Here at FSF we all quite like tea so when TeaPigs posted a thing on Twitter saying random people would get free tea for a retweet I was happy to roll the dice - after-all someone must be winning these things. Lo and behold my ID was picked and I got sent some free tea! I was expecting a little box of them, so two teabags in an envelope was a shock, but one that was presumably much easier to post and so more likely to result in future give aways.
I've had TeaPigs before - Cinabar raves about them and I often spot it in cafe's and pubs (!) and choose that over more traditional alternatives. To me this is a fine alternative and not a compromise. It's just not a brand I ever considered taking home - even though one Bromsgrove cafe seems to have pretty much all the range (21 flavours apparently)!
The type I received was silver tips white tea, which I'd not had before but a friend is a very keen drinker due to a recommendation by her beauty therapist who says it is good for healthy skin! I decided that like them I should drink it without milk and like green tea just leave the bag in. The teabag itself (or to use their parlance - Tea Temple) is a kind of odd plastic-like (yet biodegradable) gauze which seems to both be very solid and almost not there. It's an interesting little thing. The leaves are noticeably leafy and will easily confuse children that hadn't actually thought about what tea is made from, even the tea dust in the bag is green and recognisably leafy - AND stays in the bag!
The tea is quite full bodied and only slightly aromatic. It's not floral like the earl grey and Jasmines that I tend to drink without milk. It does almost feel like a very posh version of PG Tips, but there is maybe less of a green tea and more of an earthiness to the blend. More importantly there is a substance here - it tastes strong without tasting stewed and there are still subtle notes to the flavour even towards the bottom of the mug. It makes me want to experience more of the alternative varieties that are out there.
At first with the luxury soft drinks from Fentimans I was reluctant to take them home and to buy them in larger quantities as I felt it may spoil the magic of drinking them out and having something special to hunt for in pubs that would never be a disappointment. As is probably obvious to long time readers I soon got over this and now fill a basket at Waitrose or Ocado with these every so often so I can treat myself at home.
Why am I bringing this up? TeaPigs is a luxury brand that is made by a small, local company costing pounds in a crowded marketplace where the basic product (a store brand teabag or cola) can be had for pence. This is justified by the fact that these are products that are made with both the consumer and the tea-picker in mind - all the flavour with non of the compromises, just like Fentimans. In these austere times it's pretty hard to justify that step up to something like this for the 4 or 5 normal cups of tea I have in a day, but I don't think I would want to - this is supposed to be special and savoured. I can see myself seeking out a couple of boxes of these to stash away in a tea caddy for a speedy special occasion drink (one for home and one for work).
In short I think that TeaPigs is slowly becoming my Fentimans of tea, and I can't think of any higher compliment than that.