More on Tea Sample Packaging

In January, I posted my thoughts on the packaging of samples received from various tea vendors so far. Since then I have received additional samples and just did a review of one whose packaging prompted this addendum to my original article.

Tea tins are starting to irritate me. Now, that is meant as a personal observation only and in no way intended as a definitive statement on what is and is not proper tea packaging. So, why do they irritate me? Good question.

Tea tins are cute, sturdy, and keep out light and moisture. They can stack — well, sort of — and you can collect them for displaying on your favorite knickknack shelf. So far, so good. Now for the part that irritates me: lack of airtightness. Not all of them have airtight seams nor lids that block air out, and when you use the tea, the tins can’t be rolled down like a pouch can be. Airtight tea storage is important if you care about freshness, which I do.
There is one more big beef I have with tins: most of those on the market now are cylindrical vs. box-shaped. That means they take up about as much room on your tea pantry shelf but hold less. Case in point is the tea I tried recently from Hampstead Tea.

Compared to a similar tea that came in a tin (Ahmad Tea’s Darjeeling — review), the Hampstead Tea tin holds exactly half as much tea by weight and takes up close to the same space on the shelf. It is also not as stackable as the Ahmad tin. The price is comparable, though:

  • Ahmad Darjeeling – 200 grams, 7.05 oz., $9.99 + sales tax
  • Hampstead Darjeeling – 100 grams, 3.53 oz., $4.90 (₤2.99) + shipping and possibly sales tax

More details on Hampstead’s tin:

  1. A shows the intact tin.
  2. B shows that the tin has an inner lid that is a bleeping nuisance to pull off. During our tasting, hubby had to pry it off about 3 or 4 times and struggled each time. This inner lid is meant to help keep out air, but really doesn’t since, as you use the tea, air is still trapped inside the tin.
  3. C shows that the tea is in a plastic bag in the tin. This helps keep the tea fresh until it gets to you and you open that bag. Unfortunately, the bag is not resealable, so once you open it, you need a clip or tape or something to reseal it.
  4. D shows another tea tin (on the left) with an inner lid, also. As you can see, this tin designer had the wherewithal to include a well-attached handle. No struggle removing this lid.

Overall, this packaging seems contrary to the company’s extreme focus on Organic. It seems to be designed to create a particular image in the minds of potential customers, one that tries to convey sophistication and high quality. A pretty normal thing for a business to do, but not in line with their statements about caring for the planet, etc. Regardless of my views on such matters, I tend to prefer consistency. Plus, this image is not lived up to by the tea inside, as you can see in my review.

See also my article Ins and Outs of Tea Storage Containers.

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