black tea

Teavent 2016: 3 Wise Teas

Teavent 2016: 3 Wise Teas

In which I belatedly start on my advent calendar...

Let me spin you a tale, dear Reader, of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and stock control. Don't worry it isn't that boring. I was sadly on a last minute business trip last week which means I missed the opportunity to purchase an advent calendar. I figured that I would be able to get an interesting and different one in the States but alas I was wrong. I also figured that I would be able to pick up a discounted one in a UK supermarket on the 2nd after I landed but alas Tesco's stock control meant they didn't even have an awful one left!

I had basically resigned myself to not finding one this year.

Data Drudgery, Steampunk Stark & Tepid Tea!

In which I discuss the borishness of data anlaysis, try an interesting new tea and lay out my next Tailor project...

Data? I 'ardly know 'er!

In a break from continuous Thesis writing I have recently been running another imaging experiment. This was, as you could expect, a fairly hectic few weeks with early mornings and late nights. It was, however, much better than the weeks following where I am now stuck with the unenviable task of analysing image after image in ImageJ. Regardless of your research area this is the boring part of a PhD - repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again. Hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel though and this will be my final experiment - Great Success!

Now all I have to do is finish writing an 80,000 word thesis...

Lost A Pint Of Blood? Replace It With Tea!

Lost A Pint Of Blood? Replace It With Tea!

In which I discuss the safest way to lose blood and it's proper replacement...

Blood Donation

So I want to take a break today from PhD based ramblings to talk about giving blood. Did you know that 96% of people rely on the other 4% for blood donations? [1] Maybe you've not thought about it before or are a little worried about what it entails so I'll tell you now that it mostly involves biscuits, drinking and sitting down. Easy eh?

On Tea - Tea Throughout the Day

In which I give my thoughts on what tea to drink when throughout the day...

So as a British person (66% of Britons drink tea daily) I feel the need to consume a good quantity of tea everyday. The average Briton drinks 3½ cups a day - you'll find me at the top of the bell curve dong my best to keep the average up. I normally have around 6 cups a day.

Leaf & Belfast Brew

Leaf & Belfast Brew

In which I explain the new plan for my tea blog and a lovely trip to Leamington...

Leaf Tearooms and Piano Bar

In Leamington Spa meeting up with old friends I found myself in possession of a hangover and thus the need for a recovery breakfast. The Leaf tea rooms and piano bar were suggested as the place to go and go we did. It was a lovely experience - I think we walked in to Paparazzi by Lady Gaga being played on the piano. The tea room has a nice relaxed atmosphere and the soothing piano playing is the perfect backdrop when you have a bit of a headache. Although I wasn't there at tea time I am informed that not only do they do a very filling afternoon tea that they also have a wide selection of delectable cakes.

Ginger Tea

In which I review a ginger flavoured tea...

While at a conference (a little while ago) I had the opportunity to visit Cambridge's lovely market. There I purchased a ginger flavoured black tea to try.

This is a lovely cup of tea with or without milk. There is a hint of ginger in the aroma but you can definitely taste it. I love ginger and this is a very pleasant tea experience. With milk in the tea it would be the perfect accompaniment to dessert. Perhaps some gingerbread :) Without milk the black tea flavour is stronger and I might even consider having it as a regular tea.

Conclusion

Lovely gingery black tea. Perfect with milk!

Tom Out!

P.S. Once I find a link for the tea seller I'll update this post with it.

P.P.S. I hope people are enjoying the slightly different review style :)

Blend of Both

In which I try a tea donated by Katy and put Sainsbury's to the test!

This tea was donated to me for the express purpose of reviewing on my blog so here it is :)

Brewing

"It has been expertly created to deliver the delicious full-flavoured taste of original Tetley, but with the natural refreshing benefits of green tea. So you can have it with milk and still enjoy green tea goodness."

There are no brewing instructions so I assumed standard Tetley brewing of a minute or two and then added milk.

Colour

Tea coloured though it came out a slightly darker hue than the normal blend does.

Aroma

Realistically it just smells like tea.

Taste

This is a very refreshing blend. Usually I find Tetley very strong but the addition of green tea lightens the blend while still tasting like the standard blend. I'd say it tastes like Tetley light and there is a bit of a green tea aftertaste.

Data Entry

This week I 'ave mostly been typing on a computer. Manual data entry is annoying, if only my handwriting wasn't so terrible and I could use OCR.

Web-link

http://www.tetley.co.uk/our-teas/products?id=3

Conclusion

Like Tetley, but lighter!

Tom Out!

Bonus: Sainsbury's Turkey Feast

Sainsbury's turkey feast
Sainsbury's turkey feast

This week it is time for Sainsbury's Christmas offering.

Price: £2.70 (although it is in the £3 meal deal too)

Taste: A bit different from last time this is turkey, bacon, stuffing, cranberry sauce and salad. The stuffing is lovely and moist and there's no overpowering mayonnaise flavour. The cranberry sauce adds a pleasant aftertaste but is a little subdued. I think the weird thing about this sandwich is that it doesn't seem particularly Christmassy just a glorified chicken and bacon sandwich really. It's still better tasting than the Tesco one but it is still disappointing.

Keemun Tea

Keemun tea

In which I try a variety of black tea I was not previously aware of.

Brewing

"Use freshly drawn cold water. Use water at a “rolling boil” (100°C). Steep for 3 to 5 minutes (or to your taste). This delicate tea is best drunk black or with just a touch of milk … and for freshness every time, keep your tea somewhere cool, dark, dry and airtight!

"

As usual I went for a strong brew and tried it both with and without milk.

Colour

Slightly darker than your standard tea but a good tea colour nonetheless.

Aroma

Smells like a normal tea, nothing fancy here. Though I think you can pick up a slightly nutty aroma too.

Taste

I tried this tea with and without milk. Without milk the tea is stronger than assam or ceylon based teas and has a slightly nutty taste. With milk the same description holds but the flavour is lighter and more delicate.

AstraZeneca

This has joined my new set of work teas for the duration of my work placement at AstraZeneca. Luckily there is a kitchen here with plentiful milk allowing me to expand my tea horizons once more :)

Conclusion

A nice change to my line-up of standard teas. Simple but tasty :)

Web-link

http://shop.twinings.co.uk/shop/keemun-tea-bags.html

Upcoming Changes

I have a whole gamut of  teas to try over the next weeks so this will likely become a weekly feature once more! Also I'm gearing up to a large scale tea review - The Great British Tea Test 2012! Details next week!

Tom out!

Spiced Chai

Whittard's Spiced Chai Tea

This is the return of my tea blogs on a bi-weekly basis. If you have any tea suggestions please post them in the comments. If I know you IRL feel free to share a cup with me and I'll happily review it :D

This is the last of the teas from my visit to the Whittard's outlet store - I'll have to go again after this :).

Brewing

"Brew using 2 or 3 teabags in a 6-cup teapot

. Warm the pot first with a splash of hot water. Add the tea and pour on boiling water. Brew for 4-5 minutes. Alternatively, brew one teabag in a mug and remove when the tea is the strength you require

"

As usual I brewed it for 5 minutes. Apparently you can add condensed milk to have a sweet version of tea but unsurprisingly I don't have any at work.

Colour

Dark brown.

Aroma

You can definitely smell the cinnamon and cloves. Surprisingly it smells less Christmassy than I thought it would. It smells very nice though :)

Taste

A cavalcade of spices! But the cloves and cardamon are the strongest flavours. Despite the strength of these flavours you can still taste the black tea fairly strongly. A very enjoyable experience but I have had better chai. I think milk would likely improve it.

2nd Year Report

I've been drinking this tea while writing my 2nd Year Report. Hopefully as of Wednesday next week I'll be officially onto the 3rd year of my PhD Programme :)

Conclusion

A lovely tea but there is better chai out there. Probably would be improved by milk (condensed or otherwise).

Next Time

As I said tea reviews will be bi-weekly on Wednesdays now :) I'm thinking of coming up with some kind of rating system for the teas so people can compare my thoughts on tea.

Web-link

http://www.whittard.co.uk/tea/flavoured_black_tea/spiced_chai/spiced_chai_50_teabags.htm

Tom out!

The Ultimate Work Tea

I've decided to post about new teas as and when now and might try a different style.

A chance sighting in Sainsbury's has allowed me to track down a tea I had previously sought but found impossible to find in the North.

Brewing

"Brew one teabag per person & pour on boiling water. Leave for three to four minutes, or until you think it's ready. Then drink it as it is, this one is made for drinking without milk.

"

Easy to brew and best of all needs no milk! (See previous work tea comments)

Colour

Light brown - one could fancifully say it has a golden hue too :).

Aroma

As with Earl Grey you can smell the bergamot and there is also a hint of lemon.

Taste

Do you like Earl Grey with lemon? Then this is similar. Obviously you can't control the strength of the lemon as you can when you add your own. However as a work tea it allows me to enjoy Earl Grey without the need for the fridge (I do like Earl Grey with milk and without - there is nothing wrong with this).

"Whistle While You Work"

This tea is definitely the cornerstone of my work teas now where I sometimes whistle. This allows me to make the above tenuous song title usable. Although I have recently learnt how to whistle more than one note which I previously found impossible so maybe I can finally whistle properly while working :)

Conclusion

An excellent workplace tea which once again fills my requirement of no milk due to lack of fridge. Though I must concede if you have a ready suppply of lemons your normal Earl Grey will do just fine.

Web-link

http://www.twinings.co.uk/speciality-black-tea-bags/sunshine-grey

See you all next time!

Harrods English Breakfast

Sorry for the delay everyone I have been busy with work and generally not drinking enough new tea :S

Brewing

As with most of the loose leaf teas I have reviewed a 3-5 minute brewing time as a matter of personal taste is required.

Colour

Tea coloured. This is quintessential tea!

Aroma

It smells like tea. I feel I may have to start reviewing more exotic teas to stop making this section a little boring :S

Taste

I think I prefer this to the Twinings English Breakfast. It seems to have a fuller flavour and is very good for kick starting your day :)

Londinium

Funnily enough I bought this tea in Harrods and have since enjoyed it on many occasions. Despite what you may have heard about Harrods this won't set you back any more than other leaf teas on the market. If you are a tea (or coffee) lover I can really recommend the Tea & Coffee section of Harrods. The staff there are very knowledgeable and helpful. There is also a ridiculous range of more expensive blends to try if you like :)

Conclusion

A very good cup of tea. Also not as expensive as you would expect!

Web-link

Harrods English Breakfast Tea

See you all next week!

Instant Christmas!

Another visit to Whittard's returns another intriguing tea that I just had to try! :)

I also wasn't aware that such a thing as instant tea existed :o

Brewing

"Spoon three heaped teaspoons (20g) to 200ml water, or according to taste. Serve over ice for a long summer punch, or add hot water, curl up and enjoy as a soothing winter warmer.

"

Ridonculously easy to brew. It is instant tea! I went for the hot version since it is October (the previous few weeks crazy weather notwithstanding).

Colour

Dark reddish brown.

Aroma

Smells like hot Ribena with a hint of spice. It is a very warming smell - perfect for winter.

Taste

So what does mulled wine taste like without the alcohol? I now have a very good idea - similar to hot Ribena with added spices. There is also a tea after-taste. All-in-all it does taste like mulled wine but it doesn't warm you up in quite the same way as the alcoholic version. 

Baking

I tried this tea while baking some cupcakes and making gingerbread :) Pictures will follow on my other blog (which I really need to post more on...).

Conclusion

Warming, lovely. I could drink it all winter long!

Web-link

http://www.whittard.co.uk/instant_tea/instant_tea_flavours/rb_mulled_wine_inst_tea.htm

See you all next week!

National Trust Blend

This weekend I had the chance to visit Lyme Park just south of Manchester (famous for being where they filmed Mr. Darcy's lake scene [below])

As far as I know you can only try this tea at National Trust sites. You might be able to purchase it in one of their shops but you cannot order it from their website :(

Brewing

Comes in a metal teapot for one. Brew it as you like but I let it steep for a few minutes.

Colour

As tea coloured as you could expect tea to be. This is their standard tea offering after-all.

Aroma

While Freshers' Flu has taken hold and I couldn't really smell my tea I would expect it smells like your standard tea (assuming your standard tea isn't Earl Grey).

Taste

This is a pleasant blend which complemented by Bakewell Tart superbly. While being a general tea blend it was distinct from the Yorkshire Tea we had been drinking on camp (a comparison of day-to-day teas is to come :) ). It is a standard tea though - without a direct comparison to another it just tastes like a nice cup of tea.

Pictured: A lovely cuppa and a delightful tart

Adventure is out there!

This tea was enjoyed post-adventure playgrounding (I think I just invented a word) and was well deserved by all :) I think there may have been discussion of Oil for some reason (blame to Matt and Dale).

[Prizes for recognising the quote in this section title]

Conclusion

An enjoyable, very normal cup of tea. The perfect representation of British tea to have at the National Trust.

Web-link

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-lymepark/

See you all next week!

Early Thoughts of Christmas

After my visit to the Whittard's outlet store I have a plethora of tea to review :) Here's the second one - Spice Imperial.

If anyone has suggestions for companies other than Twinings and Whittard's for me to try please add them to the comments. I don't want to only review these two companies. Also I will keep you posted on

Brewing

"Brew one teabag in a mug and remove when the tea is the strength you require.

Warming in the winter and also makes wonderful iced tea. Best brewed light and drunk without milk, but can also be brewed stronger and drunk with milk"

Simple enough to brew. I have tried it with and without milk but haven't yet had the chance to make iced tea from it :S

Colour

Dark brown as any standard black tea.

Aroma

Smells like Christmas! A very similar smell to Chai but with hints of orange and no ginger.

Taste

Once again this is nice brewed either way and I tend to make it without milk when I have it at work. You can definitely taste the cinnamon first and foremost with hints of orange and vanilla. If you aren't a fan of ginger you could use this as replacement Chai though I think I still prefer Chai myself.

Compiling Fail

While I did try this tea at the Tea Party previously mentioned I am currently using it to calm me down as a particularly pesky configure script is not playing ball at the moment as it can't find GCC :(

Conclusion

Tastes like Christmas! But in a subtly different way to Chai. Delightful!

Web-link

http://www.whittard.co.uk/tea/flavoured_black_tea/spiced_imperial/spice_imperial_50_teabags.htm

See you all next week!

P.S. Tea Party Cakes

Here pictures of the Tea Party cakes as promised :)

Tea-themed cupcakes :D

The variety of cakes on offer

The Volcano Cake!

The Late Tea

I apologise for the lack of posts this last week-and-a-half but I have had a major deadline to work towards.

After my visit to the Whittard's outlet store I have a plethora of tea to review :) Here's the first one - Vanilla flavoured tea.

Brewing

"Brew one teabag in a mug and remove when the tea is the strength you require.

Best brewed light and drunk without milk, but can also be brewed stronger and drunk with milk"

Simple enough to brew. It is definitely worth trying both methods to see which you prefer, I know that I did.

Colour

Dark brown as any standard black tea.

Aroma

The vanilla smell is fairly strong and overpowers the smell of tea.

Taste

This really depends on how you make the tea. At work I brew it lightly without milk and while it smells of vanilla this mostly brings out the tea flavour. On the other hand brewing it strongly with milk brings out more of the vanilla flavouring which is complemented by the milk (use more milk than normal). Either way this is a very nice tea.

Tea Party

I first tried this at a tea party I held which featured some amazing cakes (pictures will follow) and a competitive game of Trivial Pursuit.

Conclusion

Either tea-like with a hint of vanilla or milky-vanilla with a tea aftertaste. Lovely.

Web-link

http://www.whittard.co.uk/tea/flavoured_black_tea/vanilla/vanilla_50_teabags.htm

See you all next week!

The State of Tea Drinking in Germany - Part 2

While I have returned to the UK this week I brought back some leaf tea from Germany with me.

Pictured is a delightful tea shop in the Arkaden at Potsdamer Platz. The staff were friendly and happily let me peruse their selection of teas which all have samples in little glass jars for your nose's pleasure.

The tea I chose to purchase smelled amazing - Blueberry Muffin tea :)

Brewing

Despite not being able to read German I have been able to ascertain that this tea should be brewed for between 2 and 4 minutes. I, as usual, preferred to brew it for longer. I decided to try the tea with and without milk as I was unable to determine the suggested course of action because of the language barrier.

Colour

A nice light brown which looks good with or without milk.

Aroma

There is a very strong smell of blueberry muffin which is almost overpowering in the bag. However when brewed the aroma is still present (and still lovely) but weaker. A good compromise I think.

Taste

In a similar vein to the sticky toffee flavoured tea from Whittard's this tea has a normal taste while the aroma provides a pleasant experience :)

I found that adding milk was my preferred choice for drinking this tea.

Cakes!

While I actually enjoyed this tea with a prototype cake (more on that after a tea party I have planned) I did also visit some friends this week (a delightful couple should you ever meet them). Their cake offering was an apricot flan with a good balance of sweetness (not too sweet as is common) and nice shortcrust pastry - lovely :)

Conclusion

German tea is definitely in a more than acceptable state, at least within Berlin.

Web-link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea_culture#Germany

 - Good elsewhere too it would seem!

See you all next week!

P.S. The Riots

I strongly support the movement to drink tea in protest of the rioting in England currently. Show your support to our police forces, firemen and volunteers!

The State of Tea Drinking in Germany - Part 1

This week my I am in Berlin on holiday. When else will I get the opportunity to assess the state of tea consumption in this fine country?

At breakfast I chose to try Ronnefeldt's English Breakfast blend.

Brewing

No official timings so I defaulted to a few minutes brewing before adding some alpenmilch. The main point with this brand of tea though was the tea caddy system which is definitely a better solution than Twining's little tea bag strings.

Colour

A nice brown tea colour as expected.

Aroma

Smells like a standard tea - a good sign for tea abroad.

Taste

This is a fairly normal blend of Ceylon tea for a good breakfast cuppa. Definitely a successful tea. Apparently tea drinking is on the rise in Germany which can only be a good thing :)

Breakfast

In order to do this tea justice I did my best to assemble a Full English from the buffet. Very crispy bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, tomato and some würst later and I had the closest approximation I could muster.

Conclusion

Deutschland has definitely succeeded at normal tea! 

Web-link

http://www.ronnefeldttea.ca/business/shop/category.php?id_category=7

See you all next week for more German shenanigans!

Twinings Free Sample 2

For those of you who don't know, Twinings are currently giving away free samples (

http://www.twinings.co.uk/discover-our-range/free-samples/

)! I took them up on their kind offer and chose a Blossom Earl Grey for this week's tea.

Brewing

"

Use freshly drawn water. Use water at a rolling boil. Use one teabag per cup or one per person in a teapot. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes (or to your taste). This delicate tea is best enjoyed black or with just a touch of milk

."

Your standard Twinings brewing instructions once again. I brew it strong and enjoyed it with milk as I would normal Earl Grey.

Colour

Dark brown.

Aroma

Though you can still smell the bergamot present in your usual Earl Grey tea it is much more restrained. The hint of orange blossom makes this tea nice and distinct from traditional Earl Grey.

Taste

I think this might be the tea with which to convert those who don't normally enjoy Earl Grey. With a weaker flavour the bergamot doesn't overpower the taste as much and this is a very refreshing tea.

Hard Work Pre-Quiz

I enjoyed this tea before clearing out the basement and heading off to a quiz in Withington. A quiz run by a man who can only really be described as a gentleman pirate (impressive facial hair and a waistcoat) who has possibly the most amazing voice I've heard outside of a particular episode of

Black Books

.

Conclusion

A lighter version of an old classic. Very refreshing.

Web-link

http://shop.twinings.co.uk/shop/taiwanese-high-mountain-oolong-6.html

See you all next week!

And Now For Something Completely Different!

It may not have escaped your notice that today is one of the hottest days of the year (I write these in advance, so it's probably raining by the time you read this). Having disproved the old adage that hot tea makes you cooler in the summer (this has never, ever worked for me or anyone I've asked under the age of 40. Lies I tell you!) and with this being tennis season I felt some iced tea was in order.

Ingredients

  • 8 Tea bags (I have a penchant for Earl Grey)
  • Water
  • Lemon
  • Sugar (I used brown but caster is fine)
  • Ice cubes

Brewing

  1. Boil 4 cups of fresh, cold water in a saucepan.
  2. Add the tea bags and leave to brew, while covered, for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags.
  4. Pour tea into large jug.
  5. Add 4 cups cold water to jug.
  6. Add sugar and lemon to taste.
  7. Add ice cubes to cool the tea to desired temperature.
  8. Enjoy!

Colour

Your iced tea will be a darker brown than commercial brands.

Aroma

As the tea is cold there is less aroma than usual but you can still pick out the bergamot as well as the lemon. It definitely has a nicer smell than shop bought ice tea.

Taste

Though I would normally consider sugar in Earl Grey to be sacrilege (though I do add milk which is seen as equally bad by some) it works very well in iced tea. The normally strong flavour of the tea is subdued but still present. All-in-all a pleasant experience.

Interesting Facts

Iced tea makes up for 85% of all tea consumed in the United States. 

There is a very nice story about the recipe being invented at the 1904 St. Louis World Fair but sadly recipes have been found dating back to the 1870s.

Conclusion

Follow instructions. Be refreshed!

Web-link

http://www.twinings.co.uk/discover-our-range/speciality-teas/earl-grey/

See you all next week!