Usually, one of the first things that people notice when they try BUBLUV® Bubble Tea for the first time is its rich tea taste. The secret behind this is that we brew our teas with loose leaf tea! Loose-leaf tea is the highest grade of tea possible for use, and it is one of the things that distinguishes our bubble tea from other boba shops or vendors who may use tea powder instead. So, what exactly is loose leaf tea? How does it differ from other grades of tea?
What is loose leaf tea?
Loose-leaf tea leaves are whole or unbroken leaves of tea that have the strongest flavor profile and will last through multiple steeps without becoming watery. The tea itself is free of any additives and retains its rich taste by preserving the essential oils—which provide the flavor to tea—in the leaves to the greatest extent. Loose leaf tea is sold without the additional packaging of tea bags, so the tea leaves must be picked out using a strainer after steeping.
4 Grades of Tea
Whole Leaf Tea
Whole leaf tea is what it sounds like—tea made up of whole, dried tea leaves. Because it is not broken up at all, it has the most nuanced flavor and retains its taste the best. The leaves are also easy to fish out from the mug since we don’t have to worry about leftover pieces escaping. However, this does mean that the leaves have less surface area compared to their broken counterparts, so they require a longer brewing time with more attention.
Broken Leaf Tea
Broken leaf tea is still flavorful and is also sold as a loose leaf tea. Its leaves, though, have been crushed, and often have a darker color. Since the pieces are still relatively large, we can also steep them multiple times without losing flavor too quickly.
Fannings are the tiny pieces leftover from the crushing process of making broken leaf tea. They are usually collected and packaged inside tea bags to be sold as bagged tea. Although fannings cannot last through multiple steeps, they infuse with water quickly and are easy to brew when we need a quick boost of caffeine. We just have to be careful with the ingredients when we purchase the tea, as tea bags can hide artificial flavorings or other filler ingredients.
Tea dust is the even tinier bits left over from the crushing process. The particles are too small to be used by themselves, so they get packaged into tea bags with the fannings. This means that tea dust does not retain flavor at all and is the lowest grade of tea.
Each grade of tea has its different uses, but to receive maximum flavor, aroma, and health benefits, it is best to drink loose leaf tea. This is why we use loose leaf tea as our base for BUBLUV® Bubble Teas and why we recommend you give loose leaf tea a try at home yourselves!