Move over tea shops, people can now get their loose leaf fix from the grocery store. Pure Leaf has been widely available on the shelves for a few months now and I tried them all. They come in both bulk loose and silken pyramid tea bag style depending on the variety. Black Tea with Vanilla comes in both formats. Earl Grey and Gunpowder Green are both available in bulk loose long leaf only. The others, Green Tea with Jasmine, Black Tea with Berries, and Chai are bagged only but still contain long leaf loose blends.
Bagged teas come with 16 tea bags for around $6.99 while the bulk loose teas vary from 115g-165g for $8.99. I will start with the only negative thing I have to say about these teas; the packaging. Both formats come in transparent plastic jars with a screw on lid. I get what Pure Leaf is trying to do with the transparent packaging. We have all been excited by “loose leaf teas” in the grocery store before to get it home and find the same dusty tea you can get in cheap tea bags. They want to show the ingredients – and they should. Pure Leaf has some decent teas for the grocery store. But tea does much better in the dark and I would prefer a “real life size” type image with a dark tin.
That being said, they are well sealed to keep air out and the jars are reusable which is nice. They also all just say freshly boiled water. This would be too much for at least the Green Tea with Jasmine which should be steeped at a lower temperature. It is quite a delicate green too and would be a shame to burn it.
Pure Leaf Teas – Loose vs Pyramid Bags
Back when I lived in the UK and was didn’t have the budget for a pile of expensive teas, I was a PG Tips kinda gal. When I moved to Canada and tasted the version of PG Tips here along with those tiny square bags compared to my beloved pyramid bags, not impressed. I still occasionally buy a box of PG Tips Pyramid Bags from the UK import store. They really do make a difference when the tea has space to move while brewing. Too tight jeans are not a good look on people so why do it to your tea?
The silken pyramid bags used by Pure Leaf are compostable and made from plant material. The pyramid bag allows for the tea to gently unfurl giving you the full taste of the teas. The strings didn’t fall off any of the ones I have made so far either, because that is a pet peeve.
Black Tea with Vanilla – Pure Leaf
Back tea with vanilla can go horribly wrong. It seems that it should be an easy tea to make but I was put off vanilla teas for so long after that super vanilla one with the drawstring bags that came out a while back. Thankfully, Pure Leaf Black Tea with Vanilla is a milder and well rounded blend. They have a mild more natural vanilla taste that gently sweetens the tea.
Pure Leaf’s Black Tea with Vanilla is the only tea currently available in both bagged format and loose but they do seem to have the same tea in both formats. No dust in the bags compared to the jar of loose. This single origin tea is from Kenya and includes marigold petals and flakes of vanilla bean rather than just flavouring. Given how many expensive teas have relied on flavouring lately, this was great to see from a brand sold even in Walmart.
Black Tea with Berries – Pure Leaf
This one seems to be a favourite from the collection as we are almost through the whole jar. As you can tell since you can see in the bags, they have a nice mix of black tea and berries. This one does oversteep though so taste it after 2 minutes to see if it is strong enough for you then keep tasting. The gently rolled orthodox black tea is from Kenya and is mixed with berries balanced with hibiscus, rosehips and blackberry leaves. This one probably has the most going on in the blend, the others are fairly simple with less ingredients.
Green Tea with Jasmine – Pure Leaf
Great for those who are not a huge fan of the grassy taste of green teas. Pure Leaf Green Tea with Jasmine is a delicate green with just a hint of jasmine. Enough that it is there but not overpowering. The light, smooth finish of this green and pale colour are great. The long leaf Chinese green tea are lightly rolled and mixed with real jasmine flowers, not flavouring, giving it a nice floral note. Again, I did steep this as I would a normal green at a lower temperature than the jar says (freshly boiled water).
Chai Tea – Pure Leaf
The only tea that is not single origin from the current Pure Leaf collection is the Chai with teas from Sri Lanka and Kenya. Since I know someone will mention it… yes, the jar says Chai Tea with Spices. We all know Chai is a spiced tea and there is no need for the extra words. But you know, it is a grocery store tea. So people who don’t spend half their paycheque in tea shops and have 10 Frequent Steeper Rewards every quarter need to know what is in it. I think those people are who they had in mind making this Chai too. It is not throw spices in your face spicy. A nice mingling of chai spices but mild at the same time. Perfect for those who have never tried a Chai.
Loose Long Leaf Bulk Teas From Pure Leaf
There are currently three teas available in bulk loose long leaf. All single origin teas. Black Tea with Vanilla, which I already reviewed above in bagged format also comes in 115g loose format. Plus Earl Grey and Gunpowder Green Teas. It is nice that these do state how much tea to use for those just making the change from bagged teas. Compared to the bagged teas which all contain 16 bags, they are actually quite affordable at around $9 with plenty of cups per jar too.
Earl Grey Loose Long Leaf Tea – Pure Leaf
Black tea from Sri Lanka mixed with natural Bergamot flavouring plus marigold and bluet petals round out this Earl Grey long leaf loose tea from Pure Leaf. Like the Chai, it is not an overpowering Earl Grey and perfect for someone starting out with more than just regular bagged tea. A nice smooth flavour with just the right amount of Bergamot. Mixed with the Black Tea with Vanilla, it makes an awesome London Fog too. At $8.99 (less at Walmart right now) you get 50 cups (not mugs) so is really affordable for loose too.
Gunpowder Green Tea – Pure Leaf
Not surprisingly since it is a Gunpowder Green, this is more robust than the bagged Green Tea with Jasmine from Pure Leaf. The Indonesian green tea is nicely furled and has a nice Gunpowder Green taste. Grassier but still smooth and like the others, a great introduction tea to non flavoured greens. It brews to a nice clear green tea colour with no dust through the infuser which I know can put off newbies to tea – so a definite plus.
If you are into expensive loose leaf with complicated flavour notes, these may not be for you. But are perfect as introductory teas, keeping in an office for visiting tea drinkers or with the loose, a cheaper alternative to the more expensive blends for everyday drinking. I mean, my morning cuppa could really be almost anything until my tastebuds catch up with the alarm clock.