Form follows function - our tea bags

At the cusp of the 20th century numerous innovations in technology led to great advances in architecture and design. The famous design principle ‘form follows function’ was born and later evangelized by the Bauhaus pioneers. It simply states that the shape of a building or object should primarily relate to its intended function or purpose. A famous proponent of this functional approach to design is Dieter Rams. Within the 40 years of working at Braun, Rams produced and oversaw over 500 innovative products as Chief Of Design. Many of his designs are featured in museums throughout the world. He paved the way for iconic Apple products like the iPod. He always asked himself  “is my design a good design?” and stated that good design is long-lasting, environmentally friendly and makes a product useful.

In this sense the tea bag is an example of good design. In 1910, Thomas Sullivan, a tea and coffee importer from New York used hand-sewn silk bags to ship tea samples to his customers. The loose tea was intended to be removed from the bags by customers, but quickly the highly convenient today’s use of tea bags was discovered. The customers found it easier to brew the tea with the tea leaves still enclosed in the porous silk bags.

Sometimes it is the little things in product design, the beauty of simplicity and ultimate convenience. No wonder that tea bags became a great success. They made it faster and easier to enjoy a cup of tea. Today in tea-drinking countries like the UK 96 percent of the tea consumed is bagged. But the ultimate question is “what’s in the bag?”. In the vast majority of big industrial brand produced tea bags it is machine cut tea. Machine cutting the tea leafs is used for mainly three reasons, first to maximize the output from the tea leafs, second to minimize the bag size, as it is easier to store in the bags hence the packaging material needed. Loose leafs fold and need more room when packaged in a bag. And lastly to make the infusion faster. Tea leaves cut so finely that they are almost dusted, colorise the infusion immediately, which also leads to a faster infusion. Loose leafs on the other hand take more time to infuse. Tea bags and the machine cut manufacturing process also opened up opportunities for industrial tea production in new regions like Africa.

We at P & T honor the convenience the great design innovation of tea bags brought us. But when it comes to quality we make no compromise. We offer the same quality of tea in our bags as we use in our loose leaf packaging. That is why you will find our tea bags being more roomy to allow the precious product to find its space. They are made from unbleached biodegradable cotton. In our P & T tea bags their form clearly follows their function to provide the ultimate experience of a delicious cup of tea.

We also offer a hybrid solution for the ultimate convergence of convenience and versatility. With our satchel tea filters, made from 100% compostable paper you can adjust the amount of tea for your cup while enjoying the convenience of a tea bag brew. They make for an ideal travel companion. Another convenience provider following the ‘form follows function’ principle is our brewing mug, an all-in-one tea cup for daily use. There are different ways to enjoy a delicious cup of tea conveniently, yet with no compromise in quality. It's up to you to decide.

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