Archive for the ‘Tea’ Category

What’s the carbon footprint of your cuppa?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

It depends is perhaps the best answer.

It depends on what you drink and also on how you treat changes in land use.

For tea, the carbon footprint is 87 g CO2 for a mug of Steenbergs black tea taken with milk.

This includes the carbon footprint of brewed tea is 48 g CO2 for black tea, plus also probably for white, green and herbal teas.  But to this, we need to add another 39 g CO2 for any milk added, if (as most Brits do) your tea is made with milk.

If you use teabags, an extra 4 g CO2 is added, or 5% to the carbon footprint.

This compares with 129 g CO2 for a coffee.  About 60% of this comes from the coffee itself and the remainder from the milk.  For milkier coffees like a cappuccino or latte, the carbon footprint is much larger at 222 g CO2 and 318 g CO2, because more milk is used.

Hot chocolate have the biggest footprint with its major cost again the milk.  If you include land use changes for the cocoa, this becomes even larger with the cost of the mix doubling to 43 g CO2 per mug from 21 g CO2.

Carbon in hot beverages

Carbon footprint of hot drinks

What does this tell us?

We can all reduce our carbon footprints by drinking less milk.  We can have lighter teas drunk without milk, and cut back on large lattes and hot chocolates. White and green teas, Darjeeling or China teas and herbal infusions are other tasty possibilities.

Then, drink loose leaf infusions rather than teabags as this extra packaging ups your CO2.

Notes

Carbon dioxide is lazily used here to mean carbon dioxide equivalent, i.e. it includes carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide gases.

These are comparable to figures in Mike Berners-Lee’s book “How bad are bananas?: tea with milk 71 g CO2, tea without milk 21 g CO2, milky coffee 71 g CO2, cappuccino 235 g CO2 and a large latte 340 g CO2.  His book did not have figures for hot chocolate, or at least I couldn’t find any.

Time for tea with Ximena Del Castro, from the Fairtrade Living blog

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Time for Tea – our regular chat with someone who cares about tea

Ximena del Castillo, from Fairtradeliving

Ximena del Castillo, from Fairtradeliving

1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?

I have 2 young children and way too much packed into most days so I need my first tea to pack a punch… so I usually go for a strong Fairtrade Breakfast or Assam. I don’t worry too much about how long I leave my bag to brew, but I do pay a lot of attention to the colour once I’ve added a splash of milk and friends will always tease me because I need it to be a deep caramel… not cream!

2. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?
Either a Fairtrade Spiced Chai or an Earl Grey. I always save up my Earl Greys for special occasions, a bit like champagne.

3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?
Well of course the wide range of Ethical, Organic and Fairtrade teas, but I also love the uniqueness their gorgeous packaging, which makes them excellent presents.

4. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?
I love the sound of the Green Tea with Peppermint!

Steenbergs organic green tea with peppermint loose leaf tea

5. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?
My favourite author at the moment is Brene Brown (Daring Greatly) who writes beautifully about vulnerability, love, happiness and parenting – I think I would love to have a big pot of tea with her and pick her brains about so many of her fascinating ideas.

Your contact details
Website: http://fairtradeliving.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fairtradeliving
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fairtradeliving
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=127415733
Instagram: https://instagram.com/fairtradeliving/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/fairtradeliving/
Google+:https://plus.google.com/+XimenaDelCastillofairtradeliving/posts

How much water is needed for a mug of coffee or tea?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

The simple answer is not much – about 225ml.

But look deeper and we need to consider the rainwater needed to grow the coffee beans and tea leaves, plus the water used to process these and make any packaging.

Over the last few years, we have been looking at the environmental costs within Steenbergs products.  We have looked at our carbon footprint, possible pollution from cleaning chemicals and our recycling rates.

Our main finding has been that over the lifecycle of Steenbergs’ products the biggest environmental burden by far is the virtual water (i) to grow Steenbergs’ herbs, spices and teas and which is then transferred when these move from India or Sri Lanka to the UK.

In money terms, the environmental costs of water usage are 2½ times larger than our carbon footprint.  It’s about 138 million litres, roughly 55 Olympic swimming pools.

Furthermore, this virtual water dwarfs the actual water used to make a mug of coffee or tea – the 225ml we glibly used for our initial answer.

The virtual water in a mug of coffee or tea is 635 times and 151 times the actual water used to make your drink.

So 143 litres of virtual water are needed to grow your morning coffee, but only 0.2 litre of water is needed to make it.  In contrast, the virtual water for tea is 34 litres, one quarter of the water consumed in a coffee.

If you include the virtual water in milk, this bumps up the figures to a hefty 169 litres of water needed for a mug of coffee and 60 litres for a mug of tea.

For a hot chocolate, it’s even higher.  415 litres of water, mainly rainwater, are needed for each hot chocolate.  That’s a whopping 2048 times more water than your mug holds.

For cappuccinos and lattes, more coffee is used in making the espresso and quite a lot of milk is then added.  This ups the virtual water content to 340 litres for a cappuccino and 381 litres of your latte.

So next time you have a drink, pause for a moment to think about the massive amounts of rainwater that were needed for your small cuppa.

Graph that shows breakdown of water between blue and virtual water in hot beverages

Breakdown of total water in hot beverages

Notes:

(i) Virtual water is “the volume of water that is required to produce the product.”

(ii) Water footprint calculations:

water table

(iii) In our calculations, we have drawn heavily on the pioneering work of Chapagain and Hoekstra of the University of Twente (Netherlands):

Chapagain, A.K., Hoekstra, A.Y. (2004) Water footprints of nations, Volume 2: appendices, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Research Report Series No. 16, November 2004

Chapagain, A.K., Hoekstra, A.Y. (2007) The water footprint of coffee and tea consumption in the Netherlands, Ecological Economics, 66: 109-118

Jefferies, D., Muñoz, I., Hodges, J., King, V. J., Aldaya, M., Ercin, A. E., Milà i Canals, L., Hoekstra, A. Y. (2012) Water footprint and life cycle assessment as approaches to asses potential impacts of products on water consumption.  Key learning points from pilot studies on tea and margarine, Journal of Cleaner Production, 33: 155-166

Time for Tea with @JasmineTrinity

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Time for Tea – our regular chat with someone who cares about tea. This time it’s with Jasmine Trinity owner of the Self-Sufficient Cafe - a virtual cafe which showcases tasty vegan recipes .

Jasmine Trinity of the Self Sufficient Cafe Blog talks to us about tea

1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?
At the moment it’s Lady Grey, I really enjoy a cup first thing and it gets me going, ready for the day ahead. I just love the delicate flavours and the perfume it gives.

2. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?
Green Tea with Jasmine, it keeps me calm especially if I’m having a manic day at work!

3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?
The extensive range of teas, I would love to try all of them! I’m a massive fan of tea!

Steenbergs loose leaf white tea with lemongrass and orange blossom is a beautiful tea.

4. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?

I think I’d have to go for the white tea with lemon grass and orange blossom. I haven’t tried many white teas and this one sounds just perfect for a Spring morning, which hopefully is just around the corner.

5. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?
Now there’s a question! Who would it be? Decisions decisions……at this moment in time I think it would have to be Tobey Maguire, fellow vegan and spiderman, perhaps he could help me overcome my phobia with spiders!

Your contact details
Website: http://selfsufficientcafe.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SelfSufficientCafe
Twitter: @JasmineTrinity
LinkedIn: Jasmine Trinity
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jasminetrinity/

a virtual cafe which showcases tasty vegan recipes

Time For Tea with Helen WIlson of www.lotsofnicethings.com

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Time for Tea – our monthly chat with someone who cares about tea. This time from Helen Wilson whose blog is www.lotsofnicethings.com

Helen Wilson from www.lotsofnicethings.com.

Helen Wilson from www.lotsofnicethings.com.

1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?
Traditional tea with soya milk

2. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?
Chamomile
3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?
All the unusual varieties and the fact they are fairtrade and organic
4. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?
Redbush Chai – because I love chai flavours but am trying to cut down on the caffeine.

Steenbergs Organic Red Chai tea is a caffeine free, herbal, loose leaf chai made from redbush tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?

Jamie Oliver. I’d like to talk to him about food and convince him to go vegan!

Your contact details
Website: www.lotsofnicethings.com

Time for Tea from John Gregory-Smith

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Time for Tea – our monthly chat with someone who cares about tea – this month we hear from chef and blogger John Gregory-Smith –

whose blog is eat.travel.live.

EatTravelLive_Email2 copy

John Gregory Smith , chef and blogger of Eat.Travel.Live

John Gregory Smith , chef and blogger of Eat.Travel.Live

1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?
I am addicted to Green tea with lemon and I knock it back all day when I am at work.

2. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?
Green tea

3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?
A great selection of loose teas
4. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?
I love black tea with a slice of lemon, it reminds me of india. I would love the Black Tea Loose Leaf so you get the full theatre of brewing in a tea pot (Note from Axel – the classic Chinese Keemun tea is delicious with lemon)

5. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?
Kate Moss, she’s cool. Although we might have to irish up our tea!

Your contact details
Website: http://www.eattravellive.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eattravellivemag
Twitter: @eatravelivemag
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/eattravellive/

Time for Tea with Helen @FussFreeFlavours

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

The lovely Helen Best Shaw from Fuss Free Flavours imparts her tea habits and desires in this month’s Time for Tea blog spot.

 

HBS Profile Phoho

1.      What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?

I am an afternoon tea type of person – I drink coffee in the morning – but occasionally I’ll have a coconut, banana and matcha smoothie for breakfast.

2. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?

It depends – I always drink my tea without milk and usually choose something light – Japanese, Chinese greens and whites.  I always use my Emma Bridgewater teapot, silver tea strainer and use a china mug.

3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?

The variety and quality! And that I know that they are organic and FairTrade, or traded fairly

4. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?

Steenbergs white tea stars – part of the Steenbergs flowering tea.

The white tea stars – they look adorable – or any of the flowering teas.

5. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?

Skye Gyngell - who is my favourite chef and writer by far.  I had the most amazing meal at Petersham Nurseries about 6 years ago and can still clearly remember her amazing salt cod.  Her flavour combinations are wonderful, I want to cook everything from her cookbooks.

For more of Helen foodie news, you can contact her via:

Website:  fussfreeflavours.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fussfreeflavours

Twitter:   @fussfreehelen

Instagram:  fussfreeflavours

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/fussfreeflavour/

Steenbergs Tea Taster Panel

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

SPICE – SEASON – SAVOUR

 

Welcome back to our tea taster panel, where this time our resident testers have been trying out some interesting teas: Gunpowder and Green Earl Grey.   We’ve had a great response and thought we’d share some of their thoughts and ideas with you. 

Steenbergs organic Gunpowder Tea

A new tea for many of our tasters, who seem to prefer it medium strength with only a couple of you needing to add a little sweetness with honey or a slice of lemon.  This versatile tea was drunk at all times of the day and interestingly, a good few of you chose to drink this after dinner in the evening.  Reminiscent of folk or classical music for many, but with some Chinese opera thrown in!

 

Steenbergs organic gunpowder tea – loose leaf Chinese Green tea

 

Key Phrases for Gunpowder: light, refreshing, easy to drink

 

Steenbergs organic gunpowder Chinese green tea.

Steenbergs organic gunpowder Chinese green tea.

2. Steenbergs organic Green Earl Grey

Steenbergs organic Green Earl Grey Tea – loose leaf

The majority of our tasters really enjoyed this alternative take on a classic earl grey and enjoyed it for its fresh, floral and aromatic flavours.  No milk, lemon or honey was needed at all but more of you ate it with food – albeit a biscuit or some cake! The strength varied considerably as people brewed it according to their liking, with variations from high to low.  Many of you enjoyed this during the morning and found it a cosy homely drink to be enjoyed with family and friends.  Maybe a more upbeat kind of tea than the gunpowder though, as a few of you instinctively chose Reggae music, along with the classical and folk genres.

Key Phrases for Green Earl Grey: fresh, floral, aromatic, delicate, lovely smell

Steenbergs has a wide range of loose leaf speciality teas, a whole range of green teas, blends, single estate teas, chais and herbal teas. Have a browse and let us know your favourites.

Time for Tea – our new regular chat with someone who cares about tea

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Food, fashion and beauty blogger Becca shares her top tips for a tea-filled day

http://rebeccacraft.com/

Becca

1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?
My favourite tea for the morning is definitely green tea. I like it nice and strong and more to the point, bitter! This helps me come round nicely from a sleepy slumber and makes me feel a whole lot more revitalised, ready to get on with the day ahead.
2. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?
My afternoon tea would definitely be peppermint. The vibrant, fresh taste of this drink helps refresh my palette after lunch. Having said that it goes really well with ginger biscuits. If you haven’t tried this combination before then you really should. You are missing out!
3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?
If someone was looking for a wide and all-encompassing selection of teas I would point them in the direction of Steenbergs. I love that you can spend hours getting lost in the herbal tea world online. I also always like to buy organic or fairtrade when I can so this gives the shop brownie points in my eyes.
4. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?
I am yet to try 3 Flower Burst Tea; it looks truly mesmerising in the see-through glass teapot so that is on my ‘to try’ list.

Steenbergs 3 flower burst tea.

Steenbergs 3 Flower burst tea makes a dramatic statement as well as a refreshing pot of tea

I would also like to try the Japanese green tea, Bancha.

Loose Leaf green tea

Steenbergs Bancha Japanese green tea

5. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?
Who would I most like to have tea with? I pondered on this question for a while but I came to the conclusion that it would have to be someone I could have fun with over a cuppa! Bearing this in mind it would be comedian Russell Brand who I am sure would have plenty of stories as well as views to share. Hopefully the tea wouldn’t get too cold…

http://rebeccacraft.com/

http://rebeccacraft.com/

Rebecca’s Rambles
Becca’s Beauty Blogging
Twitter: @bexybex74
Instagram: bexybex74
Pinterest: Pin it

 

Looking back over the past 10 years … part 1

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Steenbergs began life in the late autumn of 2003. Our youngest child had just had her first birthday and wasn’t walking on her own. Steenbergs has now been going for around 10 years (our 2 children are nearly taller than Sophie) so we thought it was time to take a trip down memory lane.

We’ve grown from just Axel and Sophie rattling around in an empty starter unit, designed for food start ups, with occasional (very occasional orders) coming in, to 11 Steenbergs staff, most working in production and dispatch. We’ve moved just once in 10 years, around the corner, into a bigger space but on the same business park.

When we first started a pallet of jars lasted us about 6 months, now it can last us 2 days.

We’ve survived a flood, freezing weather (down to -18 degrees), worn out a fork lift, gone through 1000s of pallets, have more trolleys than we ever thought possible, have made a few tweaks of label styles, gone through 3 very different style of tea tins, and are onto our third version of hot chocolate tins. (We’ve also had to incorporate one major Fairtrade logo change and the new organic logo change.) Meanwhile the glass jars we chose right at the beginning for our main range are still very much the core of Steenbergs.

Oh and you still find Axel or Sophie filling jars, labelling jars, packing teas, making up gift boxes and boxing up orders quite a lot of the time.

Steenbergs old style packaging

Steenbergs old style circa 2005

 

Two of our Steenbergs 11 staff have been with us for over 9 years, one of these – Claire – was our second ever employee and we are delighted that both she and Aga have stayed with us and seen Steenbergs through many changes.

Many of our suppliers have remained the same from those early years. Our first ever organic import was from Lanka Organics/Greenfields and we still work with them importing many of our Fairtrade spices from them. We still buy our jars and lids from Croxsons and use the same designers for our leaflets – Colour It In. We like to work in partnership with our suppliers – growing with them and developing a close relationship with over the years.

The original design of Steenbergs products was created by dear friend Alison Balmer and the core range has only undergone tweaks since then.

Some suppliers have taken longer to find but it’s how they help us and have come to our aid when we needed them that is at the heart of our relationship with all of them. Norpak in Bradford deserve a big mention for helping not only with labels but making our label printers work…..

Although our spice packaging has only had a few tweaks over the years, tea has been an area that has seen more design changes than anywhere else, the photo above has the first tin, then we moved to a square silver tin.

Mark II for tea at Steenbergs

Organic chamomile loose leaf tea shows the second version of our tea tin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steenbergs tea begins to take on it's own identity

Steenbergs tea begins to take on it’s own identity

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steenbergs vanilla extract when it was still part of the main range

Version 1 of Steenbergs organic Fairtrade vanilla extract

 

 

 

 

Tea wasn’t the only thing that underwent a radical overhaul. Vanilla extract – organic & Fairtrade – started life as something we had created for chocolate manufacturers, it was only later that it became part of the core range of home baking extracts and flower waters that you all know and love. We found a photo of the original packaging, when it was still part of the Steenbergs blue and white range, before it went pink…

We’ve now introduced some machines to help us build the business. Originally everything was hand packed and hand labelled. Our first exciting machine was the labelling machine. We still have a lot of hand finishing – the heat seal labels, the top labels, the translation labels. Our gift boxes arrive flat pack and are built up and created here so we still lovingly finish off all our products, but we do have some machines to help us along the way.

Sophie and Axel are still very much involved, with Axel overseeing production and blending and Sophie more involved in marketing and orders. Although both of them will physically get stuck in and help where needed. As a small company we can’t really cope with narrowly defined job roles, everyone lends a hand wherever and whenever needed – teamwork is crucial.

Along the way we have worked with some lovely enthusiastic people and those who have been the most enthusiastic are still close to our business.

Steenbergs labelling machine the first machine to help us.

The labelling machine has been wonderful. It doesn’t do everything we still heat seal and put the top labels on by hand (and translation labels where necessary)

 

 

 

Sophie and Axel 10 years ago starting out with the business.

Sophie and Axel 10 years ago starting out with the business.

Steenbergs hand packing.

Originally, everything at Steenbergs was packed by hand. We still do pack some things by hand, but we also can use a machine for quite a few of them, although some things like bay leaves and cinnamon quills will always remain by hand. (One of this merry crew is still with us although in a different role, in dispatch).