These little tea bags are packaged in the cutest little pyramidical boxes, which are so very smart with their clean presentation.
Inside was a single tea bag - but no paper bags here, oh no. These tea bags are made from biodegradable organza. Impressed? You should be! Although there is one aspect of the construction and presentation of the bag that puzzled me. You undo the box and remove the teabag, which has a little thread with a paper tag attached, as one has come to expect. The only thing is, the little paper tag is glued - yes, glued - to the organza of the teabag. I really hope that the glue is some kind of inert substance, as it leaves an impression upon the fabric of the bag.
That aside, where the Golden Chamomile and Black Lavender are concerned, I can safely say that I can't remember the last time I had such a nice cup of tea - especially the chamomile.
However, the Bombay Chai (with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and black tea) left a little bit to be desired. You see, I was measuring it against our favourite blend of Chai teabag - which is (believe it or not) Asda's. Pure Fresh Tea's area of difference to all other teas is that their quality is so good. However, where Chai is concerned, I've come to the conclusion that a little bit of rough is exactly what is required. Pure Fresh Tea's Chai is so well behaved. Yes, it is beautifully rounded and soft on the tongue - but then I prefer my Chai to let me know it is there. I want to taste the spices, experience the tea and feel it doing me good. I'm really not sure that Pure Fresh Tea's Chai could ever have done the first two - but you could definitely feel it doing you good!
I was actually a bit scared of their Black Lavender blend. Not because it had big teeth or growled a lot, but because I could read from the packaging that it contained Tian Hu Shan black tea (mmmn, nice!), French lavender leaves (ooh no, it might be like furniture polish - and I HATE lavender furniture polish!) and bergamot oil (quelle horreur! The last time I tried anything with bergamot in it, it gave me a blinding headache). So can you understand my reticence about this one?
Well. That tea was lovely. No - honestly! It was very subtle, very refined (not in a processed way, but in a polite, well behaved, sort of way) with just a hint of lavender and the merest smidgen of bergamot. I'd have been happy to have drunk Black Lavender on a regular basis, but for ....ah, but I run on ahead of myself.
What about the Golden Chamomile? Now this one was my favourite of the bunch. I was very sad to think that I wouldn't ever drink another Pure Fresh Tea Golden Chamomile when I am in my nightie and slippers, with a warm Jack Russell terrier snuggled up against my back and a good book on the Kindle in my other hand - just before bed.
Now, fair reader, I've drunk a lot of chamomile teas. No, really - a LOT. It used to be one of the few things that kept my head from exploding when I worked in Marketing. It used to lull me to sleep when I lay nervously hugging Gyp my lurcher dog, in my bed behind a firmly locked door in a shared house in New Malden, whilst one of the other tenants slit his wrists regularly each night. It would carry me off to dreamland on a wave of daisies, after a busy day spent showing my ponies at a blisteringly hot (what happened to those, eh?) County Showground.
So, as you can see, I've a bit of history with chamomile tea - and this, Golden Chamomile, is by far and away the best camomile tea I've had to date. It has such a cleanliness to it. An unadulterated flavour of camomile - which is all that there is in the teabag. You can actually see the whole flowers through the organza of the bag - so cute!
Now you might be wondering why I'd reject ever having Pure Fresh Tea's products again, if they're so good. Well, don't let me stand in your way if you want to buy them - by all means go ahead. However, for me, I just cannot justify the price.
Let's take the Golden Chamomile, as an example. We did a little research and discovered that pure dried chamomile flowers - no dust, no rubbish - can be bought for the equivalent of 4p per teabag (minus production costs and materials). Pure Fresh Tea are charging ~wince~ in the range of 36p per teabag (inclusive of production costs & materials), which is a vast markup of some 900% and can only lead me to believe that the packaging could quite possibly be worth more (particularly in invested cash) than the contents. Now that'd be okay if the price went down once the design and production costs on the packaging had been recouped - but I suspect we all know that's not going to happen.
I know - I loved the tea. Even in the knowledge that each teabag can be used more than once, it still doesn't justify the price, for me. Even loving the tea as I did, I have to admit that each teabag did for just the one cup. I couldn't face re-using an already used bag.
It just makes me so sad. I perked up momentarily when I discovered that there is range - the Black Line - that is (and I quote) "more competitively priced than the White Line due to mechanized packing. This range has been designed to bring you Pure Tea to drink every day". The tea bags come in boxes of 40 individually foil wrapped envelopes and the Golden Chamomile costs £9.90 per box - which equates to 25p per cup.
Now, I suppose 25p once a day isn't too terrible - until you discover Asda's chamomile tea, which is £1 for 40 tea bags, equating to 2.5p per cup - and although it isn't quite as smooth and rounded a flavour, is still the second best cup of camomile tea I've ever had!
What more can I say? On their website, Pure Fresh Tea have a FAQ page, on which is the following :
Q. What is the difference between your tea and the tea in the supermarket?
A. Our tea is premium, loose-leaf tea, supplied in an organza pyramid bag and all of our ingredients are 100% organic. It is processed using traditional methods and is extremely fresh and delicious. With tea, you get exactly what you pay for. Cheaper teas really aren't comparable to the tea we supply and generally taste bitter. Tea supplied in a standard tea bag generally contains a lot of dust, stalks and other parts of the leaf, so you won't get the same great taste or health benefits as with high grade tea.
So I suppose there you have it. I loved Pure Fresh Tea's products that I tried. Try them yourself if you can justify the price and I'll bet you'll love them too.
Maybe I've lived on a budget for too long, or maybe I just have a sneaking suspicion that in the price of the tea bags is a huge percentage for smart liveried packaging, a great website, sheets upon sheet of organza and organic ingredients. ~shrug~ I'll leave the final judgement up to you.