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We hear about the health benefits of tea, but how can we be sure that we’re truly getting quality tea? In today’s Love it, Like it, Hate it, registered dietitian Molly Kimball shares tips from the pros.

Most tea sold commercially is mass produced and sold in individual bags, which disguises what the tea actually looks like.  The tea inside is often just what’s referred to as the “dust” or “fannings” of tea, comprised of finely-broken or crushed pieces of low-quality tea leaves. This ‘dust’ is the lowest grade of tea.

Plus, the bags are typically nylon or plastic – and the plastic can seep into our tea. A 2019 peer-reviewed study published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal found that plastic tea bags – when steeping in nearly boiling water – shed more than 10 billion microplastic and nanoplastic particles into the water.

Single-origin, specialty tea, on the other hand, consists of high quality (younger, top leaves), often sold as whole leaf, loose leaf tea. And, unlike the filter bags that prevent the tea leaf from opening fully, loose leaf tea allows us to experience the full flavor and nuances.

How to brew loose-leaf tea | Use a stainless steel brewing basket, stainless steel infuser ball or even a teapot.

TIP: Check product websites for store-locator in your region


Loose Leaf Teas such as those by Gachi Tea, Verdant Tea or In Pursuit of Tea


Bagged Teas such as those by The Republic of Tea or Celestial Seasonings

  • Sustainable packaging – bags without strings, tags or staples
  • Responsibly sourced ingredients
  • No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives


Sugar-Sweetened Teas – 24 grams added sugar per 12-ounce serving

Crystal Light “Sweet” Tea – 0 sugar per serving

  • Three different types of artificial sweeteners: sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium
  • Three types of artificial food dye:  red 40, blue 1, yellow 5
  • Corn syrup solids is the ingredient immediately following “instant tea”


Want more from Molly?  Click here to sign up for Eat Fit Wellness Bites weekly e-newsletter with links to her Get the Skinny TV segments here on WGNO and more!   Follow Molly on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram:  @MollyKimballRD – and check out her weekly podcast; just search ‘Molly Kimball’ on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.