For many devoted tea drinkers around the world, leaf tea is the most prized of all forms of tea presentation. Sought by connoisseurs and tea lovers alike, loose leaf tea is said to bring about the best out of every variety of tea.
Leaf tea is said to release its aroma and fragrance in a subtle, delicate way, paving the way for the body of the tea to emerge and develop in a soft wafting of flavor that brings about a soothing balm and quiet to the senses and mind. It is for this purpose that many teahouses will not use anything but leaf tea for their clientele. The rich mingling of aromas can create an environment where outside worries seem to fade away and graceful fragrances permeate the mind and soul, if only for an hour or so.
Loose leaf tea is preferred by many, almost all tea lovers actually, over any other kind of presentation. It may also be due to the fact that leaf tea is most of the time hand-crafted to the ultimate perfection attainable in a tea. Leaf tea is hand picked, and sorted out in the orthodox way as opposed to the machine method of the CTC (Crush, tear, Curl). Much care and concern is given to the tea leaves and buds that are processed in the orthodox way.
Some of the teas most sought after in leaf forms are Black tea, Green tea, Oolong tea, and especially White tea. The very rare and coveted White tea owes much of its fame and flavor because of its method of hand picking and processing in loose leaf tea form.
Tea is said to yield its best when infused from leaf form. The leaves have known less wear and tear as opposed to other, lower-grade versions of the tea, and thus retain most of the inherent goodness and body of the particular tea. Green tea releases better flavor in loose form. White tea is so prized that it is not even available in a lesser form than loose leaf tea. Black tea releases its full body and potency when the leaves are allowed to steep. Oolong tea leaves unfurl gently in the water, releasing with them their delicately robust flavor and aroma.
Tea leaf grading is also responsible for this popularity and eagerness for loose leaf tea, since of the four levels of grading, namely whole leaf, broken leaf, fannings, and dust, it is the first two which are considered the best of the lot.
Some reputable brands have even made loose leaf variety tea a symbol of the quality of their teas.