Budget Beauty

Budget vs Blowout: Herbal Teas

January 30th 2017 / Anna Hunter

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How does a £21 tin compare to a supermarket basic? We put the kettle on to find out…

In the ring: Bodyism I Am Beautiful tea vs. Tetley Super Fruits Boost

The vital stats:

Bodyism I Am Beautiful tea, £21 for a tin of 30 tea bags

Press release promise: “This herbal tea is designed to help you feel more relaxed as well as improve the condition of your skin, hair and nails.”

Tetley Super Fruits Boost, currently £1 for 20 tea bags at Ocado.com

Press release promise: “Our master blenders have cleverly blended our delicious blueberry and raspberry infusion with vitamin B6 to deliver the perfect blend for when you need it most. Vitamin B6 helps reduce tiredness and fatigue and contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism.”

The battle: Even the humble cuppa is getting the healthy treatment- the latest crop of teas on the market boast of skin enhancing antioxidants and energy boosting vitamins to “supercharge” your daily brew. Tetley has invested £1 million into the development of its ‘Super Tea’ range, and with one in three UK households purchasing a fruit or herbal tea regularly, it seems that the time is nigh to bring fresh flavours and ‘healthy’ alternatives to the nation’s tea drinkers (that’ll be 76% of us according to Mintel). The ‘Clean and Lean’ pioneers at Bodyism were onto the herbal tea market a good few years ago, with keepsake tins of sexy muslin bagged blends going for about the same that one might spend on an actual afternoon tea spread, but the exotic, unusual fusions are designed to complement a healthy lifestyle, and are undoubtedly a lot more interesting and stimulating than your average high street option. Let the battle of the brews commence...

First round: Let’s start with the superficial: the packaging. Bodyism’s I Am Beautiful is housed in a pastel pink tin that I would definitely stash my cheaper standard tea bags in post-use, and the pyramid tea bags are of course very high end. You can see what you’re getting, while Tetley’s round teabags are no departure from the norm. Tetley’s cardboard box looks like it’s been to a rave compared to the standard English Breakfast, with loud and proud energising health claims on the front (I Am Beautiful is more prosaic but certainly not shy when it comes to health claims).

Second round: Onto the tea ceremony. It’s fair to say that that Tetley’s Super Boost is an intense experience- similar in colour to Ribena and with a sweeter edge, I can see how this would have mass appeal. I Am Beautiful is altogether lighter and more floral, with an earthy element that likely comes courtesy of rooibos and moringa leaves.

Third round: Both teas have been designed with your health in mind, but while Tetley whacks you in the mouth with a 26% RDA vitamin B complex, Bodyism has been developed with an Ayurvedic teaologist, so the supposed benefits are more traditional in their claims- think ‘balancing mind and body’ rather than fulfilling your vitamin quota. Tetley declare that the vitamins within the blend do survive the brewing process, but if you’re short on your B vits I wouldn’t rely on this for supplementation. That being said you’d hope that the rosehip and hibiscus deliver an antioxidant hit when brewed in Tetley’s case, as they’re first on the ingredient list. If you’re holding out for ‘superfood’ blueberry to work its magic, it should be noted that blueberry only constitutes 1% of Tetley’s Super Fruits Boost. As for Bodyism, the most plentiful ingredient in the bag is rooibos tea, followed by honeybush leaf and rosehip fruit. With only six ingredients in total, Bodyism is the ‘purer’ option- Tetley’s more fruity flavour could be down to the added orange peel, less specific ‘natural flavouring’ or addition of a small amount of mannitol, a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener that’s deemed to be safe, but it’s definitely one to be aware of...

The winner: Bodyism I Am Beautiful wins on refined taste and is probably the most likely to result in any kind of health benefit over and above of hydration, but £21 is frankly extortionate for a tea stash, no matter how snazzy the tin. File this under ‘treat’, and for similar blends on a budget, look to Clipper Organic Relaxing Raspberry Leaf Infusion with hibiscus, rosehip and honeybush, £1.69 for 20, or Pukka Womankind with hibiscus, rose flower and chamomile , £2.49 for 20.

Is tea taking over from coffee in the popularity stakes? Read our report

Follow Anna on Twitter @AnnaMaryHunter and Instagram @annyhunter


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