Clipper Teas Interview

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Clipper produce some of THE best teas around, and admittedly changed my life with their Snore & Peace tea. The infusions are just so delicious and can turn the angriest person in the world into a dancing leprechaun under a rainbow!
As a huge tea lover, it only seemed right to speak to them ourselves and get to the bottom of what makes their teas so great and where it all started. We managed to get hold of Ali Hooper, the Brand Manager at Clipper, who tells us all there is to know about the company and their fantastic range of fair trade hot beverages!

Firstly, as much as we’d like to believe Clipper Teas magically appeared, can you tell us how the company started?
Clipper Teas started in 1984 in Mike and Lorraine Brehme’s Dorset kitchen with two chests of quality Assam tea. The UK is a nation of tea drinkers but Mike and Lorraine, who were master tasters, believed people were being short changed drinking cup after cup of poor quality tea. They wanted to share their love of great teas with everybody, but with the promise that every ingredient had been ethically sourced and naturally produced.

So with all of your ingredients being fair trade, you must source your ingredients from many places, but are any of the ingredients for the teas grown in Britain?
Unfortunately none of our tea is sourced from the UK. There are two main reasons for this. One being volume of tea we buy is too big to get a consistent supply and two, the climate in England isn’t the perfect tea growing conditions – as I’m sure you can imagine!

Makes sense, the weather in Britain isn’t really too ideal! With the overseas production, could you tell us more about how the company works with fair trade sourcing?
We source all of our tea, including our Organic teas from producers who we know and trust and where we are confident that the workers are being treated fairly and with respect. Every estate we buy from pays at least the minimum wage, but the workers also receive many supplementary benefits, paid for by premiums, donations and estate funds. These benefits range from schooling, holiday and sick pay, medical expenses, food and fuel allowances, education and crèche facilities and housing for families both in the estate and for those who remain in their villages and also safe travel for both workers and their children to and from schools.
When buying Clipper tea, whether Fairtrade or Organic certified, you can be confident that your choice represents a powerful choice for change.

Apple and Elderflower Side

The work you do sounds absolutely fantastic, it’s great to know that fair trade really means fair trade. So alongside the overseas production are there any other exciting and exotic flavours we can expect to see on our shelves?
The growth of Green tea and fruit & herbal infusions has exploded in the last 12 months so this is where we have been focusing our new, exciting innovations! Green Tea is naturally high in antioxidants so really fits with consumers who are looking to drink it as part of a healthy lifestyle. We also find people drinking it as an alternative to the traditional black cuppa. We have a range of Green Teas with different fruits and herbs but our newest addition is a range of Fuso Tea Tents. It’s loose leaf tea in a tea tent with delicious pieces of fruits and herbs.
We also have a new range of our Fruit and Herb Fuso Tea Tents: Raspberry Burst, Blackcurrant and Blueberry and Apple and Rhubarb. People are really starting to experiment with different flavours and tastes which fits this this range perfectly.

They all sound amazing, experimentation with teas is what makes them so good, there is so much to choose from and play with different flavours. Out of your enormous selection of teas which do you think would make the best gift?

We have some beautiful small boxes of infusions which are perfect to give as a gift. Our tempting new fruit infusions come in perfect little boxes of 10. There are five flavours to choose from (or if you’re generous give the whole range as a gift!). Our favourite is our St Clements blend – some things are just made to go together. A distinct and lively infusion which marries the citrus zing of lemon, with the sweet tang of orange.
We also have Clipper Occasion Infusions. Each one has been specially developed to suit a certain mood or moment. Discover our famous Sleep Easy blend of delightfully warming cinnamon, soothing chamomile, valerian and other natural herbal ingredients, traditionally used to help promote healthy sleep. Or experience our After Dinner Mints, and naturally sweet blend of double mint and spicy fennel and ginger, which is perfect post-pudding! Or if it’s for the one you love, give the gift of our Love Me Truly.

All of these infusions are incredible and there is something for every mood, but what is your most popular flavour of tea?
Outside of traditional black tea, our Pure Green Tea and Green & Lemon Tea are really popular. And coming fast up the track are our sleep infusions – Sleep Easy and Snore & Peace. It seems lots of people need a little extra relaxation at bedtime!

So we have the most popular, but now with the weather getting better which tea do you think is the best to sip on while sitting in the sun?
We love all our fruit infusions for lazy summer days, especially our blackcurrant and blueberry tea tents. A bold, flavoured infusion with a blueberry burst and a blackcurrant bang. Our Good Afternoon Tea is also perfect as a light and refreshing drink. An elegant and delicate blend that has a light and refined taste with the distinctive fragrant character of Ceylon. Perfect for afternoon tea and can be enjoyed both with and without milk.

FUSO Raspberry Burst Tent Side

Yep. That sounds perfect, just to wait for more sun! Now although tea is great and I do love it, but it’s not only tea that you produce is it? Can you tell us about your other products?
As well as providing a wide range of everyday, fruity, herbal and green teas, we also have a large focus on Fairtrade hot chocolate and coffee. Our luxurious hot chocolates are deliciously rich, smooth and satisfying and a delight to have in any kitchen cupboard. Perfect for a much needed ‘cuddle in a cup’ when you walk through the door.
We have just launched some new instant coffees. We did some research and it’s official, the happiest people on the planet live in Latin America*. And, after lots of highly scientific ponderings, we’ve decided the reason has to be the coffee. Just looking at our coffee jars gets us in the carnival mood.
(*According to a 2011 poll by Gallup)
Our Organic Coffee is like having a private carnival in your cup! They have all the flavour of Latin American Arabica’s making a toasty, smooth blend, giving you pleasure in an instant. And once you’ve drunk all your coffee, why not use the jar to store pencils, paintbrushes and other precious things?

A cuddle or a carnival in a cup…what more could you ask for?! There literally is something for everyone. Finally, on your website there are always competitions and give aways, what’s on the table for us at the moment?
For all of April we are whisking people away for champagne breaks with our friends at the beautiful Hand Picked Hotels. These stunning country houses with elegantly landscaped gardens and stylish décor are the perfect place to relax and revitalise. We’re a bit jealous we can’t win!
All of our products can be found on our website http://www.clipper-teas.com. Don’t forget to also follow us
on Facebook and Twitter. #ditchtheoldbag

So don’t settle for second best, pick up a box today and stick to Fair Trade Clipper Tea, to experience what good tea really tastes like. Head over to www.clipper-teas.com/ditchtheoldbag too so you can see why you need to ‘have an affair with Clipper’

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