PG Tips

PG Tips is a fine British make of tea, a little less prestigious that Earl Grey, but somewhat nicer than the rougher blends enjoyed by the undiscerning. PG stands for 'Pre-Gestee', a contraction of 'digestive tea', a cunning marketing ploy from the 1930s when it was claimed that a cup of tea before a meal assisted the body’s digestive processes. By the fifties, this was proved to be nonsense, and the term was quietly dropped, surviving only in the initials. The ‘Tips’ refers to Brooke Bond’s use of the buds and top two leaves of the tea bush.

In 1996, the company introduced the pyramid tea bag, said to increase the tea leaves’ circulation and therefore infusion at a greater rate, rendering the bag ‘a miniature teapot’ to quote the contemporary sales patter. Yet only last year, in the month of September, the company announced it was returning to square bags after research indicated that:

“85 per cent of the nation’s tea drinkers leave their tea bag in water for less than a minute, with close to half (45 per cent) taking less than 30 seconds. As a result, the new blend and bag have been designed to deliver a perfect cuppa even at the shortest brewing times.” (Wales Online)

According to Liam McNamara, PG Tips’ General Manager for the UK and Ireland, says:

“The re-launch aims to rekindle Britain’s profound affection for tea by enhancing the black tea drinking experience and delivering a more refreshing and superior taste across our portfolio. We are confident that our reformulated blends, coupled with the introduction of the market’s only square tea bags, will provide consumers with PG Tips’ most exceptional tea experience to date. We’ve been taking top spots in taste tests.”

Despite the talks of relaunch and research, it very much sounds like business as usual. Square bag, round bag, tetrahedron bag: so what? Loose tea is presumably much better at infusion, but I daresay the taste is the same regardless of the bag, if it is left long enough to brew.

We sometimes concern ourselves with packaging more than product. I expect a cuppa to be flavoursome and refreshing, regardless of its being loose or bagged, square, round or pyramid. Let us put substance over appearance and content over presentation. That is a good tip for our lives and our churches, and worthy of careful digestion.  

...But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness 1 Corinthians 1:23, NKJV