Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Featured Tea Company: Two Leaves and a Bud

Today's featured tea company is Two Leaves and a Bud. The company also recently launched a new brand, Paisley Tea Co., focusing on more British-style teas.

Pictured is a screenshot from their website:

Two Leaves and a Bud is a tea company that focuses on high-quality tea in pyramid sachets. Their name is a reference to the standard plucking of two leaves and one bud, used for many standard grades of tea. Their teas are available in upscale supermarkets and also are served in a number of coffee shops.

My experience with this company and its teas:

I became familiar with this brand, and sampled most of their teas, when I lived in Delaware and would work on my laptop from Saxby's Coffee. Much of RateTea was programmed and designed from that coffee shop. You can find my reviews of these teas along with reviews by other people (this brand is one of the most often-reviewed brands on RateTea) on RateTea's page for Two Leaves and a Bud. I have yet to try any of the newer Paisley Tea Co. teas.

Personally, I cannot see myself ever buying this company's boxes of tea sachets. Buying them online, a box of 15 sachets is just under $8, which makes for over 50 cents a tea bag. Their bulk tea, on the other hand, is much more reasonably priced: $17 for a half pound, which, using a generous 2.5 grams of leaf per cup, works out to be under 20 cents a cup. I like to use this brand as an example of how when buying tea bags, you are paying for packaging. The bulk pricing offered by this company is, in my opinion, quite reasonable.

In spite of the fact that I am unlikely to buy this company's sachets, their main product, there is a ton that I like about this company, and I frequently enjoy their teas when they are served in a coffee shop.

What I like about Two Leaves and a Bud:

  • The company offers loose-leaf tea - This point is not a given. Many companies who make the bulk of their sales in tea bags or sachets do not sell any loose tea. I don't know the exact portion of this company's sales that come through loose tea, but I suspect it is small, as I see their boxes of sachets for sale (and served in coffee shops) widely, and have only ever seen their loose tea displayed on their own website. But I would applaud this company for still offering loose leaf tea, even if it is not their big seller.
  • Their tea is quite good - Among the mainstream brands of tea that I've sampled, the quality of the teas sold by this company is consistently high. I don't like all of their teas, but I like most of them, and many I even prefer to a number of loose-leaf teas I've sampled. The teas also have been rated favorably on RateTea by other reviewers. The company sells a number of pure teas, and I find does not skimp on the quality of the base teas used in their flavored teas and blends as well. The sachets contain generous quantities of relatively intact tea leaf, and intact herbs and spices, producing sachets that all can be successfully used with multiple infusions.
  • Their selections are well-balanced - While I might be tempted to change a few of their offerings, Two Leaves and a Bud is actually one of the companies that inspired my recent post about choosing which teas to sell. This company carries a First Flush Darjeeling that, while it varies from year to year, is consistently on the greener side. This tea is a sharp contrast with the other black tea they sell, a strong, malty Assam. They carry a white peony, and a Tamaryokucha (unusual for a Western-focused company). Among flavored teas there is an Earl Grey and a Masala Chai, and they have some herbal blends, including straight chamomile, and a Rooibos-lemongrass blend, called African Sunset, which I like very much.
  • A focus on sustainability - A majority of this company's teas are organic certified, but it doesn't stop there. In August of 2011, the company announced moving to biodegradable packaging. While I'd like to see more testing on whether this packaging (using the Reverte™ Oxo-Biodegradable system for biodegradation) actually biodegrades gracefully (my research suggests that it may not), I do think that this is a major step in the right direction, and places this company far ahead of other mainstream companies, like Lipton and many others, which are still using straight Nylon tea bags for their Pyramid Sachets, and have not expressed a commitment to move towards biodegradable packaging.

What do you think?

Have you tried any of this company's teas? How about the newly launched Paisley Tea Co. teas? What are your thoughts on the biodegradibilty of their packaging? Or their choices of teas to carry?

1 comment:

  1. I've gotten their teas on sale at Morton Williams. They were pretty impressive, especially for supermarket fare