Tea as it should be



With tea touted as one of the world’s healthiest beverages, it’s disconcerting for consumers to learn that tea bags are leaching micro-microplastics into their daily cuppa. According to a new study published by a research team at McGill University in Montreal, premium teas, packaged in fancy silk-like bags, release billions of tiny plastic particles when steeped in hot water. The scientists tested four premium brands that used the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) or nylon bags and measured up to 16 micrograms of microplastics in a single cup of tea. That may be enough to put you off your organic Earl Grey, but there’s good news for tea lovers in Victoria. When tea master Daniela Cubelic, owner of Silk Road Tea, set out to find the perfect tea bag for her premium loose black, green and herbal teas, she wanted something natural, 100% compostable, free of chemicals, and able to draw the most flavour from the tea it enclosed. The problem she faced was that no such tea bag existed in the market. So Cubelic spent a decade researching the best way to bag tea — eventually creating her own unique tea bag, a pyramid-shaped bag made from plant fibre and the first such tea bag in North America. She also found a Japanese company that had developed the equipment to bag delicate teas without crushing and damaging the leaves, and imported that equipment to Victoria for her products. Silk Road packaged tea is now available at retailers, with a special line of bagged wholesale teas sold to restaurants and hotels. None of the packaging contains plastic and all is compostable in household compost, including the outer wrap (made of cellulose with water-based inks), the teabag, tag and string. Now that’s tea as it should be!

Cinda Chavich