Best loose tea UK
You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a good cuppa, according to the results of a taste test which found that supermarket own-brand tea bags came out on top of their more expensive, so-called “luxury” rivals.
Despite costing only a few pence a bag, English breakfast teas from Morrisons and Sainsbury’s – and an Earl Grey from German discounter Aldi – were highly rated for their flavour.
The experts scored each tea on appearance, aroma, taste, body/strength and aftertaste. Of the English Breakfast teas, the supermarket own-brand ranges came out ahead of their more expensive rivals, with Morrisons M English breakfast and Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference (Fairtrade) being awarded the joint-highest score of 80%. Both were rated highly by experts for their classic full-bodied flavour. Each costs respectively, 2p and 3p a bag.
Whittard English breakfast Tag & Envelope came bottom with a score of 50%, and were rubbished by one expert as tasting “like old cabbage”. It was also among the priciest English breakfast teas tested at 15p per bag. Even Fortnum & Mason’s Breakfast Blend – just as expensive at 15p a bag – only scored 58%.
Aldi’s Diplomat Earl Grey (2p a bag) topped the taste test for Earl Grey standard tea bags with a score of 78%, for its “well-balanced, warm, citrus flavour”. The panellists found it “very drinkable”, fresh without being cloying and with good bergamot notes. Duchy Originals Fairtrade Earl Grey from Waitrose (8p a bag) had the lowest score of 38%.
Separately, Which? tested premium mesh pyramid bags for both types of tea, which are more expensive at around 30p per bag. The best performing ones did only slightly better than the other teas it tested, including the Teapigs Earl Grey (27p a bag) which scored 50% but reminded one expert of “an old airing cupboard”.
Richard Headland, Which? editor, said: “Our taste test revealed a big difference in the quality of English breakfast and Earl Grey teas. With some of the best teas costing just a few pence per bag, and supermarket own-brands beating luxury brands, it shows you don’t need to spend a lot to get a great cup of tea.”
A spokesperson for Whittard said: “Our team of tea experts work hard to source the finest blends for our teas and the breakfast tea has been one of our best sellers for over five years, proving it’s a popular choice amongst our customers.”