Think about that first cup of tea on chilly, wintry mornings or the pick-me-up cuppa after a tiring workday. Tea has a way of uplifting and soothing the soul at the same time. It is more than just a beverage. For tea lovers and regular tea drinkers, it's a ritual, a meditative practice that brings numerous other benefits. The art of brewing tea originated in east Asia and is an ancient tradition. It has evolved, making tea the second most consumed beverage globally.
Tea has evolved into numerous types in today's day and age and is consumed various forms. Keep reading through this article with a cup of piping hot tea to learn more about loose-leaf tea and why it is so beloved among tea lovers.
Let's geek out on loose-leaf tea
Loose-leaf tea consists of dried tea leaves in a broken or whole form and brewed by steeping these leaves in hot water. After the steeping process, the tea leaves are strained out, and the beverage is ready for consumption. Loose-leaf tea comes in bigger packets or bags and can be scooped out as needed. Unlike bagged tea, loose-leaf tea is not broken or crushed to fit into a tea bag, allowing it to retain its flavour, aroma, and nutrients for longer.
Tea is graded into four levels: whole leaf, broken leaf, fanning and dust. Loose leaf is mainly comprised of whole and broken leaves, making them more powerful in their flavour and potency. This form of tea is fresher since it contains whole leaves of tea and less tea dust or fannings, which are byproducts of the tea-drying process. Loose-leaf tea is as packed with advantages as it is with flavours. Here are some of them.
Primarily, there are four main types of teas: White tea, Green tea, Oolong tea and Black tea. These main types have given rise to many other subcategories of tea over the last few centuries. Today, there are numerous experimentative teas available that target specific benefits. For example, there are wellness teas, herbal teas, infused teas and so on. The list is endless! The good news for tea lovers is that most of these are available in the loose-leaf variant. Hence there are a lot of options to choose from. There is a greater selection range amongst loose-leaf teas than tea bags.
Tea connoisseurs can keep adding to their tea collection with many new options coming into the market, nationally and internationally. They also make for a great gifting option for a tea lover – for example - a unique loose-leaf tea with reusable stainless-steel tea infusers and brewing equipment!
Richer aroma and flavour
The leaves of whole-leaf tea unfurl and expand when steeped in hot water. The hot water then extracts the boldness of the aroma and flavour from these whole, unbroken leaves. Owing to these whole leaves that make up the majority of loose-leaf tea, they provide a heightened sensory experience. The flavour, aroma and nutrients in loose-leaf tea are fresher as the leaves are intact and unbroken. The freshness of this tea gives it a richer flavour and has more robust olfactory notes that create a better aromatic experience.
Antioxidant & immunity boosting benefits
Loose-leaf tea is high in antioxidants as it is free of additives and preservatives. This helps fight the free radicals present in the body and cleanses it of toxins. It helps repair cell damage by neutralising it. The wholeness of the leaves used in loose-leaf teas helps optimise the available antioxidants.
Due to its soothing properties, tea is the go-to beverage for most people on sick days. It's not just a reach for comfort; loose-leaf tea essentially has the immunity-boosting superpower as it is high in polyphenol levels which help fight germs and pathogens.
Promotes good gut health
Tea is a gut-friendly beverage. It not only aids digestion but is also helpful in lowering cholesterol levels when consumed without any additives. White tea is especially known for its cholesterol-reducing properties, while green tea helps in weight loss when combined with a good diet and exercise. These various types of teas aid digestion. This effect is especially enhanced by loose-leaf tea. For centuries, loose-leaf tea has been a vital component of Chinese and Indian traditional medicines for the stomach.
The wellness journey companion
Tea contains the catechin called polyphenol, which soothes the digestive system and gives tea its antioxidant property. It is the same catechin found in berries and cocoa. Tea also contains an amino acid called L-Theanine, which promotes and improves brain activity. These, in combination, lend tea its mental and physical wellness benefits. These benefits can be extracted best from loose-leaf tea due to its freshness and full, whole leaves. Many people on their wellness journey lean on tea as a reliable companion owing to all its health benefits. Tea is beneficial for people's mental and physical health, whether for a quick caffeine boost or to improve their gut health.
As mentioned before, tea is more than just a beverage. It soothes not only the body but also the mind and the soul. Herbal and matcha teas help detoxify the body, while a tea like a chamomile does wonders in calming one down for a restful sleep. Tea ceremonies (that use only loose leaf teas) are quite popular in Japan and have been linked with the celebration of drinking tea for better social connections and the connection with oneself! Additionally, tea has incredible therapeutic properties that work gently on the human body and mind to create a positive, relaxing ambience for the tea drinker.