Frequently Asked Questions
- What is tea?
- Where does tea come from?
- What are the different types of tea?
- How is tea processed?
- How do I brew the perfect cup of tea?
- What is the difference between loose-leaf teas and the tea in a tea bag?
- What is the optimal water temperature to make tea?
- How should I prepare green tea?
- What is a "tea ceremony"?
- What are the best teas to drink with milk & sugar?
- What are the best kinds of tea?
- What does ‘Flush’ mean and how do they differ?
- Why is some tea so expensive?
- What is the significance of the elevation at which tea is grown?
- Is tea a diuretic?
- Does tea contain calories?
- What exactly are antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols and catechins?
- Which tea is healthier to drink?
- Flouride Levels in Tea?
- Potassium Levels in Tea?
- Salicylates Levels in Tea?
- Gluten and Wheat Levels in Tea?
- Are our teas suitable for vegetarians?
- Staining of the Tea Cup?
- What are the Caffeine Levels in Teas?
- How is tea decaffeinated?
- Do Infusions contain caffeine?
- What are the Acidity Levels in Fruit and Herbal teas?
- Do Twinings use epichlorohydrin?
- Can Twinings Teabags be composted?
- Are Twinings Tea Bags Bleached?
- What is the Rainforest Alliance?
- How does Twinings ensure that the tea is sourced ethically?
- History of Twinings & Tea:
- Do Twinings offer a range of Organic teas?
- Is the Swiss Chocolate gluten free or contain any allergens?
- Can I recycle the Swiss Chocolate packaging?
- Why can’t I find my favourite tea in my local supermarket?
- What is Redbush or “Rooibos”?
What is tea?
Tea is a beverage produced from the infusion in boiling water of processed leaves from the plant camellia sinensis. In most languages the word for tea is derived either from the Mandarin Chinese word ‘cha’ or the Fujianese dialect ‘te’.
The Chinese discovered some five thousand years ago that this plant could produce a wide range of flavours and characteristics. These variants are achieved by growing the plants in different soils and climates and at different altitudes just like the vine. Indeed, many tea varieties are often compared to fine wines.
Left uncultivated, the tea plant – which is really a tree – would reach a height of around nine metres, but to ensure ease of plucking it is pruned to waist height.
The plant is ready for plucking after three to five years, depending on altitude, and the top bud of the bush and the adjacent tender leaves are plucked.
Where does tea come from?
All tea comes from the same plant – Camellia sinensis – and is grown all over the world where conditions are suitable, however, most green tea comes from Eastern China.
What are the different types of tea?
There are many ways of categorising tea, mainly by its colour ie. black, green, oolong and white. Within these broad groups are endless variations based on country of origin, estate location, altitude, specie of tea bush, manufacturing processes etc. The teas in the Twinings range all have their own individual characteristics as described on pack and are differentiated by colour, country and manufacturing process.
Green tea, which is unoxidised and likened to white wine,
Oolong, which is partially oxidised and likened to rosé
Black tea, which is fully oxidised and likened to red wine.
White tea, whichis the rarest and most delicate of tea. White tea represents the least processed form of tea.
How is tea processed?
The leaves are plucked and processed as quickly as possible by first withering (reducing moisture by spreading the leaves out on troughs), rolling (to shape the leaves), oxidation (turns the leaves from green to brown – not applicable for green tea), firing (application of heat to arrest the oxidation process and ensure the leaf is dry enough to be packed), sieving (grades the leaf by size & removes excess fibre.)
How do I brew the perfect cup of tea?
Follow these simple steps to ensure that the tea you serve is perfect every time.
1. Only use freshly drawn cold water, ensure that kettles or water boilers are de-scaled regularly and that teapots are spotlessly clean.
2. Teapots should be warmed with hot water, which is then poured away.
3. Use the recommended number of tea bags or one teaspoon of loose tea per cup. For one person use a 10oz tea pot, for two persons a 20oz tea pot is recommended.
4. Water should always be freshly boiled and boiling when added to tea.
5. Leave to brew for 3-5 minutes before serving. Stir before serving.
6. Pour a little milk into each cup before pouring the tea through a strainer if necessary, and sweeten as required.
What is the difference between loose-leaf teas and the tea in a tea bag?
The main difference is in the size of leaf. Loose-leaf tea is unable to be packed into regular teabags due to its initial size and the swelled size of the infused leaf, which can burst the bags. Other than this, at Twinings we try to ensure that the loose-leaf and teabag variants of a blend are sourced from the same tea type, but of a different leaf size. The smaller leaf has a larger relative surface area and tends to brew more quickly making it ideal for teabags.
What is the optimal water temperature to make black tea?
Water should always be freshly boiled and boiling when added to tea.
How should I prepare green tea?
As the flavour of green tea is more delicate than that of its black counterpart, the water used should be first boiled and then allowed to cool slightly, ideally to approx. 85 - 90°C. Other than this the preparation is the same.
What is a "tea ceremony"?
A ceremony originally developed by Buddhist monks as a way of staying awake during meditation. The ritual was at its height of popularity between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. The ceremony's greatest exponent was Sen Rikyú.
What are the best teas to drink with milk & sugar?
If you like to add milk and sugar, choose a black tea (you should never add milk to green tea.) Often the stronger blends like Assam, English Breakfast and Traditional Afternoon are better with milk but if your personal preference is for weaker tea then most black tea will be suitable.
What are the best kinds of tea?
This is very subjective and depends on personal preference. Those teas generally acknowledged to be the finest are usually grown at high altitude, hand-plucked finely (i.e. 2 leaves + bud or less), and often from the first flush (i.e. the first new growth of the season.) In terms of taste and appearance: teas that are bright with a lively flavour are often considered to be preferable, however, this is not necessarily true for every type of tea.
What does ‘Flush’ mean and how do they differ?
A ‘flush’ is new growth of tea on the tea bushes. “Flushes” differ dependent on the area that the tea is produced. In China and India there are two main flushes, the first of which occurs in March/April time and the second in May/June time. The first flush usually has a much more pungent taste as it contains much more of the sap which has built up over the dormant winter months whereas the second flush is flavoursome but more rounded.
Why is some tea so expensive?
Tea is purchased on a supply and demand basis, which determines the worth of each individual lot of tea. Some top quality teas are hand-made in extremely small quantities making the cost of production and therefore the value very high. The cost of production and quality varies widely according to country and area.
What is the significance of the elevation at which tea is grown?
Elevation can influence the final character of a tea, the flavour is often more delicate the higher the altitude however quality tea can be grown at any altitude above sea level.
Elevation can influence the final character of a tea, the flavour is often more delicate the higher the altitude however quality tea can be grown at any altitude above sea level.
Is tea a diuretic?
A review of the scientific literature suggests that tea does not have a diuretic effect due to caffeine unless the amount of tea consumed at one sitting contains more than 250 – 300mg caffeine, which is equivalent to between 5 and 6 cups of tea. There is no evidence that, in moderation, tea consumption has any adverse affect on fluid balance - indeed, tea drinking makes an important contribution to many people's fluid intake.
Does tea contain calories?
All teas are virtually calorie-free and contain no carbohydrates based on no milk or sugar being added. Infusions contain no added sugars and those sugars that are present occur naturally in the fruits and herbs. Given the variable nature of these natural ingredients and their sugar ‘profile’ it is not possible to provide a definitive value for the sucrose and fructose contents for these individual products.
However to provide some guidance we would advise that none of the products will, on average, provide in excess of 0.2g of total sugars per serving and that most will provide less than 0.1g
What exactly are antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols and catechins?
Antioxidants are substances that slow the rate of oxidation reactions. Antioxidants work in different ways. Some, such as the naturally occurring polyphenols in tea, limit cell damage by neutralising free radicals.
Polyphenols are a group of polymerised organic compounds containing a hydroxyl group bound directly to a carbon atom in a benzene ring. Polyphenols have antioxidant properties, and occur naturally in tea.
Free radicals are highly reactive atoms or groups of atoms with a spare, unpaired electron. Free radicals cause damage to human cells, but their activity can be neutralised by antioxidants.
Flavonoids are one of a group of naturally occurring phenolic compounds, many of which are plant pigments. Flavonoids are found in tea and have antioxidant properties.
Which tea is healthier to drink?
The claimed health benefits gained from drinking black and green tea are comparable. The decision about which to drink is simply a matter of taste. Unlike black and green teas, white tea is simply air dried in natural sunlight; this preserves more of its antioxidant properties. About three times as many antioxidant polyphenols as the green tea.
Flouride Levels in Tea?
Being a natural product the make up of the tea may vary greatly depending on a number of factors (when the tea is picked, how much of the leaf bud is picked, soil type, weather before picking, etc, etc). The amount of flouride in tea is one of those things that may vary.
The level of flouride in dry leaf tea can be anything from 4ppm (parts per million) to 400ppm. But the amount in a brewed cup is usually in the range of 0.3ppm to 6ppm – thus in one cup of tea there will be between 0.3 and 0.5 mg of flouride.
Of course, the flouride level in a cup of tea will also depend heavily on the levels of flouride in the local water supply. Some tap water is heavily flouridated.
Potassium Levels in Tea?
The potassium content of tea as consumed, without the addition of milk or sugar is approximately 20 – 28 mg per 100ml, or around 50 mg per cup.
Salicylates Levels in Tea?
Tea is a natural source of salicylates. The levels of salicylates in tea are low compared with pharmaceutical aspirin, however if the consumer has a hypersensitivity to aspirin and/or salicylates, then they may wish to avoid drinking tea of any blend.
Gluten and Wheat Levels in Tea?
ALL of our teas and infusions are suitable for coeliacs. They do not contain gluten, wheat or any derivatives thereof.
Are our teas suitable for vegetarians?
ALL of our teas and infusions are suitable for vegetarians, although the Camomile, Honey and Vanilla is not suitable for vegans.
Staining of the Tea Cup?
Occasionally the sides of a cup can be discoloured as the tea is drunk. The problem can arise when elements of the tea react with elements of the water to form non-soluble compounds. These compounds can take a couple of different forms:
One gives the appearance of a film on the surface of the drink (sometimes looks oily and sometimes dusty)
The other is to give the liquid a cloudy look (sometimes referred to as tea ‘cream’)
Some of the water compounds are more prevalent in hard water areas, so the problem is often worse in these areas.
The film on the surface can be deposited on the side of the cup and can be difficult to remove. Because of the ‘chalky’ nature of these insoluble compounds, we recommend cleaning with something such as bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice or vinegar or something similar.
What are the Caffeine Levels in Teas?
Black Teas: Average caffeine content of 60-70 mg per cup – based on a serving of 200ml of water. Green & White Teas: Average caffeine content of 30-40 mg per cup – based on a serving of 200ml of water.
The caffeine levels depend heavily on preparation methods (brewing time, stirring), the amount of tea leaves used, the size of the leaves and variations in the plant. Black & green teas are produced from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, so both green and black tea naturally contains caffeine with both containing broadly similar amounts.
There are many types of tea containing different amounts of caffeine and the caffeine content of the beverage may vary widely depending upon brewing method and preferred strength. However it must be noted that, in common with all foodstuffs, an excessive intake is not recommended. In the case of caffeine, 'excessive' is generally regarded as being above 400 mg/day, equivalent to more than eight cups of tea per day with average caffeine content of 50 mg per cup. Pregnant women are however recommended to limit their daily caffeine intake from all sources to a maximum of 250 mg/day.
Coffee: 80-100mg per cup – varies on strength / brewing time
How is tea decaffeinated?
All decaffeinated products for the UK retail sector are decaffeinated using methylchloride/dichloromethane. It results in a tea which is much closer to the original product in taste, as it is a shorter, lower temperature process and removes fewer of the flavour compounds of tea.
Do Infusions contain caffeine?
All Twinings Infusions are naturally caffeine free. The exception is ‘Calm’ from the Blended For You range, which contains a trace – found naturally in the Cocoa Beans. The term “Herbal” or “Fruit” tea is misleading which is why we refer to them as infusions.
What are the Acidity Levels in Fruit and Herbal teas?
Most fruits naturally contain acids. It is generally understood that our saliva will neutralise the acids and wash them away. Our Infusions range from 3pH to 7pH.
Do Twinings use epichlorohydrin?
No. Epichlorohydrin is used by some manufacturers to reinforce the paper used for tea bags.
Can Twinings Teabags be composted?
The tea bag paper is completely biodegradable. There is a thin layer of polypropylene plastic on the tea bags to form the seal, however in compost this will form tiny fragments that will break down, and thus the tea bags are fully compostable.
Are Twinings Tea Bags Bleached?
All Twinings tea bags use bleached paper. The paper is bleached using an ‘oxygen bleaching’ process. This process is more environmentally sound than alternative chlorine based bleaching methods, due to the fact that the materials used are not released into the environment after use, but can be re-introduced to the bleaching process. Chlorine and chlorine derivatives (such as sodium chlorite) are more toxic chemicals and are far more harmful to the environment.
Bleaching offers a cleaner, stronger, more premium teabag than can be produced with unbleached pulp. Taste tests have raised concerns about flavour contamination due to the unbleached nature of the material.
What is the Rainforest Alliance?
The Rainforest Alliance is an international conservation organisation with over 20 years experience in the development and promotion of sustainable standards in farming, forestry and tourism. These standards protect the environment and promote the well-being of workers, their families and their communities. To learn more about the Rainforest Alliance, visit www.rainforest-alliance.org
From January 2010, Twinings Everyday will carry the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal on pack further demonstrating the brand’s commitment to actively supporting sustainable farming.
Twinings Everyday will launch with 30% Rainforest Alliance certified tea inside the box. Twinings target is to source 100% of Everyday tea from Rainforest Alliance certified estates by 2015.
Rainforest Alliance believe that sustainability is a journey, and not a destination. Allowing a 30% entry-point for the use of the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal enables companies like ours who source a large volume of tea from multiple regions to show our commitment to our sustainability journey while the supply of tea is being developed. The Rainforest Alliance requires companies to work toward 100% certified over an agreed time frame and our target is for 100% of Everyday to be sourced from Rainforest Alliance certified estates by 2015.
How does Twinings ensure that the tea is sourced ethically?
Twinings is committed to improving working conditions for tea plantation workers world-wide. Twinings joins with the Ethical Tea Partnership (formerly the Tea Sourcing Partnership) in deploying and promoting ethical trade amongst tea producers internationally. The result has been a significant improvement in workers’ conditions throughout the tea-producing world. Twinings was a founder member of the ETP since its inception in 1997.
As a premium tea brand, Twinings aim to source from the highest quality tea estates; by this we mean estates that produce high quality teas but which also maintain high standards in everything they do, including treatment of employees and impact on the environment. We have worked with many of our suppliers for several generations. For further information on the ETP visit www.ethicalteapartnership.org
The History of Twinings & Tea:
Intertwined with the story of tea is the story of Twinings. Initially, the Church regarded tea as a ‘sinful drink’ and Doctors denounced it as harmful to health. Both groups began a lobby against tea, and had powerful influence in parliament. Soon tea also began to pose a threat to the most popular British breakfast beverage of the time – Ale.
In 1706 Thomas Twining acquired ‘Tom’s Coffee House’ and realised that to compete amongst the 2000 plus other coffee houses in London at that time, he would have to differentiate his offering.
The answer was fine quality teas that respected the ceremony of tea making and drinking, and the value attached to this luxury product.
Richard Twining put his unrivalled knowledge to work and began to campaign against the stifling tax. Soon tea was high on the political agenda and in 1784, William Pitt (Prime Minister of the time), acting on the advice of Richard Twining, passed the Commutation Act which reduced tax to an affordable level and at last Britons could afford the drink that was soon to become the nation's favourite. Tea consumption increased rapidly and, in no time at all, imports of tea had doubled.
Another of Richard’s great achievements was the world-famous Twinings doorway at the strand shop, still in operation at the shop today. The development of infamous teas soon followed, including blends such as Darjeeling and Assam. Most famous of all is Earl Grey, named after Charles, the 2nd Earl Grey, whose envoy did a great favour for a Chinese Mandarin. The grateful Mandarin sent Charles the gift of a special blend of tea, and as this began to run out, Charles asked Twinings to match it for him. Twinings unique blend was the long standing favourite of the Grey family, and from then on when guests inquired after this special type of tea they were directed to Twinings on the Strand where they would ask for Earl Grey’s tea by name.
In 1837 Queen Victoria granted Twinings her first Royal Warrant, an honour still held today for HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales.
Today, as in its rich and varied history, Twinings produces teas of the highest quality, from premium sources and locations all over the world. A desire to combine innovation with history brings new and exciting blends built on 300 years of tea-producing experience.
Do Twinings offer a range of Organic teas?
Twinings produce a great-tasting range of organic teas and infusions. They come with all the flavour and purity you’d expect from Twinings plus the peace of mind that goes with chemical and pesticide-free growing methods. Studies on organically grown foods tend to show that they contain more vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants than non-organic. Many people maintain that they taste better too.
Law defines the term ‘organic’. No product can make that claim without exhaustive verification. In the UK, the Soil Association is the body that certifies that Twinings organic teas and infusions meet the standard. Overseas, a number of international certification agencies check the methods used on each individual tea estate. The certification agencies pay regular visits to the estates where they take soil samples to ensure the growing methods conform to stringent European guidelines. Each stage of production, from seed planting through to packaging and distribution, is checked.
Is the Swiss Chocolate gluten free or contain any allergens?
Yes the Swiss Chocolate is Gluten Free and suitable for vegetarians, although it is NOT suitable for vegans.
It also includes the allergens: Milk, Lactose and Soya.
Can I recycle the Swiss Chocolate packaging?
The cardboard tub can be recycled with your tins – the cardboard itself can no longer be recycled as it has been recycled before (strength is too low to be used again) but the metal base can be recycled with tins. The lid unfortunately cannot currently be recycled in the UK.
Why can’t I find my favourite tea in my local supermarket?
We deliver our products to centralised depots for each retailer, so unfortunately this means we are not able to advise of particular stores where you will definitely be able to find our products. However, we believe that you should be able to find your favourite products whenever you want them, so we have created a mail order service that allows full availability of our UK range and also includes selected International Blends and exclusive teas and coffees.
What is Redbush or “Rooibos”?
Rooibos tea is a naturally uncaffeinated tea made from the Rooibos shrub “Aspalathus linearis”, which grows only on the North Western Cape of South Africa. The word 'Rooibos' means 'red bush' in Afrikaans, and is so-called because when the green, needle-like leaves of the plant are cut and left to dry in the sun, they turn a beautiful mahogany red colour.