flavoured

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...

Osmanthus Green: Thesis, YouTube, Update!

Osmanthus Green: Thesis, YouTube, Update!

In which I review some floral green tea and update you on my life...

Thesis Writing

So thesis writing is fully under-way  now and my supervisors assure me that writing will get harder and longer as it continues - fun, fun, fun!

It takes me a while to get into writing but I expect I'll make a video about Thesis writing soon. I actually quite enjoy writing though so I hope I'll be able to keep the pace up and stay on schedule :)

Warming Camomile & PhD 3rd Year Retrospective

In which I talk about my approaching final year and try a warming tea...

So in a few days I should be officially into my fourth and final year of my PhD.  That means I'm hopefully one year away from wearing these crazy robes...

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 :)

Mango and Lychee Green Tea

Mango & Lychee Green Tea

I ran out of green tea so this review and the next review my attempt to find a new workday green tea :).

Brewing

"We suggest brewing this tea for a maximum of 2 minutes, any longer and you'll lose the delicate taste. Allow one bag per person and add freshly boiled water.

"

A change to my usual long brewing habits. However I did over brew the first cup and I don't think it ruined the tea at all - it just made it taste more of green tea than mango.

Colour

Very pale brown.

Aroma

I'm not sure if I would pick out the smell as mango or lychee (I don't believe I have ever sniffed a lychee) but there is definitely a pleasing fruity aroma.

Taste

At first the tea tastes like a herbal tea with a strong mango flavour (probably lychee too but it's clearly a complimentary flavour as I don't know what it tastes like and it isn't very obvious). The after taste is a weak tea flavour which is equally enjoyable.

Lasagna Lunch

I've been drinking this tea while enjoying a home-made lasagna for lunch. Back to work soon though!

Conclusion

A very refreshing tea which, as it's green, doesn't require milk. A fruity, soothing change to my workday tea schedule :D

Web-link

http://www.twinings.co.uk/green-teas/mango-lychee-green

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!

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!

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 Gift of Tea

This week I received a lovely gift box of green tea all the way from America! I was told to make an exciting sounding tea lemonade with this but have only had the time to make a normal cup of tea this week. [I also visited the Whittards outlet shop but more on that next week!]

Brewing

"1) Boil water. 2) Place one sachet in cup. 3) Pour 8fl oz hot water over sachet. 4) Steep for 3 minutes."

This is a green tea so milk need not be added. While you are waiting for your tea to brew you can enjoy reading the packaging as I did ("For best karma, please reuse or recycle.")

Colour

Pale brown which has more in common with black tea than green tea.

Aroma

You can smell the mint strongly. It actually reminds me of mint sauce. This might sound odd for a tea but does help bring to mind the memory of delicious roast lamb.

Taste

I am happy to report it doesn't taste of mint sauce :) There is a strong mint flavour with a hint of lemon grass (a pleasant aftertaste). There is also an underlying taste of tea :) I couldn't taste the lemon essence but it probably helps bring out the other flavours.

Fantasia

I took a break from writing my Continuation Report (the reason this entry is so late!) to try this tea. I've been trying to find familiar films/series to watch which are conducive to the writing process and Fantasia has been one of the best yet [I've written 7 pages today :)].

Conclusion

An invigorating green tea which tastes strongly of mint.

Web-link

http://www.tazo.com/tazo.asp

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!

A Refreshing Workday Tea

This week my teapot was sadly destroyed by an evil washing machine (resonance is bad kids!) :( As such this week's tea is once more of the tea bag variety.

On a recent trip to replace my green tea at work I decided to be daring and try a tea company I was not familiar with - Clipper.

Brewing

"This is how we do it: always use fresh water, pour it over the tea bag while it's still boiling and allow to brew for 2-4 minutes. The rest is up to you"

A reasonable brewing time and though I usually favour stronger tea I have enjoyed this brewed both slowly and quickly. A quick brew will bring out more lemon flavour than a slow one will.

Colour

Very pale green, hard to see in my usual

mug

.

Aroma

The lemon smell is not particularly strong when you remove the tea bag from the packaging but when you make the tea it is very fragrant indeed. You must enjoy lemons to enjoy this tea.

Taste

This is a very refreshing tea and has quickly become my staple at work in this warm weather. If you brew it quickly the tea takes a back seat and you get a lovely, lemony libation. With a longer brewing time you get a nice green tea with hints of lemon. This is definitely the tea I would suggest to someone who hasn't tried green tea before!

Work & Music

This tea has been an excellent pick-me-up this week with an increased work load. I have also been accompanying it with a variety of good music including Marc Bolan & T-Rex and some comedy from "Weird Al" Yankovic (currently

Pancreas

is stuck in my head).

Conclusion

Vraiment rafraîchissante! J'adore les citrons.

Web-link

http://shop.clipper-teas.com/teas/green/fairtrade-green-tea-with-lemon

See you all next week!

Twinnings Free Sample 1

For those of you who don't know, Twinnings 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 flavoured green tea for this week's tea.

Brewing

"Allow one bag per person and add freshly boiled water. Leave to infuse for no more than two minutes to ensure you get a light, delicate, fresh taste. Always best enjoyed without milk."

This tea is brewed for much less time than the others in the Twinnings range. Also since this is a green tea no milk is required.

Colour

Very pale green-brown similar to normal green tea.

Aroma

Very light smell with orange definitely present. I'm not sure that I can smell the lotus flower but I do have a cold at the moment.

Taste

Delicate is definitely the case this is much lighter than normal green tea. If you're not a fan of green tea normally you might enjoy this. You can definitely taste the orange but it is again fairly light. Definitely refreshing but very weak compared to my usual tastes.

Television

I tried this while sat down for this week's episode of The Apprentice after a thorough spring cleaning of the house. It definitely helped refresh me during my well deserved sit down.

Conclusion

Delicate and light with hints of orange. Nice after a spring clean!

Web-link

http://www.twinings.co.uk/discover-our-range/green-teas/green-tea-with-orange-and-lotus-flower/

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!

Another Dessert Tea!

It appears that Whittards are particularly fond of dessert based tea and so this week we turn to the delightful Loose Leaf Apple Crumble Flavoured Tea!

This tea was discovered by Tom B and the tasting sample kindly donated by Rach T.

Brewing

"Always drink lightly brewed with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of leaves per 6-cup teapot. Warm the pot first with a splash of hot water. Add the tea and pour on boiling water. Brew for 2-5 minutes. Do not add milk."

The instructions don't differ much from the other Whittard teas. Again milk is not required and I went for ~5 minutes brewing time (this is a very light tea).

Colour

Very pale brown.

Aroma

A lovely light smell of apples with a hint of cinnammon. This might not quite send you to an English orchard as the advertising blurb claims but very enjoyable.

Taste

I expected this tea to be along similar lines to the

Sticky Toffee Tea

 but once again I was surprised! It is very light with hints of apple, cinnamon and vanilla and much more reminiscent of a herbal tea.Personally I'm a fan of strong tea so I feel this is unlikely to become a regular addition to my afternoon. That said, however, it was a refreshing change and definitely worth a try.

Television

There's no music this week as I had guests around for the tea tasting. Instead our conversation had an old episode of Supermarket Sweep for background featuring Dale Winton's orange face (though not as orange as

David Dicknson

!). Hilarity of course ensued as the ineptitude of the contestants became apparent.

Conclusion

Light and refreshing. Smells of apples and cinnamon. Delightful.

Web-link

http://www.whittard.co.uk/tea/flavoured_tea/loose_apple_crumble_tea.htm

See you all next week!