The Wiltshire Tea Company

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some questions we are commonly asked about us and our tea. Many answers can be found in our FREE Tea Brewing Guide. If you have any further questions please contact us and we will endeavour to answer your question as soon as possible.

I have not received my order yet, what can I do.

98% of orders go out the same day (except for weekends).
If you have not received your order 5 days after placing it please look HERE.

How do I recycle the loose tea bags?

The loose tea recyclable bags can be put in the normal recycling bin to be used again.

Do teabags contain plastic?

Most teabags contain a small amount of plastic to enable them to be heat sealed. The fillable, disposable bags used with loose tea don't contain plastic only natural materials.

How do long should I brew my tea for?

All our teas come with a brewing guide to help with brewing times.
The time suggested is only a guide and after a while you can experiment with brewing times to end up with the perfect cup of tea to suit your own taste.

To help you get the best from our tea, click here to download our

FREE Tea Brewing Guide

How much tea should I use?

Our loose tea comes with suggested quantities to use. Most of our tea bags have enough tea in them to make 2 cups of tea as opposed to most tea bags which are 1 bag per cup. Remember if you want a stronger cup of tea you should use more tea and not - just brew for longer!

Is there a difference between loose leaf tea and tea in a teabag?

The size of the tea leaf is the main difference. Because loose leaf tea has a larger leaf it becomes difficult to pack it into a teabag and still give it enough room to swell once it has infused. Our tea bags contain the same tea as the loose leaf except it has a smaller leaf. Manufacturers that produce cheaper tea bags use low grade tea with a very small leaf which have a larger surface area so they can claim their teas brew quicker. Good tea will take a bit of time to brew so all our teas come with a recommend brewing time. If you follow the instructions on our tea you will still get a quality cup of tea from our tea bags.

Most of our tea bags have enough tea for 2 cups as opposed to standard tea bags which only have enough tea to make one cup. This means you shouldn't need to "add one bag for the pot" with our bags.

Is there a right or wrong way to use tea bags?

The answer is yes. Most people use tea bags as a quick way to make a cup of tea. They boil the kettle throw a teabag in the cup add water give a quick stir and then squeeze the tea bag take it out and throw it away. This is not the best way to get anything like the best tasting tea with maximum flavour from your tea bag.

To get the best tasting cup of tea from the tea bag you need to follow these simple steps;

  1. Buy the best quality tea you can afford. Just because you want to use a tea bag you don’t have to compromise on quality and flavour.
  2. Use boiling water (unless using a Green or White tea) not just hot and water that has only boiled once.
  3. Leave the tea bag to brew for the recommended time or until it has reached the colour you like. Do not squeeze the tea bag before taking it out. If you squeeze the tea bag you will push out the tea that has brewed longest and this could be bitter. Just gentle stir the bag around the cup and remove.
  4. Add any milk or sugar you want after you have brewed the tea and taken the tea bag out.

If you follow the guide you should have just as good a cup of tea from a tea bag as you would from loose leaf tea brewed in a pot.

How should tea be stored?

Tea should always be store in a cool dry place.The best container is air tight and dark. Avoid plastic containers as these can taint the tea and allow light in. If stored correctly tea can maintain its quality for well over a year but it’s always best to have the freshest tea available.

How do you decaffeinate tea?

Tea can be decaffeinated in a number of ways. The main commercial method for decaffeinating black tea is to use either ethyl acetate or methylene chloride by washing the leaves at the end of the production process in the organic solvent. This process is strictly monitored and governed by legal limits and has minimal effect on the final quality of the tea.

This is the process we use for our decaffeinated tea.

The alternative method is to extract the caffeine by using solid carbon dioxide. For a tea to be called decaffeinated the tea must not contain more than 0.4% of caffeine in the dry weight of the tea. This equates to approximately 3.5mg of caffeine in 150ml cup of tea.

How much caffeine is there in tea?

Most teas contain approximately 40-70mg of caffeine per cup compared to coffee which contains on average 100mg per cup and cola which has about 30-60mg per 300ml. Even dark chocolate has approx 35-40mg caffeine in 60g of chocolate. Black teas tend to have slightly more caffeine and Oolong and Green teas tend to have slightly less. Herbal "teas," which are not truly teas but infusions of herbs, generally have no caffeine. The body naturally requires a certain amount of caffeine and it has been suggested that consuming between 8-10 cups of tea a day will have no detrimental effect on your body.

Do different teas have different caffeine levels?

All teas have roughly the same caffeine content, from 40-70 mg. per cup (compared to coffee, which has an average of 100 mg. per cup). Black teas tend to have slightly more caffeine and Oolong and Green teas tend to have slightly less. Herbal "teas," which are not truly teas but infusions of herbs, generally have no caffeine.
If you are looking for a tea with no caffeine, we sell decaffeinated English Breakfast or take a look at our range of Rooibos (Redbush) which are caffeine free.

Does tea have any health benefits?

Not only is tea a delightfully refreshing drink in its own right, but tea also contains many natural chemicals that have positive benefits for health. There has been a lot of research and many claims that tea can help with a number of ailments and conditions. We cannot verify the claims and can only report what has been said. Tea does contain many useful minerals and vitamins that the body needs on a daily basis as well as containing powerful flavonoid antioxidants and poly-phenols.It is accepted that Herbal Tea (not strictly a tea but an infusion) can help with many common complaints such as upset stomachs & headaches. Check our section on Herbal Tea to understand the many benefits you can get from Herbal Tea.

Do Black & Green teas come from different plants?

No, they both come from the same plant known by its botanical name Camellia Sinensis.

Can I use tea more than once?

Tea especially loose leaf tea can be used more than once providing it is not allowed to dry out completely. In Japan they will use the tea from the first pot of the day for the rest of the day and then discard it. They will also discard the very first cup of tea poured as they feel it can be a bit bitter. Some people fell that the second or third time the tea is used makes a better cup of tea.

Does the hardness of the water affect tea?

The hardness of the water used in brewing tea can affect the final taste and look.
Soft water with a high PH affects the colour of the tea by making them look darker due to the greater ionisation of the tea polyphenols. For this reason if you live in a soft water area you may well need to reduce the time you leave the tea to brew. Soft water tends to make the best tasting tea. If you live in a hard water area you may be better to use a water softener or a water filter for the water you use in making your tea.

Can boiling water more than once affect the quality of the tea?

The amount of oxygen held in water is reduced by continued boiling which can leave the tea tasting rather flat. It can also make tea of a different colour and strength.  It is always best to start with freshly drawn cold water for each new pot of tea to achieve consistently good results. 

Does the milk go in first or last?

The best answer is that it doesn't really matter as long as you end up with the taste you enjoy.
Milk was originally put in first to stop the fine china cups being cracked by the hot tea.
This became high class etiquette which dictated that the milk went in last and it was considered a lower class thing to put the milk in first. There is a good argument to put the milk in last if you are making tea for other people as you may not know if they want little milk, no milk or lemon with their tea. It can also be difficult to gauge exactly how much milk you need to put in the cup before you see the colour of the tea being brewed. There is an argument that if you put the milk in first the tea will not brew properly. This could be due to the milk cooling the boiling water too quickly or it could be that the milk somehow stops the tea infusing properly.
Having made the case for probably putting the milk in last there are some people who insist the tea tastes different if the milk goes in first.
In the end it doesn’t make a lot of difference so go with what gives you the best tasting cup of tea.

What is Orange Pekoe?

Orange Pekoe is a term that describes the "grade" of a tea leaf in India or Sri Lanka. It does not mean the tea has an orange flavour. This grade of tea refers to the size of the leaf, not quality.

What is First Flush?

A "flush" of tea leaves is the new growth of leaves on a tea bush. First flush is the first growth after the rains for the spring harvest.

Is tea a diuretic?

A review of the scientific literature suggests that tea does not have a diuretic effect due to caffeine unless the amount of tea consumed at one sitting contains more than 250 – 300mg caffeine, which is equivalent to between 5 and 6 cups of tea. There is no evidence that, in moderation, tea consumption has any adverse affect on fluid balance - indeed, tea drinking makes an important contribution to many people's fluid intake.