Some high-end tea companies began to stray from the standard tea bag years ago, using pyramidal tea bags in place of flat, rectangular “pillow” bags. At first, it seemed as though this packaging was simply a way to stand out from the crowd and charge a bit more to consumers. Now, more and more tea companies are switching to this design. Is there a benefit beyond looks?
The advantage to a pyramidal tea bag is in its structured shape. The bags are typically made of nylon (although other materials from silk to biodegradable fibers can also be used), which can be sewn shut instead of stapled or chemically heat-sealed in some way. Tea leaves are not compressed inside the bag and, when the bag is submerged in hot water, the leaves can swell, float freely and infuse maximum flavor into the water. There is less breakage of the tea leaves in these bags, reducing or eliminating the presence of tea “dust” in the bottom of the cup. To many, this also means that tea makers are not really given the option to use broken or sub-par tea leaves (whether they typically do or not) because there is no way to conceal them inside the pyramid as there is in the bag, where leaves can break easily.
In short, you are going to get a good brew with a pyramidal bag and might want to opt for one when dealing with more delicate/more expensive teas. But the traditional pillow bag is still going to perform just as well as it always has and, with good quality tea to being with, you’re still going to get a good cuppa with them.