The composition of teabags from...


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The composition of teabags from...

Postby Theo Sinensis » Sep 8th, '07, 20:58

I have other questions that I'll get to eventually, but I wanted to start from the ground floor and move up.

I'm curious about the teas chosen for certain kinds of teabags, and the level of quality used by companies like Twinings in their teabags. (In otherwords, is their dust better than the dust of others? :D)

At the same time, does anyone know what Tetley puts in their British Blend bags? I've heard and seen 'African and China black', but does anyone know from where the leaves originate?

All of this is leading up to the ambition of making my own blend of the perfect strong black breakfast tea, and buying the right teas to do that.
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Re: The composition of teabags from...

Postby Chip » Sep 8th, '07, 21:11

Theo Sinensis wrote:I have other questions that I'll get to eventually, but I wanted to start from the ground floor and move up.

I'm curious about the teas chosen for certain kinds of teabags, and the level of quality used by companies like Twinings in their teabags. (In otherwords, is their dust better than the dust of others? :D)

At the same time, does anyone know what Tetley puts in their British Blend bags? I've heard and seen 'African and China black', but does anyone know from where the leaves originate?

All of this is leading up to the ambition of making my own blend of the perfect strong black breakfast tea, and buying the right teas to do that.


Typically, African is Kenyan...they are a huge producer of teabag grade black tea that is generally blended.

Chinese teabag tea is often Congou, but may include keemun as well. Congou is usually lower grade and cheaper than keemun.

Also, Ceylon is a huge component in teabags.

Teadust can be pretty bad stuff. If not for teabags, this stuff would probably be used for food industry or tossed. I have a friend who is in China who tells me the tea dust rarely passes German lab inspections for contaminents. Need I say more.
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Postby Theo Sinensis » Sep 8th, '07, 21:40

Thanks for that. It brings me to my next question. If one actually likes the strong flavour of these chopped-up particles, how do I go about finding a full-leaf black that gets me what I want?

Does an Assam or Ceylon tea have that degree of strength, or do I need to look at African and Chinese teas only?

I have some samples coming from Upton, so maybe I can answer these questions myself in a few days, but I think it's better to ask people here with experience.
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Postby skywarrior » Sep 11th, '07, 03:05

Theo Sinensis wrote:Thanks for that. It brings me to my next question. If one actually likes the strong flavour of these chopped-up particles, how do I go about finding a full-leaf black that gets me what I want?

Does an Assam or Ceylon tea have that degree of strength, or do I need to look at African and Chinese teas only?

I have some samples coming from Upton, so maybe I can answer these questions myself in a few days, but I think it's better to ask people here with experience.


Well, it really depends what you want. You're probably going to have to do some experimenting and taste-testing to determine what you really like. There's nothing wrong with liking strong tea, if that's what you're into. Many bagged teas are blends of assam, ceylon and other teas to get a particular taste. (BTW, I believe the History Channel had a great show on tea).

There are many strong black teas out there. One thing to keep in mind is how you brewed your bagged tea. Oddly enough, if you let it sit for a long time, you may simply be thinking that the loose isn't strong enough because you haven't brewed it the way you like it. While many people will tell you to do this or that, what it basically comes down to is what you enjoy. While I may not be able to drink your tea made to your specific way, if you're happy, who am I to judge? So, experiment with different teas, different amounts in the teapot and different brewing times.

A small confession. I am/was a teabag person. However, some of the loose leaf flavored blacks have change my opinion of loose tea. The loose tea I drink now is vastly superior to anything I could get in a bag. I am more likely to drink loose teas because of the flavor.
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Postby Space Samurai » Sep 11th, '07, 10:55

I agree, the History Channel thing was interesting. If I remember, the company in it blends up to 40 different teas together. Here is a link to it, if you're interested, well, a link to a link. :)

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=2494&highlight=history+channel

From my experience, and in my opinion, Kenyan teas are stronger than Ceylon, but neither are particularly interesting compared to others. Assam is probably the strongest catagory of tea from India. I am a standing advocate of dian hong, black tea from Yunnan, China, as being the best.
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Postby skywarrior » Sep 13th, '07, 01:48

Thanks for the clarification. Yeah, you're right. They do blend up to 40 teas for a particular taste, I remember seeing that. I suspect because tea tastes a bit different from year to year and field to field, the blending is required to get the same consistent taste for the general comsumers.
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