A History of Tea Bags and How They’re Made


I made a video about this two years ago. It was almost too painful to watch haha. I had a lot of facts wrong, I was all over the place, and I was just awkward. So I am going to rewrite this for you!

In my last article about how I changed my opinion on tea bags, I quoted the Tea Association of the United States saying that 69% of hot tea purchased in the United States in 2015 was tea bags. That is a huge amount! Most people don’t know how tea bags are made or that there are even other options.

There are a lot of different stories when it comes to how the tea bag was invented. Since I wasn’t there, I’m going to go with the famous story of Thomas Sullivan, a tea and coffee merchant in New York City. Sullivan was trying to cut down sampling costs by sending tea to his customer in little silk pouches. The pouches were intended to be opened and tea poured in the tea-pot. But customers just put the pouch in their cup and ta-da! Tea bags were born.

The concept of tea bags exploded and they appeared commercially for the first time in 1904.

Since then, tea bags have changed and evolved quite a bit. Tea leaves require space to expand, the more space they have the fuller the taste and aroma, this resulted in putting smaller tea leaves in the bags. Because size no longer mattered, merchants purchased lower grades of tea. Today, tea bags are most commonly made with a tea grade known as Fanning, or dust. This is the lowest tea grade.

The bags themselves changed from silk pouches, to paper, to what we have now which are various blends of paper, chemicals, and plastic.

Thankfully, as tea bags were decreasing in quality they are now increasing! Not all teabags are created equally. There are now options for large tea bags, tea temples, tea bags with higher grades of tea such as whole-leaf tea. Many companies now sell tea bags and tea sachets in metal tins and ceramic jars as to protect the leaves longer and preserving their quality.

If you drink tea bags, be conscious of the companies and the quality you are drinking from as there are serious health issues that can some from the chemicals in the bag itself.

My favorite places to buy tea bags from are Tea Pigs and Tea Forte

As for the How Tea Bags Are Made portion of this video, watch this video from National Geographic. It is a great visual and very informative.

I hope you guys are having a great day and I will see you next time,


Your Turn:

Do you have any questions about Tea Bags?



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