Should You Leave Your Tea Bag in or Take it Out?

To prevent bitterness, remove the bag when the allotted time has elapsed.
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There is a raging debate in the tea community: Should you leave your tea bag in or take it out while drinking? There are advantages to both, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference.


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Since tea has many health benefits, you should not let this technicality prevent you from drinking tea. If you want to get technical, follow the recommended brewing times on the package or box of your selected tea.


Leaving the tea bag in may result in over-steeping your tea, which can cause a bitter flavor. However, whether you remove or leave the tea bag is up to your personal preference.

Benefits of Tea

Humans have been consuming tea for centuries, not only for the flavor but also for the health benefits. There are many different types of tea, each with its own unique properties. The most common types of tea include green tea, white tea, black tea and oolong tea. Other types of herbal tea include peppermint, ginger, chamomile, hibiscus and dandelion.


Though each tea is unique in flavor and properties, tea is often known for its healing benefits. According to a September 2016 study published in Anti-inflammatory and Anti-allergy Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, the major component in green tea has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects that can improve the quality of life in patients with inflammatory disease. Researchers found no adverse effects.

Similarly, tea is also known for being high in antioxidants, which can fight oxidative stress. A July 2015 study published in Inflammopharmacology found that green tea contains plant polyphenols that have significant antioxidant properties. These polyphenols may aid in the treatment of chronic health conditions like cancer and Alzheimer's Disease.


To maximize the benefits of tea, Harvard Health Publishing recommends against adding too much sugar. The disadvantages of sugar can outweigh the advantages of drinking tea. They also recommend against drinking excessive amounts of tea, as this can harm the kidneys.

Read more: What Are the Side Effects of Drinking Tea?

How to Make Tea

Making tea is simple and requires just a couple ingredients and tools. You will need tea, water, a tea kettle and a cup. You can brew tea from tea bags, which are premeasured, or you can measure out your own loose leaf tea and bag it yourself. Typically, you only use 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per cup. When bagging your own tea, you can use a reusable tea strainer or disposable tea bags made from paper.


Making a good cup of tea starts with selecting a high-quality tea. If possible, opt for a tea that was packed at the source rather than shipped to a new packing facility. The tea leaves can lose freshness along the way. The freshness of the tea leaves can affect the flavor of the tea once brewed. When storing your tea, preserve the freshness by storing the tea leaves in an airtight container. Keep in the refrigerator for maximum freshness.

To brew a cup of tea, start by selecting a tea bag or packing your own loose leaf tea into a tea strainer. Place it into a cup. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a clean tea kettle. Pour the hot water over the tea bag or strainer. Let it steep for between three and five minutes, depending on the type of tea.


Once the designated brew time is reached, you may remove the tea bag before drinking. This halts the steeping process and allows the tea to cool to a comfortable temperature. However, some tea drinkers prefer to leave the tea bag in. This is believed to add more flavor. Either way is acceptable, and it is up to the tea drinker to decide whether to remove the tea bag prior to drinking.

Read more: Does Green Tea Lose Antioxidants When Cold?


The debate on whether or not to leave your tea bag in your cup comes down to personal preference, though those in favor of removing the tea bag argue that leaving it in encourages a longer steeping time. Each type of tea is intended to steep for a designated amount of time for the right balance of flavors. Leaving the tea bag in may result in a longer steeping time and can alter the flavor or cause bitterness.


According to the University of California, Davis, here is how long to brew various types of tea:

  • White tea: four to five minutes
  • Yellow tea: three to five minutes
  • Green tea: three to four minutes
  • Oolong tea: three to five minutes
  • Black tea: three to four minutes
  • Pu'er tea: three to five minutes

As long as you enjoy your tea, there is no right or wrong way to drink it.