"Brewing tea can be such a mindful experience, and it is so pleasing to watch the dance of the tea leaves."
In Britain we like our tea, so much in fact that around 100 million cups are drunk each day! An astonishing 96% is brewed using teabags (source), but did you know that many teabags still contain plastic? This plastic is bad for our bodies and the environment. Research suggests a single teabag releases approx 11.6 billion microplastic particles and 3.1 billion nanoplastic particles into each cup (source). As for the environment, teabag production uses additional manufacturing, unnecessary resources and energy compared to loose-leaf tea and that’s before the teabag finds its way to the mountain of plastic waste. Even biodegradable teabags are not sin-free, they are still single use and won’t necessarily decompose rapidly, taking up to 10 years if not sent to commercial composting facilities.
So what’s the alternative? With many of choosing ways to swap out single-use plastics, it’s time to ditch the teabag in favour of loose-leaf!
Think brewing loose-leaf tea is complicated and time-consuming? The good news is that it is much easier than many think! You’ll just need a strainer or infuser and many teapots have them built in. A re-useable basket strainer is probably the easiest if you are brewing a single cup. Simply pop it in your mug, drop your tea leaves in, add hot water, steep and then lift the strainer out of the cup, et voilà, a delicious cuppa! The leaves in the strainer can be emptied with your compost or food waste, then rinse the strainer and you are good to go again.
And the benefits of loose-leaf tea extend way beyond being plastic-free! Loose-leaf tea tastes better; with nowhere to hide the dust and broken leaves, you get a superior quality tea. There is more variety; with rare teas and small growers often only available as loose-leaf. You also get the flexibility to brew it the way you like. Tea is very personal, but tea bags aren’t! Some people prefer their tea a little stronger and mugs come in all shapes and sizes. With loose-leaf you can use the amount that is right for you, so if you like strong tea use a little more leaf. Brewing tea can be such a mindful experience, and it is so pleasing to watch the dance of the tea leaves, or to see teas such as the Jasmine or Black Dragon Pearls unfurl.