when were tea bags invented

when were tea bags invented

The Invention of Tea Bags

Tea bags were one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century and became an essential part of tea consumption in the UK, US and other parts of the world. In fact, according to research, they are the most widely used instrument in the brewing of tea worldwide.

What Are Tea Bags?

Tea bags are teabags made of porous paper and filled with processed loose tea leaves. The tea leaves are usually finely cut for a more efficient extraction of the tea’s flavor and aroma. The use of tea bags makes tea preparation easier as all that needs to be done is to put a bag of tea in a cup of hot water and wait for several minutes for the tea to infuse into the water.

When Were Tea Bags Invented?

Tea bags were first invented in 1905 by American tea merchant Thomas Sullivan. Sullivan filled tea in small silk bags which he distributed to customers for sample testing. However, the tea lovers found it convenient to directly put these small bags into the cup of hot water and steep the tea within it. This incident marked the invention of modern tea bags.

Types of Tea Bags

Tea bags today come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Here are some of the popular types:

  • Regular Tea Bags: These are the most common type of tea bags that are usually rectangular-shaped and made of paper.
  • Pyramid Tea Bags: These bags are made of delicate nylon or gauze materials and shaped like a pyramid. They are very popular among tea lovers as they give more space for tea leaves to steep and infuse.
  • Mini Tea Bags: These tea bags are smaller in size and come with a plastic clip attached to the string. You can easily clip these bags on the side of the cup.

Today, tea bag technology has advanced a great deal. With the help of bioplastics and mesh bags, it is now possible to enjoy better quality cup of tea.


Tea bags have revolutionized the age-old art of making tea. With modern tea bags, making a delicious cup of tea is easier and more convenient than ever before. So the next time you make a cup of tea, give thanks to Thomas Sullivan for inventing the tea bags.


More Blog