Who Invented Tea Bags? [When, Where & How]

Tea is the most consumed drink in the world, and the second most traded commodity, right after water. It’s used daily in every part of the globe. But do you know where tea comes from and who invented tea bags?

Tea bags were invented by Thomas Sullivan in 1908. He came up with the idea of a small envelope containing tea leaves that could be steeped in hot water, then squeezed out and discarded.

There’s a story behind the invention of this convenient item that has left us all with many questions. So, continue reading this article and find more interesting details about the tea invention.

Also Read: Invention of Honey Mustard

Who Invented Tea Bags and Why?

Who Invented Tea Bags

Thomas Sullivan, an American tea merchant, invented the tea bag.

At the time, he was working for a company that sold tea bags to hotels and restaurants.

Sullivan, a man who invented tea bags, found that customers had trouble filling the bags with tea themselves, so he designed the machine to fill them automatically. 

This machine also allowed him to produce more bags at one time, which reduced costs and made them more affordable for restaurants and hotels.

His idea was to create a tea bag for the purpose of brewing loose-leaf tea more quickly and easily. 

He did this by filling a small silk pouch with tea leaves, then steeping it in hot water for a few minutes. 

This method allowed people to steep their own tea without having to fuss with messy loose-leaf tea or messy strainers.

When Were Tea Bags Invented?

Tea bags were invented in 1908 by Thomas Sullivan. He was a tea merchant who lived in New York. 

His invention was an attempt to make the process of making tea more convenient and easy to use, which was the main goal of his invention. 

That’s how and when were tea bags invented.

He wanted to create a way for people to make tea easily without having to go through all of the hassle involved with making it traditionally. 

This meant that they would not have to strain it or boil it in water for a long period, which also made them less likely to burn themselves.

Where Was the Tea Bag Invented?

Tea bags were invented in New York in 1908 by Thomas Sullivan. 

Sullivan was a tea merchant, who saw that people were afraid to drink tea because they thought it was too hot and bitter. 

He created the tea bag to make drinking tea more enjoyable, as well as to help his business.

Sullivan was a tea merchant, who saw that people were afraid to drink tea because they thought it was too hot and bitter. 

He created the tea bag to make drinking tea more enjoyable, as well as to help his business.

How to Make Tea With Tea Bags?

Tea bags are a great way to make tea. They make it easy to brew a cup of tea at home, but they also have their downsides.

You can make tea with tea bags in a few different ways. The first way is to simply boil water and then pour it over the tea bag in your mug or another container. 

You can also put the tea bag in the boiling water, then remove it before you pour the water into your mug or another container.

If you want, you can even steep the tea bag in hot water before pouring it into your mug or another container.

Let’s look at the most common methods for how to brew tea bags.

In microwave

You can use any kind of mug, but we recommend using a mug with a lid. The reason is that you want to keep the steam in so it stays hot longer. 

Also, if you don’t have a mug with a lid, then you can use a plate instead and cover it with plastic wrap or foil.

On the stove

To prepare tea on the stove, use a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and add two or three teaspoons of loose tea to the pot. 

Cover and let steep for five minutes. Then pour your tea through a strainer into your favorite mug.

In a pot

To make tea in a pot, first bring water to a boil. Then turn off the heat and add loose tea leaves or tea bags to the pot. 

Let them steep for five minutes before removing them from the hot water. Pour the tea into cups and add milk or sugar as desired.

With a kettle

To make a cup of tea with a kettle, fill the kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, pour it into your mug or cup. 

Add one tea bag per serving. Steep for 3-5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.

With milk

If you like milk in your tea, it’s easy to make a pot.

First, heat the water (we recommend using filtered water) and then add tea bags to your mug or teapot.

Once the water is at a rolling boil, let the leaves steep for 3 minutes.

7 Tea Bag Facts You Didn’t Know

We’ve all heard the rumors that tea bags are just a marketing ploy. But it turns out they actually have a lot of science behind them. 

Here are some of the most interesting tea bag facts:

  1. Dried tea bags are excellent fire-starters for bonfire night or camping

They light easily and burn for a long time. The tea leaves inside the bags are great fuel, too. Tea bags can be used to start fires in many ways. 

You can use them to light a fire traditionally, by placing them on kindling and blowing gently until they begin to smolder.

Or you can use them in a fire starter kit, which is easier and safer than trying to light a match or lighter inside a plastic bag full of flammable materials.

  1. Tea bags can cure your eyes

Warming tea bags and applying them to your eyes can reduce the swelling that causes puffy, dark-circled eyelids.

This remedy works because it helps break down the excess fluid in your tissues by increasing blood flow. 

It also has astringent properties that tighten skin tissue and reduce puffiness.

  1. Tea bags can be used to clean greasy pans

To use, simply place a tea bag in the pan with water and bring it to a boil. Allow to sit for five minutes and then rinse with warm water.

  1. Tea leaves act as a natural air freshener, absorbing unpleasant odors without adding artificial fragrances

Tea bags absorb unpleasant odors without adding unnatural scents. 

Leaves in the tea bag absorb unpleasant odors without adding unnatural scents, making for natural air fresheners! Leaves also scents, making for natural air fresheners!

  1. Tea bags were initially available in just two sizes

Large ones were for brewing a whole pot, and smaller ones were intended to be used one at a time by pouring boiling water over them.

The difference between the two sizes was in how much tea they contained. The larger size had more tea than the smaller one.

  1. It took the British a long time to accept tea bags

In the early twentieth century, it was more common in Britain to drink tea by pouring boiling water over loose leaves rather than using pre-bagged tea.

  1. Gauze was the first material used to make commercial tea bags

Gauze is a thin, loosely woven fabric that can be made from cotton or rayon.

It’s used to make surgical dressings and other medical supplies because it’s highly absorbent.

History of the Tea Bag

How to Make Tea With Tea Bags

Tea bags are a great way to make tea, but the history of the tea bag is quite interesting.

Everything started with Thomas Sullivan in 1908. He created the first tea bag by putting loose tea in a piece of silk, which he then sewed closed and dunked into hot water. 

This was an efficient way to brew loose tea on the go—and it was also a convenient way for Sullivan to sell his product.

After that, it didn’t take long for other companies to start using this new invention. 

The first paper tea bag was invented in the 1920s, and by 1929 there were over 700 different varieties available!

Today’s tea bags are made from cellulose or paper, but they all have one thing in common: they’re still helping people enjoy their favorite hot beverage wherever they are.


Check this section to find out what our readers asked about the tea bag invention.

How was tea made before tea bags?

Before the invention of tea bags, a whole pot of tea had to be made by pouring hot water over loose leaves.

What were the first tea bags made out of?

The first tea bags were made from porous cloth and stuffed with loose tea. The loose end of the bag was then tied on a string so that it could be dunked into hot water.

Which company introduced tea bags to the UK in 1952?

Tetley introduced tea bags to Britain in 1953 but other companies soon followed suit.

What is the oldest brand of tea?

Twinings has been the world’s most popular brand of tea.


When it comes down to it, a tea bag is an ingenious method of dispensing tea. It’s portable, convenient, and environmentally friendly. 

With the three-minute brew time, you won’t even have to sit around for hours on end waiting for your tea to steep! 

Robert Sullivan, the man who invented tea bags, probably didn’t know that his invention would change the whole course of history.

I hope you’ve found the story about the tea bag invention amusing. 

Also, there are a lot of untold facts about it, so if you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask.