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The ultimate guide for tea bag types

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There are different types of tea bags on the market, and each one has its own unique benefits and drawbacks.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the most popular types of tea bags and discuss how they differ from each other.

We’ll also provide tips for choosing the right type of tea bag for your needs. So, if you’re interested in learning more about tea bags, keep reading!

History of tea bags

There is a little story about the invention of the tea bag.

In the 1900s, a tea and coffee merchant named Thomas Sullivan, he wants to reduce the cost of shipping loose-leaf Tea bag samples.  On a whim, he put the tea leaves into a small square silk bag.

When customers received the samples, they found that they could actually brew tea in this little porous bag.

Since then, tea bags have gradually gained acceptance due to their ease of use.

Fortunately, with the emergence of filter paper materials, rectangular teabags, and automated packaging machinery, the cost of tea bag packaging continued to fall.

Tea bags then became a widely accepted way to serve tea.

However, tea manufacturers are never satisfied with the status quo.

In response, new tea bag packaging types have emerged, such as pyramid tea bags, round tea bags, tea bags with threads and labels, eco-friendly tea bags, etc.

All of them are designed to make tea drinking easier and healthier.

So what types of tea bags can be found today?

A tea bag, in general, is a tiny porous sealed bag that is very convenient to use and carry.

It allows you to steep and infuse tea without using special teaware.

Today, there are a wide variety of tea bags available on the market, each with its own unique benefits.

As a result of their appearance and shape, tea bags are classified into the following styles.

Square tea bag style

square-teabag picture

It presents a standard square or rectangular shape.

High packaging efficiency can be achieved on automatic tea bag packaging machines.

Benefits of square tea bags

  • Limited space, and easy to be crushed. The finished square tea bags can be packed in boxes.
  • Suitable for packaging tea leaves or tea dust, which is a lower quality tea made from broken tea leaves.

Pyramid tea bag style

triangle-bag-example

The pyramid tea bag is designed to give the tea leaves more room to move, allowing for a more robust flavor.

It presents a triangular-shaped Tetrahedral structure with ample content space. It is an ideal tea bag type for loose tea.

Benefits of pyramid tea bags

  • The tea leaves are free to stretch and release their favor inside the tea bag.
  • Can be filled with more capacity tea leaves. Suitable for packing a mix of broken and whole tea leaves. Herbal teas and fruit tisanes are also commonly found in pyramid tea bags. 

Special shape tea bag types

square tea bag

Some tea bags are shaped differently, like round or heart-shaped tea bags.

These variations are designed to appeal to a certain group of customers and differentiate your tea products from others on the market.

They can be used for promotional purposes.

What are tea bags made of?

Tea bags are typically made of bleached paper, nylon, plastic, or silk. They are used to brew tea by steeping the tea leaves in hot water.

The tea packaging company would choose the perfect tea bag fabric depending on the desired characteristics, such as strength, durability, and flavor release. Sealing them shut is done with heat sealing and ultrasonic welding, or using glue.

Filter paper tea bags

Filter Paper Roll Stock Bags

Paper tea bags work well for most types of tea.

The filter paper is made of a blend of plant fibers that can be heat-sealed. Despite being bleached, it is relatively environmentally safe and non-toxic.

Pros of paper tea bags

  • Low production cost, a cheap tea packaging choice for mass production.
  • It is the most convenient and least expensive way to consume tea.
  • Usually, the unbleached filtered paper bags have a yellowish-brown color. Such tea bags are compostable, while bleached ones are not.

Cons of paper tea bags

  • Produces a slightly bitter taste when brewing.

Food-grade plastics tea bags

pyramid tea bag roll

The Silken” food-grade plastic fabric is more durable than filter paper, and it has good permeability, so hot water can flow through it easily.

Also, it is semi-transparent, you can even see the tea leaves inside the tea sachet.

Teabags that are in the shape of pyramids are sometimes known as “crystal” teabags in France.

  • The nylon tea bag is stable, heat resistant, and will not affect the flavor of tea. But nylon is not a biodegradable fabric.
  • PLA corn fiber, which is an alternative to nylon material, has a higher cost. It is biodegradable, but not compostable.
  • Non-woven fabric tea bags are mess-free, eco-friendly, and reusable, making them the perfect choice for tea lovers everywhere.

Muslin silk fabric tea bags

In comparison to cotton, muslin silk fabric tea bags are more durable and of higher quality.

Naturally, this increases the price. However, the large mesh silk tea bag brings a good brewing experience.

Moreover, it is a natural material that does not produce any odor or release plastic particles during brewing.

In fact, tea infusion in muslin silk bags can be comparable to loose tea.

As a result, it is often used to pack a great selection of tea leaves.

Tea bag dimensions

In general, the standard tea bag contains 2-5 grams of tea or herbal formula, making it ideal for single servings.

The following bag types and tea bag dimensions are the most popular. As you will see in the table below,

Bag typeStandard tea bag size
Pyramid tea bag50–80mm(each edge)
Square tea bagWidth: 50–100 mm, Length: 40–120 mm
Round tea bag70mm in diameter

The outer envelope can be added if necessary, the approximate sizes are 80-100 (W) x 90-115 (L) mm and 4-6mm thick.

How are tea bags made?

Usually, a fully automated tea bag packing machine is used when making a lot of tea bags for sale. It can manage the whole procedure from start to finish.

Selecting materials for tea bags is the first step.

This generally involves mixing strong and porous fibers like heat-sealed filter paper, food-grade nylon mesh, or biodegradable PLA cornstarch. These materials can withstand boiling water while infusing tea.

Next, the tea leaves or herbs are then put into the filling hopper of the packing machine.

The filter paper is then folded into the shape of a tea bag by the machine, producing an empty container for the tea leaves.

With a volumetric filler or electronic weigher, the bag is then filled with the desired amount of tea leaves, and the top of the tea bag is sealed shut.

Once the tea bags have been filled and sealed, they can be placed in boxes or other containers for transportation to retailers or consumers

Common Methods of Sealing Tea Bags

In the context of tea bag manufacturing, sealing the tea bags is a critical step to ensure freshness and quality.

  1. Glue Sealing: A safe, food-grade adhesive is used to secure the edges of the tea bag, ensuring the contents remain intact.
  2. Heat Sealing: This method applies heat to the edges of the tea bag material, melting it slightly to create a durable seal. It’s especially effective for materials like paper and certain plastics.
  3. Ultrasonic Sealing: High-frequency ultrasonic vibrations are used to create heat, which fuses the tea bag material at the seams. This method is precise and does not alter the quality of the material.
  4. Stitching with Staples: A traditional method where the tea bag is stitched shut and secured with a staple. While not as common due to concerns about metal in hot water, it’s still used for its classic aesthetic in some brands.

Each of these methods is selected based on the material of the tea bag, production efficiency, and the desired look of the final product.

They play a vital role in maintaining the tea’s quality from production to the consumer’s cup.

Options that can be added to the tea bags

Tea bags typically come with just the tea leaves inside, but there are a few extra options that can be added to make the tea-drinking experience more convenient and enjoyable. 

Thread and tea bag tag

Tea bags with thread and tags are a convenient way for tea drinkers to brew their tea.

Tea bag display

It is not only convenient for the tea drinker to brew, but also for the tea shop to display the brand and indicate the tea leaves in the tea bag. 

The automatic tea bag packing machines use various methods to attach tea bag tags and thread to tea bags.

The most common method is to use a heat sealer. This type of machine seals the tea bag tag and thread to the tea bag using heat.

Another type of tea bag packing machine uses a needle and thread to sew the tea bag tag and thread it onto the tea bag.

No matter which method is used, tea bag packing machines are able to quickly and efficiently attach tea bag tags and thread to tea bags.

Outer envelope package

As well as providing secondary protection for the tea bags, the outer packaging offers the producer more surface area for display.

In response to this demand, automatic tea bag machines are flexible enough to complete different configurations of tea bags with different attributes.

Loose-leaf tea vs Tea bags vs Tea sachets

Loose-leaf tea, tea sachet, and tea bags each have distinct benefits.

Which is better?

Before answering this question, the following tea bag facts you need to know.

  • The more whole leaves in the tea, the better the quality of the tea will be.
  • The flavor of the tea comes from the essential oils in the leaf. The more intact the tea leaves remain means less loss of essential oils from the tea leaves.
  • In addition, when making tea, the right amount of space is conducive to the release of the tea’s flavor.

What is full-leaf tea?

loose leaf tea

When we say “whole-leaf tea“, we mean the tea primarily consists of whole, unbroken leaves.

Tea leaves can be observed in their whole form when brewed. 

From the picking of tea leaves to the production process, tea leaves inevitably crash and collide with each other.

As a result, fragments of tea leaves are produced.

According to the integrity score of the tea leaves, the tea manufacturer will grade the tea leaves.

In general, loose tea is a collection of whole-leaf teas.

We would pack the whole-leaf tea into other tea packaging types, like metal tins or doypack pouches that can protect the tea leaves from damage, rather than in tea bags.

What is Tea Sachet?

Tea sachets are typically little pyramid-shaped or flat bags made of fine mesh cloth.

The larger internal space allows the tea leaves to fully expand, resulting in a more flavorful infusion and cup of tea.

Tea sachets are often composed of biodegradable materials and filled with whole-leaf tea, which can include herbal, fruit, and spice blends in addition to regular tea leaves.

What are in tea bags?

As most teabags are tightly packed, the leaves don’t have enough room to expand and release flavor as they steep.

For example, traditional tea bags are filled with small particles of tea leaves, rather than whole tea leaves, such as broken tea leaves, fannings, and tea dust.

Take away: Selecting the Right Tea Packaging

For the finest tea experience, opt for loose tea in sturdy packaging like stand-up pouches and cans. For a blend of quality and convenience, tea sachets are an excellent choice. And if ease of use tops your list, traditional square tea bags are the way to go.

Moreover, for entrepreneurs and businesses exploring the private label tea market, these insights are invaluable.

Understanding the nuances of tea packaging can significantly enhance your brand’s appeal and cater to a wide range of consumer preferences.

This knowledge is a stepping stone towards creating a successful private label tea business, attracting discerning tea lovers and casual drinkers alike.

Conclusion

If you are looking for the best-tasting tea, you should choose loose-leaf tea with a firm shape packet, such as stand-up pouches and cans.

If you want to balance good quality tea and the convenience of use, the pyramid tea sachet is a good choice.

If convenience is more important to you, use tea bags.

Tea drinkers have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to the type of tea they drink, whether it is loose leaves, tea bags, or sachets.

Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, the choice between these types of tea depends on what the individual wants in terms of convenience and taste.

Eric Lu

Eric Lu

Xhteapack Marketing Sales Manager, I am responsible for the company's social media campaigns and blog posts.

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