Teapigs believe in quality tea from sustainable sources. They sell a wide range of herbal and traditional blends in biodegradable mesh tea bags or loose. I ordered a 12 tea ‘pick and mix’ box and a couple of extra packets to get an impression of as much of the range as possible.
Who are Teapigs?
Teapigs was started in 2006 by Nick and Louise, two tea enthusiasts who previously worked for another large tea company. They set up their brand to introduce the world to the incredible teas that they believed were often so overlooked. Teapigs’ aim to make tea more accessible with a sense of fun, sustainable materials and ethical practices.
Often modern teas are finely ground and packed into paper teabags; the Teapigs approach is to use whole leaves, whole herbs, whole berries, whole spices and whole flowers. These are placed in their biodegradable ‘tea temples’ with enough space to properly infuse into the water. They are now sold in over 40 countries and won a large number of Great Taste Awards.
When I began unpacking the selection box, it is evident that a lot of effort has gone into adequately showcasing their teas. The packaging is bold and eye-catching with names and tag lines that make big claims about the flavour and quality of their contents. You can see from my pictures that you get a lot of packaging for a selection pack containing only 24 teabags. However, this all adds to the excitement and builds up the feeling that you are getting something of high-quality.
The bags themselves, irritatingly referred to as ‘tea temples’, look incredible, each one is shaped like a pyramid, and you can see the contents through the fine mesh. They contain large chunks of dried leaves and herbs and even pieces of fruit. I tried each one over the next month; overall, I liked the range and felt that it was worthwhile buying a pick and mix box. It let me establish my favourites before spending money on a larger amount of one or two flavours.
The variety you can choose from is impressive, and there is something for everyone. I found that some were tastier than others, and a few didn’t live up to their enthusiastic names’ Rooibos Crème Caramel’ for example, felt like a mug full of broken promise. However, on the whole, the ones I didn’t like were good teas just not to my tastes.
The spacious tea bags and whole ingredients effectively infuse, making strong tasty brews in just a few minutes. Often herbal teas don’t live up to the promise of their smell, but I found the whole range to be particularly tasty.
In the selection I tried were; ‘Up Beet’ with hibiscus, ‘Calm’ with valerian, ‘Happy’ with lemon balm, ‘Snooze’ with lavender, Chilli Chai, Chocolate flake tea, Popcorn tea, Apple and Cinnamon, Pure Lemon Grass, Rooibos Crème Caramel, ‘Cleanse’ detox tea, Guarana’ Trim’ tea, Everyday brew and Cold brew-Lychee & Rose Tea.
Neither the Chocolate flake tea nor Rooibos Crème Caramel lived up to the expectation created by their names and were less ‘dessert’ than I felt led to believe. The chocolate tea had a chocolatey hint, but I was expecting something sweeter with a ‘hot chocolate’ type flavour. It would be better named ‘cocoa flake’ to prevent your preconceptions from being too chocolatey. The Rooibos Crème Caramel is similar in character to Tetley’s ‘Rooibos and Vanilla’ teabags and wasn’t as indulgent as I’d hoped.
Those that stood out were; Snooze with lavender, chamomile and apple, Chilli Chai, Apple and Cinnamon and the Pure Lemon Grass. I found snooze to be soothing with a lovely lavender fragrance that wasn’t overpowering. There were some apple chunks in the bag, but tasted mainly of chamomile. The chilli chai was excellent and had enough chilli to give your lips and tongue a pleasant tingle. The Apple and Cinnamon bags also contained apple chunks, and combined with cinnamon made for my favourite tasty brew. The lemongrass smelled of lemon-scented washing up liquid but had a refreshing clean taste that I loved.
Of the others, they were all excellent quality teas with some tasty flavours mixed into more standard ingredients. The everyday tea is a fantastic version of ‘builder’s tea’ which is enough of a blow to the senses to keep you alert at any time of day. It was enough to make me consider changing from my usual everyday brand ‘Yorkshire’.
Ease of use
I love the combination of top-quality tea ingredients and large teabags. It allows you to have the same quality you would expect from good loose tea without having to use teapots, strainers or infusers. These were straightforward to use and made these kinds of ingredients more accessible when you don’t want to spend 20 minutes measuring tea leaves and perfecting the infusion quality.
Value for money
The pick and mix box with 12 different teas, each with two tea temples costs £17.99, a ten bag selection box is available from Amazon for £9.50 along with packets of 50 of one flavour priced at between £9 and £12. They are significantly more expensive than any tea available in supermarkets, but they contain lots of high quality, whole ingredients.
While I did really like these teas, I don’t think that the finished brew is enough of an improvement on what I’m used to. For me, they’re top-quality tea that I will keep for special occasions or for when I want to impress.