We regularly get asked lots of different questions about how we make our delicious tea. We’ve racked the brains of our very knowledgeable team and hopefully you will find the answer you’re looking for.
Click on any of the categories below to reveal our frequently asked questions and answers.
Tea is commercially grown in many more countries than you might think! There are of course the well-known origins, such as China, India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya, but tea is also grown in less familiar places, such as Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Turkey and Vietnam to mention just a few. In fact, there is even a tiny amount of tea grown in Cornwall, but not all origins are capable of producing the same quality or varieties!
There are estimated to be in the region of 1500 varieties of tea, however most can be placed under the following headings: Black Tea, Green Tea, White Tea, Oolong, Pu-erh, and Yellow Tea.
We think the perfect cup of tea is made by pouring freshly boiled water (not that water that has been sat in your kettle since your last cuppa!) over the tea bag, leaving it for three to five minutes, and serving it with a splash of milk, but everyone has their favourite way to brew a cuppa.
The elevation at which tea is grown affects the flavour in a number of ways; one of the main factors is that temperatures are cooler at higher elevations, meaning the leaves grow more slowly, giving them more time to develop greater depth of flavour. Darjeeling is a tea grown high-up, situated on the foothills of the Himalayas, the elevation reaches up to 7000 feet above sea level, and it is said to be the champagne of teas, with it’s delicious unique muscatel character.
Staining of the cup is due to tannin, and although it’s a bit annoying having to give your mug an extra scrub, this compound helps give tea it’s slightly astringent flavour. To avoid getting your mug stained, you could always use a teapot to prepare your brew!
Redbush, also known as ‘Rooibos’, is a South African plant which has the botanical name Aspalathus Linearis. While most of us may consider it a tea, it’s actually a naturally caffeine-free herbal infusion. Whilst it has its own unique and delicious flavour, it’s the closest to tea of all the infusions, and can even be enjoyed with milk like black tea! Clipper is proud to be a member of the UK Tea Council. For more information and insight into the wonderful world of tea please visit www.tea.co.uk.
We would love to be able to support everyone but as a well-known, ethical brand, we receive lots of requests on a daily basis asking for samples and help with fundraising and sponsorship. I am sure you can appreciate that unfortunately we are unable to accommodate every request. We are proud to support Fairtrade and the Soil Association as our chosen causes.
From the 20th October 2018 we moved all our production to the first plastic-free, unbleached and non GM (genetically modified) tea bags and we won’t be going back!
When we print “Plastic Free” tea bags on our packs, we mean our tea bags are free from fossil fuel -based plastic , which is what is left behind when normal teabags disintegrate. Our teabags are sealed with a natural bio-material, called PLA, which is fully bio-degradable.
It is entirely plant based and biodegradable. It is made from a blend of plant cellulose fibres and non-GM plant material. This makes a sealant called PLA, which stands for PolyLactic Acid, which is an all-natural bio-material.
The plastic everyone is rightly worried about is oil-based plastic or polypropylene, so that’s what we’re talking about when we say ‘plastic free’. Some people will say that PLA is a bio-plastic, and that technically we shouldn’t therefore claim Clipper is ‘plastic free’. But we don’t consider the bio-material we use to be plastic in any sense of the word, and maintain that Clipper teabags are plastic free because they are completely free of oil-based plastic.
At Clipper, we don’t want you to feel misled so we’re taking some big steps to keep you guys informed:
We needed a way to seal the two layers of our tea bag paper together, as paper will not stick to paper, and glue was never used. Unbleached filter paper containing polypropylene was our solution to this and provide the heat-seal function. We never used or considered using PLA (polylactic acid) material in the past (the biodegradable material used for some pyramid bags and other packaging) as it is derived from corn which may be from GM sources. But recent developments mean there is now a new source of PLA which is guaranteed to be from a non-GM source.
Absolutely not! The same great taste and quality remains at the heart of all we do, it’s just that the used tea bags will be suitable to be popped into your food waste container.
Into the food waste container provided by your local council. The paper and tea inside can be commercially composted and then used as compost elsewhere. See following link for more information. https://www.recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with/food-waste-0
The short answer is no, although people have been putting teabags onto compost heaps for years, newer advice recommends not to because whilst its wet enough in the UK for composting, unfortunately it is rarely warm enough. The new paper is biodegradable and will break down over time, however this may take longer than is expected within home composting environments.
We can only recommend that you pop the teabag in your food waste bin.
If you do want to home compost them, we recommend snipping open the bag, putting the tea on the compost and then bag on the bonfire or in the bin.
Food waste collection must be legally supplied by all councils in Scotland and Wales and this is due to be rolled out to England in 2023.
In the meantime we have a couple of cunning suggestions to get rid of those pesky bags.
For some people, teabags & even our biodegradable ones will never be the same.
If that sounds like that could be you, maybe loose leaf tea would be good choice?
Our best sellers are already available in loose leaf, and they are available to buy on our website and in your local health food store.
So we’ve been saying for some time that our Clipper Elves have been working around the clock to find an alternative and we think they’ve cracked it!
If all goes to plan, our teabags will be come in a home compostable, fully biodegradable wrap and will be in the shops by next February.
We try very hard to source 100% Fairtrade ingredients, but it’s not always possible. However, we do work closely with our suppliers to strive to ensure all our ingredients are ethically sourced. If you would like to know more about Fairtrade support in Assam click here.
We source our teas from a number of different origins across the globe, including India, Sri Lanka, China, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, but the specific estates are a secret! All the teas we source are then brought home to Beaminster, Dorset, where we take loving care to blend them, and check the quality to ensure they are just right before they are packed for their journey on to our customers.
We work very hard to minimise the risk of gluten getting into our products, so we can say there’s no gluten in our drinks, until you dunk in a biscuit.
We do not use any nuts within our products or factory, and work really, really hard to keep nut contamination risk as low as possible.
Tea is a natural product and there are lots of variables which can affect the exact caffeine content, including preparation. We only measure caffeine levels in our decaf tea, but to give you an idea, you can assume there’s approximately 40 – 70mg of caffeine in a cup of everyday tea.
Most of our infusions (those which do not contain any tea, Camellia Sinensis) are naturally caffeine free, but some do contain caffeine. For those which do contain caffeine, we put a little note on the back of packs, near the ingredients list.
We use the carbon dioxide method to remove the caffeine from our decaffeinated teas, because it’s better for the planet than some other methods which use chemicals such as Ethyl Acetate and Methylene Chloride. You can read more about it here.
We sell our teas throughout the UK’s supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, Morrisions, Waitrose and Booths, online through our webshop, Ocado and Amazon, and through lots of lovely health food stores and independent retailers.
Clipper Teas are supplied by a number of distributors worldwide; to find out where to buy our drinks, please visit this page to contact one of our international distributors directly. Of course, you’re welcome to buy from our online shop. For any questions about international online orders please contact email@example.com.
Please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to chat to us about international distribution opportunities.
Supermarkets are constantly adjusting their ranges, and if you can’t find the blend you’re looking for, just ask the Store Manager – they do listen!
Unfortunately the cost of international postage and various export restrictions mean we can’t open our competition to international entrants, but this is something we’re working on!
It’s a different colour because it hasn’t been bleached! It may make the bags look a little different, as it is more naturally brown in colour and we appreciate that it seems quite a contrast to the white tea bags that you are used to seeing. We know that the unbleached teabag paper has no impact on taste, so we felt it was only right to use the most natural packaging we could source.
No, you can rest assured that our lovely teas will remain just as delicious! Our expert Tea Guys carefully tested and retested our teas in the unbleached tea bags (and sometimes as just a cup of hot water with the paper in, bless ‘em!), and even with their incredible taste buds, attention to quality and detail they were left satisfied that the great taste of Clipper would not be compromised. To top it off, we even ran some blind tea tasting sessions with bigger groups of tasters and they could not tell the difference between the tea in bleached and unbleached paper too! The quality of our blends is something that we pride ourselves on, always sourcing premium ingredients with a clear conscious.
Here at Clipper, we’d suggest that the decision to choose whether or not to use bleached tea bag paper is mainly aesthetic, although there are obviously supply chain implications to both options. While other tea companies may be comfortable to use bleached paper, at Clipper we think that if we can remove one step from the production process and still bring you the best tasting teas that it’s an easy decision.
Yes! And what’s more, they are also non-GM and plastic-free. Hooray! For more information on this see our plastic-free FAQs above.
Bleaching paper for use in tea bags is not dangerous or harmful to tea lovers based on the current methods; it’s a purely cosmetic decision. As we are now in a position to source unbleached paper for our entire range, we feel that it is the best decision for Clipper and our consumers, and we’re helping to make change better.
At Clipper, if we had to use bleached paper we would opt for the process known as TCF (total chlorine free). TCF paper does not use chlorine (as its name suggests!); instead it uses oxygen and either hydrogen peroxide or ozone. Through this process, the oxygen is used to remove the colouring (lignin) from the wood and ozone and/or hydrogen peroxide is used to complete the bleaching process. The alternative process used for bleaching teabag paper is known as ECF (elemental chlorine free) where the wood pulps are bleached typically with chlorine-dioxide. Through our own developments with the paper suppliers, we are extremely pleased and excited to have unbleached paper that can be used throughout all of the Clipper production.
We feel that by not using any bleached paper at all, we are being as environmentally friendly as possible as we are not using any bleaching agents or practices towards our paper; in fact, we’re being as simplistic about this as possible. We are pleased to be able to remove it from our processes and supply chain to bring you a great tasting, natural cup of tea.
The tea bag paper is sourced via our experts within Clipper and our teabag paper supplier and all our teabag paper is manufactured here, in the UK. The main elements of tea bag paper are the wood pulp, which is sourced globally (but mainly from Europe) and cellulosic long fibres, such as abaca, which are sourced from the Philippines and Asia. We are really proud that all of our tea bags are not only unbleached, but also non-GM and plastic-free.
Yes, the wood pulps that are used in the paper production are either FSC or PEFC certified.
Some of our teabags are sold in envelopes; this is to help them stay fresh, to protect them and to keep their taste so special. When they are wrapped, the ingredients can be protected from external factors like sunlight and moisture, allowing the great taste and flavours to remain. It also helps if they’re in a cupboard full of tea, keeping their great flavour in and the other aromas floating around your tea cupboard out! We also know that more and more people want to take their favourite tea with them when they pop out; go to work; to put in their handbag or to keep in their overnight bag, so by giving the teabag its own envelope, our consumers can drink the great taste of Clipper when they’re out and about.
Our new recyclable envelope material is made out of paper with a thin heat seal coating, making it 33% lighter. The envelopes can be put straight into your paper recycling bin, making it a more sustainable option.
From March 2019 all our new envelopes we produce will be made with our new recyclable material. We won’t send perfectly good product or packaging to waste, so they’ll be a transition as our tea suppliers make way for our new recyclable envelopes.
Our new envelopes are made from heat-sealable 67gsm paper with a 3gsm heat seal coating. The new material is a 33% reduction from our current 100gsm material. This reduction makes your Clipper envelope a great choice for sustainability!
Although our envelopes can be recycled, our envelopes aren’t plastic free. There is no separate layer of plastic, however the small amount of heat-seal coating is technically referred to as a polymeric dispersion coating so it depends on the definition of ”plastic”.
Absolutely not! The same great taste and quality remains at the heart of all that we do, it’s just that the new envelope can be put in your paper recycling bin.
Definitely not! We have no plans to reduce product shelf-life as a result of our envelopes moving to this new recyclable material.
The envelope material was a 100gsm paper laminate comprised of 80gsm paper and 20gsm Polyethylene. The layer of Polyethylene when combined with the paper meant that the material could not be considered to be ”widely recycled” and was not able to be placed in the paper recycling bin.
At Clipper we always strive to have the best possible products from taste to sustainability and we have been looking for an alternative for some time. We’re delighted our envelopes can now be widely recycled.
The layer of polyethylene was necessary to seal the envelopes whilst helping to keep the product fresh. This was also proven as an industry standard to run on the machines to produce the tea bags at high speed. We had been in discussions with packaging companies and monitoring the development of new envelope material options for some time waiting for the right solution.
Although changing the material may sound simple, it’s a complex process and we had to make sure the new material meets our high expectations. It had to be the complete package!
The new material is widely recyclable so your new Clipper recyclable envelope can now be proudly put in the recycle bin!