English drinks maker develops tea that comes pre-brewed in an aerosol can, promising the perfect cuppa without a tea bag in sight. Matthew Stock reports.
A cup of tea is a quintessential British tradition. But Guy Woodall wants to bring the custom into the 21st Century. He's launched No More Tea Bags - pre-brewed tea in an aerosol. Drinkers simply squirt a small amount of the concentrated brew into a mug, top up with hot water, and add milk as desired. For a stronger cuppa, they just add another squirt. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GUY WOODALL, OWNER OF YUMCHA DRINKS, SAYING: "It was really about just trying to make a better cup of tea. Of course there's an element of convenience with this and not having a soggy tea bag to get rid of at the end of it. But for me it wouldn't have been worth it if we couldn't deliver a better cup of tea than an ordinary cup of tea, and that's what we're trying to do." The drink takes seconds to make, while using aerosol cans helps ensure consistent taste, as the tea is protected from outside contaminants. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GUY WOODALL, OWNER OF YUMCHA DRINKS, SAYING: "You could put the tea in there in a sterile condition, and it's completely isolated from the atmosphere so there's no way, even when you're using it, that bacteria, mould, yeast - all those things that would spoil it - they can't get in." Tea making is a ritual cultivated over thousands of years, but tastes are changing. Sommelier Jemma Swallow says people are increasingly willing to pay more for a high-quality cuppa. So how did she like her first taste of aerosol tea? (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEMMA SWALLOW, CO-FOUNDER OF THE TEA BOX, SAYING: "This is probably more like your average cup of tea. There'll be a lot of people who'd probably love this, this flavour and this convenience. But I think as people are demanding more from their tea I think this market may get smaller." Each can makes about 20 cups of average strength tea, costing the equivalent of a premium tea bag. Since launching in August, the firm has struggled to keep up with demand and is looking to scale up production. Online, some traditional tea drinkers have expressed outrage at the idea. But Woodall says that's just a storm in a tea cup.