There are many questions, concerns, and things people think about when buying coffee and tea in a more conscious way. Like so many of these things there’s not a “right” option, so find what’s right for you, or just the next best step for you, or cut things out of that’s a better option.
Some of the factors people think about are:
- Where was this grown?
- And who was it grown by?
- How is it packaged?
- How do you dispose of any packaging and is that option available to you?
- Is there plastic in it?
- What kind of plastic?
- Is it compostable?
- Does it taste good?
- Is it organic?
- Is it fair trade?
- How much does it cost?
- Can you afford that with how much you drink?
PLASTIC IN TEA BAGS
Yes, the UK drinks 100 million cups of tea a day and most of them contain plastic in some form. That means that while they look like thin paper that might easily break down or compost, they’re mostly at least heat sealed with plastic and at most (especially the fancy tetrahedral ones) made fully of plastic. A teabag can release micro plastics into the cup of tea as it’s brewed and then into water ways beyond that both of which have come to light in recent years as being concerns for health and environment.
PLASTIC “FREE” TEA BAGS
The tea bag dates back to the early 1900s when it was a silk bag used for transporting tea. With the concern coming up of plastics in the home, some companies have turned to alternative options of they’re being more sought out. The only tea bag brand that is truly free from any kind of plastics is Pukka. They are made of cotton and stitched together rather than heat sealed with any kind of plastic. Lots of the brands that say they are “plastic free” are still using plastic but PLA (Polylactic Acid) made from plants. These brands have taken some flack for claiming to be better or plastic free but still using plastic, however I think they are still a much better option as they’re using renewable resources and are where it’s an option, can be industrially composted. So technically not plastic free but lot of the concerns of plastic are still removed with this option.
WHO GREW MY DRINK?
This is a question that like with clothes, really needs to be asked of tea and coffee.
lot of the small coffee brands work closely with farms that might not be certified fairtrade or certified organic but that are grown well. I try to dig into
It’s a lot to think about so I’ve detailed out some of the brands we opt for and why below to help in the search!
Read more in a post about fairtrade tea from Fairtrade.org HERE and from the same organisation an article about fairtrade coffee HERE.
A lot of the small coffee brands work closely with farms that might not be certified fairtrade or certified organic but that are grown well. I try to dig into
It’s a lot to think about so I’ve detailed out some of the brands we opt for and why to help in the search!
COFFEE + TEA BRANDS WE LOVE
This gets our number one budget pick for the UK! It’s a pre ground coffee, in home compostable packaging for a really good price.
This is the coffee we drank for years when we lived in the US, it was the best priced coffee in biodegradable packaging that was organically grown that we could find. They also do a swiss water process decaf which is all I drink especially when I’m pregnant.
I use Clipper for instant, and decaf instant that really isn’t bad and I actually have a place for in my 5am routines! It’s certified fairtrade and organic and comes in a glass jar. In the UK find it HERE via Abel and Cole and HERE via Ethical Superstore
This is the only tea we buy. It’s one that covers all the bases with great sourcing of ingredients, a B corp company, organically grown and completely plastic free from bag to box packaging. Our top flavours are Peppermint and Liquorice, and Elderberry and Echinacea. In the UK find it HERE via Ethical Superstore and HERE via Abel and Cole.
Clipper is a brand lots of people turn to for a fairtrade tea that’s “plastic free.” The bags use are the plant based plastic, but the bag the tea bags come in is a plastic bag. They say they plan on switching this to a biodegradable one soon. In the UK find it HERE via Abel and Cole and HERE via Ethical Superstore
This is an English option we love as one of the best tasting, well grown, organic options, in home compostable packaging.
A more widely available US option that you can pick up in places like Wholefoods or Sprouts with organic options, again in home compostable packaging and really good tasting!
This is the newest one we’ve been drinking as it’s roasted by a small non profit very close to our home. They have organic options, and I can get it bulk (which you can’t if you’re not visiting the roastery) and their ethics in trade are above and beyond.
NUMI tea and bagless tea from other sources – biodegradable packaging, well sourced organic tea. In the UK find NUMI HERE.
Ok and then there’s collagen which I’ll bring in here because it goes in my morning coffee and was such a struggle to find one I loved. I wanted one that was packaged well, organic, and tested for heavy metals. Which is basically fairy dust BUT I found it in a company called BeBambu that feels like a friend now, a black owned, female founded, mother run small business.
There are lots of French presses out there and we always go for stainless steel ones for their durability and how they keep coffee hot. I’m not a fan of Amazon so look local where you can but these are the ones we actually bought both sides of the pond so you can see.
For single cups we also love the aeropress with a metal filter or compostable paper filter, for lack of waste and the taste it gives the coffee.