This isn't news; had you and I had a conversation about it, I would have agreed wholeheartedly, but it was not until this moment I realised that this misconception had still been lingering in the back of my mind.
I presume this ill-formed idea has its roots in my early tea-drinking days, as I made the progression from teabags to loose tea. When trying to move away from BOP, searching for better tea, full, loose leaves become a convenient, visual indication, and in that context, not entirely misleading. Now that I continue advancing to better and better tea, this sort of prejudice is a handicap.
The art and science of making quality, artisan tea is clearly more involved than simply not having had it reduced to dust.