Posted by Rooibos Rocks on

fun fact teabag

How confused customers created the tea bag concept

Ever wondered what genius invented the tea bag?  Credit goes to Thomas Sullivan, a New York tea merchant.  But he stumbled across the idea completely by accident and was only persuaded it was a good idea by his slightly confused customers. 

In 1908 Thomas Sullivan started sending samples of his tea in small silken bags, tied up with a piece of thread.  His intention was that the customer would empty the tea from the bag into the pot and brew it in the traditional way, as loose tea leaves.  However, he didn’t communicate this to his customers and they assumed the whole bag, silk tea and thread went into the pot intact.  This meant the tea no longer had to be strained and pouring was therefore less messy – so the customers were delighted.  Their only complaint was that the silk fabric was too fine a weave for the full flavor to seep out. 

Mr Sullivan was of course surprised at their request for a bag with larger perforations – how could they be so ignorant as to put the tea AND the packaging into the pot?!  But as he gradually came around to their way of thinking the more orders he got.  So he swapped the silk for gauze and the rest, as they say, is history!

All four of our Rooibos Rocks teas, original ruby red Natural Rooibos, fragrant Green Rooibos, spicy Chai Rooibos and Mountain Honeybush, are available in teabags. What’s more, all our tea bags are sustainable and plastic free, 100% organic and compostable. 

We hope you find this little anecdote amusing – please feel free to share it with a friend over a cuppa!

 Rooibos Rocks shop

Rooibos Rocks family


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