The History of the Teabag

The history of the

Photo of teabags

(psssst… teabag)


Did you know?

You’d never guess that the creation of teabags was actually a mistake!

In 1908, Thomas Sullivan, a tea importer, decided that in order to cut costs, he would send loose tea leaves to customers in silk bags instead of tin cans. When the customers received the silk bags, they thought that they were meant to be dunked and so they steeped the entire bag to brew their tea.

Sullivan did not realize how popular the silk bags were until his most important clients, which he’d moved back to tin cans, began complaining about not receiving their tea in silk bags! His clients enjoyed the simplicity of tea bags versus loose tea leaves.

Because silk bag were quite a hefty price, Sullivan moved to use gauze bags. Teabags quickly gained popularity throughout the United States and soon teabags moved from guaze bags to paper bags as an even more cost efficient production method.

Teabags were a great hit in the United States, but they took far longer to resonate with the British population. However, during WWII there was a tea shortage and so teabags were slowly adopted in the United Kingdom as well. Today, teabags make up over 96% of the British tea market!

While Sullivan delicately bagged his teabags by hand, today they are manufactured using machines to limit air exposure and are then packaged and distributed worldwide.

If you’re interested in purchasing some of the best tea in teabags that EnjoyingTea has to offer, just visit www.enjoyingtea.com/teabags.html.

Teabags, including Jasmine and Pa-Eh Earl Grey

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