Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Laura's Tea Room Is On Facebook!

After a little bit of deliberating, I've decided to set up a Facebook page for Laura's Tea Room.

It's early days yet, but, once I start adding content over the weekend I hope it will be a fun place to visit.

Do go over and like the page. Not much on it at the moment but it would be nice to see some of my readers on there and it certainly would be nice if you could pop by and say hello!

Click here to visit the page.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Cup Of Tea: Winter Harmony Leaf Cup

It is, quite frankly, a tea lovers dream when a tea company contact you to say "would you like samples?". Without a doubt, the answer is "yes please!". 

To be honest, this week hasn't been the greatest for me. It's really hot here in the UK, and I don't deal with heat well. I can't sleep, can't eat and my eczema has flared up, so all in all, it's pretty glum. When I received a lovely email from Simon, from Cup Of Tea it cheered me up no end.

In the package he sent me were some really special new teabags called Leaf Cup. The flavours are really varied from the lovely Winter Harmony (which I'm drinking now) to English Breakfast. Every taste is catered for.

Leaf Cup contains loose tea in a handy and convenient bag which is more like a traditional teabag then say a silky pyramid. At one end there is a hook which you can place over the handle of your cup, as you can see below.

This is the view from inside the cup. Yes, my cup is shameful. I've been drinking a lot of Jasmine Pearls which has stained the cup. I'm rather embarrassed but haven't had the time to use soda crystals on the cup!

 Then, as you add the hot water to the cup, the teabag floats up and brews. You can see that the Winter Harmony tea brews into a very vibrant red colour.

Once the tea has infused you simply remove the paper hook from the handle of your cup and your tea is ready to drink!

I think this is a really clever invention. As I've said in previous blogs, loose tea is becoming ever more popular. Tea drinkers are now expecting better quality tea, and with loose tea you'll always get that. Leaf Cup is really clever because it's small enough to fit in a handbag or brief case so you can use them in the office or whilst out and about. You can have quality but on the move. And believe me, if you drink loose tea often enough, then you really don't want anything else. It's a portable way to enjoy good quality tea.

This afternoon I took one into a cafe, asked for a pot of hot water and hey presto, a decent cuppa instead of the rather bland blends said cafe uses!

I think it's a fabulous invention!

So, what does Winter Harmony taste like? Well ..... it's flaming gorgeous! It's a really rich tasting tea that is totally perfect all year round, but especially comforting, I think at winter time. Perfect for when your out and about at firework parties! It's one of those brews that warm you up from the inside. I know you'll probably think it's a bit odd that I chose this flavour when I've complained about the heat, but I'm really glad that I've tried it.

Winter Harmony has a strong flavour. It says on the packet that it's a "fruit infusion" but it doesn't state which fruits are in the blend, but I'm guessing it's contains something like raspberry or strawberry. The base of the fruit flavours is gorgeous but it's the added almond flavouring which really gives the tea it's wow factor.

I've never experienced almond flavouring in tea before but I'm so glad I have. It's just so succulent, so sweet and really moreish. Sadly, I've now finished my cup and I have only one of each flavour but the aroma in the empty cup is mouthwatering. In fact, the almond taste reminds me of cherry bakewell cakes. Scrummy. Oh what a joy this blend is!

I've been really impressed with Winter Harmony Leaf Cup. A really clever idea in addition to a flavour so gorgeously mouthwatering you feel disappointed when the cup is empty.

Thank you Simon for thinking of this blog and sending me these glorious samples. It's much appreciated (as you can tell!).

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hello Blog Readers!

I can't believe that the last post I made on here was July 7th. How quickly the week's fly by!

It's been a rather manic few weeks. I hurt my foot in a accident that was really painful making sitting down in the evenings rather unpleasant. We had a weekend away with my in-laws and work has been hectic.

But, reviews will be coming soon! I'm out at the cinema tonight to watch Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes but normal service will resume tomorrow! :-)

Thanks for all of your patience.

Writing blogs means you have to be on top form for them to be readable and of a (hopefully!) decent quality. Writing them when rushed or tired doesn't work.

Readers, thanks for sticking by me! Means a lot.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Wise Owl Tea: Tahitian Night Night

'What's that you're drinking?' my boyfriend asked me as I was brewing a cup of Wise Owl's Tahitian Night Night tea.  When I told him it was a tea to aid restful sleep, he scoffed. Not because of the tea, but because, in traditional fashion for my family, I have the ability to fall asleep on a clothes line. Within seconds of hitting the pillow I'm fast asleep.

But, of course, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy a wonderful tea that aids sleep.

As I have described in my previous posts, I am totally in love with Wise Owl tea. They are a young company and there is just something about them that I really like! I have written reviews about some of  their other tea's that I've tried. You have the spicy Antiguan Cinnamon Spice or the relaxing (and my personal favourite) Bali Bamboo tea.

This evening I decided to try Tahitian Night Night.  Its a wonderfully aromatic blend that contains:

Liquorice root
Valerian root
Chamomile flower
Lavender flower
Lime flower

I really do love any tea that contains lavender. I find it a relaxing and very different ingredient for tea. I love the smell of lavender anyway, and now I love the taste.

The liquorice root gives the tea a slight tang, but nothing too strong just before bedtime, but it has a gentle kick that I enjoy. I have mentioned before that I do not like pure liquorice tea, but I do like the addition of liquorice root in tea as it gives the tea a little something extra.

Although I am not a fan of chamomile as a pure tea, I have to admit that the flavour within this tea is quite pleasant and because there are so many strong flavours contained in the blend it doesn't dominate.

I love how valerian root, liquorice root and chamomile flower have all been chosen because they are natural ingredients that help you relax, de-stress and help you to fall asleep. Together the flavours make for a wonderful brew, but already, as I'm now tucked up in bed writing this, I can feel myself starting to unwind and get ready for sleep.

It's a warming, comforting blend. I feel, (probably due to the liquorice root) that my whole body is warmed - it's like a cuddle in a cup! This will make an excellent brew for winter time when it's cold outside.

I would highly recommend this tea, even if you don't find it hard getting to sleep. It's just so relaxing, the perfect end of day brew when you need to avoid high caffeine drinks.

I love Wise Owl tea and I love this blend.  

Tea Huggers: Skinny Fit

Now, I will admit from the get go, that Tea Huggers Skinny Fit infusion isn't the sort of tea that you'd serve in the afternoon with sandwiches and fairy cakes. When I picture afternoon tea, I see Edwardian ladies sitting in their garden talking about embroidery and drinking the finest Earl Grey available. With Skinny Fit infusion you're more likely to get the real essence of girl power at it's 1990's best - it's spicy, firery and it packs a mean punch.

Skinny Fit tea claims to be able to boost your metabolism via the chilli that it contains. Oolong tea is also said to be a slimming aid. I am no way qualified to say if these claim's are true or not, however, what I can talk about is the tea itself.

The ingredients are:

Chinese oolong
Lemon Verbana
Juniper Berries
.. and a kick of chilli

From the minute you take a teabag (well, a silky teabag with loose ingredients as contents) out of the bag, you can smell all the exotic ingredients, the most prominent being the aniseed.

The look of the tea is brilliant. There is such a wonderful mixture of colours and textures. Here is a photo. If you look at the top of the teabag you can see two bright red juniper berries!

The tea brews to a brown colour with a hint of orange, yet, rather strangely, when the tea is finished your cup is bright orange! I'm not sure where the orange colour comes from, but it's fabulous. You feel as though you're drinking something totally natural.

The instructions on how to brew this tea are quite strict and I'd advise you to follow them if you want to get the best out of this tea.  Boil the kettle and then leave for five minutes (don't be tempted to leave for any less, it really won't work!) and then brew for up to five minutes, though I tend to brew for about four.

I love how the exotic aroma of aniseed fills the kitchen whilst this tea is infusing!

Upon first sipping this tea bursts to life and your mouth really experiences about several tastes all at once. You have the spicy aniseed which really refreshes your mouth. Then the flavour of verbana comes through. It's hard to describe the taste of verbana, but if I'm honest it always has a rather oily texture to it, (and that's the same in all the tea's I've had with verbana added to it) and I've found it hard to get used to in the past but it doesn't seem to worry me in this tea as there is so much going on.

I will admit that because of the power of the other flavours, and probably because I'm inexperienced with oolong tea, I didn't really pick up the taste of oolong. However, that is probably a fault on my part.

What is totally amazing about this tea is how hot the chilli is ... and I've had other chilli tea's and they are not a patch on this! It really dances around in your mouth and you can feel it on your tongue. In fact the first couple of cups I had of Skinny Fit infusion my tongue was slightly burning, as if I had had a hot curry or chilli pizza!  This is a tea unlike any other!

But, despite the hot chilli and the spicy aniseed, I felt totally refreshed, energised and awake. I tend to take a couple of mugs of this tea mid afternoon when I feel like I'm slightly flagging, it spurs me on for the last couple of hours of work. A cup on the morning spurs me on to start the day. It's a great "get up and go" tonic, and a tasty, enjoyable one at that, too!

Drinking this tea is a total experience in itself. Do I like this tea? .... no .... I LOVED it! It's so different it's very hard to describe.

As for the weight loss element, I cannot comment. But for a tasty, energising drink it's perfect. I feel more awake and positive after drinking a cup of this tea.

Well done, Tea Huggers - your tea is inspirational!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Tea: Sometimes You Fear The Worst And Are Plesantly Suprised!

Sometimes the need for tea is rather powerful, to say the least. And as I'm getting older, I seemed to have inherited from my late Dad, the almost constant, kettle never cold, tea drinking habit.

Yesterday, my boyfriend took me out to celebrate my birthday. Actually, my birthday was on Wednesday, but, as we own our own company, Saturday was the first day we could take off.

We live about twenty minutes (on the tram) away from Blackpool and about the same distance from Fleetwood in Lancashire. My other half planned a seriously good day out, and the weather was fantastic to boot.

Part of our day out was a trip on Blackpool's famous Piers, and when we ended up on South Pier I was desperate for a cup of tea. (I have a Bodum but had quite forgotten to use it!).

My boyfriend opted for a ice cream but he brought me a cup of tea which he paid the princely sum of ... £1! When standing at the kiosk, I saw the man working hard on the food he was selling so when he got to my cup of tea the bag was quickly dunked in the water, then taken out and a good splash of milk added (no sugar though!).

It was handed to me in this funky pink cup, but, I will admit to thinking it was going to taste downright awful.

I shouldn't of been quick to judge. It was actually a really good, decent, cup of tea. Solid, strong and tasty.

I'm not sure what brand of tea he uses but I expecting it was something like Tetley One Cup, or, even, Yorkshire tea. To be honest the poor chap was far too busy churning out chips and burgers to interupt (but, judging by the length of his que, and despite being surrounded by other food sellers, he was doing a roaring trade which means this chap is good at what he does) but I was impressed at his ability to make a decent cuppa.

So, if you're ever on Blackpool's South Pier, or near to it, and want a decent brew, then go to the chap opposite the stall that sells carvery roasts. He does a brilliant cuppa!

Kensington Tea Company: Summer Strawberry Green Tea

(Photo sourced from

At the moment Wimbledon is on, so strawberries and cream are being mentioned quite a lot here in Britain, so it was quite timely that I received a sample of Kensington Tea Companies Summer Strawberry Green Tea.

I have tried strawberry in tea before but found the texture of the tea's a little strange, almost furry like. But, I'm always keen to try new things so decided to brew a cup of this tea after a long day out and see what it's like.

Upon opening the packet, the smell of strawberries is wonderfully strong. There  is a natural freshness to the tea.  It smelt devine.

I popped a good spoonful into my brand new Floatea whilst waiting for the kettle to cool down. When it was time to add the water I let it infuse for three minutes. Whilst infusing the smell of strawberries filled the kitchen which even prompted my boyfriend to ask if I had brought any and could he have some!

Settling down in front of the television I took my first sip. I could tell instantly the difference between a tea that has strawberry flavouring and a tea that uses real pieces within the leaves (which this does). The taste of this tea is so rich and moreish. There is no weird texture about it, it's smooth and creamy.

This is truly a heavenly tea. It's as good as a bowl of strawberries and cream, if your weight watching. The creaminess, which I think comes from the addition of hibiscus blossom (as I've experienced hibiscus blossom in a different blend of tea and it had a creamy taste to), is mouthwatering delicious. By the time you've finished your first cup, you are on the way to making a second!

There is a also a slight tangy element to the tea as well, something in the background that I couldn't quite work out. So, on this matter, I had to cheat and refer to the website in which I found out that the tea also contains kiwi which was a surprise!

Kensington Tea Company have been so clever with this blend of tea. They have managed to create something that, for a weight watcher, is as good as a dessert. I honestly feel that by taking this tea, when friends and family are having a dessert I'm not missing it out. It's so creamy and aromatic that if I close my eyes, I feel as though I'm having a big bowl of ripe and juicy strawberries that are oozing with thick Cornish cream.

But lets not forget that this is a tea! And, it's also a green tea too! I've not tried green tea with strawberry's before so I wasn't too sure what to expect.  But, the tea is light and quite honestly, you wouldn't know you were drinking green tea. It could simply be a fruit tea. So, this is a perfect blend for those who are not too keen on green tea, or, are afraid to try it because of it's usual strong taste.

I'm really thrilled to have tried Summer Strawberry Green Tea. I felt as though I had something very rich and indulgent but, in all reality, it's really healthy and good for you.

Another great aspect of this tea is you can reuse the same leaves up to three times without suffering any lack of quality, so this tea will last you ages!

A massive thumbs up to Kensington Tea Company for making the perfect summer tea blend, and for catching the very essence of our traditional summer time treat.

hibiscus blossom
hibiscus blossom

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Let Me Introduce You To The Brilliant Floatea!

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday. One of the presents that my lovely Mum brought for me was this brilliant Floatea Tea Infuser. It's absolutely ace - easily the best invention since sliced bread!

My mum lives at the other end of the country so to save paying on postage twice, Mum sends me the money and I buy the items and my boyfriend wraps them (it's a family effort!). 

I had been looking for a really good infuser as I've decided to try and use loose tea as much as possible. I have several of those metal ball type infusers which are good, but, if you have a smaller leaf tea then it tends to leak through the gaps in the infuser and into the bottom of the cup. Not very good to have a mouthful of tea leaves!

When browsing on the Kensington Tea Company's website I noticed that they also sell infusers. I instantly liked the look of the Floatea in red (they are also available in black or green) and so decided to order one. 

Firstly, I have to commend Kensington Tea Company for several different reason's. Firstly, the ease of payment is excellent. There is no need to go through three pages during the process, it's all done quickly and speedily. Secondly, they use Royal Mail. I cannot say how convenient this is. Couriers are fine, but if you miss them you can have trouble reorganising delivery, or, have to travel many miles to collect it from their nearest parcel hub. And lastly, they post the items really speedily and only had to wait a few days for delivery. 

As a bonus, whilst sorting out the packaging for the recycling bin, I also was happy to see that they had enclosed a sample of tea with the order. I was also happier when I saw what it was my absolute favourite tea: Chinese Jasmine Pearl Superior!

Anyway ... back to the Floatea. 

The actual Floatea can take a substantial amount of tea. A good couple of teaspoons if you really wanted to fill it to the top. On this occasion I've used my free sample. 

After filling the infuser you replace the handle to it and pop it in the cup. Upon adding water the infuser rises to the top of the cup and bob's around as the tea seeps. 

It's really great fun to watch the Floatea dance around in the hot water. I love this because as you can see in the picture there is no leakage of tea leaves into the water. Okay, I will admit, that Jasmine Pearls (when brewed) make for large leaves. But I've also tried the infuser on Twinings Christmas Cake tea, which is a black tea with far smaller leaves and bar one or two stray leaves, my cup was also free of tea leaves. Sadly, this is not so with the traditional ball shaped metal infusers.

Once your tea has brewed you can even use it to stir the tea!

But what I really love is that you can replace the wet infuser back into it's stand - no need for tea and tealeaves to be all over the place (which happens to me!) with the Floatea. The drips collect in it's stand and you can easily wash it up afterwards. 

The Floatea is priced at £10.95, and for me it's worth every single penny. Yes, it's more expensive then some infusers out there, but compared to what I have in my kitchen it's far, far better, just for the fact that the leaves do not leak and it's tidy to use. 

The Floatea is made from stainless steel and strong rubber. Of course, time will tell if it tarnishes as it's used more and more but, at the moment it's easy to clean and looks really good. 

I can honestly say this is one of the best tea related purchases I've made. It makes it just so easy to enjoy loose tea without the hassle of emptying the pot. I have only had this for a day and wouldn't be without it. 

I do not regret buying the Floatea. It's a warmly received part of my tea family!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

T Box Teas: Panakeia Oolong.

I was very excited to try T Box Teas Panakeia Oolong for several different reasons. Mainly though, because I've not yet tried an Oolong tea! I've been meaning to but I've just not got around to it quite yet.

I tried this tea on Sunday night. I was feeling tired, and my hayfever was making me feel a little under the weather, so I decided to try this new tea.

The tea comes in very silky teabags. There is a substantial amount of tea within the bag and it smells lovely. The description on the plastic outer cover said it contains ginseng too, which was brilliant as that is fabulous when you're not feeling quite yourself.

It stated that the tea should be brewed for between 3-5 minutes but I decided to let it infuse for just three minutes because, what with it being a new tea for me, I wasn't sure how strong it was likely to be.

When brewing, this tea smells gorgeous. There is a fruity element to it, something like passion fruit, but I couldn't be too sure. But, it was beyond pleasant. It smelt fabulous.

Panakeia Oolong brews to a divine dark, almost black, colour. Really stunning to look at.

The tea has a smooth, rich flavour. Most satisfying after a hard day or, as I was, not feeling quite yourself. It's warming and the fruity flavour is very delicate but adds an extra something to this wonderful blend.

Oolong is a Chinese tea with a slightly smoky (to my tastes, anyway!) taste to it, so the ginseng and added fruit add a sweetness to the rather robust tea. It reminds me almost of a cross between Assam and Yunnan.

It's a solid and strong tea, whilst at the same time, retaining a delicate aspect to it.

I found Panakeia Oolong to be really enjoyable, the perfect pick me up for a day when I wasn't feeling 100%.

It's tasty and delicious. I really enjoyed it!

Happy Birthday, Princess Diana

Aside from drinking tea, my other hobby is Princess Diana. I'm generally interested in the entire Royal Family, but, Princess Diana is the one I really am interested in.

Today she would of been 53 years old.

According to my research, Princess Diana was a virtual tea-totaller. She would often have a glass of wine when dining with friends or at state banquets, but mostly she drank tea or water.

Apparently Diana would drink Earl Grey  - black with a slice of lemon but no sugar - during the day and herbal tea's, such as chamomile during the evening as she often had trouble sleeping.

Of course we will never know what blend she used to drink, but, she was spotted in Whittard once!

Her friends have spoken of her having some exquisite tea sets which were brought out for visitors but on a daily basis took her tea from a white mug featuring a picture of her character on Spitting Image.

Visitors, both official ones and friends, have stated that she'd call for tea as soon as her guests had arrived and it flowed freely during their visits. 

I would of loved to have taken afternoon tea with Princess Diana. There is so much I would of loved to have asked and discussed with her. It would of been a cracking way to spend an afternoon.

Who is your ideal person to take tea with?