2015 Tea Bags Reviewed
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What goes in to a great cup of tea? Find out by taking a look at our research into all things tea.
* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
Canstar Blue research finalised in July 2015, published in September 2015.
Madura brews up fourth consecutive Most Satisfied Customers Award win for tea
You’ll be hard-pushed to find anyone who doesn’t appreciate the relaxing, comforting warmth of a nice cup of tea. And it’s perfect for all occasions – for mornings, afternoons, evenings and…for making peace.
But not all teas taste the same. In fact there can be a pretty significant difference between them and tea-lovers won’t just settle for any old cuppa. That’s why we annually survey Australian consumers to find out which brands are hitting the right spot. Interested to know more? Put the kettle on and we can talk about it over a nice cup of tea. Milk? Sugar?
Taste buds can change, but one consistent over the last four years is that Madura tea has been rated consistently highly for taste and overall customer satisfaction. Brewed at Madura Tea Estates in rural New South Wales, the brand’s repeated success is made all the more impressive given that it competes in a hugely competitive supermarket space, alongside the biggest names in the tea industry. An Australian family business, Madura has a loyal but ever-growing band of tea-loving followers – not many companies open their doors to allow customers to watch, smell and taste how their products are made. Other brands may produce a wider variety of teas, but Aussies who drink Madura tea believe they get the best overall bang for their buck.
Australia’s favourite tea
Like many big brands, Madura caters for a wide range of tea tastes – from traditional black and white tea, to herbal, chai and the increasingly popular green tea. But which is Australia’s overall favourite? We asked more than 2,000 consumers and found the answer to be:
- Black tea: 42%
- English Breakfast 30%
- Green Tea: 23%
- Earl Grey: 18%
- Chai Tea: 10%
- Fruit Infusions 9%
- Camomile: 8%
- Lemon: 8%
- Other: 5%
- Mint: 3%
One of the most interesting findings to emerge from this survey is that the popularity of green tea, chai tea and fruit infusions is being driven by young Australians. Green tea was the most popular choice of adults aged 18-29 (34%), but chai tea (22%) and fruit infusions (15%) were also reasonably popular with this age group – even earl grey and lemon tea were more enjoyed by young than old, we found.
Older Aussies aged 40 plus were much more likely to favour black tea. When it comes to gender differences, men were clearly the biggest fans of black tea, while women were more likely to opt for green tea, chai tea and fruit infusions.
While black tea dominates the market in Europe, North America and parts of Africa, green tea is hugely popular across parts of the Far East, including China, Korea and Japan. Oh, and Australia of course! Those who drink green tea will obviously like its taste – you’d be pretty committed to doing so if you didn’t – but there are other reasons too, including its perceived health benefits.
The main difference between green and black tea is that their leaves come from different varieties of the plant Camellia sinensis. They are also processed in different ways – green leaves do not go through an oxidising process, meaning they contain so-called “non-oxidised phenolic compounds”, while black tea doesgo through an oxidising process and thus contain “oxidised phenolic compounds”, which make the final liquid darker in colour.
Both types of tea contain roughly the same levels of proteins, fibre, carbohydrates, fats and minerals. However, green tea contains significantly less caffeine – about 20 milligrams in an average cup compared to 55mg in a cup of black tea. To put that into context, an average cup of coffee will contain about 100mg of caffeine.
But it’s those phenolic compounds – or lack thereof – that are claimed to be the basis of any positive health effects like curing headaches, various body aches and pains, or (reportedly) protecting against certain diseases. However, you don’t need to search for long to find these benefits cast into doubt. But ultimately, if you enjoy the taste of green tea, it seems unlikely to do you any harm.
Can you drink too much tea?
Only 52% of the adults we surveyed – who had purchased tea within the last month – would go so far as to call it their favourite hot beverage. That seems quite surprising, but suggests that even people who don’tconsider tea their first choice cuppa still like to have some tea bags at arm’s reach just in case they crave one… or their neighbours pop round for a chat.
For those who do consider tea their favourite, the big question is: can you drink too much of it? Adults are recommended to consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine each day, which is equivalent to about four cups of reasonably strong coffee or just over seven cups of black tea. Some teas, however, can include up to 75mg or caffeine, cutting back your recommended daily limit to about five and a half cups. If green tea is your thing, you could drink as many as 20 cups each day before you exceed your daily caffeine allowance. Good luck with that!
We asked our survey respondents how many cups of tea they drink during an average day and found most are drinking a perfectly healthy amount:
- Five or more: 8%
- Four: 9%
- Three: 14%
- Two: 28%
- One: 37%
- None: 4%
It’s worth remembering that tea or coffee is unlikely to be your only source of caffeine throughout the day – you’ll also find plenty of it in soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate and even cough syrup. Your daily intake may be higher than you think.
But is that a problem? It really depends on how you are affected by caffeine and how ‘addicted’ you are. Some people are more sensitive to its properties than others and may need to adjust their intake as a result. Consuming too much caffeine could lead to restlessness, irritability, muscle tremors, upset stomach and even insomnia. And for pregnant women – who have a recommended daily limit of 200mg – the affects could be even more serious, so it’s important to understand how much you consume.
Frequently asked questions
Madura tea is grown on its vast Tweed Valley plantation in northern New South Wales. Established in 1978, the Madura Tea Estate produces a wide variety of teas, including an extensive range of green, chain and herbal products. You can even take a guided tour of the plantation which comprises no less than 250,000 tea bushes nestled in a region of “pristine rainforests, streams and rivers” on the outskirts of the town of Murwillumbah. Madura says its name is Tamil for ‘Paradise’ and “that’s exactly what you’ll find” when you visit. The brand has achieved our Most Satisfied Customers Award for four years in succession.
ALDI Diplomat is the supermarket chain’s private label tea range and has won again rated highly in regards to value for money. ALDI brands regularly rate highly for customer satisfaction and its own tea is no exception.
Bushells has been brewing up tea in Australia since 1883. Born out of a small tea shop in Queensland, Bushells has now become one of the most recognisable brands in the country. But despite its long and distinguished history, Bushells says its “quality cuppa” has stayed true to the smooth, full-bodied taste first perfected by Alfred Bushell more than 125 years ago. The brand’s well-known range of teas includes Australian Breakfast, Blue Label and Extra Strong.
Dilmah says it is not just another brand of tea, but a unique one that was founded on a passionate commitment to quality and authenticity in tea, claiming “tea is nature’s gift to mankind”. The Dilmah brand was founded in the 1950s and remains a family-owned business today, selling an impressive range of gourmet and boutique teas.
Lipton is one of the most recognisable tea brands in the world and boasts a wide variety of teas to “suite everybody’s tastes”. As well as its black, white and green teas, Lipton is particularly famous for its range of fruit infusion teas. It also produces chai tea and oolong tea – a partly fermented tea that sits somewhere between green and black tea with a distinctively coppery red colour and delicate flavor.
Founded in 1882, Nerada claims to be Australia’s largest tea grower and tea-enthusiasts are encouraged to visit its tea plantation and factory on the Atherton Tablelands just outside the town of Malanda in Northern Queensland. Nerada produces a wide range of green, herbal and organic products, including decaffeinated teas.
Another of the world’s most well-known tea brands, Tetley was founded in England in 1883 and produces one of the largest product ranges in the industry. It includes the Tea Master Selection which “captures the tantalizing, aromatic and unique flavours” of its single origin teas, Ceylon, Kenya and Assam. Tetley also boasts a wide range of green teas and other interesting infusions, including chai latte – a “warming, frothy treat made with real spices including cinnamon, cloves and subtle ginger”.
Another brand from the UK, Twinings says it was one of the first companies to introduce tea drinking to Britain in 1706. Now the Twinings brand is synonymous with tea all over the world and sells more than 25 blends in Australia. “We’re sure there is a blend within our range that you’ll love”, it says. That range features various black, green and infusions teas – for which the brand is probably most famous, including a variety of peppermint and camomile teas.
T2 claims to offer Australia’s biggest range of beautiful, fragrant teas from around the world and has more than 65 stores across Australia, New Zealand, the UK and America. T2 says it sells enough tea every month to make nine millions cups, and its teas are commonly sold in some of the best restaurants and cafes throughout Australia. The brand’s range exceeds over 200 teas sourced from all over the globe, including exotic infusions “packaged up a treat and waiting to be brewed”.
Canstar Blue commissions Colmar Brunton to regularly survey 3,000 Australian consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and consumed tea in the last month – in this case, 2,050 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.