About five years ago, we were staying with a friend in San Francisco when she served us a really nice cup of tea. Naturally, I asked her the make of the teabags she was using. “PG Tips”, she said, adding that they were difficult to come by and that she stocked up on them whenever she went to LA. They cost considerably more , she said , but were well worth the added expense.
After we got home, I searched for them in Edison but was never able to find them until last week when I noticed them on the shelves at Apna Bazaar. I immediately bought the large box ( 160 bags for $ 10.99).It was more than twice as expensive as our usual brand, but it was everything I remembered it to be. It was fullbodied , strong without being harsh, and had a lovely color. PG Tips is reputedly the #1 tea in England and I must say those Brits really know their tea.
The teabags have a very unique ” pyramidal ” shape that supposedly enables them to act like a miniature teapot, allowing more room for the tea to infuse.Another advantage of the pyramidal shape is that one corner of the teabag usually pops up, allowing one to fish out the teabag with one’s fingers . This can be an advantage when one is out in the field, since a teaspoon is not needed. Additionally, the “webbed fibers” that the teabags are made from enable better flow of the water through the bag and cut down on the brew time.
I was intrigued by the name PG Tips and read up on it. It turns out that Brooke Bond originally marked it in 1930 as a digestive tea, under the name PRE-GES-TEE, i.e Pre-Digestive Tea. The name was later shortened to PG Tips , the tips part of the name emphasising that only the 2 top leaves are used to make this tea. Tetley makes a similar claim. PG Tips, now marketed by Unilever, has been Britain’s top selling tea for the past 75 years and it is claimed that Brits use it to make 35 million cups of tea every day.
I don’t know whether it’s the pyramidal teabag or the tea itself, but PG Tips do yield a great cup of tea. From now on, it’s PG Tips for me !
Prior to ‘discovering’ PG Tips, we had settled on Tetley British Blend which uses circular teabags containing 50% tea than the regular teabags. It’s good too, though not in the same class as PG tips.