Loose Leaf Tea or Tea Bags: A Comprehensive Guide for Cafés

The café culture is a vibrant tapestry of aromas, flavors, and experiences - with tea steadily claiming its rightful place in the weave.  For many cafe owners, the questions is, should they use Loose Leaf Tea or Tea Bags?  

At Fratello Coffee Roasters, we recognize this evolving dynamic and aim to cater to the growing demographic of tea enthusiasts.  As purveyors of both loose leaf tea and tea bags, we delve into their distinctive qualities, preparation styles, costs, and environmental impacts. We're not just offering beverages; we're brewing experiences for café owners and tea aficionados alike.

Loose leaf tea brewing

Brewing Narratives with Loose Leaf Tea

The tea journey at Fratello Coffee Roasters is about relishing in the uniqueness of each variety, from the sourcing of our Idle Tea, to your cup.

  1. Theatre and Care: Every cup of tea served is a chance for a performance – the measurement, the steeping, the presentation – designed to engage and captivate. This attention to detail underscores your dedication to creating unique, memorable experiences for each customer.  Show your tea clients that you care about their beverages, just as much as you care about coffee beverages.  Utilizing a BrewT or other unique tea infuser is easy to implement. 
  2. Superior Quality and Freshness: The unblended, unflavored characteristics of our teas like the Idle Cream of Assam – a top-tier Organic black tea from the Satrupa Estate in India – testify to the superior quality of loose leaf tea. Every sip is a flavor fest, with smooth orange blossom honey notes infused with a hint of spice.
  3. Variety and Customization: Our offerings showcase the global tea culture. Each type reflects a region's unique palate, like the Idle Earl Grey Cream. Its blend of lemon and orange with floral lavender notes creates a tea symphony that's as diverse as our customer base.
  4. Enhanced Health Benefits: Our loose leaf teas, packed with beneficial compounds and antioxidants, are perfect for those seeking a healthful brew. They release a treasure trove of essential oils and flavors during steeping – a testament to their intact nature.
  5. Sustainability: We're not just contributing to the reduction of single-use tea bag waste, but also empowering our customers to make environmentally conscious choices.

loose leaf tea

The Benefits of using Tea Bags

  1. Convenience: Tea bags, with their quick and easy preparation, are a practical choice for busy cafés and on-the-go customers.
  2. Portability: Their portable nature makes it possible for customers to carry and enjoy their favorite tea anywhere.
  3. Consistency: Standardized tea bag formulations ensure that each cup of tea brewed offers a relatively predictable taste.
  4. Cost-Effectiveness: Typically, tea bags are more budget-friendly than loose leaf tea. Their mass production and minimal packaging make them an economical choice for cafés on a budget.

However, the cost-effectiveness of tea choices in cafés can vary, depending on the specific brand, quality, and sourcing of both loose leaf tea and tea bags. For example, premium tea bag options are now available that contain high-quality tea, though at a higher price tag.

Jasmine loose leaf tea

Navigating Challenges: Integrating Loose Leaf Tea into Your Café's Menu

While the shift from tea bags to loose leaf tea may seem daunting, addressing potential concerns head-on can turn these challenges into opportunities. Let's explore these facets and discover practical solutions:

  1. Time and Efficiency: The Art of Patience

Delighting customers with the exceptional flavor of loose leaf tea may require a few extra minutes of brewing time. But isn't this part of the charm? This period allows anticipation to build and culminates in a superior tea experience. As for efficiency, consider streamlining the brewing process. Efficient steeping methods and pre-portioning loose leaf tea could significantly speed up preparation.

  1. Training and Skill Requirements: The Learning Curve

Certainly, loose leaf tea comes with its learning curve. But think of it as an investment in enhancing your café's reputation for quality. Providing comprehensive training programs and practical resources such as training manuals can help your staff become confident loose leaf tea experts.

Tea measurement

  1. Cost Considerations: Quality vs. Quantity

The cost equation of loose leaf tea isn't as simple as it might first appear. Although premium loose leaf teas come with a higher price tag, they also offer the potential for increased revenue. By offering a range of loose leaf options, including some more affordable yet high-quality choices, cafés can cater to a broader customer base.

  1. Storage and Shelf Life: Keeping it Fresh

Storing loose leaf tea may require more thought than tossing a box of tea bags into the cupboard, but the rewards are worth it. Proper storage techniques can preserve freshness and flavor, and the use of airtight containers, along with temperature and light control, can extend the shelf life of your teas.

  1. Customer Preferences: Catering to Curiosity

Understanding and catering to customer preferences are essential. Collecting customer feedback and conducting surveys can reveal a surprising demand for loose leaf tea. Introducing loose leaf tea gradually, alongside familiar tea bag options, can provide customers an opportunity to develop a taste for this high-quality tea experience.

  1. Equipment and Infrastructure: The Right Tools

While the right brewing equipment is necessary, you don't have to break the bank. Collaborating with tea suppliers can help you find suitable equipment options within your café's budget. Moreover, the improved tea quality and customer satisfaction resulting from the investment can certainly pay off in the long run.

  1. Waste Management: Going Green

Loose leaf tea is not just an upgrade in quality; it's also an eco-friendly option. Educating staff and customers about composting used tea leaves can be a part of your café's green initiative. Partnering with local composting facilities or implementing in-house composting can transform your tea waste management into an eco-conscious practice.

Idle tea


The decision between loose leaf tea and tea bags is multi-faceted, influenced by factors like personal preference, desired tea experience, cost considerations, and commitment to sustainability. At Fratello Coffee Roasters, we're dedicated to facilitating these choices – offering a range of Idle Tea options, sharing our brewing expertise, and always ready to overcome any challenges that arise. We believe that every tea leaf has a story to tell, and we're here to help you discover them, one brew at a time.

By incorporating brand-specific stories, the unique characteristics of your teas, and your commitment to the customer experience and sustainability, the content will be more engaging for your readers. Plus, it helps to establish Fratello Coffee Roasters and Idle Tea as knowledgeable, caring, and customer-focused brands.

The History of Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is a partially fermented tea that is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is known for its unique flavor, which is somewhere between black tea and green tea, and its beautiful, curled leaves. Oolong tea originated in China during the Ming Dynasty, and it was originally made only for the Emperor and his court. Today, it is produced in many countries around the world and is enjoyed for its flavor and potential health benefits.

Oolong loose leaf tea

What is the history of Oolong tea?

Oolong tea has a long and interesting history. It is believed to have originated in China during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and it was originally known as "black dragon tea." The name "oolong" comes from the Chinese words "wu long," which means "black dragon." 

Oolong tea was first produced in the Fujian province of China, and it was initially made only for the Emperor and his court. Oolong tea was highly prized for its delicate flavour and beautiful appearance, and it became an important part of Chinese tea culture. In the 19th century, oolong tea was introduced to Taiwan, where it was cultivated on a larger scale. Today, oolong tea is produced in many countries around the world, including China, Taiwan, India, and Japan. It is enjoyed for its unique flavour and aroma, as well as its potential health benefits.

Chinese tea farm

What makes Oolong tea unique?

 Oolong tea is a type of tea that is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, just like black, green, and white teas. Oolong tea is unique because it is partially fermented, which gives it a flavor that is somewhere between black tea and green tea. The flavor of oolong tea can be complex and varied, with notes of fruit, flowers, and herbs. Oolong tea is also known for its beautiful, curled leaves and its amber-colored liquor. In addition to its unique flavor and appearance, oolong tea is also believed to have numerous health benefits, such as aiding in weight loss, improving mental alertness, and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Does Oolong tea offer any health benefits? 

There is some evidence to suggest that oolong tea may offer a number of health benefits. Some of the potential benefits of oolong tea include:

  1. Weight loss: Some studies have suggested that oolong tea may help to boost metabolism and increase fat oxidation, which could lead to weight loss.
  2. Improved mental alertness: The caffeine and theanine found in oolong tea may help to improve mental alertness and focus.
  3. Reduced risk of heart disease: Oolong tea is rich in antioxidants, which may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing inflammation.
  4. Stronger bones: Oolong tea is a good source of bone-building minerals like fluorine, which may help to improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  5. Improved dental health: Oolong tea contains compounds that may help to kill bacteria and inhibit the growth of plaque, which could improve dental health.

It's important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the health benefits of oolong tea, and it's not a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. As with any dietary supplement, it's important to speak with a healthcare provider before adding oolong tea to your diet.

Idle Tea Oolong Orange Cream

If you have not tried our Idle Tea offering, this is one we definitely recommend.   The aroma alone will have you coming back for more.  

Oolong Orange Cream

Flavor Profile: Clean orange citrus notes with a creamy finish.

Ingredients:  Oolong tea, natural flavor, orange peel, safflower

Oolong is a traditional semi-oxidized Chinese tea produced through a process including withering the plant under strong sun and oxidation before curling and twisting. Most oolong teas, especially those of fine quality, involve unique tea plant cultivars that are exclusively used for particular varieties.

Idle Tea Oolong Cream