The Not So Nice Tea Bag


Loose leaf is best

There are a few reasons that I chose not to go down the path of conventional tea bags with my tea range but the main motivation for me is quality.  Quality comes from the best tea you can afford to put in your cup and quality also comes from leaving out things that are harmful for your health, such as the material that tea bags are made from.  Yes, tea bags are convenient but they are also laden with chemicals which over time are toxic for the human body.

Let’s have a closer look at what makes up a tea bag.  A tea bag is basically a small permeable envelope that carries tea and allows it to be contained during the brewing process when you add water to your tea cup or pot. It is what this little envelop is made from that poses the problem.

Most tea bags are made of paper which has been treated with a chemical called epichlorophydrin to stop the paper from tearing and disintegrating when you brew with your tea bag.  Now when epichlorophydrin  comes into contact with water it hydrolyzes to form another chemical, a known carcinogenic agent called 3-MCPD, which has also been implicated suppressing immune function and infertility.


epichlorophydrin – used in production of epoxy resins and in pesticides.

carcinogenic – known to cause cancer

And it gets worse! The Pyramid tea bag.

Pyramid or silk tea bags as they are otherwise known are no better then their paper counterparts. As they are made from various types of synthetics and plastics such as nylon, PVC and polypropylene. It is suspected that even though these plastics has high melting points  the compounds they contain, nevertheless, leach into the hot water. These compounds have been proven to be endocrine disruptors, which means they have a detrimental effect on a person hormones. Was this really what you are expecting from your afternoon tea?


So is there an alternative?

Yes, loose leaf tea is the obvious alternative, brewed in a tea pot or infuser.  Another which has proven to be popular with quality and organic tea merchants, is the corn based biodegradable tea bags.  Unfortunately these biodegradable cousins of the toxic tea bag come with questions too.  As a corn derived product, is GMO corn used in it’s production? What is used to seal these tea bag a staple or a glue and what does that add to your cup of tea? What does biodegradable mean for these tea bag types? These queries are well answered in this article by Michelle Rabin, Is Your Biodegradable Tea Bag Really Biodegradable? I think Not.

Watch this space because at The Tea Cake Company we are looking at some alternatives to the tea bags discussed in this post. Make sure you subscribe to a our newsletter and you will be the first to know about our new and upcoming products and offers!  Use the link below.





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