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British Airways and Twinings make tea time tastier at 35,000 feet

A tea tasting set

There’s nothing like a nice cup of tea -- unless you’re in a plane at cruising altitude. It seems that tea doesn’t taste quite so good at 35,000 feet. Now British Airways and a British tea company, Twinings, have joined forces to produce a special tea for high fliers.

Say what you like about the Brits they do know a thing or two about tea. They have some of the best tea tasters in the world. They make a swift assessment sucking the tea to the back of the mouth and spitting it out fast -- and the tea taster’s verdicts is that there’s a problem with this beverage at 35,000 feet.

"Water on board an aircraft boils around 89 degrees centigrade, and it's not the sort of optimal temperature for making tea," explains Mike Wright of the Twinings Tea Company. "The reduced air pressure and the humidity effect the functioning of the taste buds."

Twinings has teamed up with British Airways to produce a special high-altitude concoction.

British airways serves 35 million cups of tea a year. It hopes the brew will take its passengers taste buds to new heights.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.
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The cabin altitude in an airliner cruising at 35,000 feet is typically only about 8,000 feet. That's the same altitude as many places here around Colorado Springs where we are still able to brew quite good tea. But perhaps if they made the new, improved, high-altitude tea available here they could improve the market for Twining's Tea. I would certainly try it.

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