When I wake up in the morning I can’t fully function until I have had at least a couple of cups of tea inside me, I therefore thought I would be more than qualified enough to write a review about Co-op Fairtrade Organic Tea Bags. Throughout the day I will intake countless mugs of tea, and am thus always on the look out for that perfect brew. The purchase of these particular tea bags involved a trip down to the local Co-Op where I swiftly found them labeled at a price of 1.95 English pounds. I thought this was rather expensive for 80 teabags, however given that the product is both Organic and Fairtrade, I was more than happy to part with my money for the box of teabags.
The fact that these particular tea bags are organic means that they are free from any unnatural substances, and that they’ve been grown in conditions where there has been no use of pesticides or other such chemicals. This is always good to know with products as when purchasing you can be sure that the product you are buying is naturally produced and therefore better for you. Given that the product is also Fairtrade, you can be sure that when purchasing this product, Third World producers are guaranteed a better deal and therefore having purchased such a product allows for a good amount of self-gratification. It was not until the late 1980s that Fairtrade products really took off, however in the last few years such products have come on in leaps and bounds. In 2006, Fairtrade-certified sales amounted to 1.6 billion worldwide which was a 41% increase from 2005, and by 2012, Fairtrade sales are expected to reach US$ 9 billion, and US$ 20-25 billion by 2020.
– The Packaging –
The teabags come encased in a smart dark green box with a cup of tea pictured on the front, with the steamy aroma of the tea pictured billowing out from the cup. A black logo to the right hand side of the packaging states that ‘Fairtrade Guarantees a better deal for Third World Producers’. The back of the box gives us background about the product, ensuring us that the tea comes from selected organic tea gardens including the Luponde Organic Tea Estate which is situated high in the remote Livingstonia Mountains in southern Tanzania. The writing goes on to tell us the positive impact that Fairtrade products are having on the community living there and how buying Fairtrade guarantees those growing the tea are getting a better deal when people purchase their products.
Upon examining the bottom of the box, I found out some interesting advice which had been given here. With the preparation guidelines having stated that the tea should be brewed for 3 minutes before serving, it is thus stated that the average mug of tea (250ml) typically contains approximately 70mg of caffeine. The writing continues that children are recommended to limit daily caffeine intake to 160mg, and pregnant women 300mg. I found this interesting to know as children should therefore not be drinking more than 2 cups of tea per day, and pregnant women no more than 4.
– The Tea Bag –
The tea bag itself is traditionally circular in appearance. There is a decent fill of dried tea leaves within the tea bag which is always nice to see; with some brands of tea bags you look at the bags and there seems to be a significant lack of dried tea leaves within, however this is certainly not the case with these.
– The Smell –
There are two smells to comment upon here; the smell of the tea once brewed, and also the smell of the tea bags whilst still in the box. The first I shall speak of is the smell of the tea bags whilst still in the box. Typically when I open up a fresh box of tea, the aroma I am greeted with is a terrifically fresh and pleasing scent of dried tea leaves; when I opened up the box to the Co-op Fairtrade Organic Tea Bags however the scent and sensation was somewhat altered. The scent of this box of tea bags I feel is similar to that of a fresh pouch of tobacco; not something that you want to be greeted with upon opening up a new box of tea bags.
The scent of the tea once brewed is again not particularly pleasant. The scent is strong, and although there is a vague aroma of tea emerging from the cup; the scent is not that of a typical strong cup of tea. To me the smell here is not at all typical of tea and that fact is somewhat disconcerting.
– The Taste –
The taste of the tea is an interesting one; the initial taste is extremely rich and rather a pleasant one, however quickly following this initial pleasantness is an overpowering after taste which is hard to define but somewhat off-putting. The after taste lingers long after you have finished the cup of tea, reminding you of the nastiness you have recently endured. I am quite the fan of a strong cup of tea, however not if its going to have a disgusting after taste such as this. I’m not sure what it is about this particular tea which leaves such an after taste, however with every mug I drink of the stuff; the stronger the taste seems to become and the harder it is to endure.
– Post-Tea Experience –
Having finished the cup of tea I found myself to be extremely thirsty. I see little to no point in a drink if it’s going to leave you thirsty; that’s not the desired effect whatsoever, and having drank the tea therefore seems to have been a pointless experience. The fact the tea leaves you thirstier than you were beforehand, coupled with the disgusting lingering after taste make for an extremely unpleasant post-tea experience.
– Conclusion –
With a product that promised so much what with it being both Organic and Fairtrade, I have to admit to having been extremely disappointed with what I found here. I think it’s great that those producers in the Third World get a decent income from the purchase of this product; however at the same time, I’m not going to sacrifice my much enjoyed cups of tea for a more expensive and by all means inferior product. Co-op Fairtrade Organic Tea Bags are not a product that I will be purchasing again in the future; there are far greater tea bags out there on the market and at a much smaller cost. On the one hand it is great to think that your purchase is making a difference, but on the flip side the product really isn’t too great and certainly doesn’t justify the higher price tag it has been granted. It is great that supermarkets are taking measures to put more Fairtrade products on the shelves, but by increasing product prices so significantly, are they limiting the potential market for the products? Should supermarkets further support the Fairtrade movement in reducing their profit from the products in order to lower product costs and increase potential custom? Although I certainly wont be purchasing these tea bags again, I do feel that Fairtrade is having an extremely positive impact, and wholeheartedly support their ideals.