Thomas Sullivan Magnum, not the inventor of the teabag, but a guy with a great mustache!Yesterday, we began our exploration of how America enhanced the enjoyment of tea through innovation. Today we’ll continue our journey, travelling close to Tavalon’s home, approaching innovation through serendipity.

If I can make it there…

Before the 1900’s, tea was only available as loose leaves. Thomas Sullivan, a tea and coffee merchant from New York City, tried to cut costs by sending samples of loose tea in small silk sacks instead of costly tins (which was what most merchants used at the time).

patent for the first teabagPotential clients, confused by this new packaging, threw the tea in hot water– bag and all. Thomas started getting many requests for these “teabags” and realized that he had struck gold. The quick and easy clean-up of the leaves (due to the fact that they were still contained in the silk bag) made it enticingly convenient.

Teabags first began appearing commercially around 1908 (obviously a milestone decade for American tea, if you’ve read the previous blog!), and quickly shipped around the world.

Stay tuned for the final part to this All-American tea celebration…