How do you like your tea? We like ours served with a strong technical challenge. And that’s exactly what we got when a specialist manufacturer of premium teas came knocking on our door.

Referred to us by a rival nonwoven manufacturer, this client was looking to develop a 3D single cup tea bag that delivered a rich, rounded flavour every bit as good as loose leaf tea

Naturally, they needed a company with experience developing fabrics that allow diffusion and flavour transfer. And they also required one with the capability to create bespoke features in the form of a heat-sealed bag.

According to our competitors, we were the natural choice. And who were we to argue?

With our track record in new product development and portfolio of technical fabrics created from first ideas all the way to commercial supply, few can match us.

Add in our know-how of flavour transfer and diffusion seen in our leading form, fill and seal products for consumables, and we were just this client’s cup of tea.

The Project

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Our innovative product design capabilities and experience in creating technical high-performance products for regulated markets was a good fit with the required specification:

  • Heat sealable
  • Semi-permeable media retention
  • Precisely controls diffusion and flavour transfer
  • Formable into 3D shapes
  • Compostable
  • Puncture and burst resistant
  • Strong wet and dry integrity
  • Soft handle with rigid structure and body
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Solution

We set out a detailed project plan with key deliverables to ensure each need-step was achieved within our structured product development programme.

  • With a rich history in filter media and flavour transfer, we applied our knowledge to design a concept based on compostable fibre technology and heat-seal properties.
  • Samples were supplied to the client to highlight the relationship between permeability, diffusion and burst resistance.
  • Taking client feedback on board, prototypes were made in a selection of 3D shapes to demonstrate the influence of shape on each bag’s structure and body. The preferred specification was selected and a design freeze was agreed.
  • We carried out stringent internal testing to validation protocol and ensured all performance requirements were met before samples were sent to an independent accredited body for compliance testing prior to consumer trials.
  • The client ran trial manufacturing on-site to assess machine integrity and final product quality, with us present to offer guidance on how to achieve maximum effectiveness and yield.

Result

The client was delighted with the final product and particularly impressed with our mastery of diffusion and flavour transfer.

With the solution in place, the client ran a blind taste test with a sample of consumers. Could they taste the difference between loose leaf tea and tea brewed using a single cup tea bag?

The answer was a resounding “No”. In fact, in terms of taste, appearance and likelihood to purchase, there was no conclusive difference – with most consumers preferring the product to their existing brand.

The fabric is now in use and is delivered by us in precisely slit reels, for easy application in the client’s production equipment.

Following completion, the client has launched a new range of single cup tea bags – with regular samples generously shipped to our HQ for taste testing by our very thirsty team.