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A Cost Comparison of Tea Bags vs. Loose Leaf Tea

Some people new to the world of artisanal tea tend to notice that the prices of loose leaf teas tend to look significantly higher than the prices of tea bags. Not only do tea bags cost less, but you also seem to get more convenience out of them. After all, you simply place the bags into your water, wait a couple of minutes, and toss them, leaving no mess behind.

So clearly, tea bags win, right? Wrong.

Let’s look at a couple of the reasons why loose leaf tea is the superior choice.

The Cost Myth

For an example, consider that 50 grams of our Keemun Fragrant Snail Black Tea costs $16.40. This might seem expensive by comparison to a package of tea bags, but you have to ask, “What am I getting for my money?”

We usually recommend roughly 4g to every 8 ounces of water, and so this translates into roughly 12.5 servings of tea. However, unlike tea bags, which you are supposed to dispense with when you’re finished, you are strongly encouraged to steep your loose leaf tea a minimum of four times. And so what was 12.5 servings of tea becomes a minimum of 50 servings of tea!

This means that every cup of Keemun Fragrant Snail Black Tea costs roughly just 33¢ each! Good luck trying to find a 33¢ cup of premium tea from any corporate tea or coffee bar.

While it’s clearly more advantageous to purchase your own artisanal loose leaf tea as opposed to purchasing a cup in a tea bar, how does this stack up against the tea bag?

For an apples-to-apples comparison, the current price of a 20 count of unnamed popular tea bags, which is approximately 40 grams in total, is $3.99. This might sound like a bargain, but upon closer inspection, we can see wherein lies the problem.

Each tea bag contains 2 grams of tea, and so to get the same amount of tea, you would need to use two tea bags. This gives you ten servings of tea, and it’s generally not recommended to resteep your tea bag, not only for taste but also for potential health reasons, such as concern that harmful chemical compounds from some of the tea bags might leach into your drink at the boiling point of water.

What this means is that, if you follow the directions, you’re paying approximately 40¢ for every cup of tea and you’re possibly contaminating your drink with plastic chemicals! And, in general, the cheaper you go, the worse it can be.

Therefore, not only is it possible to save money with loose leaf tea, but you get a cleaner cup as well!

MeiMei Fine Teas
MeiMei Fine Teas


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October 27, 2016