I just watched Supershoppers for the first time, episode 2. I really enjoyed it and hope they make more series. One of the things that they mentioned was the price of items marketed as 'artisan' compared to the standard items, and they used tea as an example. I had a look on Tesco to see what the current prices were.
First I looked at the Teapigs range. They are supposed to be good and I am confident that they are a better quality product that the standard British cuppa. Tea Pig jasmine pearl pyramid teabags cost £5.50 for fifteen. That's around 37p per cuppa. Tetleys ordinary teabags (for those not from the UK, that's a more standard brew) you could get 240 teabags for £4.99, or around 2p per cuppa. I am not entirely convinced that there is 35p difference in ingredients between the two, although the packaging is very different. I was surprised to find out that they are owned by the same company. I suppose a tea supplier is always going to try and fill a space in every market. The least expensive tea at Tesco is 20p for forty teabags, or half a penny per bag, and I think they taste awful.
Approved Food have some artisan tea on sale - Petalberry Tea is one example. At Approved Food's reduced prices it is £3.99 for ten teabags, but it does look good and you get a great tin out of it. I'm wondering if it is worth buying just for the tin. The recommended price is £6.99 for ten teabags. I don't know. According to the website, the tea is direct from Sri Lanka, which does make it sound fresher. As I type there is a flash sale on Typhoo of 200 teabags for £2. I don't personally like Typhoo, but there is nothing wrong with it.
I suppose the moral is, watch out for the marketing. The quality of teapigs is almost certainly better than average, but is it that much better? I am limiting myself to one teabag a day (or trying to - a caffeine fail here) so perhaps I could justify spending a bit more on fancy teas. I have justified spending £1.49 on 50 Chai teabags. I don't think I could bring myself to spend more.
I wanted a picture, so here is a picture of a Sri Lankan Tea Plantation.
It is hard to believe that they are thinking of trying to grow tea in cold, damp Yorkshire. I am not convinced.