Updated: Sep 9, 2021
OK, look, I get the whole storm in a teacup over teabags but let's put some perspective on this shall we.
Teabag paper, without tea in it, weighs between 0.1 and 0.2grms/serving (Excuse the shameless advertising image!) vs, oh let's see, approximately 1 grm for an 8 cup coffee filter or 5 grms for a capsule or indeed a 500ml water bottle @ 12grms...well you can see where I am going with this. And, yes, I understand that we don't NEED anything, we could just make loose leaf tea and be done with it but, realistically, it isn't very convenient! "Oh tosh", I hear you say (I cleaned it up from what you really said!!) but the sales don't lie and teabags account for the majority of sales of dry tea including much of the "loose leaf" sales, albeit that the bag is a different shape and structure, but if ever you needed proof, there it is!
"Pyramids are cool but, it's still a bag!!"
So, what to do about this dilemma? Well firstly strive to be better, both in how we manufacture teabag filter materials (replacing petroleum based heat sealing fibres with plant based/compostable materials) and in looking for alternative ways to present tea without individual packing. But, for now, let's consider a balanced approach taking everything into consideration which includes:
1.Teabags are ubiquitous because of their convenience. Unless someone can come up with something better then keep supporting these formats or be prepared to give up ground to other convenient beverage choices which, probably, have a higher footprint than tea!
"One person's mess is another person's gold!"
2.Farmers pluck leaves that get manufactured into everything from leaf to teabag grade particles most of the time (apart from hand made varieties; there is no automated process that manufactures one without the other!) so, if we want to keep tea farming viable we need to enable the consumption of both large and small leaf teas OR pay a lot more for the leaf teas which will rarify tea and push a large number of consumers to choose other beverages
3. Don't accept the status quo but fight to improve the industry's chance for survival in a world of, frankly, worse choices, while creatively collaborating to solve the dilemma that is convenience.
I do hear you! Tea is to slow down to, to share with friends in convivial settings, this is not a beverage to be hurried! Odd then that the world of Ready to drink teas captures the majority of $$s and, despite the rip roaring success of Speciality offerings in terms of growth, it's still this vast ocean of "on the go" and, did I say, "Convenient" teas that are leading the way.
Before you cry "Philistine" we offer loose leaf teas first and foremost, including our unashamedly great Breakfast blend (total plug, no apologies!)
But, we are realists and have a similar quality range of teabag offerings too. It's not our decision how people take tea, we just want them to take the wonder that is tea!
Ultimately, solutions will come and the industry will thrive, but not on the backs of negative self promotion but rather on a shared belief that we have more right than wrong, extolling the former and working together to put the latter right which is easier to do from inside the tent!
Happy steeping, in or out of the bag!!!