If you've been a customer for a while, you know that I don't do decaffeinated tea, but I get asked for it a lot. As one of my brand values is that I only sell teas that I drink, I will never stock it (sorry!), but I have this little hack that you can turn any of tea into decaff! 🤯
I have been getting so many messages, some quite angry, saying that my bags are just standard plastic bags and I'm not eco friendly at all, which is incorrect on both accounts. In this blog post, I'm hoping that I can explain what they are and how you can dispose of them correctly
What are the taster bags made of?
These bags (made by Polybags) are classed as bio-additive bags. What this means is that they are made from regular polythene with an additive that accelerates the degradation process.
So how does it biodegrade if its plastic?
When exposed to sunlight, heat or mechanical stress, these bags first break down through oxidation into smaller fragments. After this step, it then biodegrades into naturally-benign materials (CO2, water & biomass), disintegrating in anything from a few weeks to two years, depending on the disposal environment
But doesn't all plastic disintegrate over time?
Regular polythene will degrade over time, but this process can take decades or even hundreds of years in a landfill site, which isn't great. And if it does eventually disintegrate it doesn't fully go away (you've heard of microplastics)
The additive used in these taster bags ensures that this process is sped up by hundreds or even thousands of times
OK, how much faster?
The bags will degrade and physically disintegrate in anything from a few weeks to 24 months depending on the physical conditions in the disposal environment (presence of oxygen, moisture, heat, mechanical stress and/or microbes). Now that is speedy!
How do I dispose of these properly?
There are two ways you can dispose of your taster bags once you've finished your tea:
1. Recycle it (before it starts to degrade) Believe it or not, you can recycle plastic bags, and it's no difference with the taster bags, you just need to do it before they turn to mush! Check with your local council to see if they can take LDPE bags (you'll see the ♻️ logo with the number 4 in it)
2. Pop it in your normal bin. It sounds counter intuitive, but the bags need heat, oxygen and pressure to degrade quickly, and landfill is the best place for it and ultimately taking up less landfill space.
3. You could compost it, but it would decompose very slowly. This timescale for biodegradation does not meet the requirements for European compostable packaging standard, although independent studies have demonstrated that plastics with the additive compost well and produce good quality compost with no toxic effects
I hope that explains a bit about the bags and how you can safely dispose of them. I'm always trying to improve my environmental credentials, so if there are any developments, you'll be the first to know 😊
So you may have seen my instagram post about my trendy drink that I made, and have been bugging me for the recipe, so here it is!
A bit of background if you haven't heard of dalgona anything and wonder what the fuss is all about
This trend has happened since we've been in quarantine, thanks a Korean TV show called 'Pyunstorang' Basically the host went to a place called Macau, tried the drink and said it was dalgona as it looked like a traditional Korean sponge which has the same name. Next thing you know there's a hashtag #dalgonacoffeechallenge, TikTok videos and everyone is making this
Since coffee ain't my bag, I thought I could make one for tea, so I did! As usual, I didn't have the ingredients (like sugar!) or the actual equipment, but I still made it! And you can too!
You only need 4 ingredients and about 15 minutes (but it would be quicker if you had the right equipment - I'll explain later)
- Oat Milk - I used Minor Figures because I have it, I would normally use Oatly because it's my favourite and best by a mile
- Golden Syrup - this was a substitute because I didn't have powdered sugar. I hate golden syrup so it's not ideal for me to use! 😖
- Matcha - I used quite a lot, because I used a lot of aquafaba, but when I make it again I would use 0.5-1 teaspoon for one cup
- Aquafaba - now, this is freaky stuff! It's the water from canned chickpeas and it whips like egg whites! I don't know how it works! Again, I used all the juice, so it made loads and took FOREVER to whip. For one cup I would use 2 tablespoons
1. Whip the Aquafaba
This takes ages and I used a hand held electric whisk (my trusty one from Tesco which cost me £5. It did smell like burning as it was on full blast for so long!) If you have one of those fancy stand mixers, I think that would cut out all the time and boredom 💤
I ended up using a milk frother and the whisk at the same time!
2. Wait till you get stiff peaks
It will happen, I promise! And when it does you'll be like "What the ??" because you can't imagine some weird, chickpea water can make this, but it does! 🤯
On a separate note, DO NOT just try it without sugar! It just tastes like chickpeas! I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't that! 😳
3. Add the Matcha
Sieve it through a little.....er....sieve if you have one (my tea strainers are perfect)
4. Add the sugar
Or in my case golden syrup! 🤦 I think with the powdered sugar you'd be able to test as you go with to how much sugar you want, whereas with the syrup it was all or nothing really!
5. Assemble the parts
Pour your milk in the glass, depending on how much 'fluff' you have and what size of glass, will depend on how much milk you'll need. For this glass I used about 2/3 full of milk
Spoon on the fluff and then get your camera!
Let me know how you get on and what you think!
So, you've bought some tea from me (and thank you so much for your support) and you've seen they are biodegradable (YAY!) but how do you make sure that they are disposed properly so they aren't just as bad as the plastic alternatives
Fear not! Here are some tips
Tip 1 - Cut the Packaging
The bacteria that is in contact with the material which is responsible for it's breakdown, is limited by the surface area, so the easiest way to speed up the process is to cut up the bags. If you are putting the pieces in your compost bin, throw it around like (biodegradable) glitter!
Tip 2 - Mix Materials
If you are composting one of my larger bags which is made of two materials (the brown kraft bit and the window), make sure you mix the pieces together. This will agitate the pile and spread the biodegradation process throughout the whole pile rather than it happening in a small area
Tip 3 - Be a Big Fan!
If you are composting at home, aerate your pile! Aerobic bacteria, that is the most important for the composting process, requires oxygen to work effectively. In order to allow the oxygen to reach high enough level (around 5%) the entire compost pile must be aerated. You can either buy an aerator or just turn it over again and again, rustling the pile and letting fresh air inside. Otherwise, the oxygen level inside will drop and end up slowing the decomposing process for up to 90%!
ATTENTION! ATTENTION! NEW TEA ALERT!
You are all loving my signature teas I currently have, and I'm so happy that you love them as much as I do. Obviously you have your favourites, like my best selling English Breakfast Tea, but if you're new to loose leaf tea, or just like a variety, five is not enough.
I spent a lot of time of deciding which new teas to introduce, and after much deliberation and figuring out which ones would compliment the teas I already have. The delivery date for my supplier couldn't come quick enough.
When they arrived this morning, opening them all up, they smell soooooo good. This is actual footage of my face from this morning
My four (yes four!) new tea flavours are:
- Blood Orange - Fruit tea with a warm rich flavour and slightly bitter tartness. Full of apple bits, hibiscus, orange peel, rosehips, lemon peel, safflower blossoms and natural flavours
- Desi Masala Chai - Full flavoured malty Assam blended with traditional spices like cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and bay leaves
- Liquorice Mint Toffee - A guilt free treat, which is also good for a sore throat. Contains liquorice root pieces, peppermint leaves and vanilla extract
- Spiced Apple - Delicious to have on a cold day, but just as nice as an iced tea. Contains natural dried apple, hibiscus, dried ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, stevia, cornflower petals and natural flavours
These are all available in both our sample bag and large bag sizes and will be listed in the store ASAP. I hope you love them as much as I do!