The future of the tea bag


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The future of the tea bag

Postby Charles » Jan 15th, '10, 19:48

I've written an article about the history and future of the tea bag (http://www.tearetailer.com/article_29.html). Adagio has the option of putting any tea in our collection into pyramid tea bags, but the question is, what does the customer want? Will a tea connoisseur who buys loose leaf Darjeeling or Oolong ALSO want their favorite tea in bagged form for convenience at the office or on the road?

We're going to test this in our new retail store, but I'd love to get some feedback from our customers and friends in the tea industry on this one.
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby acgourley » Jan 16th, '10, 04:23

I'm totally fine with buying premium tea in bags, but it seems like most premium bagged tea options are far more expensive than the loose tea alternative. Tea such as Mighty Leaf ends up being 50 cents a cup.

This is probably because they are only selling 1.3 oz of tea at a time, instead 4oz size common in loose leaf purchases. Nonetheless I go with loose leaf tea + t-sac's when I'm looking for a simple and single cup.
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby Dresden » Jan 16th, '10, 04:30

Paper filters are the way I usually brew at work. I would love the convenience of a pyramid bag and would surely use them, but I do believe price is a concern as acgourley stated.

For example... The Yunnan gold teabags come to $0.66 per cup whereas a 3oz tin is nearly half the price at $0.37 per cup.
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby LauraW » Jan 16th, '10, 14:26

acgourley wrote:Nonetheless I go with loose leaf tea + t-sac's when I'm looking for a simple and single cup.


I agree with this. Even at work, I have a teaball for when I have looseleaf teas. The price of buying the tea + the 100ct. box of bags (which adds only .03 to the cost of a cup) or + teaball, or + infuser... I'll do it myself. Unfortunately, I'm cheap. Wherever I can skimp on the cost of "extras," I will, and tea prepackaged in bags is a cost I will very willingly cut, even if only so that I can purchase a better quality tea.

Ex: I travel sometimes for work. Last time was a 6-week stint, where I was staying in someone else's house. Since I was driving there, I took my IngenuiTEA and a couple tins of tea. But even when flying, I'll pack a tin of tea and a teaball with no problem.
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby Victoria » Jan 16th, '10, 14:50

I have given some thought to this for awhile now. I would of course like to see more whole leaf available in bags industry wide. I have used Adagio's for travel. They are convenient. Anytime you ask this question, I guess you need to consider who is responding. Most of us regulars here on TeaChat, would not use them on any on-going basis. But a few would use them for travel. I am all for better tea being available to the masses, but there must be a campaign and advertising. Plenty of folks are happy with Lipton and regular old bags and see no need to change. And maybe for them, there is no need.

As for a connoisseur paying premium bagged teas over loose teas, it is not so much the price as loosing the experience of brewing the tea. I don't see cost as a factor in this scenario at all. We would buy for occasional or gift usage only. And the price per cup vs loose for that convenience would not be considered. I think we would be "comfortable" using a premium bag in those scenarios, but certainly not daily.
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby Dresden » Jan 16th, '10, 22:04

Victoria wrote:As for a connoisseur paying premium bagged teas over loose teas, it is not so much the price as loosing the experience of brewing the tea. I don't see cost as a factor in this scenario at all. We would buy for occasional or gift usage only. And the price per cup vs loose for that convenience would not be considered. I think we would be "comfortable" using a premium bag in those scenarios, but certainly not daily.

Not sure how much I am willing to agree with this... Those are mighty big brush strokes there.
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby Victoria » Jan 16th, '10, 22:37

I think it is all the the semantics. I was saying if we buy whole leaf bagged it would be more on the occasion of gifting or for travel, and in those cases the convenience of it is what we are really paying for so, the cost factor does not come into play. As for daily brewing convenience, even at work, as you do, yes of course the cost would matter. So we would not pay, when we could either brew or make our own bags for less.
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby brad4419 » Jan 17th, '10, 19:25

Honestly teabags scare me because most of the tea I have had in a bag was awful. It would depend on the reputation of the seller and even then I would trust loose leaf over anything bagged. If I could brew tea at work then I would try to find a way to do loose leaf but if that wern't possible then I would buy some teabags for work.
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby JBaymore » Jan 17th, '10, 22:11

It is all about the tea IN the bag, really, and the freshness.

best,

................john
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby Charles » Jan 17th, '10, 22:48

Thanks for the feedback. There were a number of comments relating to cost. Realistically, this is one of the more significant challenges. A box of premium tea bags typically contains 15 bags. At 3g each (appropriate for 8-10 ounces of water in the typical mug), we're talking a total of 45 grams, or a little less than 1.75 ounces. That's not a lot of tea. But across those 15 bags we have to spread the cost of a lot of packaging, equipment and much higher shipping and storage costs.

It's easy enough to put top quality teas in a bag. It's a little harder to convince the customer to pay for QUALITY tea in a bag. Tea bag drinkers don't like the idea of paying $10 for a box of 15 premium teabags, so they go out and buy bad tea for $4 a box and don't drink it very often. It's a vicious cycle!!!
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby Zmoore0890 » Mar 2nd, '10, 23:37

Personally, I prefer the loose tea. I just find it to be more formal, in a way, more estoric, more... just awesome. There's a certain feeling that goes along with actual loose tea that excites me so much more than a pyramid bag. I understand the issues of convenience, and that good tea can come in bags and brew just fine, but there's something about measuring out loose tea leaves and brewing it in a tea pot (or my ingenuiTEA, which I love and have in both sizes) that speaks to a deep part of my soul. Would I personally buy tea in pyramid bags over loose tea? No, but I do the vast majority of my tea drinking at home, and when I'm going to go to class, for instance, I'll make tea to take with me rather than try to make it there. (I unfortunately am so busy at work that I do not have the time to drink much of anything.) That said, I do understand the idea of tea in bags and the convenience it offers. However, if Adagio were to switch to full on tea-bags-only sales, I would have to find my tea elsewhere.

~Zachary Moore
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby Charles » Mar 3rd, '10, 10:41

Zmoore0890 wrote:if Adagio were to switch to full on tea-bags-only sales, I would have to find my tea elsewhere.


Take heart! Adagio has no plans to discontinue sales of loose tea. We are merely debating how many of our loose teas to offer in tea bags in addition. :)
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby sxelsharif » Mar 3rd, '10, 13:13

I like tea bags because they are very convenient. however, like everyone has been saying, the are also more expensive. I don't really mind just buying the paper filter from adagio and putting my tea in that. I think it's cheaper, and I can't fill up a few bags one day during the week and have different flavors through out the week. Whereas, if I buy tea bags (that are premium) I will usually just have a few flavors until I am finished with them because I don't want to waste money. So...if adagio were to offer some of their teas in tea bags, that would be nice, as long as they don't discontinue selling those teas in loose-leaf form as well.
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby msmeghann82 » Mar 3rd, '10, 22:02

In a retail store, where I don't have to worry about shipping costs, I buy bagged premium tea over loose leaf tea, because it is convenient for me to take to work and quickly brew a cuppa good tea. If I'm buying for home, I love loose leaf tea, but that can add up in price too.

I like that the bagged tea is already pre portioned, but I also like to blend my loose teas, so both options are nice for me. I have about half loose leaf and half pyramid bags in my cupboard right now.
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Re: The future of the tea bag

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 3rd, '10, 22:33

To me the cost of bagged tea is a major concern. The best teabags I've had are from tea farmers and tea dealers, who made the teabags themselves. Some tea farmers in China sell their teabags (made from crushed tea leaves from the final stage of tea processing) for less than $0.10 and I think they are actually much better than some expensive teabag products that contain whole leaves. Problem is, these teabags, if not wrapped with foiled/mylar or at least plastic bags, will lose flavor with time being. But it may cost a lot more than $0.10 to pack the teabags properly.

By the way I think Adagio's little paper bags for wrapping tea are very cool. I am cheap too. If I have to choose, I will surely take those little bags and some loose leaf tea, instead of pre-made teabags, for traveling.
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