Sample Packaging — The Best and the Worst

Samples tea vendors send out for reviewers like me to try aren’t always packaged the same as they would be for you the customer. There are several possible reasons for this:

  • The vendor is sending these out at his/her own expense and is trying to reduce that expense.
  • The sample size is usually smaller for reviewers than even the samples you can buy from the vendors’ sites.
  • The vendor may not have packages small enough for the small amount of tea being sent.
  • The vendor is sometimes new to sending out samples and is not sure what kind of packaging to use.

Of course, there are always exceptions. Some of the samples I have received were in full-sized containers. Others were the same sample packages that you can buy on their sites.

Criteria for sample packaging:

  • Keep out light, air, moisture, odors
  • Keep strong flavorings in the tea sample inside the package, especially important if it is in the same shipping box with other samples
  • Resealable, since the reviewer may not use the whole sample for the review
  • Can be used for long-term storage

[For me, a container is airtight only if I can squeeze air out before resealing it. Therefore, tins aren’t airtight.]

A rundown of how some tea vendors “stack up”:

BEST – Foil Pouches:

Pkg Type Pouch, heat-sealed
Pkg Material Foil
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Material Foil
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable No
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Packet, heat-sealed
Pkg Material Foil
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable No
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Tea Tins:

Pkg Type Tin
Pkg Material Metal
Airtight* No
Blocks Odors No
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Tin
Pkg Material Metal
Airtight* No
Blocks Odors No
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Tin
Pkg Material Metal
Airtight* No
Blocks Odors No
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Company Chicago Tea Garden
Pkg Type Tin
Pkg Material Metal
Airtight* No
Blocks Odors No
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

Plastic Pouches/Bags:

Pkg Type Pouch
Pkg Material Heavy plastic
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Pouch
Pkg Material Heavy plastic
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light Partially
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Pouch
Pkg Material Foil, heavy plastic
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Company Royal Tea Company
Pkg Type Pouch
Pkg Material Foil, heavy plastic
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light No
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Pouch
Pkg Material Foil, heavy plastic
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light No
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Pouch
Pkg Material Heavy plastic
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light No
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Packet
Pkg Material Plastic
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light No
Resealable No
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Bag
Pkg Material Plastic
Airtight* No
Blocks Odors No
Blocks Light No
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Other:

Pkg Type Packet
Pkg Material Coated paper
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable No
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Packet
Pkg Material Foil-lined paper
Airtight* No
Blocks Odors No
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable No
Store Long-term Yes

 

 

Pkg Type Pouch
Pkg Material Paper, foil
Airtight* Yes
Blocks Odors Yes
Blocks Light Yes
Resealable Yes
Store Long-term Yes

 

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