This is supposed to be the ‘time of good tea’, and if any company was going to pioneer it, it would have to be Teapigs. It is quite possible that the catering trade has never seen a company quite like this – it steamed into the industry a few years back on a crusade to rid the world of second-rate tea, and gained instant attention with not just its attitude, but its quite bizarre packaging. There is no retail packaging quite like it, and sometimes you have to think hard to find the relevance of the design – one pack has a bathtub motif on it!
However, when you dig deeper, you find a small company which is intensely proud of its tea, with a perfectly well-defined aim which is quite in accordance with the targets of the cafe industry. The theory is this – if you strip away all the pomp and pretentiousness which has surrounded tea for so long, and show both catering staff and the consumers that there can be great fun in discovering interesting new teas, then everybody benefits. With this in mind, Teapigs introduces some quite super greens, whites, and oolongs, and some interesting other items such as popcorn tea (which actually was a genuine oriental tea in which the peasants used bits of corn to eke out their meagre rations of real tea), a chocolate tea, and a chilli tea. You can guess what the pack illustration is for that – it’s a fire extinguisher!
Most recently, Teapigs has been the major pioneer of matcha, the powdered green tea which is reported to have remarkable health benefits. One of the most useful ideas has been the ‘matcha latte’, brewing it with steamed milk, which tends to make the unusual drink less daunting for newcomers.