6:1 for the "free" tea

6:1 for the "free" tea

We call our tea "free" because we give it freedom - both in the storage box and in the teaware. Ever since Thomas Sullivan accidentally introduced the use of packaged tea in New York in the early 20th century, tea fans have split into two teams. While loose-leaf tea fans adhere to tea leaves in free volume of water and stay true to centuries-old traditions and authentic cups, new players are constantly appearing in the pre-packaged tea team, making tea consumption seemingly convenient, easy and affordable. Well, hold on a second (i.e. “Chai malko”), what's wrong with that? Nothing wrong really, but the game the pre-packaged tea team is not always fair and open. We want actual effortless convenience and a cheap price, not just to appear to be so.


Needless to say, we at Chai malko are on the side of the loose-leaf team.  Here is why....




Tea quality is a combination of many factors - freshness, origin, leaf structure, the ability of tea masters to manufacture the tea etc...  We at Chai malko firmly stand for loose-leaf tea as a reliable way to know the quality of the tea and to maximize its potential.


The pre-packaged tea team also includes "second-packaged tea". This includes all the facilities for making tea easier and faster: various strainer types, reusable textile bags, paper bags for loose tea and other tricky gadgets that save us time but take away from the potential of tea itself. 


The results of the match "free" vs pre-packaged tea - 6:1

  • tea leaf quality - 1:0
  • quality of the brew - 1:0
  • price/quality 1:0
  • method of preparation 1:0
  • health - 1:0
  • nature - 1:0
  • convenience - 0:1

Those interested in the details of the match score, please read the breakdown by the minute below ; )




1) Quality of the tea - 1:0


One of the main factors that determine the quality/value of tea is the condition of the leaves - their structure, oxidation status, the presence of broken leaves, dust particles etc... Often, tea bags are used as a way to conceal lower quality tea leaves, well hidden in a silk pyramid or hand-wrapped textile bag. An easy experiment you can do at home is to cut a bag and give it a simple view of the contents (dry and wet). In loose-leaf tea, the lack of quality cannot be masked, and everything is clear at first glance or, at worst, from a second infusion ; ) 




It is very important to provide enough space for the dry tea leaves to absorb enough water to completely unfold during brewing. This allows the water to "flow" through the leaves and infuse it’s intricate sub-structures in order to extract the full palette of the beneficial ingredients and delicate flavors and aromas locked in the tea leaves.… to get to know the nature of tea and unlock its full potential.


If the leaves are unable to unfold and absorb water well, the extraction of the ingredients is not uniform: not all leaves reach the same amount of water simultaneously, and not equality fast. Leaves in direct contact with water will interact with it immediately and for longer than those located in the center of a strainer type “ball”, for example, where water reaches certain regions harder and, consequently, releases more slowly into the brew.


The bag is a kind of "tea prison" where the “unfolding” of tea is limited to the size of the bag. No matter how good the tea may be inside, this physical barrier between tea and the free flow of water limits the potential of the brew. In addition, if there are small dusts or broken petals in the tea, they remain “locked” inside the bag and impair the quality of the brew.




Value for your money is almost always in favor of loose-leaf tea. Here, of course, we leave aside teas of collectible value, rare types of tea, or briefly high-grade tea, which is not offered in a bag anyway. ; )


The average tea content in a bag is less than 2 grams - between 1.4 and 1.8 and simple arithmetic shows that the easy solution is often more expensive. The amount of tea you can buy for the same price in loose-leaf format is many times higher when comparing teas in the same price category, and if you are focused on quality like us - just invest the same amount and buy quality tea and enjoy it for a longer time.




Tea in a bag is only suitable for one-time infusions, since it is practically impossible for the leaves to drain well after the first infusion. In this way, packaged tea limits us to the method of preparation and we can only follow the western model, with no experimentation possible. The Eastern model of preparation involves the use of loose leaves in short, consecutive infusions with the same amount of leaves, which reveal the nature of the tea and unfolds its full potential. Of course, everyone is free to prepare their tea as they please, but is it not better to have the choice?


For all the numerous benefits of the Eastern model of brewing Camellia Sinensis tea, you can read more here.


5) Nature - 1:0


We are inextricably linked in with Nature, so what we do not want to end up into our bodies should not be thrown into Nature - sooner or later it returns to us. It is a pity that we often think about the environment only when there is a risk of personal injury, but for whatever reasons - hey, we live in a time with many "useful" trends! There is talk of zero waste, green practices, biodegradable disposable vessel solutions... and yet, the best we can do for the environment and for ourselves is to reduce our consumption and use our resources wisely.


The environmental consequences of overuse and unauthorized use of plastic are more than apparent, no one needs laboratory research or scientific data - a walk to and around the garbage can do the job. However, a recent scientific study appeared on September 25, 2019, in Nature, the renowned scientific journal, on the most recent topic - microplastics, which deserves attention:


Plastic tea bags shed billions of microplastic particles into the cup


We welcome companies that are working towards biodegradable or other green alternatives to pre-packaged tea, but it seems more sensible to work in the direction of tea boxes to transport loose-leaf tea. Unfortunately, this is not the norm, but rather a special product that you will need to look for specifically and often cost a lot. To make a quick cup of tea, it can take hundreds of years for Nature to handle the single pack of your tea-bagged leaves.


6) HEALTH - 1:0


Roughly speaking - when we brew our tea with the bag… well, we also brew the bag ; ) Thus, not only the ingredients of the tea leaves, but also those from which the bag is made, fall into our glass. Let's not be fooled, these are mostly synthetic bags and nobody knows what exactly happens when they react with hot water. Of course, there are also packages of natural materials - corn starch, cotton, silk... However, you should read the label carefully because they often have impurities or hidden warnings in small print.


Modern biodegradable bags are quite popular, but always pay attention to the fact that the main focus is what's not inside, instead of what's inside. A plastic that is BPA free has enough other ingredients that haven't been tested enough to fit into the "safe" column. Hold on, why do we even need to play Russian roulette when we have a simple, safe and reliable alternative?




One of the reasons people choose packaged tea is that it is simply easier to prepare. Turning to the history books, Sullivan did not even intend to brew the tea directly with the pre-packaged bags in which it was placed, and they were simply a means of safer transportation from Asia to America. Customers, however, quickly adopted this easy and one-time solution and soon it became the norm - dipping a bag, steaming, removing and discarding it. It's easier than using a strainer, and possibly a kettle ... And then we have to clean ...


To be perfectly honest, bags are a relatively easy and quick way to make tea .. But this is really their only advantage. We at Chai malko, do not want to compromise on quality, and we believe that there are convenient and more effective ways to make loose-leaf tea, without having to spend unnecessary time, special tools or special skills. Our mission is to provide you with the easiest ways to use loose-leaf tea, to maximize the potential it has to your health and well-being, so stay tuned ; )



Freedom for tea.

It's worth it, we promise.  





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Глътка Знание

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