If you’re shopping for loose leaf tea for the first time, it’s easy to make some rookie mistakes. How much tea should you purchase? Is one bag enough or will you need more? What does “50g” mean? We’re here to help you avoid some common mistakes by guiding you though some considerations to make when you’re ready to purchase.
Loose leaf tea is usually sold in grams instead of ounces, and the reason for this—other than wider global appeal—is that the unit of grams offers a more fine-grained measurement of the amount of tea you are using.
Using one ounce of tea leaves, for example, would make for a terrible cup of tea, and while 1/7th of an ounce would make for a pretty good cup, it would be a nightmare trying to work with a number like that. This means that if you are going to prepare your loose leaf tea well, then you will need to measure it, and to do so, you’ll want to invest in a kitchen scale.
Now, you will notice that most tea is available in 50g increments, which translates into almost 2 oz of tea. But in practical terms, how much tea is that? How much does it make? Is it enough for you? When many tea novices begin purchasing tea, they tend to fall into some purchasing traps because they don’t realize how much tea they will actually use.
If you were to make just one cup of tea, you will want to measure out 3–4g of loose leaf tea. This number stays the same even if you desired to make multiple cups of tea each day, such as three or more. The reason why is that you can continue using the same tea leaves for every new infusion. This means that unless you want to make different kinds of tea, you can use just 3–4g total in a single day for one, two, four, or even eight cups of tea!
Taking this into consideration, a 50g bag of loose leaf tea should be able to last on average approximately two weeks, supposing that you are making a cup of tea every single day. But not everybody drinks tea each day. Some people will drink one cup of tea every three or so days while others will have two or three different kinds of tea the same day.
Being aware of how often you drink tea and how long a 50g package of tea will last can help prevent you from being in that awkward situation of throwing out your stale tea. For example, if you were to drink tea every two to three days, then it would be a bad idea to purchase six to ten 50g bags of green tea, which would last you anywhere from eight months to more than a year!
Now, to be fair, having a well-stocked cabinet of tea isn’t necessarily a bad thing—provided that you are storing it properly—but if you enjoy trying and tasting the new harvests each spring and fall, then you’ll want to make sure you are pacing your purchases appropriately so that you don’t feel like your tea supply is going to waste.
The upshot of understanding your tea drinking habits in relation to how much tea you should purchase is that it helps guarantee that you are getting the most value. It’s no secret that loose leaf tea tends to be a much better value than tea bags, but in order to guarantee your long-term satisfaction, you’ll want to develop some tea self-awareness, beginning with purchasing the right amount for your needs.