History of Tea Bags


Tea bags were first invented in 1908, and unbleached tea bags have been around for a while too. Here at Clipper Teas we’ve been producing them since the 1980’s, but although unbleached bags are not a new idea, many tea-lovers are unaware of the various types of tea bags available, including the difference between unbleached and bleached bags.

There are so many tea bag varieties out there, so let’s take a look at the history of the humble tea bag to find out more about the nation’s favourite drink!

More Tea Please!

Tea is the world’s most popular drink (after water) so it’s not surprising that there are so many types to choose from! There are so many teas available today that, if you’re a fan of a good brew, you really are spoiled for choice. Black tea is the most well-known tea in the UK, and it’s mainly found in tea bags. Its original flavour is quite strong, and many people enjoy adding lashings of milk to their cup of tea. Although adding milk to tea is common practice today, this wasn’t how people in Britain originally enjoyed their brews.

In the 17th century, tea was enjoyed mainly by women. Whilst men socialised in coffee houses, ladies would invite friends round for afternoon tea, and would brew their loose tea leaves in boiling hot water – never adding milk. Today the vast majority of households enjoy their tea in tea bags and add plenty of milk and sugar to enhance the flavour, so tea drinking has changed quite dramatically throughout the years.

Although black tea is the most common tea to drink, there are a number of other teas available today.



Loose Tea

Although you can still buy loose tea leaves today, most tea-drinkers in the UK prefer to buy it in bags. Most people find it much easier (and more convenient!) to buy their tea in bags – so much so that around 96% of tea sold in Britain is packaged in a tea bag!

The way Brits consume tea is quite different to other countries. In China (the spiritual home of tea) most tea houses serve loose tea leaves in boiling water and tea drinking has become somewhat of a ritual. Most tea served in China only fills 70% of the cup. Experts say servers leave the other 30% of the cup free to leave space for the drinker’s emotions. The Chinese also serve their teas in a variety of temperatures – altering the temperature depending on the leaf. They recycle their tea too! In Britain most people pour a cup of tea and use the tea bag once before disposing of it but in China they use their tea over and over. Oolong tea leaves, for example, are used up to 10 times before they are disposed of, as it’s thought the flavours improve over time.

Tea Bag

Tea bags come in all shapes and sizes today. Pyramids and circles are both tea bag shapes you can find on the supermarket shelf. If you drink Clipper Teas you’ll notice our ‘naked’ bags are all pillow shaped, and our teas are also available in string and tag handy envelopes. So, why are there so many different varieties available? When tea bags were originally invented over 100 years ago they were made from silk. This quickly changed to paper and when tea became really popular in the late 20th century companies started to change the shape and overall look of their tea bags. Many companies also used the bleaching process to give their tea bags a white exterior. It’s thought that these changes to tea bags originally came into action because many companies were developing ways to make  their tea more appealing to consumers.

Unbleached Bags

At Clipper Teas we produce our tea in square shaped bags to ensure that no paper is wasted. We use unbleached bags across our entire tea range too, to ensure that our tea is as natural as possible. Unbleached bags help us to ensure we produce natural products with the same delicious flavours.



With love from Clipper!

We've gone a bit bonkers at Clipper HQ and decided we wanted to share the love with our lovely Clipper tea drinkers out there! We’ve created 3 Limited Edition tea caddies and each comes FREE with our special packs of Fairtrade Everyday Tea, Organic Everyday Tea and Pure Green tea (80 tea bags).

We’ve also made thousands of unbleached Clipper tea-towels and popped them into other packs of our Fairtrade Everyday Tea (80 bags). There are 4 different designs to look out for. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve only gone and put 100% more tea bags into boxes of our Pure Green Tea 26  Bags – yes we’ve squeezed 52 bags in there!

Read more about which gifts we’ll be bestowing by clicking on the images below.

All this Clipper loveliness will be in supermarkets from the end of October.


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