An interesting read in the Telegraph yesterday all about our beloved tea …..
Our thirst for traditional tea has been cooling for years; sales have tumbled by more than 20 per cent since 2010, according to consumer research group Mintel. But our love for loose-leaf, herbal and fruit teas, especially among consumers aged 25–34, is “going from strength to strength”.
Surprisingly, this new love affair with tea is linked to the booming popularity of specialist coffee, according to Bethan Thomas, a product manager with fine tea specialist Whittard of Chelsea.
“The growth of independent coffee shops has really interested people in the different origins and flavours of coffee,” she says. “Now the same thing is happening to tea.”
The perceived healthiness of certain teas is also playing a part in the trend. “The real growth is in fruit and herbal teas, for those who want to reduce their caffeine intake, and green tea, because of the high antioxidant levels,” says Bethan.
“Also, we’re becoming more adventurous. Traditional teas like Earl Grey or English Breakfast will always have a place in our hearts, but people are interested in unique tea flavours these days. “
Back at Comins Tea House, Rob Comins urges tea lovers to use quality leaves, and to try it black. He says the addition of milk and sugar is a hangover from the centuries ago, when black tea was low grade and bitter, often bulked out with other leaves or even sheep dung.
“Ultimately habits are hard to shift,” he says. “But a larger leaf – bigger than the dust in most tea-bags – means tea won’t overbrew and create excessive bitterness. The leaves will also have a natural sweetness.”
Does he ever resort to using tea bags? For a moment he looks at me as if I’ve lost the plot “No,” he says with a laugh.