months they both start to loose their flavor and richness. After one year, the tea tastes bland and basically...tasteless. So always use the herbs soon after buying, to enjoy their flavor and benefits right away.

To keep them for as long as possible in consumable condition, for loose leaves use tea storage tins because they have an air tight seal that allows the leaves to stay fresh for some time.

Unfortunately tea bags are not properly stored for freshness, so they can go stale quite fast. You can also take them from their original box and place them in airtight containers, just make sure to label the tins so that you know what teas you have in which.

Updated: 11/01/2011, marciag
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Are You Drinking Herbal Teas?

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annieangel on 08/09/2012

I always think loose leaf tea tastes so much better.

Holistic_Health on 11/02/2011

I use both. Bags are easier, but with loose I can blend my own.

Wayne Stephenson on 11/02/2011

I guess I must prefer bags because I use them, probably due to convenience! But I do love using tea leaves.

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