Friday, 10 September 2010
Peppermint tea is my staple drink. I'm utterly addicted to coffee, but I can't drink it all day - I need something caffeine-free to fill in the gaps. Since I drink so much mint tea every day, I decided it was about time to compare and contrast the different brands that are available (no free samples, no compensation, just a personal interest experiment). I prefer to eat and drink organic as far as possible, so I went out and bought every kind of organic peppermint tea which is stocked in my local shops...
Twinings: Organic Peppermint
This was the baseline for the experiment: it's the brand I've always bought before, it's stocked everywhere, and it's fairly cheap. It's okay... but I was getting a bit bored, and I often found that there was a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Good Earth: Organic Cool Mint
Buying one box of this tea on special offer was the event that started this test. It was a revelation: I hadn't expected it to be anything special, but it was just so much more flavoursome than I was used to. You can really taste the spearmint along with the peppermint, and there's a tiny amount of nutmeg which adds another layer of flavour. At full price it's about twice the price of the Twinings, but it's more than twice as tasty. Every teabag is sealed in its own little foil pouch; I have reservations about this from an environmental standpoint, but since I like to buy things in bulk, it's probably good for me. It also means I can stick a teabag or two in my handbag for emergencies (because, you know, everyone should be prepared for tea-based emergencies...).
Pukka Herbs: Organic Three Mint
This is the most expensive brand in the test. It looks like it should be nice, has appealing ingredients, and good organic credentials - but I was disappointed. I found it pretty flavourless, and I definitely couldn't tell that there were three different kinds of mint in there. This was my least favourite of the bunch, and I'm not looking forwards to having to finish the rest of the box. Like Good Earth, each teabag comes in its own sealed pouch.
Waitrose: Organic Peppermint
I thought I'd finished my tea-tasting experiments when we happened to go into Waitrose, and discovered that they have their own brand of organic peppermint. This was a simple teabag - 100% pure peppermint - but with a very pleasant, smooth taste. It doesn't have as much depth as the Good Earth tea, however, there's a point when I'm just waking up when I prefer to have something really simple to drink. This was also the cheapest in the test.
I'll be buying both the Good Earth and the Waitrose teabags regularly - Waitrose for that first cup of tea in the morning, and the Good Earth for the rest of the day. And I'll never again make the mistake of assuming that all teas are created equal!