Good Housekeeping Institute gives our favourite tea their seal of approval

August 16, 2012 by The Co-operative Food The Co-operative Fairtrade 99 tea has been recommended by Good Housekeeping Institute.

Ah, a nice cup of tea!

Tea has come a long way no matter how you look at it.

The Chinese were drinking tea way back in the centuries before our modern calendar even began, but it was the Portuguese who brought what’s now the world’s most popular drink to Britain. Catherine of Braganza, a fortified town in north east Portugal, reportedly brought tea to Britain around 1660 when she married the king, but it was to remain a drink favoured by the wealthy for a few centuries after that.

It was only in the early 20th century that tea prices came down sufficiently for everyone in the country to enjoy it. At this time The Co-operative had its own blending facilities in the east end of London. We ensured that our teas gave a good deal to everyone and sold a consistent blend by the price of the contents of a packet and not the weight of the packet itself as some less scrupulous traders did.

One of the favourite blends back then was number 99, and 99 tea is still with us today, but we like to think that a modern cup of 99 leaves an even better taste than it did in the early 1900s.

The Co-operative Fairtrade 99 tea dates back from early 1900s, as seen in this old style packaging.

The Co-operative Fairtrade 99 tea dates back from early 1900s, as seen in this old style packaging.

Leading the way, The Co-operative was the first retailer to make all of its tea Fairtrade in 2008, ensuring a better deal for growers in East Africa and India. In Kenya and Malawi we have helped several thousand small-scale growers to work together to form co-operatives. Creating these co-operatives are important steps towards achieving better, more reliable prices for the crops and this enables the funding of projects to improve water quality and medication in their communities.

We were delighted recently when the Good Housekeeping Institute gave us their seal of approval by declaring that our Fairtrade 99 tea is a “well balanced everyday breakfast tea”.

Whether you like to make your tea with loose leaves in a pot, or with a teabag in your favourite mug, the most important thing for a great flavour is to use water that has just boiled. If your water isn’t hot enough it won’t release all the flavour giving properties from the tea. It’s good to use fresh water too as it becomes less aerated the longer it boils, leaving you with a slightly flatter brew.

Milk? Sugar? It’s a matter of taste. In America most tea is taken iced, often with lemon. And when you’re familiar with black tea, how about trying green? Or even yellow, or white? After water, tea is the world’s most popular drink and it comes in many different styles. But when you fancy a great brew it’s hard to beat The Co-operative’s Fairtrade 99 tea!

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