The whole leaf tea has a more appealing golden color. The pellet tea has a green hue to the tea — it looks dingy. ...but looks aren’t everything.
The color difference is interesting. Could it be caused by different ratios of chlorophyll to lupulin glands?
As mentioned, the taste of the whole leaf is less harsh, or sharp, than the pellet tea. There was a *very* noticeable sharpness to the pellet tea.
Was the pellet tea just more bitter or was it the quality of the bitterness? An ounce of pellets has more bittering potential than an ounce of whole cone hops, so I would expect at least more bitterness.
The most remarkable difference was how fast the whole leaf sample drained over the pellet sample.
I don't find that aspect very surprising. I think with pellets, the idea is to position the pick up tube such that it draws off the clear wort from the top of the pellet sludge (or just bag the pellets), while the idea with whole cone hops is to use a pick up tube that draws from underneath a false bottom so the hops can form a filter bed (I've personally never tried it though).