Put to the test: Teabags
It's the second week of Fairtrade fortnight and while you may be more likely to sup that variety of coffee, spare a thought for its sister tea bag.
All of the tea here is Fairtrade and a mix of own brand and widely available brands. The teas are mainly blends of African teas, although the M&S product includes Indian tea as well as African and the Clipper tea is a blend of African, Indian and Sri Lankan tea.
Remarks are made on taste, packaging, information provided on Fairtrade and price. All packs contain 80 tea bags and weigh 250g. Fairtrade guarantees a minimum price for growers and also provides assistance to growers and communities. For further information go to www.fairtrade.ie
Clipper fairtrade everyday tea x 80
Price: €2.89 in Superquinn
Verdict: This one has pretty packaging in green and black on recycled paper and the bags are unbleached. There isn't a lot of information on Fairtrade but the website address for Fairtrade UK is given. Perhaps it was the inclusion of Indian and Sri Lankan teas in the mix alongside African tea, but this taste was my favourite, as it was fresh, bright and flavoursome but not too strong.
Best for: Freshness
M&S fairtrade tea bags x 80
Verdict: The best price of the lot, these bags come in two foil wrapped packs of 40 bags each. A mix of African and Indian tea this tea also tasted fresh. It was mild enough but had good flavour. No bells and whistles on the packaging, but information on Fairtrade is provided.
Best for: Price
Cafe Direct everyday tea bags x 80
Price: €3.09 -- €3.99
Verdict: A serious Fairtrade company, the attractive packaging comes with a quote and photo of a Ugandan tea picker and information on the movement. We are also informed that half the profits are invested to "help growers achieve the highest quality". The tea is foil packed, has very good flavour and is quite strong.
Best for: Strong flavour
Supervalu reserve fairtrade tea x 80
Verdict: Plain packaging here and you won't miss the huge Fairtrade logo. Plus this pack comes with a lot of information about the movement and gives the Irish Fairtrade website address. Like the Clipper tea, these bags aren't foil packed. The tea is mild with the flavour not so strong.
Best for: Information
Tesco fairtrade tea bags x 80
Verdict: Smart packaging which includes a generic photo of a tea picker, this pack also comes with decent information on Fairtrade. The bags are packed in two foil bags of 40 and the tea tastes mild but bright.
Best for: Mild strength