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Tea in a Bag – an American Innovation

The introduction of the tea bag revolutionized the way people make and enjoy their tea.  Its convenience was irresistible.  Patents for the original tea bag date back as far as 1903.  The original shape was actually a rectangle very similar to what we have today.   Instead of paper casing, however, the first tea bags were hand-sewn silk muslin bags with drawstrings.  The acknowledged credit for bringing tea bags to market is given to Thomas Sullivan, a New York tea and coffee merchant.  Sullivan devised the bags as a means to distribute samples of his tea and exported them all around the world.  By the mid 1900s, teabags had replaced loose tea consumption in the western world. 

Today, fervent tea drinkers, perhaps you among them, debate whether the flavor of tea brewed from a bag is equal to that of loose tea.  Nevertheless, the fact remains, the introduction of the tea bag is rooted in American ingenuity.

Happy July 4th Tea Drinkers!

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