Happy birthday to brew The Great British Tea Bag is 100 but it’s a Yank we have to thank


By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:49 PM on 12th June 2008

Believed to be one of the first Tetley boxes from 1951 - 1955 when tea bags eventually took off


If you're reading this in the kitchen, raise a cuppa to the tea bag as it marks its 100th birthday.


Invented by tea merchant Thomas Sullivan in New York City in June 1908, they can now be found in virtually every one of Britain's 24million homes.


But if it wasn't for a handful of confused Americans, the tea bag may never have made it into our cups at all.


They came about only after Mr. Sullivan, in an attempt to cut costs, sent samples of tea leaves to potential customers in small silk pouch-like purses.


Unsure quite what to do with the strange little bag, the Americans dunked it into a cup of hot water. And so was born the tea bag.


After complaints that the mesh on the silk was too fine, Mr. Sullivan developed sachets made of gauze - a method which was instrumental in today's tea bag design.


But it was not until 1953, when British tea producer Tetley spotted the commercial potential of the bag, that it began to take off here. The firm now sells 200million tea bags every week.


William Gorman, executive chairman of the UK Tea Council, said: 'Without a doubt the tea bag saved the tea industry.


'There is no way in our busy lifestyles today that we would have had the time or inclination to make tea the old way.'


Tea drinking is seen as a quintessential British tradition, with 130million cups drunk every day. But the initial reaction from Britons who visited America 100 years ago and experienced tea bags for the first time was lukewarm.


The British tea bag is 100 years old and can be found in virtually all of the country's 24 million homes


Much suspicion surrounded the short string and branded tag attached to the bag.


And there were frequent complaints from tourists who were put out at being served tepid water in which to place their bag.


A major breakthrough came in 1930 when William Hermanson–one of the founders of the Bostonbased Technical Papers Corporation–patented the heat- sealed paper fibre tea bag.


But material shortages in the Second World War prevented mass manufacture, and Britain had to wait until after Joseph Tetley and Co was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1951 to welcome the tea bag revolution.


Convinced the tea bag was the future because of the way it allowed the tea maximum exposure-to the water resulting in a good, strong brew, Tetley persevered with perfecting the bag.


A problem finding a tea bag tissue which did not taint the tea was among the stumbling blocks overcome along the way.


Finally in 1964 the finely perforated bag was developed and the product began to fly off the shelves.


In 1989 Tetley switched from the standard square bag to a round one, and a handful of years later it introduced the drawstring tea bag - which contains 30 different teas.


Sara Howe, Tetley's director of corporate communications, said: 'Persuading the British to change their tea drinking habits from loose tea to tea bags was never going to be easy.


'But when Tetley introduced the tea bag in Britain the adverts were quite simple: Tea bags were the new quick and easy way to make a delicious cup of tea for only one penny.


'It's hard now to imagine what life would be like without the tea bag.


'Somehow getting up in time to measure the tea leaves, brew the tea, strain it and clear away the tea leaves from the sink afterwards does not have the same appeal.'




偶然小發明 茶包慶百歲生日


茶包問世已經屆滿一百年,但不是每一個人都會慶祝。有孔的紙茶包已經徹底改變費時費事的午後喝茶傳統,使喝茶變得更方便,而且可以即時帶來滿足感,無形中挽救製茶產業。


不過許多雅好品茗的人士也認為,茶包使得這種優良的飲品淪為單寧混合物,既無法使人精神煥發,更無法帶來滿足。


根據倫敦泰晤士報13日報導,和許多發明一樣,茶包也是偶然的產物。1908年紐約咖啡商人蘇利文不斷試著降低成本,棄咖啡改就茶,為了減低成本,他將茶葉分裝在絲綢小包而不是錫紙包內當成樣品寄出。


客戶誤解他的用意;他們並未明白,蘇利文希望他們打開茶包後,將茶葉倒入壺中泡開。客戶是連同絲綢包一起放進壺裏。陰錯陽差下,茶包立刻大受美國喝茶人士的喜愛。


絲綢的包裝材質很快就以網紗取代。1930年,波士頓「技術紙公司」的赫曼森為紙纖維的茶包申請專利。


茶包大約半世紀後才越過大西洋。英國人最初對它很懷疑,甚至有人認為不小心掉到熱水裡的紙標籤都比茶粉有味道。此外,英國人也無法認同將茶包浸泡在一杯水裡的作法。1964年,有孔茶包問世,局面從此改變。現在,英國人每天喝掉的1億3000萬杯茶當中,96%來自茶包。

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