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Mana Difference: Tea Bag Dissection

John Grams

I don’t think I had a real cup of tea until 29. And I don't think that I liked a tea bag until Avantika and I made our own.

I grew up in a house that woke up to the aroma of dark roast coffee. For my first summer job, I danced around with a foam arrow pointing advertising “iced coffee." I was a barista the next summer.

During the Peace Corps, I survived on Nescafé the consistency of drained motor oil. Marshall tried to convert me over tea, but the only stuff he could get his hands on tasted like warm water.

I had my first real cup of tea in Berkeley. Avantika made a cup of CTC tea in the Calcutta street style- lots of sugar and milk. I remember that despite the additions, the tea taste came through bright and clear- a fresh, leafy taste.

After expressing that I didn’t want to drink mostly milk and sugar, I had my first cup of Assam leaf. It had a complexity of taste and smell I hadn’t experienced in a beverage… well, anything before. Soon, I quit coffee.

Since then, I moved to India, worked in several offices. I would always bring Avantika’s tea from Chota Tingrai. It was always a hit. Even in India, where they know CTC, my colleagues would remark on how much more taste —both in range and power— her tea had.

Avantika and I decided we needed to bring her tea to America, both loose and in tea bags. In part, because we love tea. In part, we believe in organics and sustainable development and needed to generate more income for Mana to continue this important work. And in large part, because the tea bags you get in the USA, lack luster in the best case, and we know what we have to offer the customer is better.

As an illustration, check out the video.

Tea Bag Comparison

I know that you can’t taste or smell the tea in a video, so I want to try and describe the experience of drinking these different teas to you.

  1. Tea Bag 1: The steam does not have much of an aroma. Coming from drinking coffee, the smell is an important part of the morning beverage. The brew has a flat flavor. It does not taste bad. Just very middling and uninspiring.
  2. Tea Bag 2: Again, not much of an aroma. And the taste is TERRIBLE. The first sip assaulted my taste buds with a rancid sourness. I could not finish the cup.
  3. Mana Tea bag: Well, you will just have to try for yourself. Sign up for a free sample here.

And when you do try your Mana Organics Tea, please compare with other black tea bags. Send us a photo even. We would love to see the difference.


00:12—Comparing Regular Tea Bags and Mana Tea Bags

00:46—Dissecting competitors’ tea bags

01:30—Examining a Mana Organics Tea bag

01:57—Comparing the brews

02:34—Sign up for a free sample while supplies last!


Welcome to behind the scenes with Mana Organics.

Today, I want to share with you the differences between regular tea bags, and Mana tea bags.

The tea bags on the left are called double chamber filter paper tea bags. They are made from paper and have this double pocket structure, and are typically stapled shut at the top.

Mana Tea Bags are pyramid shaped tea bags. Instead of being made from paper, these tea bags are made from biodegradable, corn cellulose.

Dissecting the bag, you can see a real difference in the tea inside.

The first tea bag has only contains small granules. These are the grades: BP and PF. These are CTC grades, which give the tea bag a lot of strength.

The second tea bag only contains fannings- BOPF and Dust. Both these tea bags use only the smallest, cheapest type of tea.

Tea bag manufactures typically use these cheaper grades because they do not believe that consumers are conscious of the quality difference.

Now let’s see what’s in a Mana tea bag. Mana Tea bags contain full leaves and golden tips mixed with BP grade CTC. These two teas represent the premium grades of both CTC and whole leaf. Together they create a unique pairing of robust flavor and complex aroma.

We brewed all three tea bags to show you the leaf infusion.

Notice how the pyramid tea bag allows Mana’s tea to brew to its full potential. Watch how the leaves unfurl as in the cup. Pyramid tea bags allow for a loose leaf quality brew, without the mess.

Once brewed, the tea from both of the first two tea bags looks like brown mush. In the Mana tea, you can see the unfurled whole leaf.

The greatest difference in the tea bags is the taste. Of course you can’t taste tea through a video, but if you follow the link, you can sign up for two free samples while supplies last.

Thank you for watching our video. We hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more updates from Chota Tingrai Tea Estate and Mana Organics.

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