Food & Drink

Pukka they are: Healthy plastic-free herbal teas and lattes

Hope you all had a great Christmas!  Today I want to write about something green, healthy and delicious that’s been around for years. You’ll be glad to hear I don’t mean sprouts. Please, let’s not even think about those for at least another 12 months.

Yes, I’m talking about sustainable, plastic-free tea! I’m sure many of you have heard of Pukka, the creator of very lovely herbal drinks and supplements. Founded in 2001, a few years before Jamie Oliver ditched “pukka” as his catchphrase after allegedly getting into a spat with the pie brand of the same name.

Well, non-pie Pukka are a sustainable brand that’s close to my heart for so many reasons. First up, they’re local to me, having been founded in and still head-quartered close to Bristol. OK, I know they were bought by Unilever in September 2017. It’s hard to be 100% sure about the true environmental impact of that, but the founders’ reasons seem credible enough. See their letter here.

Pukka are also a certified B Corp. Which basically means they give a damn about purpose and community, not just profits. More about B Corps to follow in a future post.

Why is tea a potential eco-enemy?

You might have seen recent press reports that most teabags contain polypropylene AKA plastic. In some brands it makes up 25% of each bag. It’s used to ensure the bag stays sealed when exposed to hot water.

This means that when you faithfully go to compost a plasticky teabag at home or put it in your kerbside food waste bin, it doesn’t fully break down.

Most people are becoming more aware of micro-plastics and the major damage they’re doing to our oceans and the environment. It’s good the issue has been put in the spotlight. But it’s easy to forget that micro plastics are lurking in so many more places than you’d think. Tea is one of the less obvious culprits.

When you think about how much tea is consumed in the UK alone each day (about 165m cups in case you were wondering), those tiny bits of plastic add up to one big problem.

And, of course, steeping a plastic bag in hot water and then drinking it really can’t be a good thing for health.  Suddenly your mug of tea is not so warm, fuzzy and comforting after all.

An eco-friendly teabag range

But do not fear because Pukka’s here. Their eco-friendly teabags are 100% plastic-free and fully compostable. Each one is cleverly folded and secured with a cotton stitch to keep it intact. Even the outer envelope is recyclable.  And there’s also no nasty cellophane or plastic wrapping covering the boxes.

Now, let’s move on to the tea itself. You might thing herbal teas are a bit boring. I can assure you Pukka tea is not. 100% organic. It tastes gorgeous. With 42 options to choose from and loads of really original combinations, if you fancy something a bit different, you won’t have to look hard.

If you’re after something to replace dessert after a big meal, After Dinner contains a mix of aniseed, cardamom, chicory, fennel, ginger and licorice. Or if you fancy a hug in a mug to help you unwind, Night time contains a blend of oat flower, lavender and limeflower. Great after a busy day when your mind’s still buzzing. Or if you need something more familiar, go for an old faithful like chamomile, ginger or mint. Yum! 

Eco-lattes

If you want to step it up a notch and have something richer than tea but less indulgent than hot chocolate, Pukka also produce a range of eco-friendly, organic lattes you can easily make at home. There are five options:

  • Turmeric Gold
  • Majestic Matcha Chai
  • Night time
  • Ginger Joy
  • Cacao Maca Magic

Just mix with the milk of your choice in a saucepan, pour into a mug and you’re good to go.

Pukka’s wider eco-credentials

As you’d expect from a B Corp, Pukka’s goodness goes beyond their teas and lattes. They’ve achieved the Fair for Life certification – described as the gold standard in fair and ethical trade. It’s a guarantee that everyone in the whole supply chain is treated fairly and equitably with decent working conditions and fair pay.

Pukka also support 1% for the Planet – a global movement inspiring businesses to facilitate finding environmental solutions by donating 1% of their annual turnover. The rationale is that because so many businesses profit from the earth’s resources, they should contribute to protecting those resources. In 2018, Pukka’s donation amounted to £425,000. So everytime you purchase Pukka products, your money really is helping to make a difference.

Pukka are also involved in an initiative called the “Tea Time Pledge” in partnership with a social enterprise called Do Nation. The aim of this is to inspire people to make pledges towards more sustainable ways of living. Do Nation has 50 great ideas for this (Do Actions) on its website. Well worth a read.

You can find the Pukka tea and lattes in most supermarkets, health food shops and online.  You probably already have! I’d love to hear about your favourites. 

Pukka Tea, various varieties (box of 20 bags) from £3.00. Organic latte pack (15 servings) £4.99.

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