Let’s be frank about.. tea bags

As some of you might know, our tea journey started with loose tea. Loose tea from the plantation into your letterbox. Then we started getting requests from companies that wanted to serve our awesome tea at the office too, but in bags..

“I don’t have time to scoop loose tea into a filter, before running to my next meeting”. While technically, it takes just as long to unwrap a tea bag from its packaging, as it does preparing loose tea, it’s all perception, and who are we to judge?!

We’re on a mission to change the tea game. In our version of the game, this means buying directly from tea producers, producing & packing at origin instead of importing bulk, and investing in farmer training programs. Tea bags are only a tiny part of the equation, and if serving our tea in bags means we get y’all drinking more tea, and hence creating more impact, it’s our duty to do so!

In 2018, we started introducing Frank about tea in (compostable) tea bags that were hand filled in a prison in the Netherlands. Can you imagine… it was crazy work (but that’s a whole different story..) So in early 2019, we finally found the right partner to produce the tea bags for us, right at the tea source, in Sri Lanka.

This meant two things:
We could now shift the entire production process to the tea producing country, creating more value locally
– The tea was now produced and packed carbon neutral using solar energy. Awesome!

Next up dilemma, what tea bag material to use?
We certainly knew we did not want to use nylon pyramid bags. However, the high quality tea leaves we use are much bigger than you find in standard bags, and they need space to expand in the tea bag for the full flavour to be released. Stuffing the tea into the standard low quality bags was therefore not an option (it would’ve certainly been better for our margins though..) 

plastic free logo

In the end, we opted for a biodegradable version of a square sized pyramid bag, on the basis of corn fibre. It certainly feels like a good step in the right direction, and the bags make our tea look beeeeautiful, but we know it’s not the perfect solution. 

Have you heard about the plastic-free logo for packaging?

Well according to the criteria of this certification, we can call our tea bags plastic-free. However, let’s be frank, it doesn’t feel quite right. Why?

Due to the scientific process involved turning plant-based corn fibre into a bag material, some chemicals are set free which means that the final product technically belongs in the bioplastic category. Even though it’s origin was plant-based.. We, therefore don’t want to claim that our tea bags are 100% plastic-free. In fact, the same goes for any of the plant-based, biodegradable packaging out there (think plant-based cutlery, to-go cups or chocolate wrapping), but I suppose it’s up to those brands to tell the truth or not.

Keep it frank!

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