Tea bags were an accidental American invention. Thomas Sullivan was a tea merchant in New York in the late 1800s. Sullivan would send loose tea samples to his customers in tins. The samples were costing him a fortune so he decided to send the samples out in silk pouches. He was completely surprised when his customers started requesting the pouches. Not realizing that they were only meant as a means of packaging, they began dropping the silk pouches into their tea pots and realized they were simple to use and easy to clean the pot afterwards. The tea bag was born. Original tea bags were made of silk, cotton, or muslin. The paper tea bags we are all familiar with were introduced in the 1950’s. At the tea shop, we proudly sell tea bags that are hand filled with the same premium loose tea that we sell in the shop.