Most-Rated Teas are Teabags, Top-Rated Teas All Loose-Leaf
The top 10 most often rated and reviewed teas on RateTea are all tea bags, but the top 10 highest-rated teas are all loose leaf, reflecting a disparity in tea culture between mainstream brands and connoisseurs.
As of current, these lists are now entirely disjoint, with the top rated list completely populated by loose-leaf teas, and the most-often-rated list consisting exclusively of tea bags.
Disconnect Between Tea Bags & Loose-Leaf in Tea Culture & Industry
The disconnect between the teas dominating the two lists reflects a deeper disparity between two facets of tea culture and industry. In the United States especially, the mainstream market is dominated by tea bags, which have the advantage of convenience, but offer inferior quality for similar price points, or a higher cost for similar levels of quality, due to increased packaging costs.
An overwhelming majority of the tea consumed is tea bags, and tea drinkers, including those reviewing teas on RateTea, are thus more likely to sample (and review) tea bags. But the best-quality teas, especially single-estate artisan teas, are only available in loose-leaf, and even when the same product is available both bagged and in loose-leaf form, the loose form often offers superior quality.
Calculating Ratings: A Challenge When Individual Reviewers Mostly Rate Only Loose-Leaf or Only Teabags, with Little Overlap
One challenge that existed when RateTea launched and had fewer reviews, was that, because reviews were sparse, there was not complete enough data to truly compare the ratings of loose-leaf teas to tea bags.
As the site has grown, and the number of users who have reviewed both loose-leaf tea and tea bags has increased greatly, it has become possible to make a reliable calculation of the difference in quality between the two categories. With this new data, a clear pattern has emerged: people who review both loose-leaf tea and tea bags tend to give loose-leaf tea much higher ratings, which reflects its strong tendency towards greater quality. This difference is reflected in the top 10 lists.
View the top 10 highest rated teas on RateTea (Dynamically updated):
View the top 10 most-often-rated teas:
Founder and Editor, RateTea