Friday, April 30, 2010

What's your cuppa tea?

Current work: medical continuity
Listening to: Corelli
Reading: Kandy Shepherd’s ‘Love is a four-legged word’ (great fun)

I’ve always liked rather different teas. As a teen, I used to drink jasmine tea (which was so not trendy in the 1980s), and what I normally have on my desk is a mug of Earl Grey. Made very, VERY weak, and very milky. (This is why I drink coffee at most people’s houses. Except for DH, who's lived with me long enough to work it out, and bestest coz, who drinks hers the same way as I do, most people make it too strong for me.)

One problem: with a cup of tea on my desk, I have a reduced ability to resist cookies. Given that I’m trying to resist said cookies, that meant it was time to experiment, and probably with herbal/spice teas. Peppermint’s OK (I like the one with cinnamon) and the orange, mango and cinnamon blend is nice. But I had a yen for something different.

I was doing a little research (yes, really, for work – this is the gelati book I’m not supposed to be working on yet) and came across the Teapigs company. Wow, what a range. And they do samples (little tins containing three ‘tea temples’, aka biodegradable teabags). So I’ve been terribly bad and ordered myself a few things. Their tea strainer is wonderful - it fits over the rim of the cup so you can steep the tea, kind of like a tea ball but without having to faff about opening and closing it. (Here it is with the Earl Grey looseleaf – you can see the lovely purple-blue bergamot flowers there.)

Other things that caught my eye and ended up in my order:

  • a pack of loose-leaf lemongrass (apparently tastes like lemon and lime)
  • a pack of jasmine pearls (i.e. little buds that open when steeped in hot water - am looking forward to the play factor there)
  • a pack of peppermint tea temples
  • sample of ‘super fruit’ tea temples (blueberry and cranberry)
  • sample of ‘chocolate flake’ tea temples. (On their website, they describe it as ‘a partnership so perfect, it belongs between the pages of a Mills and Boon novel’ – well, hey, how could any M&B writer resist that one?)
  • sample of Chai tea temples (Assam tea with cardamom pods, cinnamon, ginger, cassia and vanilla)
  • sample of blue tea temples (yes, really, BLUE tea. Described as a cross between green and black, aka ‘tung ting oolong’. Apparently it’s going to be the Next Big Thing. I’m not a fan of green tea, but… I was intrigued enough to order it)

So far, I’ve tried the Earl Grey (not quite enough bergamot for me, or maybe I should try it sans milk) and the Chai (Madam and I both really liked this one, which surprised me as Assam is stronger than Darjeeling). I have promised her I won't try any others until she's around for the very first tasting - oh, bless. (Two of the things I love about my daughter is her enthusiasm and her willingness to try new flavours; even if she decides they're not for her, she will at least give it a go, and I know she'll try again later when she thinks her tastes have changed and might like it.)

Have a lovely bank holiday; and if you have a favourite tea, do come and share!


Jane Holland said...

Normal, everyday, breakfast tea, served with milk and no sugar. Not the very cheapest, but a supermarket brand like Tescos or Sainsburys does me just fine.

I cordially dislike 'fancy' teas like Earl Grey and Lapsang Soup Song (though my father swears by the health properties of Green Tea). I'm a complete tea-barbarian, in other words, but popular with builders and furniture delivery men.

It's true that, when dieting, I have been known to indulge in the sweeter-smelling herbals like Blackcurrant and Ginseng. Shock, horror. But they are no substitute for a good, stout cuppa with a little milk and a couple of fruit shortcake biscuits on the side.

Though I don't 'dip'. Oh no. THAT is too horrible for words.

susanwilson44 said...

After years of drinking Tetleys I went for a facial somewhere and loved what they gave me to drink. It was nothing startling - just Twinnings Lemon and Ginger but they are definitely addictive!

Anonymous said...

In the morning, weak Twinings English Breakfast with plenty of milk. In the afternoon, weak green tea with jasmine.

Mid-morning, strong espresso (with hot water and milk to spare my insides).

"Human nature is not obliged to be consistent." (LM Montgomery)


Michelle Styles said...

I adore Earl Grey in the afternoon. Lapsang Souchong is great as well -- it tends to be v weak but with a smoky flavour.

For herbals -- Moroccan Mint.

Never any sugar.
And while I take tea any way it comes, my mother is like you -- whaft the tea bag over the hot water and add milk (or lemon)

I don't need biscuits.

Kate Hardy said...

Jane - we have PG Tips in the house for people who drink proper tea ;o) Interestingly, once people have asked me to make tea for them, they seem to swich to coffee for the next cup...

I haven't tried blackcurrant and ginseng - sounds nice.

Ahhh, biscuits. English shortbread. (This is a banned commodity in our house, because I cannot be trusted AT ALL.)

Kate Hardy said...

Susan - I've heard others say that Lemon and Ginger is nice. (I really like their orange, cinnamon and mango - grab me at the conf and I'll make you a cup!)

Kate Hardy said...

MPE - weak with lots of milk sounds lovely to me.

Since my 'cutting down on caffeine' drive, I only do proper coffee once a week (yet another reason why I love my guitar teacher - it's PROPER coffee).

My jasmine pearls (when they arrive) are apparently green tea, so that will be interesting.

Loved the quote. (I can always rely on you to come up with something good!)

Kate Hardy said...

Michelle - I've never actually tried LS, so I must give it a go.

And I'm so glad I'm not the only person in the world (apart from bestest cousin) who does the wafting thing :o)

Biscuits... unfortunately, they're what I crave while awaiting my ed's verdict. Still, I have that now, so I can ignore the biscuit tin again!

Nell Dixon said...

Sadly, the tannins in tea make me sick so I can't drink it. I like the taste but it refuses to stay put so i live with my coffee addiction.

Caroline said...

I'm with Jane. My palette just doesn't "do" herbal/fruit teas. Builder's Bottom tea for me - good old strong supermarket tea is my tipple of choice. Have a good weekend. Caroline x

Jan Jones said...

Clipper organic or Clipper Fairtrade Everyday tea with milk.

Lots and lots and lots of it.

Also Clipper green-tea-with-mint without milk.

Carol Townend said...

I'm an Earl Grey tea person. I am sure it is addictive!

Francine said...


Tea tasting fanatic, here.

For hot days I highly recommend iced Green Tea Ginseng & Lime. To drink it hot no milk and a liquorice stick immersed in it. A double delight! Other than that tea has to be straight from the pot and sizzling with oxygen. Earl grey or good old Glenghettie leaf tea.

Coffee always when out dining and coffee at home percolated quality ground. Instant lacks the kick back to the taste buds, and one is deprived of that gorgeous lingering aroma.


Kate Hardy said...

Nell - hugs, but glad you can still enjoy coffee.

Kate Hardy said...

Caroline - LOL, you're normal in tea terms and I'm absolutely not! :o)

Kate Hardy said...

Jan - haven't tried Clipper. Must see if they do samples.

Kate Hardy said...

Carol - absolutely with you, there! (Have you tried the Twinings Chai? It's very nice.)

Kate Hardy said...

Francine - that sounds REALLY interesting and unusual. I used to like liquorice root when I was a child, so must give that a go!