The Journal | #Fortnums

Seven Reasons to Drink Loose Leaf Tea

Seven Reasons to Drink Loose Leaf Tea

If over 300 years of tea expertise has taught us anything about our favourite brew – it’s that loose leaf tea really is the best. The humble teabag, preferred by many for its supposed convenience, can’t compare to a cup of the good stuff. Picked, packed and produced using traditional techniques for ultimate freshness, each caddy of Fortnum’s loose leaf tea is of exceptional quality.

Making a cup of loose leaf tea may seem a little complicated to the uninitiated, but it’s actually much easier than you think – all you need is a good sturdy pot, a caddy of Fortnum’s tea, and away you’ll go. What’s more, our caddies always include instructions on how to brew specific teas should you feel unsure.

In the meantime, allow us wax lyrical on a few of the reasons for our love of loose…


1. It’s quite the cup…

Unlike teabags, which contain dust or ‘fannings’ loose leaf tea is filled with complex and subtle flavours, and is packed with aroma. Much like wine, loose tea has endless nuances and notes to be found in every cup. Whole leaves also result in smoother, more flavourful brews.

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to making the perfect cup of tea, and with loose leaf tea, you have the flexibility to adjust for your desired flavour and control the strength of your brew.

By making a pot of loose leaf tea, you’ll discover the very best profile in every leaf.

2. Brew, brew and brew again!

Many of our loose leaf teas – particularly oolong and greens – can be brewed and re-brewed multiple times, and it’s here where you can truly begin to discover the flavour profiles of your tea.

From one brew to the next, the notes in the tea will begin to reveal themselves, and you’ll enjoy several unique variations of the same brew. Some even believe the first brew is not always the best and favour the second steep.

We recommend re-brewing between 3-5 times and keeping the leaves for no more than one day. With each new brew, simply allow the leaves to infuse a little longer than the last.



3. A caddy lasts you longer

There are approximately 100 cups of tea in our loose leaf caddies – using one teaspoon per cup or 2 - 2.5 grams to be more precise. So by re-brewing up to five times on certain teas, you could potentially yield up to 500 cups of tea per caddy. Exceptional value, don’t you agree?

4. You can recycle them afterwards in fun and easy ways

The benefits of tea don't stop at the brew alone. Even though used tea leaves no longer have flavour, they are still filled with nutrients – and there’s plenty of uses for them after you’ve finished your cup.

In Japanese culture there’s even a word for reusing tea leaves – chagra, which involves drying out the leaves and creating a new purpose post-brew, from aromatic bath soaks to odour removers.

One of the simplest ways to reuse your tea leaves is to compost them or use as fertilizer for pot plants and flower beds. These can go straight from teapot to plant pot, as they don’t require drying.

And when it comes to packaging, with loose tea there’s no bag, string or tab to take care of during production. Our caddies are beautifully designed and meant to be given a new life when you reach the bottom – either re-filled with tea or made into paint brush holders, new homes for succulents, coin banks, the possibilities are endless. As a business that was founded on recycling half-burned candles from Queen Anne’s palace, reuse has long been at the heart of Fortnum’s.


5. There's always time for tea

There’s no denying that the teabag is convenient, and if you’re in a hurry, it’s the perfect way to still enjoy Fortnum’s tea – however there is something truly special in taking time for tea, as the English well know. We are famous for it, after all.

That’s because tea isn’t just a drink. For some it’s a gentle start to the morning or an afternoon pick-me-up, for others, tea is part of their culture, with ceremonies steeped in history. In China, the tea ceremony is a time to relax, encouraging tranquillity, many taking place outside in serene gardens – a vast contrast to the pace of city life. The aim is to savour every moment, however small.

In Japan, every aspect of the ceremony is carefully curated. From the selection of ceramics for each guest, to the layout of the space and utensils used. Many ceremonies can last hours, becoming a spiritual process, promoting mindfulness and focus. In India, taking time for tea is equally important. The national drink of India, chai, is sold on almost every street corner, down the narrowest of alleys to the busiest markets and train stations. Served by Chai Wallahs, it is a social drink, where friends gather to catch up over a cup of the good stuff.

The next time you pop the kettle on, think about the joy to be found in watching the leaves dance. As your tea leaves unfurl to release its dramatic flavours, take a moment to relax and think of nothing else. There can be great pleasure found in handling your loose tea too, from smelling it before and after brewing to touching the leaves in dry and wet forms. The ritual of taking time for tea can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, whether enjoyed with friends or alone. Step back, switch off and steep.

6. Delicious decisions…

We’re serious about tea, that must be quite obvious by now. We have over 150 varieties available in our Piccadilly store, and our tea experts are on-hand to guide you through all of them. The majority of our range is still loose leaf tea, and our ‘silky bags’ only contain whole leaf tea. Available by weight, you can discover a blend from every corner of the tea-growing map.

Green, white and oolong teas don’t tend to brew as well in teabags, as their flavours cannot fully infuse, which is why many of these special varieties are only available at our tea counter.

From everyday brews to precious rare teas, our collection of teas has been reigning and pouring supreme for centuries.


7. It’s Ins-TEA-grammable!

Your feed may be filled with flat whites and lattes, and although they do look lovely, they’re not quite as refreshing and sippable as a cup of Fortnum’s Tea. We’ve got every bit of teaware you need to make it the perfect cup – whether you’re on-the-go, using our tea filters and keep-cups, or taking time for tea – complete with all the additional joys – such as sandwiches, scones and cakes…

There’s also something special about the china that comes with the art of enjoying tea - from elegant teacups to contemporary tableware, glass teapots for watching dancing leaves to 24 carat gold ones, well, just because. Discover our collection of teaware here. No filter necessary… well, maybe a strainer.

What coffee cannot offer, which tea certainly can, is a colour spectrum ranging from almost crystal clear brews to vivid, fresh greens and golden hues, even pinks and blues! So next time you’re brewing, why not sit back, relax, sip and snap something for your feed? And don’t forget to share your shots with us @Fortnums, using the tag #FortnumsTea.