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      20.06.2004 16:28
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      Isn?t it funny how a web site can influence you? All this Fairtrade malarkey and soon you?re wondering whether you really can save the world after all. Well, not save the world exactly but do your bit in the growing movement to crush poverty and give the unfairly paid workers around the globe a fair deal. It?s been just like that today in my house. What, with Fairtrade roses purchased for Mother?s Day recently and Fairtrade Tea bought to improve our collective well-being, our group conscience was taking a turn for the better with every second that passed. ***Who are Clipper then?*** As with most products, it?s worth finding out a little about whom we?re dealing with. If there?s one thing that makes me nervous, it?s media speculation that the so-called profits from endeavours like this never quite get fed make to the people they?re meant to with the customary corporate sleight of hand that goes with all things financial and where fat cats are never too far away. It seems that Clipper Teas Ltd was formed in 1984 by Michael and Lorraine Brehme. The former trained as a tea buyer and taster at Sir John Lyon House in London and apparently is now one of the few Master Tea Tasters in Britain. His expertise, combined with partner Lorraine's background in the health and wholefood trade has resulted in Clipper becoming a prominent name in the UK Fair Trade tea and coffee movement. Clipper have won more than their fair share of *awards as well as all of their products carrying the Soil Association Certificate. A bit more research reveals that The Soil Association is a membership charity, which has been researching and promoting organic farming as the key to sustainable agriculture since 1946. It is the UK's leading campaigning organisation and certi
      fication body for organic food and farming. It campaigns against issues like GMOs in food and the routine use of antibiotics in conventional farming. It's worth knowing that Fair trade tea gardens are inspected regularly to ensure the standards imposed by the Fairtrade Foundation are adhered to which means education, housing, welfare, fair pay and safe working conditions are amongst the requirements to engender a better future for perennially oppressed people who only want to improve themselves to our most basic of living standards. ***Fair Trade or what?*** OK, so what about the Fair Trade movement itself? I mean, I can buy 80 bags of Typhoo tea bags for £1.47 from Tesco (1.8p per bag) as opposed to the £1.49 we paid for this box of 20 (Just over 7p a bag) Hang on, though, these particular Clipper Tea bags are green tea with Echinacea so maybe that?s an unfair comparison. However, there will be a mark up of some description to enable bunce to be passed on to the workers involved with products like this. Perhaps a better comparison is done by going to Co-Op where, I understand, 80 tea bags of the Fairtrade variety are £1.59 giving a difference of just 8p. I?m not sure how much the comparable product is in Tesco but I?ll update this after my next visit. Eeeeeven more research reveals that The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is an association of fair trade wholesalers, retailers, and producers whose members are committed to providing fair wages and good employment opportunities to economically disadvantaged workers and farmers world-wide. FTF directly links low-income producers with consumer markets and educates consumers about the importance of purchasing fairly traded products which support living wages and safe and healthy conditions for work
      ers in the developing world. FTF also acts as a clearinghouse for information on fair trade and provides resources and networking opportunities for its members. By adhering to social criteria and environmental principles, Fair Trade Organisations (FTOs) foster a more equitable and sustainable system of production and trade that benefits people and their communities. ***Clipper Tea*** So after all that, what does it actually look and taste like. Well, this particular cardboard box is predominantly green with a picture of a flower on the front. The Fair Trade symbol is in the top right hand corner and is a white rimmed black box with a circle split into a blue image that looks like a bird?s eye and a yellow image that looks like a petal. The paper and card materials are non-chlorine bleached and from managed, sustained forests. Of course, the packaging is also 100% biodegradable and tea bag paper is unbleached. The tea bags themselves are square with a decent amount of tea leaves inside ready to be teased out by the right amount of water. For the prefect cuppa, you are advised to follow the instructions on the back of t?packet. It suggests that one tea bag is slipped into freshly boiled but not boiling water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Apparently, boiling water will scald green tea and impair flavour. Definitely no milk required in a substance that looks remarkably like pale Lemsip. It?s time for the taste *sips tea* Hmmmmm?.well, it?s kind of like a weak Lemsip really. You can taste the tea but the predominant flavour comes from....haaaaaang on a mo, this Echinacea could be poisonous for all I know so time for more research (If I survive the initial sip). Echinacea is commonly know as the coneflower and can be found growing as a wildflower mostly in the United State
      s. Of the several varieties of Echinacea the three most popular are purpurea, angustifolia and pallida. They are harvested for their roots, flowerheads, seeds, or juice of the whole plant and can then be made into capsules, extracts, tinctures and tea. Echinacea is best known for its' immune enhancing ability, but has proven very effective in many other areas as well. So Echinacea will help me ward of colds and flu along with other mystical herbal properties that must be better than pumping my body full of caffeine. This particular type of tea also includes natural orange, lemon and lime to add a tangy zest to the mix and these flavours are discernible at closer examination. The packet tells me that this particular green tea is from a single Fair trade estate in South India where revenues from products like this will provide higher standards of welfare for the pickers and their families. So did I like it? Erm?.no, not really although I?ve tried herbal teas before and never really got on with them. Next time around we?ll give the more conventional tea a go which I?m sure is delicious. Either way, I?m planning to save the world. If only I could count on governments to keep a wary eye on those naughty distributors and corporate bodies. Aaaaaaanyway, you realise you are free to join me? Clipper offers (available at Tesco, Co-Op and most major supermarkets): Fairtrade tea: The original Fairtrade cup of tea, Clipper's Fairtrade Tea is produced using the freshest leaves from exclusive tea gardens in the developing world, where lush tropical conditions are ideal for growing this high quality tea. (80 unbleached tea bags) Fairtrade loose tea: A fine Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings loose tea from the finest Fairtrade estates. (125g loose tea) Fa
      irtrade green teas: range of beautiful green teas rich in antioxidants and enhanced with organic functional herbs and delicious natural fruit flavours (20 unbleached tea bags) Thanks for reading and a Happy Father?s Day to us lovely dads *Disappears back to entertaining ma-in-law as she?s visiting*. Marandina *ORGANIC FOOD AWARDS: Category: Teas, Coffees, Beverages OVERALL WINNER OF CATEGORY:2003 Organic Loose Leaf Assam COMMENDED 2003:Organic Lapsang Souchong Loose COMMENDED 2002:Organic Jasmine Loose Tea HIGHLY COMMENDED 2001:English Breakfast Tea OVERALL WINNER OF CATEGORY:2000 PNG Roast & Ground Coffee WINNER: BEST NEW PRODUCT:1998 Clipper Organic Instant Coffee OVERALL WINNER OF CATEGORY:1996 Clipper Teas Loose Leaf Assam HIGHLY COMMENDED:2000 Shangri La Hidden Valley/2000 Bourbon Vanilla/1998 Clipper Organic Instant Coffee COMMENDED:2000 Decaffeinated Coffee/2000 Earl Grey Teabags/1999 Organic Chamomile Tea/1999 Organic Peppermint Tea More info
      at: www.clipper-teas com http://www.schumacher.org.uk/soil_association.htm http://www.fairtradefederation.com/

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        28.03.2003 16:24
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        I didn't know about Fair Trade goods until I read an opinion several months ago. It has always bothered me that people in the third world work for long hours and slave labour wages and that many are children. They work in conditions that would be totally unacceptable to us, and all to give profits to large fat cat corporations who import the products to this and other countries to be sold at huge mark ups. The Fair Trade Foundation is a registered charity and aims to give a better deal to workers in the third world or developing countries by paying living wages, providing good working conditions and helping them to develop. The foundation operates in direct competition with big corporations and to me is a splendid idea that needs supporting more. The website is at http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/ and there you will see that there are quite a lot of food products available under the Fair Trade banner and the stores are listed that stock them. Far more than I realised, leaving me wondering why supermarkets don’t promote the fact that they sell Fair Trade goods. I discovered Fair Trade’s Clipper teabags almost by accident in the Coop. They were tucked away on the bottom shelf underneath the popular well known brands. As I work in a shop I know that some of the larger companies insist upon their products being displayed more prominently! The box was originally dark blue with nothing to make it stand out amongst the more attractive looking teas on offer. Now the box has a dark blue background with a bright yellow and orange picture of the world on the front. An improvement, but still likely to be missed amongst the more attractively designed packages. I was a bit of a tea whore without loyalty to any brand and usually bought Brook Bond, Typhoo, PG Tips or Yorkshire Tea according to which was the cheapest or had the best special offer on. At £1.59 for 80 teabags Clipper wasn’t the cheapest but it was by no means the most expens
        ive either. Eminently affordable and Free Trade, I just hoped that it tasted ok. When you open the box you see teabags in sets of two. They don’t look as posh as the more popular brands and I was a bit flabbergasted at first to have to spend time tearing them apart. I’d been used to individual teabags that required no effort other than popping them in a cup and pouring boiling water over them. It was a bit like going back to early teabag days but then I reminded myself that I was helping to support Fair Trade and that it didn’t matter if a bit of effort was required on my part or that the teabags didn’t look very good. I make my tea in a mug. One teabag, boiling water and impatiently stir a spoon around to get it to brew quicker. I noticed straight away that the colour of the water was rapidly darkening, much quicker than the teabags I was used to and a zillion times quicker than those drawstring things that we sometimes use at work. After removing the teabag I add one sugar but no milk to spoil the taste of my tea. I had no need to be apprehensive about the taste. My first Clipper cuppa was simply the best cup of tea that I can remember tasting. It was a perfect strength for me, too weak tea isn’t worth drinking, too strong tea can taste horrible. I can’t really describe the taste of tea but Clipper is full of flavour without the bitterness that you get with some teas. It's a nicely refreshing drink and tastes good cold too. I’m a tea whore no more and have been buying Clipper teabags for at least 6 months with no complaint. I regularly drink other brands at work (my boss provides them free) and they just don’t match up to Clipper in taste. I’ve seen them on sale at Morrisons for £1.95 for 80 teabags and wondered why they are so much more expensive than the £1.59 charged by the Coop. Leaf tea and organic tea are also available from Clipper Fairtrade. Inside e
        ach box is an invitation to join the Clipper tea club where you receive a quarterly newsletter with news about Fair Trade and organic developments, tea samples and competitions. The annual subscriptions are UK £7.50, Europe £11.50, outside Europe £15.00. I haven’t joined that yet but it might be worth £7.50 to learn more.

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