Here’s a quick quiz. It’s all of one question, so don’t be intimidated. What’s the best shape for a teabag? To the best of my knowledge – and not taking into consideration novelty type items – the most popular choices would be the standard rectangular teabag, the somewhat more modern round teabag, and the positively newfangled pyramid-shaped teabag.

PG Tips pyramid teabags (from the PG Tips official site)

PG Tips pyramid teabags (from the PG Tips official site)

If you keep in mind that one of the most important factors about your steeping teabag/gadget of choice is that it allows room for the water to circulate freely among the tea leaves, then that might give you a clue as to what the correct answer might be. My own vote would go to the pyramid teabag for the fact that it does seem to allow the water more room to circulate.

Which is apparently the correct answer, at least if we’re to believe a British group known as the Advertising Standards Authority, who describe themselves as “the UK’s independent regulator for advertising across all media.” They recently weighed in on a spat between two very well-known British tea companies and offered the opinion that the pyramid teabag tops round teabags.

The trouble started when one of the firms ran a TV commercial that touted the merits of their pyramid bags. The other company complained to the ASA, claiming that the commercial disparaged the company’s brand, as well as their round teabags.

In such a case, as the ASA notes, “The rules are also very clear about comparative claims. They are allowed but they must, of course, be truthful and fair as well as ensuring they avoid denigrating a competitor’s product or brand.” They ruled that company A proved their claims – and provided test results, to boot – regarding pyramid teabags and that they didn’t badmouth company B.

Which isn’t exactly definite proof that pyramid teabags are superior to the round ones (and by extension, the standard issue rectangular teabags) but’s it’s interesting to note nonetheless.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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