A few days ago I kept noticing something reoccurring on my Facebook Newsfeed. It was an advertisement from Tim Hortons about their new Steeped Tea. I wanted to dig a big deeper and figure out what exactly was so "new" about it and noticed that their famous Steeped Tea said goodbye to tea dust from orange pekoe tea bags and is now made with loose leaf tea.
"Over the years, the one thing we've learned about making tea, is that there's no improving on tradition. Tim Hortons is proud to introduce a new way of making tea using a time honoured tradition - loose tea leaves. Why loose tea leaves? The secret behind great tasting tea is allowing the water to flow freely, surrounding the tea leaves and coaxing out every last drop of flavor." - Tim Hortons
I was filled with excitement at the thought of a big Canadian coffee chain finally acknowledging the tea lovers out their too. I never drank a lot of the original Steeped Tea from Tim Hortons before but I have had it a few times to know that it was okay. However, I was surprised and a tad confused to find that many comments on Facebook were people expressing their dislike towards the new tea. A lot of the complaints were all over the place, too. You would read someone saying the new tea was too weak, when someone was saying it was too strong. Others expressed that the taste was just down right horrible. While many were upset at the fact that Tim Hortons fixed something that wasn't broken in the first place.
I just kept thinking: "how?" "why?" "what?" because I couldn't believe that what I was reading was actually more people in favour for the dusts in tea bags. Understandably, all Tim Hortons locations are under various management and some are slightly different from others. For instance, the new Steeped Tea is only available at select locations. But what can affect that the most is how things are made for customers.
Tim Hortons says, "every cup of our Steeped Tea is brewed exactly the same way. This ensures you receive a high quality, consistently great tasting experience. Whenever. Wherever." In my opinion, that can not always be a guarantee. The customers that could be really loving the new flavour of their Steeped Tea could be purchasing theirs from locations that are actually preparing it properly and educating consumers on the difference whereas the ones who are not too fond of it are being served Steeped Tea that wasn't made the best way it should have been.
Some explanations I came up with for people's dislikes are:
- Not enough tea leaves are used. For those that complain about a weak taste, a good rule to follow is to increase the amount of tea leaves you're using for a steep, not the steeping time.
- The tea is steeping for too long. As mentioned above, increase a steep time whether by accident or because you think you'll get a stronger brew can sometimes be a disaster. A stronger brew will not always be the case and can lead an unpleasant flavour.
- Not fresh. I know Tim Hortons says they are "Always Fresh" but they are primarily a coffee place and if people aren't ordering as much tea from them as expected, the tea could be sitting in a pot for a while if no one has tended to it often.
- Preferences. Perhaps they just really, really prefer tea bags taste. I always meet someone who is never too keen on loose leaf because they don't want to change from their usual tea bag choice.
- The vessel the tea leaves are in. From friends that worked at Tim Hortons before, I was always told that the original Steeped Tea was made in its own machine that was somewhat similar to a coffee maker. Good news is that it appears for their new Steeped Tea, Tim Hortons has changed the way they are preparing it as well.
"We asked a third generation tea master to design the ideal machine for making perfectly steeped tea, cup after cup. A lifetime of tea experience went into our new tea steeper. It gently steeps Tim Hortons own unique blend of orange pekoe tea leaves for consistently full-flavored results. So tea lovers, try a fresh cup of our new steeped tea. After all, great taste has always been a tradition at Tim Hortons." - Tim Hortons
Loose leaf tea is a wonderful thing and it should be given a chance. I would hate to see Tim Hortons no longer serving their Steeped Tea from whole leaves because of a decrease in sales having them resort back to tea bags. With loose leaf, you're most likely getting better quality for the price you're paying. If you're one of those customers who are currently not enjoying the new Steeped Tea as much as you'd like, don't be afraid to ask Tim Hortons employees more about it using the reference above. Remember: how a tea is made will reflect the final product.
Here are a bit more information I found on Tim Hortons new Steeped Tea made with whole tea leaves:
- Their tea is sourced by a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which is dedicated to improving the social & environmental conditions for tea workers around the world.
- Steeped Tea made with whole leaf is put through a unique steeping process that is designed to gently coax out every last drop of delicious flavour.
So, have you tried Tim Hortons New Steeped Tea yet? Were you a fan of the original? Let me know in the comments below!