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Red Rose Tea - Why I Don't Drink Any Other Brand of Tea

Updated on November 5, 2012
A cup of Red Rose tea steeps, waiting to be enjoyed
A cup of Red Rose tea steeps, waiting to be enjoyed | Source

My Rating for Red Rose Tea

5 stars for Red Rose Tea

I’ve been a tea drinker all my life and won’t buy any brand but Red Rose. It’s the tea I grew up drinking and the tea my kids grew up drinking. Who knows, if they have kids, maybe theirs will grow up drinking it!

There are two reasons why I drink only Red Rose. One has to do with nostalgia – as I said, I grew up drinking it – and the other has to do with enjoyment – I just like the taste.


What is your favorite brand of tea?

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Growing up with Red Rose

My parents were coffee drinkers but occasionally my dad would have a cup of tea. We always had a small box of Red Rose on hand. I honestly can’t remember any other brand in the house. But when I left home, Red Rose became a precious commodity for me because this was a brand that was not native to the United States.

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Theodore Harding Estabrooks started the company in 1894 in Saint John, New Brunswick. Initially, Red Rose was sold mainly in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada but sometime in the 1920s, distribution expanded to other parts of Canada and into the United States. Detroit was one of the cities that received the tea, along with Buffalo, New York and Portland, Oregon. But even though distribution eventually widened in the States, it still was not sold throughout the country.

In 1932, Red Rose was sold to Brooke Bond & Company of England and the company expanded. Then, as these things happen, the business was sold again to Unilever NV in 1985. Three years later, Unilever sold the rights to the Red Rose brand in the United States to Redco Foods, Inc. retaining the rights in Canada and other parts of the world. Red Rose was essentially split in two and US production was moved to Little Falls, NY. As time has passed, I’ve been able to find Red Rose in more stores, especially as tea has grown in popularity and retailers have expanded their variety.

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But that wasn’t the case when I joined the Navy in 1978 when I was 22. As I said, Red Rose wasn’t easily found and as I moved around, I kept a lookout for the tea I loved. No opportunity was missed. For instance, my husband and I traveled cross-country from Michigan to Seattle so my husband could meet up with his ship in dry dock before I flew back to Panama where I was stationed at the time. We were on our honeymoon and when we made a stop in the Black Hills in S. Dakota, I made him stop at a grocery store so I could check the shelves for Red Rose tea!

When I couldn’t find Red Rose in my travels to stock up, I begged family members and friends to send me two or three boxes at a time. Sometimes, my dad would send me a handful of tea bags in an envelope until the package arrived. When I go home to Michigan for a visit, my nieces are always kind enough to have Red Rose in their cupboards.

One fond recollection I have is coming home from school on a cold and rainy or snowy day and curling up with my book, a cup of tea and a piece of toast. When my own children were growing up, I often treated them to “tea and toast” after school as we worked on homework or read together. I hope someday they can pass that along to their own children.

There’s one funny memory I have of Red Rose Tea when I was growing up – its television commercial. The one I distinctly remember is of a chimp riding a tricycle ‘saying’ “Red Red Red Red Rose.” I tried to find it online and came up with this one. Not the one I remember but the one that many other people seem to recall, judging by the comments I’ve read online.


Red Rose Tea Marquis Chimps Commercial

Red Rose’s Wade Figurines

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One thing that has set Red Rose apart from other teas is the miniature figurines they offer as premiums in their boxes. They began to give them away in 1967, first in limited geographical areas in Canada then to the whole country after they proved to be so popular.

In the 1970s, the figurines were marketed to two regions in the United States – Pittsburgh and the Pacific North West – and in 1983, they became available throughout. To date, it is estimated that more than 300 million Wade figurines have been given away in packages of tea in America.

I pulled many a tiny circus clown, Noah or scarecrow from the box when I opened it. Whether they are truly collectibles or not I’ll probably never know – I’ve tossed most of them out after getting tired of seeing them in my attic. Nautical Wonderland is their current series.

Past collections have been Calendar Series (2008-2012), Pet Shop Series (2006-2008), Noah's Ark Series (2002-2006), North American Endangered Series (1999-2002), Circus Series (1994-1999), American Series #2 (1985-1994) and American Series #1 (1983-1985).


Have you ever had Red Rose tea?

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What Makes Red Rose Tea So Great?

Most of the time after I left home I often was forced to drink brands other than Red Rose, usually Lipton because that was the most common. What a difference! To me, Lipton has a strong and slightly bitter taste.

On the other hand, Red Rose is a blend of orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea from fine tea estates in Kenya, Ceylon, India, and Indonesia. The result is a flavorful tea, rich and yet mellow.

Admittedly, my love for Red Rose leans heavily toward memories of sipping cups of hot tea on cold days but there’s no doubt in my mind that Red Rose is the best tea.

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    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 3 months ago from Illinois

      Hi Fred

      Thanks for taking the time to read and make a comment. I used to collect the figurines but gave up on it some years ago, although I do have a few around here though.

    • profile image

      Fred Preston 3 months ago

      I am a big fan of Red Rose tea, it's all I drink along with my wife and family. I brew a gallon a day of iced rea using 10 bags for each half gallon. I have a pile of figurines that I've collected over the years. I have thrown away far more than I got over the years. I'm having a glass of tea right now, we drink more than 90% Ice-T compared to hot tea.

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 9 months ago from Illinois

      Hi Jessica! thanks for reading and glad you enjoy Red Rose tea as much as I do. A Patriot hat? You mean like a Revolutionary war tricorn hat? If so, wow! I've never seen one before. Is it a new collection?

    • profile image

      Jessica 9 months ago

      I just found a Patriot hat in my box of tea. The box is almost empty. Sometimes I open it and there it is. Other times I find it when the box is almost empty. I usually crack open one corner only and reach in from there. Collectible? I'll say! Some of the older collections are selling on ebay now! For a good amount of money. I agree Lipton is bitter. Salada is closest I have found to Red Rose. But Red Rose is the best!

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 17 months ago from Illinois

      Many fond memories of doing just that as a child. Now, not so much time. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Athlyn Green.

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 17 months ago from West Kootenays

      I so agree with your sentiments. There's nothing like coming home on a cold day and curling up with tea and a good book.

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 2 years ago from Illinois

      Really, Lady Lorelei! That's great to know. I don't watch a lot of documentaries but it's nice to know my tea is "clean." Thanks for sharing that bit of info

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 2 years ago from Canada

      We recently watched a television documentary on pollutants in tea and Red Rose came out as one of the cleanest brands. :) Another great reason to drink this very well recognized brand.

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 2 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Anna B. I certainly don't have a problem posting your comment. To be honest, I hadn't noticed a change in the taste. Where do you live? And it sounds like you buy the loose tea? I buy the tea already in bags. But I agree about companies changing their products thinking they're improving them. That doesn't always work out for the consumer. I hope you find another tea you like.

    • profile image

      Anna B. 2 years ago

      I have been a red rose tea drinker for more than 50 years, five to six cups a day. I must say that now I am so very disappointed with the change recently made to the tea bags and contents. I do not understand why something that was so good has been changed and does not taste nearly as good as before. Why do manufactors think that changing the box or container is what the consumer wants, we buy the product because we like the contents of the package, we don't eat the box, so if it stayed the same forever the consumer would still buy the product. It's not the box, it goes into the trash. So now I am shopping for a tea bag that I will enjoy, because I no longer enjoy red rose, and I have also noticed that when just having a cup of tea with a bag in the cup, the cup becomes very stained as does the spoon. So goodbye to my long standing friend red rose. Hope you will list this on your site but somehow I don't think you will.

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi barbergirl28 - thanks for reading. I've heard of Echinacea but never had it. Glad you've found a tea you enjoy!

      Hyphenbird - Glad you like Red Rose so well. I don't have any of the nautical set yet but I'd like to -I'm getting tired of seeing the same old stuff, lol. Thanks for reading

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I just purchased a box of Red Rose tea. It really is a wonderful tea. My box is the Nautical series you mentioned. The tiny little crab is adorable. Thanks for this great Hub. Red Rose is one of my very favorites and it is nice to know others also love it.

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      I have never been much of a tea drinker. That being said, my sister is and she has kind of pushed it onto our mom. Suddenly, I find that I actually have tea in my cupboard. I like the Echinacea... for the life of me I don't know what brand. I believe most of the time I get the Celestial Seasons. I like the unique stuff! :)

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi susanm23b - little glass dishes in oatmeal boxes? Now that is something I hadn't heard of before. Thanks for reading and the vote up!

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi ktrapp. Funny that you have gotten Red Rose tea in restaurants - I have never seen it served. Do try it next time you get a chance. I will also drink Earl Gray, usually Bigelow. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Gail! It's good to "see" you again and I hope life has been treating you well. I'm way behind on reading hubs but yours are among several hubbers' I have highlighted to read when school is out.

      Thanks for reading and it's sweet of you to share. Good luck to you too in the contest.

    • profile image

      susanm23b 4 years ago

      I love tea so much! I drink several cups a day. My favorite is green, but I also drink black as well. I have seen Rose Tea but never tried it. Your hub has made me want to try it. Love the little figures! It reminds me of my mom getting the little cut glass dishes in the oatmeal box when I was a child. Voted up! Interesting :)

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      I can definitely relate - being only a tea drinker myself. Lipton is a staple in my pantry, although I really only like the taste when I first open a new box. I've gotten braver and branched out to other brands and am drinking a Tazo earl grey right now. I have never had red rose, but I do recall getting it in restaurants and tossing it aside. Now I wish I gave it a try.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      Hi Danette,

      Great hub about Red Rose Tea and I agree that part of the pleasure of tea drinking is the positive memories that we associate with "tea time."

      I do love Red Rose Tea and still buy it sometimes, but I mostly drink Lipton and occasionally Tetley. Price and/or coupons sway my purchases, but I won't buy any teas except the above, no matter how much cheaper they are.

      Voting this hub up across the board and sharing.

      Don't remember the monkey commercials but definitely remember the nautical themed figurines.

      Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

      Am wishing you good luck in the Rigorous Review Contest and sending a bouquet of Hub Hugs & Love,

      Gail

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      I totally agree, LindaSmith1 - as you can see by my hub :) Lipton definitely doesn't cut it in my book. Thanks for reading!

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Eiddwen, I'm so glad you enjoyed reading my hub on tea. Whether or not you would like tea or this, it sounds like you enjoy a good cup of tea!

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Crystolite, If you go to the Red Rose website, you'll be able to find the stores that sell the tea in Texas. Try it, I think you'll like it. Thanks for reading.

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi khmohsin, I'm glad you enjoy tea as well as I do! Thanks for sharing this with your friends and thanks for taking the time to read my hub

    • LindaSmith1 profile image

      LindaSmith1 4 years ago from USA

      Red Rose or Tetley, bye bye Lipton just too bitter.

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Deepak Chaturvedi - Thanks for taking the time to read my hub and leave a comment. I appreciate it.

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Debby - Sweet Touch Nee Tea - never heard of it- where do you find it? Do you have a Teavana store in your area? I do although I haven't been in it yet. Save your figurines, they may be worth something some day! Thanks for reading.

    • Danette Watt profile image
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      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Denise - I'd like to "train" myself to drink my tea plain b/c I know I use too much sugar. Thanks for all the votes up. That cup is pretty, isn't it :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Oh yes a hub on Tea!!! I don't know if I would like Red Rose tea but I still enjoyed reading about it.

      Great hub.

      Eddy.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 4 years ago from Houston TX

      Hi, Danette Watt, that's a good hub. Am equally a lover of tea but i go mainly on lipton and coffee. Iwill like to get some of the red tea to feel the irresistible sensation it gives. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      khmohsin 4 years ago

      Danette Watt,

      Thanks for sharing this active hub. I am really fond of taking tea. Likes and shared this hub to friends

    • Deepak Chaturvedi profile image

      Deepak Chaturvedi 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice tea I liked the idea.Thanks to share this info.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 4 years ago

      Daneete ~ oh yeah! RED ROSE IS GREAT, but may have a tie with SWEET TOUCH NEE TEA. I have accumulated quite a collection of little porcelain figurines, too. Hugs, Debby

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hey, BTW--where'd you get the large Harney and Sons cup? Looks nice.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Awesome hub and interesting with all the details of its history. I didn't realize they change out their collector's series. I love the nautical set so save any extra pieces for me, ok? LOL I agree about Lipton...don't care for that at all. I will have Red Rose when I want a full bodied brew and then I don't let it steep as long as you do. Can't take the strong taste, although I've come to add milk to it now, like Nonie used to.

      Great job-rated UP/I/U/A will share. BTW Good job finding the chimp commercial and adding it. I LOL I do recall that particular one.

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Hi Glimmer Twin Fan, yes, it is a mellow tea. Thanks for reading.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Neat hub. I have a few of those figurines. It's such a nice mild tea.

    • Danette Watt profile image
      Author

      Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment Teaches12345. I'm having a cup right now in fact!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Danette, Red Rose sounds like a tea I would enjoy. I do love sipping tea, as do you metioned, it is so soothing. My favorite brand is Bigelow. Enjoyed your share on the history of the tea.