Unbleached FAQs

Why is my teabag a darker colour?

It’s a different colour because it hasn’t been bleached! It may make the bags look a little different, as it is more naturally brown in colour and we appreciate that it seems quite a contrast to the white enveloped tea bags that we are used to seeing, but you can rest assured that it is the same great Clipper blend you know and love inside. We know that the unbleached teabag paper has no impact on taste, so we felt it was only right to use the most natural packaging we could source.

Have you changed the tea inside the unbleached bag?

Nope! The contents of every tea bag will remain the same. Our delicious teas are still developed and blended by our Master Blenders Daniel and James, and they will not be changing as a result of our switch in paper. Phew!

Will it make my tea taste different with unbleached paper?

No, you can rest assured that our lovely teas will remain just as delicious! Our expert Tea Guys carefully tested and retested our teas in the unbleached tea bags (and sometimes as just a cup of hot water with the paper in, bless ‘em!), and even with their incredible taste buds, attention to quality and detail they were left satisfied that the great taste of Clipper would not be compromised. To top it off, we even ran some blind tea tasting sessions with bigger groups of tasters and they could not tell the difference between the tea in bleached and unbleached paper too! The quality of our blends is something that we pride ourselves on, always sourcing premium ingredients with a clear conscious. By changing the paper there is no impact on anything else for your Clipper teas.

If Clipper has chosen to use unbleached paper, why do other companies bleach their paper?

Here at Clipper, we’d suggest that the decision to choose whether or not to use bleached tea bag paper is mainly aesthetic, although there are obviously supply chain implications to both options. While other tea companies may be comfortable to use bleached paper, at Clipper we think that if we can remove one step from the production process and still bring you the best tasting teas that it’s an easy decision.

Are bleached bag dangerous/harmful to me?

Bleaching paper for use in tea bags is not dangerous or harmful to tea lovers based on the current methods; it’s a purely cosmetic decision. As we are now in a position to source unbleached paper for our entire range, we feel that it is the best decision for Clipper and our consumers, and we’re helping to make change better.

Does this mean my tea will now be more expensive?

No! There’s no cost increase as a result of this change, and your tea will stay the same price. We’d say that knowing that all of our teabags are packaged in unbleached paper is priceless!

Why haven’t you done this before?

Here at Clipper, we’ve been working on this for many many years now; it’s been a journey for us as a team, as this is real trailblazing within the tea market. We’ve been using unbleached paper for the vast majority of our teas (all those in square ‘pillow’ bags) for over a decade, however we’ve had a real struggle trying to find a workable and viable supply of the unbleached paper for our envelope, string and tag teabags – but, working closely with our filter paper suppliers and after many trials, we’ve finally cracked it! As a result, we’re in the process of switching all of our tea bags to unbleached paper. It has taken a lot of time and effort to get here, and we are incredibly proud to say that all the paper we use is unbleached and even our string will be supplied from an organically grown source!

So, is anything else different?

We’ve obviously changing all of our teabag paper to this wonderful unbleached paper, but we’re also really pleased to say that all of the string we use on our teabags is now from an organically grown source too!

What is used to bleach tea bag paper?

At Clipper, if we’ve had to use bleached paper we have opted for the process known as TCF (total chlorine free). TCF paper does not use chlorine (as its name suggests!); instead it uses oxygen and either hydrogen peroxide or ozone. Through this process, the oxygen is used to remove the colouring (lignin) from the wood and ozone and/or hydrogen peroxide is used to complete the bleaching process. The alternative process used for bleaching teabag paper is known as ECF (elemental chlorine free) where the wood pulps are bleached typically with chlorine-dioxide. Through our own developments with the paper suppliers, we are extremely pleased and excited to have unbleached paper that can be used throughout all of the Clipper production.

Is there an environmental impact of bleached vs. unbleached?

Our perception would be that by not using any bleached paper at all, we would be more environmentally friendly as we are not using any bleaching agents or practices towards our paper; in fact, we’re being as simplistic about this as possible. We are pleased to be able to remove it from our processes and supply chain to bring you a great tasting, natural cup of tea.

Where do the tea bags came from?

The tea bag paper is sourced via our experts within Clipper and our teabag paper supplier and all our teabag paper is manufactured here, in the UK. The main elements of tea bag paper are the wood pulp, which is sourced globally (but mainly from Europe) and cellulosic long fibres, such as abaca, which are sourced from the Philippines and Asia. We’re extremely excited to be rolling out unbleached paper for all of our teabags and across all of our range – reinforcing the Clipper values on quality and sustainability.

Are the elements that create the paper certified in some way?

Yes, the wood pulps that are used in the paper production are either FSC or PEFC certified.

Does the bag contain any mineral oils, and is it tested?

Mineral oils are not used in our teabag paper, either directly or indirectly, therefore this is not seen as a risk factor there is no need for testing to take place.

Why are some of your teabags in individual envelopes?

Some of our teabags are sold in envelopes; this is to help them stay fresh, to protect them and to keep their taste so special. When they are wrapped, the ingredients can be protected from external factors like sunlight and moisture, allowing the great taste and flavours to remain. It also helps if they’re in a cupboard full of tea, keeping their great flavour in and the other aromas floating around your tea cupboard out! We also know that more and more people want to take their favourite tea with them when they pop out; go to work; to put in their handbag or to keep in their overnight bag, so by giving the teabag its own envelope, our consumers can drink the great taste of Clipper when they’re out and about.

Will all the teas made by Clipper use unbleached paper?

Yes! Now that we’ve managed to source the unbleached paper for our string and tag teas, as long as we can continue to do so, all of our teabags will use unbleached paper. Hooray!

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With love from Clipper!

We've gone a bit bonkers at Clipper HQ and decided we wanted to share the love with our lovely Clipper tea drinkers out there! We’ve created 3 Limited Edition tea caddies and each comes FREE with our special packs of Fairtrade Everyday Tea, Organic Everyday Tea and Pure Green tea (80 tea bags).

We’ve also made thousands of unbleached Clipper tea-towels and popped them into other packs of our Fairtrade Everyday Tea (80 bags). There are 4 different designs to look out for. And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve only gone and put 100% more tea bags into boxes of our Pure Green Tea 26  Bags – yes we’ve squeezed 52 bags in there!

Read more about which gifts we’ll be bestowing by clicking on the images below.

All this Clipper loveliness will be in supermarkets from the end of October.