About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Consumer Panel - Tea Bags

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Consumer Panel - Tea Bags!

According to Mammies all across Ireland, the answer to all of life's problems is a cup o tea.!

Our Panel
Wally Sheridan,
Stephanie Hogan
Victoria Doyle
Liz Wycherley


1. Bewley's Gold Blend Teabags 80s at 3.06 (special 50% extra free 120 bags)

2. Barry's Tea Gold Blend 80 Teabags 250g at 3.09

3. Lyons' Gold Label Tea Bags 80bag pack 250g at 3.19

4. Dunnes' Stores Gold Blend 80bag pack 250g at 2.19.

Each panelist has been asked to rate each tea taking the following points into consideration

. Taste and flavour
. Texture and colour
. Strength
. Shape of teabag
. Packaging
. Price and value
. Marks out of 5

The Results are: (All out of 20)
1st Place - 19 points - Bewley's
2nd Place - 14 points - Lyons
3rd Place - 13 points - Barry's
4th Place - 11 points - Dunnes

So the winner is.. Bewley's


Bewley's Gold Blend

Wally Sheridan
. Very nice flavour, good strong cup of tea
. Different to the rest of them
. Held its colour very well even with milk
. Packaging good strong box
. Value for money, he'd buy it though one of the dearest
. 5 out of 5

Stephanie Hogan
. Avid tea drinker, surprisingly good, very good quality and smooth
. Not very strong - a good thing, not too strong
. No scum on it
. Packaging perfect red and gold and luxurious
. Only marginally more expensive, would buy it again more than any others
. 5 out of 5

Victoria Doyle
. Very flavoursome, a comforting cup of tea!
. Smooth and brown texture and colour
. I like medium tea so its taking the bag out at the right time
. Room for the leaves to move when stewing
. Packaging look luxurious with the red and yellow, looks expensive
. Price and value - If you're a tea drinker spoil yourself and buy this its lovely!
. 5 out of 5

Liz Wycherley
. Taste and flavour - Quite mild, lovely flavour
. Texture and colour - soft and also a golden brown colour.
. Strength - Not too strong. If you like a milder tea this is a good one
. Shape of teabag - circular shape which I quite liked
. Nice packaging, easy to open and reuse
. Good Value at 3.06
. 4 out of 5

Barry's Tea Gold Blend

Wally Sheridan
. Only middling in flavour
. Same as the Dunnes flavour
. Didn't hold the colour well, have to really squeeze the bag to get the tea out of it.
. Good packaging
. Not value for money
. 2 out of 5

Stephanie Hogan
. A little on the strong side
. A good colour, little too dark, too orangey
. Good packaging, not as luxurious s Bewley's
. Very good if you like a strong tea
. 4 out of 5

Victoria Doyle
. Strong flavoured tea
. bag burst on me so it was full of leaves
. Very strong colour
. Shape of teabag - square and not much room for movement
. big square box wouldn't stay fresh for long
. Price and value - Expensive for this tea
. 2 out of 5

Liz Wycherley
. Taste and flavour - Not too distinctive from Bewley's or Dunnes but is the strongest on them all. But if you over brew it, it can because a bit bitter
. Beautiful golden colour with a warming aroma
. Strong
. Standard square shape. Two are joining and you've to tear them apart
. Packaging was ok but not as neat as the first two
. Ok Value but seeing as it is stronger than the other two which taste similar to it is good value
. 5 out of 5

Lyons Gold Label

Wally Sheridan
. Wouldn't like it at all, funny taste. He's a coffee man
. Too weak, turns white when you put milk into it. Wife and son like it though
. pyramid bags, good packaging
. Not value for money, wouldn't buy it
. 3 out of 5

Stephanie Hogan
. Very good a bit too robust
. Good rich colour, a good quality tea
. Infusion expands nicely in the bag
. Not best value as not the best but the most expensive
. 4 out of 5

Victoria Doyle
. Delicious! full of flavour
. smooth texture, no after taste at all
. Strength - mild
. Shape of teabag - great shaping for stewing tea leaves well able to stew around
. Another luxurious expensive looking package
. For a spoil yourself tea, I think it's great value!
. 5 out of 5

Liz Wycherley
. Very distinctive flavour, a bit too strong for my liking. It also had a bit of a bitter after taste
. I found all the teas to have a nice equally golden colour.
. Quite strong
. Shape of teabag - Pyramid shape
. Packaging - Liked the packaging a lot, very easy to open and reopen, it also has a nice green colour which makes it appealing
. Most expensive brand, so I found it not great value for money
. 2 out of 5

Dunnes Stores Gold Blend

Wally Sheridan
. No difference from Barry's
. Weak flavour and colour
. Poor packaging, very papery
. Not value for money
. 2 out of 5

Stephanie Hogan
. Not too bad, but may not buy it again, reasonably good ordinary tea
. Colour wasn't very rich for a gold blend
. Packaging, bargain basement, passable
. Good value
. 4 out of 5

Victoria Doyle
. Very strong flavour with bad aftertaste
. Normal texture and colour
. Very strong immediately, stews straight away
. Shape of teabag - square and bulky
. Packaging - green, boring looking box
. Good value for the tea, i would have expected it to be cheaper
. 2 out of 5

Liz Wycherley
. Quite mild taste and flavour, a bit boring and bland
. A bit weaker than the others
. Not very strong
. Nothing too interesting, standard two attached teabags
. Bland packaging and ripped easily.
. Very Good value if you don't mind compromising on flavour a bit
. 3 out of 5

Teabags are also good for cooling and calming tired or puffy eyes.
Lady Gaga goes no where without her teacup and saucer!
(cold) Tea and its leaves are good for putting on your plants, iron and nitrogen, better than plain water

Additional / Misc' Info:

According to Lyons: There are 4.24 million people in Ireland and three million of them drink tea, giving Ireland one of the highest per capita consumption levels of tea in the world! We drink up to five cups a day and it's the age-old solution to every dilemma.

At Lyons we pride ourselves on bringing you the best quality tea and the finest blends. The great thing about Lyons Tea is that it is a completely natural product, with nothing added but sun, rain and wind!

Did You Know?
. Tea contains antioxidants
. Tea is the biggest supplier of flavonoid antioxidant in the Irish diet
. An average cup of Lyons Tea is virtually calorie free An average cup of Lyons Tea contains only one calorie and even with semi-skimmed milk typically contains just 14 calories
. Drinking four cups of Lyons Tea a day is good for hydration and can contribute to our daily fluid requirements (of 1.5 -2 litres)
. Tea is hydrating not dehydrating
. Tea is second only to water as being the best drink to hydrate with
. Tea is a natural body refresher
. Tea revitalises you
. Tea contains fluoride - fluoride may be beneficial to the well-being of your teeth
. Tea is a natural source of antioxidants. Antioxidants may help to protect our body by reinforcing our natural defences against the harmful effects of free radicals
. Tea is a completely natural product. There is nothing added but sun, rain and wind!
. The caffeine in a typical cup of Tea is less than half the amount of caffeine found in a typical cup of coffee
. Lyons pyramid teabags work like a teapot, allowing 50% more room for the leaves to move, giving you the best cup of tea possible

Bewley's master blend teas are from India Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia and Africa. No two tea blends are the same. Like wine soli and climate conditions will affect the tea flavours. High altitudes result in bright refreshing flavours while varieties grown further down may taste full bodied and strong.

Bewley's also says that drinking black tea is almost as good for you as drinking green tea for anti-oxidants. And is low calorie especially if drunk without milk. If drunk with milk it can provide up to 21% of your daily calcium intake.

Prices/Stockists/Relevant Information
From Dunnes, Bewley's and Tesco

Fact File
Tea is the agricultural product of the leaves, leaf buds, and internodes of the Camellia sinensis plant, prepared and cured by various methods. "Tea" also refers to the aromatic beverage prepared from the cured leaves by combination with hot or boiling water,[1] and is the common name for the Camellia sinensis plant itself.

After water, tea is the most widely-consumed beverage in the world.[2] It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavour which many enjoy.[3]

The four types of tea most commonly found on the market are black tea, oolong tea, green tea and white tea,[4] all of which can be made from the same bushes, processed differently, and in the case of fine white tea grown differently. Pu-erh tea, a post-fermented tea, is also often classified as amongst the most popular types of tea.
Black tea: Wilted, sometimes crushed, and fully oxidized

Almost all teas in bags and most other teas sold in the West are blends. Blending may occur in the tea-planting area (as in the case of Assam), or teas from many areas may be blended. The aim is to obtain better taste, higher price, or both, as a more expensive, better-tasting tea may cover the inferior taste of cheaper varieties.
How to make a great cup of black tea.

The water for black teas should be added near boiling point 210 °F (99 °C). Many of the active substances in black tea do not develop at temperatures lower than 90 °C. For some more delicate teas lower temperatures are recommended. The temperature will have as large an effect on the final flavor as the type of tea used. The most common fault when making black tea is to use water at too low a temperature. Since boiling point drops with increasing altitude, this makes it difficult to brew black tea properly in mountainous areas. It is also recommended that the teapot be warmed before preparing tea, easily done by adding a small amount of boiling water to the pot, swirling briefly, before discarding. Black teas are usually brewed for about 4 minutes and should not be allowed to steep for less than 30 seconds or more than about five minutes (a process known as brewing or mashing in Britain). It is commonly said that a steeping time above five minutes make the tea bitter (at this point it is referred to as being stewed in Britain), but in reality the precise time depends on a number factors, such as the type of tea and the water quality, and bitterness can occur as early as three minutes, or not at all even after prolonged steeping. When the tea has brewed long enough to suit the tastes of the drinker, it should be strained while serving. The popular varieties of black tea include the Assam tea, the Darjeeling tea and the black Ceylon tea.

Health effects
Main article: Health effects of tea
The health benefits of tea is a controversial topic with many proponents and detractors. An article from the Nutrition (1999, pp. 946-949) journal as related on PubMed states:

The possible beneficial effects of tea consumption in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases have been demonstrated in animal models and suggested by studies in vitro. Similar beneficial effects, however, have not been convincingly demonstrated in humans: beneficial effects have been demonstrated in some studies but not in others.

If such beneficial effects do exist in humans, they are likely to be mild, depending on many other lifestyle-related factors, and could be masked by confounding factors in certain populations. Another concern is that the amounts of tea consumed by humans are lower than the doses required for demonstrating the disease-prevention effects in animal models.

Caution should be applied, however, in the use of high concentrations of tea for disease prevention. Ingestion of large amounts of tea may cause nutritional and other problems because of the caffeine content and the strong binding activities of tea polyphenols, although there are no solid data on the harmful effects of tea consumption.

More research is needed to elucidate the biologic activities of green and black tea and to determine the optimal amount of tea consumption for possible health-beneficial effects.

In summary, the health benefits of tea have been shown in animal studies, but at doses much higher than regularly consumed by humans, at which dosage levels may prove to be harmful to health.

Several of the potential health benefits proposed for tea are outlined in this excerpt from Mondal (2007, pp. 519-520) as following:

Tea leaves contain more than 700 chemicals, among which the compounds closely related to human health are flavanoides, amino acids, vitamins (C, E and K), caffeine and polysaccharides. Moreover, tea drinking has recently proven to be associated with cell-mediated immune function of the human body. Tea plays an important role in improving beneficial intestinal microflora, as well as providing immunity against intestinal disorders and in protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage.

Tea also prevents dental caries due to the presence of fluorine. The role of tea is well established in normalizing blood pressure, lipid depressing activity, prevention of coronary heart diseases and diabetes by reducing the blood-glucose activity.

Tea also possesses germicidal and germistatic activities against various gram-positive and gram negative human pathogenic bacteria. Both green and black tea infusions contain a number of antioxidants, mainly catechins that have anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic and anti-tumoric properties.

In a large study of over 11,000 Scottish men and women completed in 1993 and published in the 1999 Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (1999, pp. 481-487), there was an increase in the risk of coronary disease with the regular consumption of tea, although it disappeared after adjustment for confounding factors (age and occupational status).