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Specialty packer to launch round teabag.

The round teabag is garnering more and more interest as Lyons Tetley swiftly leads sales in the U.K. The fact that there really isn't a competing product is not really true. The flow through tea bags are its competition, tea balls, and any other type of tea bag in the usual square mode. One small packer that has been charting the success of the round teabag is Sam Barrows of Barrows Tea Company in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Barrows started his company about seven years ago, literally in the garage of his house. Barrows packed loose tea for the gourmet tea connoisseur and introduced his high quality teas from India, Ceylon

And now Barrows intends to launch a round teabag at the International Fancy Food & Confection Show this March. Production tests have done remarkably well. There is less wastage with a round bag, and basically, the drinker gets a fuller flavored cup, Barrows told us. From a production standpoint, you have a more superior type of teabag because there's more room for the tea to expand - flow through is more obstructed. Round blows up like a pillow and that gives drinker the best type of teabag. If you restrict the expansion of the teabag, then you restrict the flavor accordingly. You'll get a better taste of tea from the larger bag even through both the small and large bags have same weight.

The roundness allows the teabag to pillow, giving the tea more extraction area than a regular square or flow through bag, he continued. Barrows trial tested small and large tea bags with the same amounts of tea in each bag. The larger teabag consistently provided fuller taste as it allowed more area for the tea to diffuse.

Teabag paper will be unbleached, Barrows stressed, "And only high quality teas will be packed." Packaging plans include a functional and unique package - a cylindrical package that will provide freshness and a catching appearance on the store shelf.

Barrows intents to market this product to upscale food stores, including gourmet coffee stores.

Barrows has purchased the Hurstpak, designed by Brian Hurst, who told me the round bag was originally intended for the vending machine. No teabag would ever fit into a vending cup and so the teas that were used had to be dehydrated tea (instant). Hurst's round teabag machines have been sold in the U.K., Malaysia, South Africa, and in the States. Small and medium sized packers are the interested buyers.

In the 80's a few shops in the U.K. carried the bags and the consumer only saw the bag in the vending cup. Hurst, through Fi-Tech in Virginia has sold the machinery which is also used for the round coffee bags to General Foods, JFG Coffee Co. and a company soon to be named. Sales have been progressing very well, says Hurst, though the firms that have represented him ran into some bad luck, he continues to have the machines sold in the U.S. through Fi-Tech in Virginia and Autowrappers in the U.K.

Hurst's original marketing included the newspapers who thought they had a different angle. Then a local radio show had him guest on a chat show for a fortnight. Viewers were asked to call in their thoughts on a round teabag. An overwhelmingly high number of responses called in, claiming the idea was great and they would like a round bag.

That response is growing, years later, as Lyons Tetley proudly plods ahead with its popular round teabag, and smaller firms such as Barrows enters new territories for the tea connoisseur.
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Title Annotation:Barrows Tea Company
Author:McCabe, Jane
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Feb 1, 1992
Previous Article:Lyons Tetley profile: Lyons circles the square teabag.
Next Article:Update on teabag paper manufacturers.

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