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Friday, 10 September 2010

Teabags At Dawn! The Mint Review

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!


Kirsty said...

I LOVE lipton's alps tea - mint and eucalyptus. well worth a try if you can get it x

LindyLouMac said...

Interesting results. Do you like fruit teas as well. My favourite at the moment is Blackberry and Nettle.

Travis Erwin said...

You review tea. I review beer.

But actually i like mint tea so will check for these locally.

ScoMan said...

You've made me consider my tea drinking habits. Perhaps I need to experiment.

However, because I also buy in bulk, I have some 100+ tea bags to get through in my cupboard first. And considering I only drink one cup of tea most days, it'll take awhile to get through those.

About three months.

So around Christmas I'll be done.

Okay, I'm asking people for all the expensive tea brands for Christmas this year.

Daphne said...

I will have to try that Good Earth tea, I love their other teas. My favorite is Celestial Seasoning's Mint Magic, but I don't know if it's organic or not. It's really nice.

Expats Again said...

Try putting fresh mint leaves in your tea. I drink ceylon tea, but any tea is wonderful with fresh mint. Also, cardamon seeds added to your brewing tea gives it a wonderful flavor.

Bibliomama said...

Interesting. I love tea but I've never gotten into the habit of drinking it regularly -- I only drink it when someone's over or someone offers me some. I like the sound of the Cool Mint.

BECKY said...

Thanks for the info, Rachel! I'm also a big coffee drinker, and only occasional tea drinker. I'm many ways...but about tea, I'm like this: I basically drink iced tea in the summer, and hot tea in the colder months!

Jules said...

It is true, I find a lot of the herbal teas vary hugely and there are some brands I avoid like the plague!

Kazzy said...

Do you drink tea a lot all year. or mostly when it is chilly out? I don't know much about anything but herbals.

Kel said...

I love love my tea. I've never tried mint though, so I may have to give it a shot. Thanks for the review.

Jeanne said...

I love peppermint tea.

I'll have to give Good Earth a try.

Alice Braga a.k.a. Alice Marie said...

It's astonishing how many varieties are out there. Have you tried any of the tearooms in New York? Alice's Tea Cup, Tea and Sympathy, and T Salon are my favorites, but even the average deli carries herbal tea, which is a gift to those of us who can't handle caffeine at all.

Thanks for sharing! said...

I adore peppermint tea and often drink it in the afternoons at work once I've had enough regular tea (not really a coffee drinker). You're right - there are differences. I tend to drink loose leaf from a favourite supplier - I highly recommend trying some loose leaf. I make it in a little tea pot at work. It's lovely!

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