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The Teabag Store

The Teabag Store

History of tea bags

Thomas Sullivan and an accidental American invention

Needless to say, it was in America, with its love of labour-saving devices, that tea bags were first developed. In around 1908, Thomas Sullivan, a New York tea merchant, started to send samples of tea to his customers in small silken bags. Some assumed that these were supposed to be used in the same way as the metal infusers, by putting the entire bag into the pot, rather than emptying out the contents. It was thus by accident that the tea bag was born!

It was Tetley in 1953 that drove the introduction of tea bags in Britain, but other companies soon caught up. In the early 1960s, tea bags made up less than 3 per cent of the British market, but this has been growing steadily ever since. By 2007 tea bags made up a phenomenal 96 per cent of the British market, and there can hardly be a home or workplace in Britain that does not have a stash of the humble, but vital, tea bag.

Pyramid Tea Bags were invented in 1997, and are made of a fine see-through bio degradable mesh material. The pyramid shape is regarded as the optimal teabag design allowing the maximum room for the tea to expand and is perfectly suited for quality loose-leaf teas. Unlike conventional finely cut tea found in mass manufactured tea bags, the loose leaf teas and tisanes are fresh in the newly introduced bolder leaf specialty pyramid tea bag. This innovative brewing system combines the convenience of a traditional tea bag and the flavour and aroma of a quality pot of tea.

An even later innovation were the High Teas Premium tea bags. No hang ups about shape but made of a superior porous biodegradable material and well-filled with the very best of teas.