Twinings

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...

The Worst Tea Experience of My Life

In which I describe a tea failure of epic proportions...

Dear Reader,

Let me set the scene for you. It was a warm but not unpleasant summer afternoon. The kind which threatens rain.* The kind we British deem perfect barbecue whether. And indeed I did barbecue for it was the last evening of Cubs this term.

An enjoyable game of kwik cricket, two burgers and a few glasses of fiery ginger beer later I was satiated. The cubs all left with their respective guardians and I set off home.

On the drive back I got to thinking, as I often do, that I desired some good company and a pot of tea. Potentially even a biscuit to round off the evening.

The Great British Tea Test 2012

The Great British Tea Test 2012

That tea review data in full...

So we set out to try all the major and supermarket brand teas and decide which was the best this year.

The Tea & The Cakes

We tried the following teas:

  • ASDA red label
  • Clipper
  • Lancashire
  • Marks & Spencer everyday
  • Morrisons red label
  • PG Tips
  • Sainsbury's red label
  • Tesco red label
  • Tetley
  • Twinings
  • Typhoo
  • Whittard
  • Yorkshire

Orange & Lotus Flower Green Tea

In which I try a fruity and flowery 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 use freshly boiled water

"

This is a fairly exact brewing time but for good reason. Over-brewing really does ruin this tea.

Colour

A brownish-green like most green teas but it looks a little more orange to me :)

Aroma

Smells like green tea with a strong hint of orange. I'm not sure if I could smell the

lotus flower

as I don't know what they smell like.

Taste

Obviously this should be drunk without milk. This tea has a light, delicate, complex flavour. You first get a familiar green tea flavour with a hint of orange which builds before tailing off into a floral flavour. I can only assume this is the lotus flower flavour which is delightful :)

Camera Mug

I drank this tea from my new camera lens mug :D

Conclusion

Delicate, floral, tasty!

Web-link

http://twinings.co.uk/green-teas/orange-lotus-flower-green

Great British Tea Test 2012

So at the end of the month my plan is to drink all the 'standard teas' i.e. Tetley, PG Tips, Yorkshire, Sainsbury's brand etc. and compare them. I anticipate this may require the help of my house mates. I will then run a double blind study to assess taste etc. and post the results in the style of a scientific paper sometime in December :D

Tom out!

P.S. Camera lens mug:  

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0058CW9UO/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00

Bonus: Tesco Christmas Sandwich

Since it is now November I feel I can now get away with breaking the Christmas embargo. At the bottom of my tea reviews I will be reviewing a Christmas sandwich from one of the major retailers. This week it's time for Tesco.

Price: approx £2.60 (although it is in the £3 meal deal too)

Taste: The turkey is nothing special but it normally isn't in these sandwiches anyway. The cranberry sauce is good. The sausage was a nice addition but the sausage wasn't particularly flavourful. I found there was too much mayonnaise which, coming from someone who loves mayonnaise, made the sandwich a little lackluster despite it's moistness.

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!

Cranberry Green Tea

Cranberry Green Tea

Here's the second of my candidates for 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.

"

Same as last time - a nice quick brew for a delicate tasting tea.

Colour

Very pale brown with a reddish tinge.

Aroma

Unlike last time you can clearly smell the cranberry and the general tea aroma is less pronounced.

Taste

At first the tea tastes like a herbal tea with a weak cranberry flavour - very refreshing. The after taste is stronger than last time and tastes more like your usual green tea.

BC-ISMRM

I've been drinking this tea while going over my slides for a presentation at the British Chapter of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. Getting nervous now as this is my first presentation at a conference.

Conclusion

A refreshing workday green tea with a subtle cranberry flavour - lovely.

Verdict

Which is better? There's only one way to find out - DRINK!

I think the Mango and Lychee tea is the more interesting but the Cranberry tea is more suitable for day-to-day drinking. For now I think that will become my workday green tea :)

Web-link

http://www.twinings.co.uk/green-teas/cranberry-green-tea

Tom out!

P.S.

BC-ISMRM

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!

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!

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!

The Almost Tea

While out in Deansgate the other day I decided to be a little daring in my choice of tea. I went for the interestingly named Rooibos tea which until recently I knew nothing about (except that my friend Aisha was a fan of it).

For those who don't know Rooibos (or Redbush) tea is made from a bush found in Africa and is naturally caffeine free. Since it is not made from true tea leaves it counts as a herbal tea. It is still full of anti-oxidants though!

Brewing

"Use freshly drawn water. Use water at a rolling boil. Steep for 3 to 5 minutes (or to your taste) to release all of the flavour. Delicious with or without milk."

I brewed this tea for about 4 minutes but I didn't keep diligent track of the time since I was enjoying myself in a restaurant. I enjoyed this herbal tea with milk partly because if you can have milk in tea I normally do and partly because I left the waiter standing there for so long while I made my decision that it would have been rude not to. 

Colour

A rich red-brown colour that compares to most everyday teas.

Aroma

The aroma is nothing special, smelling very much like an ordinary tea.

Taste

This was the most interesting part as I had absolutely no idea what to expect because herbal teas have such a wide range of flavours. Rooibos tea, it turns out, tastes very similar to normal tea. In fact had I not known it was different I would likely have thought nothing of it and assumed it was simply normal tea. 

Since this is clearly marketed as caffeine free alternative and is a lot nicer than many decaf teas I can definitely see the appeal.

Cake & Conversation

I tried this tea with a slice of carrot cake (Café Rouge is yet another place which does a 'cake & coffee' deal) and a delightful conversation.

Conclusion

Very similar to your standard teas but without the caffeine. A pleasant surprise!

Web-link

http://shop.twinings.co.uk/shop/twinings-tea/redbush-teas/redbush-628.html

See you all next week for the second Twinings sample!

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!

A Workday Tea

Since I realise that not everyone has the time to invest in loose leaf tea this week I present a nice tea in teabag form.

I was first introduced to Lapsang Souchong via the comedic stylings of one Bill Bailey and as such had to try it. Since then, for reasons most likely linked to regular consumption of a pot (or two) during revision for my final year exams, this has become a tea I drink in order to focus myself and work harder.

Brewing

"Use one tea bag per person and pour on boiling water. Leave the tea to brew for three to five minutes, or until you think it's ready. Then drink it black, or with a drop of milk."

I tend to brew this tea for the length of one song in my playlist (this usually falls neatly between 3 and 5 minutes) as I'd feel strange timing my tea in the office.

Similarly, I drink this tea without milk due to the lack of adequate fridge facilities in my office (all my work teas can be enjoyed without milk)

Colour

A deep brown.

Aroma

Step 1: Cut down a pine tree. 

Step 2: Build a bonfire from it. 

Step 3: Inhale.

Or alternatively take a deep breath over your mug of Lapsang Souchong.

Taste

In a word: intriguing. 

This tea tastes of smoke (from the aforementioned pine trees). This is indeed odd but surprisingly refreshing. 

Although this week I haven't any tea tasters to hand I do recall introducing my housemates to it last year. I believe the consensus was: strange but good.

Music

While writing this (and enjoying the tea) I have listened to: Pearl Jam, Queen, The Eagles, Supertramp and Blink-182. A good mix of strong beats and good lyrics to keep me working.

Conclusion

To quote The Mask: "

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSMOKIN'!

"

Web-link

http://shop.twinings.co.uk/shop/lapsang-souchong-1.html

See you all next week!