Can you eat tea bags?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat tea bags?” and discuss how you can eat it?

Can you eat tea bags?

Yes, you can eat tea bags. Even the tea bags are edible; certain tea varieties like Matcha are ingested, and tea is often utilized in cooking. Tea leaves are generally safe to consume in moderation in most situations. In most cases, you won’t get much more than a cup of tea, and you shouldn’t drink it in excess.

Myanmar is one of the countries that have an eating habit of tea leaves. Laphet is fermented pickled tea leaves, which are rather eaten than processed into a drink. It is believed that eating tea increases life for as long as 120 years (2). Laphet is produced in a traditional way. First, young leaves are picked from a plantation. Tea leaves are selected to go through the fermentation process, which involves steaming for approximately 5 minutes, removing the remaining water, selecting tea leaves again, packing them into clay pots, and pressing the leaves with heavy weights. The fermentation process needs to be checked at intervals. The tea leaves are well fermented by naturally forming microbes. The pulp softens after 2 weeks and the fermentation process is completed in 3-4 months. The completion of fermentation is evident when the pulp changes from green to golden green, the leaves soften, and acidity is reduced. The fermented tea leaves are then thoroughly mixed with 5-10% of minced garlic and ground chili, 1-2% of salt, 1-2% of fresh lemon juice, 1% of seasoning powder and 20-30% of peanut oil (1).

The world’s consumption of Camellia sinensis in the form of green tea is approximately 20% and the remaining 80% is consumed as black and oolong tea (1).

Making a cup of tea and drinking its leaves.

If you eat a complete tea bag as an experiment, you’re not only risking ingestion of plastic and other toxins, but you’re also risking ingestion of a daredevil act. I have a separate article on the topic that you can read here. While it is feasible to remove the tea leaves from a teabag, there are a few things to keep in mind.

In a typical package of teabags, the tea leaves known as “fannings” or “dust” are referred to as such. ‘Sweepings’ from the production floor are also reported to be included. They are made by pulverizing tea leaves that have been oxidized to a higher degree. Because of this, all of the leaves have a larger surface area than they otherwise would have had.

Extra processing of the leaves yields both the tannings – which give tea its harsh flavor and the polyphenols and other enzymes and good parts that contribute to the flavor and health benefits more rapidly and efficiently.

However, by the ingestion of matcha, which is consumed whole in a powdered form, the entire tea leaf is used whereas with tea bags the entire leaf may not be in a tea bag. Water steeping a tea bag will only secrete a limited amount of antioxidants (3). The grinding process of matcha tea leaves to its powdered form contribute to its higher antioxidant potential, thus the grinding process itself may accelerate the extraction of polyphenolic compounds (4).

Pouring the tea leaves from a Tea Bag into a Cup of Tea

In reality, we’ve all had the experience of a ripped tea bag that we didn’t see and drank from, so this should be a resounding success. I can picture your head nodding in agreement!

However, this is how tea was traditionally served in the “olden days.” Tea leaf reading originated with this method. Modern methods of preventing tea leaves from being added and changing tastes have made it necessary to employ a strainer, which was not required in the past. Eastern cultures will be discussed in more detail later.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that tea bags, in addition to their plastic composition, restrict much of the tea from circulating about, which is a problem. Tea grows when it’s in hot water, so at least by putting it in a cup, it can.

Even while most of the leaf material will fall to the bottom and stay there, this has a huge drawback. Tea leaves are likely to be included in every sip of tea. Each time you move the cup, the noise will become louder. 

These “pieces” may be quite distracting while tasting. Your tongue will be filled with bitter leaf particles instead of a pleasant flavor. Reading the leaves later, though, maybe a lot of fun.

A Teapot filled with Black Tea Leaves from a Tea Bag.

I think this is a simple question to answer. Actually, you’re simply boiling tea the old-fashioned way of the early twentieth century by using a teapot and a strainer. Assembling the ingredients for the perfect cup of hot water, such as the pot of loose-leaf tea and the strainer. Adding leaves to the cup without a sieve yields the same results as doing it directly.

Is it OK to eat all tea leaves?

You must ensure that the tea leaves in the teabag are safe to consume before consuming them. Additionally, the way you want to consume is important. In order to consume the complete tea bag, you’ll need to remove the paper wrapper from the teabag. In addition, you should be aware that after the tea leaves have been cooked and brewed, they lack any notable nutrients.

To put it kindly, the tea leaves’ uniformity will be abysmal. You’ll need a lot of water to flush the tea leaves down your throat, or else you’ll choke on them. It is also conceivable that the leaves may become lodged in the teeth, and you will need to use a toothpick to remove them. 

What Do We Do With It?

Tea leaves and dust may be consumed in many different ways. The first thing we ask ourselves is, “How should I consume tea leaves and dust?” There may be certain legitimate reasons to consume tea leaves or dust, but ingesting tea from a teabag may not be one of them. 

You’ll be consuming little amounts of plastic and paper. If tea drinking is an enjoyable pastime at all, this is hardly the way to do it.

Also, keep in mind that drinking the tea directly from the container may not provide the intended benefits. Only when the tea leaves are finely ground and the water is at the appropriate temperature can the tea’s benefits be fully appreciated. 

To learn more about eating tea bags click here

Other FAQs about Tea that you may be interested in.

How much does a gallon of tea weigh?

What is the difference between boba and bubble tea?

What is the best way to make tea with tea bags?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat tea bags?” and we discussed how you can eat it?


  1. Han, Thazin, and Kyaw Nyein Aye. The legend of laphet: a Myanmar fermented tea leaf. J Ethnic Foods, 2015, 2, 173-178.
  2. Maung, Pyie Phyo, Qian He, and Moses Vernoxious Madalitso Chamba. Comparison of polyphenol content between laboratory processed Laphet and China and Myanmar tea (Camellia sinensis) products. Pak J Food Sci, 2012, 22, 180-184. 
  3. Daniels, P. What is matcha powder? 2016. University of Michigan.
  4. Kochman, J., et al. Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review. Molecules, 2021, 26, 85.