Friday, 27 May 2016

Solaris Tea: Organic Green Chai

It's fairly common knowledge on this blog that I adore green tea in every way possible. I love the earthy, natural taste, the lightness, the sparkling colour and the different types of flavours you get with green tea. Some are grassy for example, whilst other's tend to be sweet.

I prefer it pure, unflavoured. Only last night I was enjoying a very high quality Dragon Well green tea whilst chatting about - tea - with a good friend. However, green tea also takes fruity flavours well, blueberry or peach are the nicest, though cranberry and lemon are also nice. In addition it adapts to floral tones well, you cannot not like a good jasmine green tea!

So, imagine my surprise when the lovely team at Solaris Tea contacted me offering me a green chai to try! I have never put green tea down as a contender in the chai stakes. But recently I was so impressed with their White Tea Chai that I was eager to try the green tea.

Recently I've really been enjoying chai tea's, but I tend to have to drink them with milk and sugar when taken as a black tea as many blends are quite overpowering. So, it's usually reserved as a treat tea, with me enjoying a cup only once or twice a week.

Considering that green tea has to be taken without milk would it provide me with a healthy, sugar free way of enjoying chai without overpowering me with spices leaving me feeling nauseous (which tends to happen when I drink black chai tea without milk or sugar)?

I certainly hoped so ...

 Solaris Tea's Organic Green Tea Chai comes in modern, attractive packaging.

Upon opening the package I was instantly hit with a wonderful aroma. The blend of spices used - cardamom, cloves and star anis - are blended with orange and lemon peel, which makes for a sweetly spicy and gently fruity flavour.

The tea used in this blend is a First Flush Sencha green tea. If you don't know, Sencha is a tea that retains it's vitamin's and anti-oxident properties due to the fact that is the least processed tea. It's gently steamed, so the process, along with the fact that this is a first flush tea means not only is it over flowing with flavour but also with healthy properties, too.

This tea is something of a wonder. The spices are so well blended that you well and truly get a hit of amazing flavour, yet, it's not overpowering nor so strong that the tea is undrinkable. (If other chai blenders took as much care with the blending of tea and spices when making black tea I'd be able to take it without adding milk or sugar).

The spices are tasty and certainly bring some oomph to the tea, but they are delicate too, as not to overpower the tea. Green tea is more delicate than black so the blender of this tea has done a superb job making the tea tasty, but retaining the gentle qualities of green tea that I love so much.

One of the things I was most curious about was whether the green tea could support the flavours or would it just end up like a spicy tisane rather then a green tea. Well I'm glad to say that green tea works as well as a chai as black tea does. Underneath the spicy elements I can certainly pick up the smoothness of the green tea. So it's a well blended, well matched tea. The pairing of green tea with such vibrant flavours as cloves and cardamom actually does work and gives you a satisfying, refreshing brew.

Black tea can sometimes sit a little heavily on my stomach, more so in the hot summer months and even more so when milk and sugar is added. I tend to veer towards green tea in the summer months then I do in the winter as it's lighter and refreshing. So it's lovely to have that familiar and much appreciated lightness of green tea, coupled with flavours to make for a really interesting cup of tea.

Solaris Tea's Organic Green Tea Chai is well on it's way to becoming my preferred tea of the summer. It's refreshing taste, it's light qualities and it's all round scrummy, gorgeous taste has fixed itself firmly as THE thing to drink during the hot summer months.

And, in addition, this tea can be re-infused up to three times to it's likely to last you quite some time. The tea is good on it's second infusion, but by the third it's a far bit weaker so I would say, for my own personal tastes, two infusions is about right - but do experiment on this as you may find three is perfectly fine.

As a green tea lover this is awesome. As a chai lover, it's utterly unforgettable.

I would urge you to give this tea a try. I honestly don't forget you'll regret it.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Twinings: Gingerbread Chai Latte

Recently, I have been bemoaning the fact that Twinings have retired their original chai tea.

I couldn't (and still can't) work out their logic behind discontinuing a popular member of their family, and one which, when it was in every shop, was often sold out. I loved the sweetness of the chai, the fact I could really treat myself to a milky, sugary drink. And part of my disappointment was that it was the nearest thing that Twinings had to their Mulled Spice tea (long since retired).

But, I guess, time and tastes march slowly on, so found myself (as I often do) browsing on the Twinings website and headed straight towards the silky pyramid section. I have to admit the Nutty Chocolate and Full English didn't appeal to me, but when I spotted their Gingerbread Chai Latte I was very interested. And somehow a packet magically appeared in my basket!

This is a tea that is a real treat for me, as it's designed to take with a liberal dash of both milk and sugar. And I have to say, though saddened that the original chai is discontinued, I think I may of found a more than worthy replacement.

Firstly, I will say that this tea is a slight faff to prepare. Apparently you are meant to put in a long, tall latte glass, pour 3/4's full of hot water, then hot, frothed milk and then add sugar. I'm sure that many of you out there will prepare it correctly. I do not have either the time or inclination, so I just pop the teabag in, add sugar, hot water and milk to taste. And it still tastes brilliant (I will prepare it properly one day!).

Gingerbread Chai Latte is the latest, impressive addition to Twinings very popular loose leaf silky pyramid range, which provides good quality loose leaf tea in the convenience of a teabag.  The pyramid is filled with a generous amount of black tea and obviously, a blend of spices.

Quite frankly, this tea is brilliant. I am very, very impressed indeed and I hope this tea has a long shelf life.

This tea really does taste exactly like gingerbread. You may think that is stating the obvious and I wouldn't blame you, but, I have tried other gingerbread tea's which, despite being blended with mixed spices, don't actually taste like gingerbread. This does. It's as good as popping down to Sainsburys and buying the really cute Mr and Mrs Gingerbread biscuits that they sell.

The flavour of this tea is very strong. If you don't like gingerbread this most certainly isn't the tea for you, but if you love it (as I do!) you'll be in for a great treat.

The ingredients are basic. We have a fabulous black tea from China, ginger, syrup and spices. Simple as that. It doesn't include bits of biscuit or anything weird like that. Just four simple ingredients that come together to form a wonderful tea.

The spices and ginger are blended together really well, forming that familiar flavour that you have with gingerbread. It's very strong and once you take a sip of this tea you are fully aware of what you have just tasted. The spices dance around your mouth and your taste buds burst alive with the flavour, long after you have taken your sip.

Amazing this tea isn't too sweet either. The spices keep you on your toes and keeps the sweetness factor quite low which I think is quite nice as I don't have an overly sweet tooth. 

This tea makes you feel refreshed and instantly satisfied. It's incredibly moreish too, meaning that the cup of tea doesn't tend to stay very full for long! Once you have taken a sip you immediately want more and more of it. Due to the rather lush, addictive qualities of this tea, it does mean that the packet doesn't last long - you only get 12 silky pyramids in each bag, so when looked at it from that angle, it's quite an expensive tea, but, it's truly worth it and I think it adds a bit of luxury to your tea drinking day.

The tea is light and refreshing enough to be pleasant to drink on hot summer days, and I think it will be warming and comforting when autumn sets in - especially when the days get wetter and the evenings get darker earlier. A perfect time to serve this would be on firework night. It would really provide people with a extra special drink that warms them from the inside and keeps them warm for ages.

It's pretty perfect whenever you choose to drink it!

I was really impressed with this tea. It's different to the original chai, which is sweeter than this, but I have to say it's already proving to be a popular replacement.

There is nothing negative about the this tea whatsoever. I suppose if I could wish for anything it would be that  maybe another half dozen pyramids could be added to the pack making it a bit more cost effective, because as it stands currently, this is a "treat" tea, meaning I only have a mug a couple of times a week due to the higher cost.

You'll love this if you love gingerbread or, indeed, if you are a fan of Twinings range of dessert tea's that have been released in recent years, such as Cherry Bakewell and Salted Caramel green teas. And, indeed, if you're a fan of chai tea's this will certainly make an impression. It has for me.

Just as I was mourning the loss of chai, Twinings have come up with something that is a very worthy replacement. It's modern, fresh and funky and I think it's a twist of genius.

Plain and simply it's delicious.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Whittard: English Rose Tea & Queen Of Hearts Strawberry Shortbread

Today I have a special review for you! Not only am I reviewing Whittards lovely English Rose tea, I'm also reviewing their Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortbread as well - and believe me it's a match made in heaven!

I haven't really had much from Whittards in the past, but after window shopping on their website, I saw a myriad of things I wanted to try, so do expect quite a few Whittard reviews coming over the next few months!

I've tried rose tea many, many times in the past and it's a firm favourite so alongside the recently reviewed Bohemian Raspberry, I also decided to purchase their English Rose tea, this time in silky pyramid form rather than loose leaf.

Now, before I start, I have to say I adore rose flavoured tea. But you do have to be careful. Please, avoid the cheaper lines of the rose tea, as I can guarantee it will taste awful. Rather like drinking from your Nanna's perfume spray! And never, I repeat, NEVER take it with milk. The two just don't sit well and it WILL put you off this lovely flavour for ever.

When the tea arrived I was rather delighted to see that it came in this tastefully designed cardboard container. One thing I will say - Whittard do know how to pack their tea's in traditional, elegant packaging.

What is really exciting about Whittard is that they give you many, many options on this line of tea. You can have this in a filled caddy (see Bohemian Raspberry for a example of what their caddies are like), and you can also purchase the loose tea refills when you run out. You can purchase them in silky pyramids, traditional teabags and individually wrapped teabags - perfect to pop in your bag when you're out and about.

I opted for silky pyramids.

I love silky pyramids because I simply love the feel of them, but also, it allows you to have a good look at the contents. As you can see above, you get a ample amount of tea, which is rich in colour, scattered with pink petals and, even more wonderfully, a complete rose bud too! This tea is not just a feast for your tongue, but for your eyes also. It's stunningly pretty and just appealing on so many levels.

Despite it's obvious delicateness, this is quite a sturdy tea and can be infused for up to five minutes without any negative affect on the flavour at all. It didn't turn bitter or taste acrid. I infuse this tea fully and enjoy a sweet, tempting tea.

Whittards wonderful English Rose did not disappoint. For those who love rose flavoured tea's you'll be in for a real treat. The big question in my mind is how have I never fully discovered Whittards before when they are serving up wonderful tea's such as these. I now genuinely feel so excited about all I have to discover.

The base tea in this blend is a solid black Chinese tea. I loved how it's dark mahogany colour contrasted so well with the bright pink of the rose petal's and rose buds that were contained in this tea. There is the dramatic dark tea dotted with gorgeous dashes of pink with is extremely appealing visually.

I love the sweet, floral taste of the rose. It's beyond delicious. It's full on and dances along your taste buds, leaving the flavour swirling around in your mouth for ages. The rose is such that it reminds me instantly of turkish delight, so it's like a dessert in a cup, a real treat without any of the downsides of eating real turkish delight.

English Rose is a well balanced tea and thank god it doesn't taste synthetic as I have had tea's that are flavoured with some strange rose oil which is just intolerable, you can tell as it's oily and just yukky, but this is very natural and delightful.

And I really, really do love how the flavour stays with you for sometime after you've finished your mug (or cup) of tea and that can only be a good thing as it's just a flavour that you don't want to let go of!

In addition to this wonderful tea, I have another treat for you. When I was shopping online at Whittard I couldn't resist looking at their biscuit section and stumbled on something that was just too lovely looking not to buy.

You may or may not be aware that for some time Whittard have sold a wonderful range of Alice in Wonderland items. I, for one, have my heart set on the tea service, which comes with cup's and saucers and a tea pot (that will take some saving up for, I will admit) amongst other things and I am rather desperate to own the tea set. (One day it will happen!).

Within that Alice in Wonderland range I came across something delicious. Yes, I tried their Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortbread, and I was not disappointed with this either!

Firstly, check out the wonderful packaging. The biscuits come sealed in plastic packaging within this thick cardboard packet which has a metal lid which helps keep your biscuits fresh. I had mine open for more than a week and have just eaten the last two and were as fresh as if they were just opened, so big thumbs up to Whittard for providing packaging that keeps item's fresh.

 The Queen of Hearts Strawberry Shortbread is an all butter shortbread flavoured with strawberry. I will admit that the amount you get in the packet isn't huge, but, it's the quality that matters and it's really lovely.

Unlike most shortbreads available in shops it doesn't have a smooth finish, rather it's crumbly and has a rough texture but is very yummy indeed. It's also heart shaped which is lovely little touch and would make for a perfect Valentines Day gift, or for a special treat for the one you love.

I have to admit I am cautious with something that has "all butter" in the description, as that normally means a moment on the lips ... and a evening in agony with heartburn. However, though this is all butter it's not overly rich which is a relief as I do like buttery things but not overly so that makes it too much to eat.

Nor are these biscuits greasy to the touch either, which is a pleasant surprise.

I really did like the strawberry flavouring too. It's not too strong, but you can taste the strawberry but it's more a hint rather then a full on strawberry flavouring. It's really lovely to eat and very tasty.

I found it's the prefect pairing for the English Rose but even more better to take with the Bohemian Raspberry. I found the English Rose was lovely to have with the biscuits but it worked REALLY well with the Bohemian Raspberry.  

The mixture of strawberry and raspberry was just too delicious to deny!

I really am impressed with Whittard and cannot wait to try even more of their fantastic tea's. But, in the mean time, I think I'll make another English Rose and spend just a few minutes in it's beautiful company.

Twinings: Turkish Apple Black Tea

One thing I really like about Twinings Tea is that they offer a Pick & Mix option where you can buy single envelopes of tea for a decent price. For a blogger, this is exceptional, because it gets quite expensive trying new tea's - and let's be honest, there is nothing worse then paying out for a whole box of tea, only to find that half way through your first cup, you don't like it. I have experienced this with Lapsang Souchong and Beetroot Burst.

There are tea's that do hold instant appeal that mean's I will invest in a entire box, but on the whole, new tea's from Twinings are picked  by the single envelope. It's cheaper, takes up less space in the cupboard and gives me the option of trying all the different tea's in a affordable way.

In my last order I selected a envelope of a tea I have wanted to try for a while but not quite got round to. This tea was Turkish Apple Black Tea.

Apple tea has always been a hit for me. Twinings Apple Crunch is probably my all time favourite fruit tea. Piacha's Apple Green tea is certainly one not to be missed, again, one of my favourite green tea's. But for me, I've yet to find a black tea with genuine pizazz, that is memorable, like Piacha's Apple Green tea, which I often think about!

Though I liked Twining's Turkish Apple I was left underwhelmed at the same time. Though pleasant and tasty, I was left flat. And here's why I think this.

The base tea is a strong, but smooth black tea, with ever so slightly nutty tones. I like how the tea is strong enough to hold it's own, but yet, takes the apple flavour very well. The apple itself is light, crisp and refreshing. More importantly, this feels natural and fresh not synthetic which some flavourings can be and which, to be honest, I find abhorant.

All's well so far ...

However, though the black tea is lovely and the apple is both mouth watering and thirst quenching, this tea could be so much more. With the addition of a liberal dash of sweet cinnamon or a funky, sharp touch of nutmeg this tea could go from being okay to superb.

This tea isn't unpleasant. In fact it's really rather nice. I love the juicy, sweet flavour of apple which feel's fresh. I like the robust, rounded flavour of the tea. But for me it's just lacking. I'm not sure if it's because I've been enjoying quite a lot of chai tea lately, or because I have started to allow myself the treat of a really good Assam with milk and sugar on occasion. But I just expected  more from this tea and felt it was slightly lacking, and could of done with a little more depth in flavour.

You will, however, love it if you just want a simple, apple flavoured tea. If you approach it from that angle, it's really a rather good tea.

One thing I will say is I love the bright, eye catching packaging that Twinings have designed. They are doing packaging really well. Over the next few day's I will be reviewing their China Rose tea, and oh my, how pretty that box is!

Though this didn't quite reach my (I admit, very high) standards, I do see this as a sign that Twinings are improving their tea's. They are adventurous with their flavours, creating different tea's and are being experimental. I find that exciting.

They can't get it spot on all of the time, nobody can. But judging by the the sheer amount of new tea's that Twinings are producing, it does show they are keeping their eye on the market and appear to be moving with the times whilst retaining their traditional qualities.

I have several tea's from Twinings that are in the cupboard waiting for review. These are as diverse as China Rose, Gingerbread Chai and a nice and fruity Apple and Pear. And it's through trying these tea's that Twinings appear to be on the up - and I have never been happier to see it.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Whittard: Bohemian Raspberry

Every so often, when trying a new tea, I'll have what the late Diana, Princess of Wales would refer to as a 'oh my god' moment. (Though I'm sure the late Princess's "oh my god" moments were not about a wonderful Darjeeling or a finely blended Earl Grey!). These are moments when you are temporarily stunned by the gorgeous aroma or fantastic taste of a new tea.

With Whittard's fabulous Bohemian Raspberry tea, I felt as though I was drinking a tea that was personally blended just for me. So gorgeous is this blend. For someone who is addicted to raspberries, be it fresh from the fruit bowl, or as a boiled sweet, in a dilutable fruit juice or in the latest chocolate bar from Cadbury's, if it has raspberry in it, it's all good.

I recently was browsing the Whittard webpage looking for something new and fresh to try when I clicked on their flavoured black tea and found this little gem. I had no other option but to order some! What I like about Whittard is that you get a choice of how you order your tea. You can choose between having the tea in a loose packet or in a caddy. I opted for a caddy. A girl can't have too many tea caddies!

First of all I'd like to take a minute out to talk about the packaging. The tea caddy itself is very classy. It comes with the Whittard mark embossed onto the lid. Under the lid there is a second metal lid designed to keep the tea fresh so there is no need for that horrible foil that is sometimes used for freshness and that somehow ends up in bits inside the tea!

Also, there is the very sweet addition of a small envelope. Inside, there are tiny blank cards that you can use to make personal labels for your tea caddy! It's a quaint touch that some may not think necessary but which I found to nice addition.

(Inside this little envelope are tiny caddy labels that you can design yourself. Cute doesn't describe it!)

I know that you cannot judge a tea by it's caddies and packaging. Some of the nicest tea I've ever tried come in simple foil bags. But, there is also nothing wrong with packaging your tea in a classy, tasteful manner. And Whittard have managed to find a balance between simple, traditional packaging which also has a fresh, modern, twist.

When I finally got the two lids off the caddy I was hit by a fresh, fruity aroma that even my mum, who has no interest in tea nor has a particularly good sense of smell, commented on, saying it was "lovely".

To me, it was far more than lovely. It knocked the senses sideways. The aroma was fresh and fruity and felt totally natural. Sometimes you can get tea's that have fruity flavours added that both smell and taste synthetic. Not with Bohemian Raspberry. It's all natural. As if the raspberries were picked only yesterday.

To look at, this tea is quite frankly stunning. The black tea is rich and dark in colour, the raspberries adding a dash of brightness. A contrasting tea in appearance, at least, with large, visible pieces of raspberries.

With this being a black tea, I popped four homemade teabags into the pot, poured boiling water on top and let the tea infuse for several minutes. All the while I could almost smell the tea getting stronger and stronger as it infused.

This tea infuses to a rich mahogany colour.

When it was finally time to pour a cup (the infusion time seemed to take ages!) I was immediately impressed. I've not tried too many tea's from Whittard after being put off by a particularly strong Christmas tea I tried many years ago (no fault of theirs, I now appreciate that Christmas tea's don't taste too good when over brewed and taken without milk!)

The black tea is strong and robust, with a almost nutty, chocolate like flavour, but is totally devoid of any bitterness. It's smooth and very easy to drink, being both moreish and satisfying. The quality of the tea appears to be very good indeed and I would go as far as to say that even the most hard to please tea addict would have to try very hard to find fault with the tea used in this blend. Just ideal for a flavoured tea.The quality of the tea is so important, even when blending flavoured tea's as a bad base tea could put the whole blend, flavours and all, off.

Raspberry is not a fruit that is often used in black tea's. Quite often you see raspberry and blackberry in the fruit tea section but this is the first time (I think) I've seen it blended with a black tea, and oh my, what a success it is.

Whittard have not scrimped at all with the amount of dried raspberry pieces they have used in this tea. I ran a spoon through the caddy to see how much fruit actually was offered and there is a more than generous amount of raspberries added and they are large pieces, too. So it doesn't matter if you are at the start of your caddy, in the middle or reaching the end, you will get the punch from the raspberry no matter how much of the tea you have used.

The raspberries add a level of sweetness to this tea, the strong flavour adding a kick to, so it's odd, there is delicateness to this tea whilst at the same time, bringing something to the tea party!

Bohemian Raspberry is a full flavoured blend, that is sweet and gentle, whilst at the same time being a refreshing blend that is incredibly moreish.  I'm now on my second pot of the day which is quite something!

I enjoyed this tea the other day with a huge slab of Victoria sponge that was oozing with raspberry jam - the two worked exceptionally well together. This is an ideal tea to serve up for friends, for afternoon tea for example - if you're willing to share which I'm not too sure I am if I'm honest!

This is a joyful tea that made me feel quite wonderful. I knew when I ordered it that I'd like it, and now I've tasted it I'm certain. I'm a fully fledged fan of Bohemian Raspberry! And, the best bit is Whittard sell this as loose as a refill so I don't have to keep buying caddies all the time either, so all round, I'm a winner!

I can't wait to really get to know Whittard and try as many of their tea's as I can afford to do so! Also, there are plenty of stores in London I can visit, so next time I'm 'up town' I will pop in and see what else is on offer!

I am really, really impressed with this tea. It would make a tasty and classy gift if you're looking to buy something for the tea lover in your life, and if you want to treat yourself it makes for a luxurious treat.

Congratulations to Whittards for making a truly wonderful fruity black tea. This will remain a staple in my tea cupboard for as long as Whittards sell it.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Solaris Tea: White Tea Chai

On this wet, dreary London afternoon, I have decided to introduce you to possibly one of the most memorable tea's I've tried. It's flavoursome, delicious and full bodied. And, it's a white tea!

Solaris Tea are based in Ireland. They produce fine quality herbs and tea's. Their mission statement is simple. To provide high quality tea to their customers, using their passion and knowledge to produce fine blends that are traditional, yet have a modern twist. The tea's are hand blended and the company have their own in-house, master tea blender. I feel, by reading their website, that their number one consideration (after producing fine tea, of course) is building strong relationships with their customers and a happy, relaxed working environment for their staff.

The first tea I decided to try was their White Tea Chai. 

I love Chai tea, but have to take it in limited quantities, as it's far too strong to take without milk and a dash of sugar when blended with a black tea. White tea, however, does not sit well with milk so I was expecting this to be a interesting blend. And it was!

White Tea Chai is a loose leaf tea, which is stunning to look at. The leaves are large, abundant in colour and have a lovely texture. Due to the added lemon and orange peel as well as the star anis and cloves there are darts of colour that run through the tea, too, making it highly attractive to look at.

The base tea is a white, first flush tea from China.

For some reason I expected this tea to come in bags, probably the silky pyramid variety, so I was pleasantly surprised to see it was a loose tea, as Chai normally comes in tea bags. But, that was no problem. I'm too lazy to get rid of tea leaves from the pot so took some of the empty teabags I always keep in stock, filled three or four with a ample amount of tea and threw them in the pot.

Whilst I was filling the teabags I boiled the water and let it cool for several minutes. I then infused the tea and timed it to infuse for exactly three minutes. As we all know, white tea is very delicate and can turn bitter and unpalatable if over infused so I'm always strict on the water temperature and timings. However, each amount of tea can be infused up to three times which is brilliant but means you have to be super strict on not allowing boiling water anywhere near it. Always boil and let cool, boil and let cool ... make it your mantra!

I love white tea but don't often come across blends, it's certainly the quieter cousin to the black and green varities. There are plenty out there but they tend to come with peach and apricot flavourings so for this tea to be a chai is not only innovative on the blenders side but also take's a slight leap of faith on the drinkers side to. It's quite a "out there" combination of tea to flavours. So how would it work?

I can say with absolute sincerity that it really does work! Somehow, Solaris Tea has taken such a delicate white peony tea, paired it with strong flavours and made it a partnership that is guaranteed to give you a pleasurable, tasty cup of tea. I was, quite honestly, amazed at how well this works.

The most prominent flavour, no doubt, is the cardamom. It's punchy, gives the blend a kick and I love how your tastebuds are still tingling long after you have finished your cup of tea. It's really quite spicy and makes me marvel even more at this tea. White tea and cardamom working hand in hand - yes, really! I could taste the cloves slightly too, but underneath the cardamom is the sweet, fruity, citrus taste of the orange and lemon peel which adds a smooth, gentle flavour.The cloves, cardamom and the other ingredients are blended perfectly too. And that's my issue with taking chai black - most chai's are not blended well, meaning one flavour is too strong cancelling the others out. Many are unpalatable. This is blended perfectly.

Yet, despite this tea's powerful flavours, the smoothness of the white tea is detectable, it's delicate taste works well with the powerful combination of flavours, yet, somehow holds it's own. It has the light, slightly floral flavour that white tea has (for me anyway). It's familiar, I know the taste of white tea well, yet there is something new and modern about it. It put's a spin on the delicate nature of white tea.

I think that for white tea traditionalists this tea is VERY different, and will take you out of your comfort zone. For chai lovers it will provide you with a different (and much quicker, easier to make) cup of tea, a totally new experience which is tasty, enjoyable and unforgettable.

I am really excited about this tea and cannot wait to try the other samples which were sent out with this tea. But more that that - I am excited about Solaris Tea. I admire any tea manufacturer, and their blenders, who are willing to step out of the traditional way of thinking to create something with pizazz and energy.

I'm lucky to have been able to try this wonderful tea and I highly suggest you treat yourself to this tasty blend that comes in the most stylish, beautiful packaging, which is both understated and modern.

I'm off to re-infuse my teabags and enough this blend all over again. And for me, the kettle can't cool quickly enough! 


Thursday, 12 May 2016

A Coffee Loathing Tea Lover Goes To Costa: And Comes Away Impressed.

I will admit I am a bona fide coffee hater. It's not just that I dislike the aroma or taste, I cannot tolerate it. I can't even dip into a bag of Revels as I will certainly not get the creamy toffee one or the fruity orange one - no I get the coffee one. Almost every time.

There are other things I dislike about coffee, too. A while back there was a trend where all across High Streets and shopping centres all you'd see is people walking around with paper cups (which some didn't even contain coffee, and I know that after seeing a girl slip over and drop her coffee cup and nothing but water spilled out onto the floor) which was often left discarded on the floor or dropped on buses meaning sticky drinks rolled all over the place. It was like a superior club where only the select elite could join. A bit like the beverage version of the Mason's.

It was almost like you were no-one unless you permanently had a cup of coffee stuck in your hand. It all seemed faddy, trendy, fickle, without substance. Shallow and one gigantic bandwagon, which I, for one, would never jump on.

Though my opinions on coffee as a drink will never change (you can't force yourself to like something, be it food or drink), a recent trip to a small, intimate Costa coffee changed my mind totally about the culture around coffee and in fact, though there is a difference between tea drinking and coffee drinking, there are similarities, too.

Whilst waiting in the line to be served, I realised what an amazing job barista's do in tight spaces and with limited amounts of time, often in very hot atmospheres. And the amount of coffee on sale is absolutely crazy. There are iced coffees, hot coffees, espresso, Americano, black, white, with this syrup, that syrup. Skinny, full fat ... the list goes on and on. And yet these amazing people were running back and forth, pushing buttons on very expensive coffee machines, totally at ease with what they were doing. And, often, with a huge smile. It was a perfectly oiled machine with customers barely waiting minutes in line.

Obviously, I did not have coffee. I had tea, my brother had hot chocolate. I was impressed that the amount of tea on offer - though not as extensive as the coffee, obviously - was generous. I opted for a green tea (notoriously difficult to get right, even when making it yourself at home). My choice was Twinings Apple & Elderflower Green Tea (review coming soon). Having to make a decision fairly quickly I was somewhat apprehensive - green tea? In this busy atmosphere?

But, the talented young lad grabbed the cup, boiled the water and let it cool slightly (he knew his stuff) before adding it to the pot. All the while they were making an awesome looking hot chocolate which was decorated with a liberal amount of cream and chocolate sprinkles.

After waiting an incredibly short amount of time, and paying, I was handed my tray and took a seat. Immediately I was impressed. The tea had been infused whilst the hot chocolate was being made and payment was taken. When I went to take the teabag out of the pot, to avoid bitterness, realised it already had been. I was now doubly impressed.

The tea was perfectly brewed. Though the picture look's as though the tea was weak, it was full of flavour and without a hint of astringency. I cannot fault how I was served in the Costa at Lakeside Shopping Centre, nor the quality of the drinks I had purchased. All of those people behind the till knew their stuff. They knew how to make a (what I assume!) is a beefy, strong coffee, and they knew how to handle the most delicate of green tea's. The hot chocolate was a hit, too.

Not only that, the tables were clean, the produce was displayed nicely, in a orderly way, and everyone seemed to enjoy their drinks.

The most important thing I realised though, was despite my loathing for the faddiness of coffee, the prancing around with coffee cups, not because the drinkers enjoy the coffee, rather because it's fashionable to been seen with a coffee in hand, those who love coffee are just as serious about the quality and flavour of the drink as the average tea nut is about tea.

On the table next to me two men sat chatting about their coffee, describing the taste, the quality and where it rated on the quality scale. They compared it to a rival coffee house, discussing furiously which was one better. Again, not too dissimilar to what I do when drinking tea out in cafe's and restaurants.

So, whether it's the coffee bean or the tea leaf, we are united by a love for a good brew, and the ethos of quality over faddiness.  And beyond the latest trend, there are people as passionate about coffee as I am about tea.

In the past I've often thought that whilst tea lovers are quietly passionate about their love of tea, coffee lovers were louder and brasher. But what does that really matter? It's good to be passionate about something, whether it's politics, religion or the humble hot beverage.

But there was a element of disappointment, too. That there isn't anywhere that us tea lovers can go to, to ensure we have a quality cuppa. Coffee lovers have Cafe Nero, Costa and Starbucks. We tea lovers have nowhere to go, to share our love with like minded people and I feel really sad about that. I have discovered a few specialist tea cafe's in London, but it's a long way away for most people to go just to have the luxury of a decent infusion.

As I looked at the jars of coffee and bottles of syrup lined up against the wall,I thought  wouldn't it be lovely if every shopping centre had a tea house, where upon entering you were greeted with lines and lines of tea leaves, herbal infusions and silky pyramids. Where you could take your pick from green, white and black tea's. Herbal infusions and fruity tea's. And where your tea of choice would be prepared by a expert, who instinctively knew how long to boil the water and how long the steeping process should be.

And I think that is what inspired me all those years ago to start this blog. To get everybody thinking about tea, trying new blends, giving people the option to have something other that a run of the mill breakfast tea.

I'll never be a coffee drinker. But it has taken a trip to a coffee shop for me to fully realise that tea is still such an underated drink. That we are so used to milk and two sugars that it's become just a part of the furniture.

Tea will most likely always been slightly in the shade of it's exotic coffee cousin. But I still sit in hope that a forward thinking business person may realise that there is still a love out there for tea and that there is a place on the high street for a chain of tea house's.

Till then, I'll visit Costa again. Their careful infusing of green tea was impressive. And, of course, there is always their sublime lemon tart ...

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Blendology: Recover Tea

Today I am reviewing something totally different. A tea company that is new to me, Blendology who have three blends of tea that are not just lovely and tasty, but which serve a purpose - to make us all feel better.

The lovely Ellie contacted me recently about their lines of functional teas - tea's which have a purpose other then to taste lovely - and very kindly sent me a pack of samples of each of their tea's, Engery, Sleep and Recover.

Today I'm reviewing the Recover tea.

Functional tea's have really taken off in the last couple of years. They can range from tea's with added vitamin's to boost your immunity and shake off that dreadful cold you've had. Or, they can detox you, helping you feel better and look slimmer, or they can relax you before bed and aid a night of restful sleep.

These functional tea's are usually blends of different herbs that not only come together to form a tasty drink, but also make you feel better, healthier or energised.

On the Blendology website they themselves say that these functional tea's have been three years in the making, and have chosen ingredients that work well to aid your health and to taste delicious.

I wasn't sure which one to choose first so opted for Recover. This tea has been made to help you detox and recover from the fast pace of life. I think I gravitated towards this tea as I work in a supermarket, and can be on my feet up to ten hours a shift, and by the start of my days off I am shattered and achy. This, I feel, was the perfect tea to start with!

Recover contains several ingredients. There are: Nettle leaf, Peppermint Leaf, Burdock Root, Dandelion Root and Artichoke leaf - all very healthy and natural.

Each pyramid is made from a wonderful silky mesh and contains exactly 3.5g of tea.

The aroma when I opened the packet was lovely and minty. I have had a bit of a love hate relationship with mint tea but have grown to be quite fond of it, especially if it's combined with other flavours. It was refreshing and I was instantly looking forward to trying this tea.

I popped three pyramids into the teapot and let it brew. There were not brewing instructions contained on the information so I let it steep for a few minutes then removed the bag.

I would like to say though that this review is not about the health benefits of the tea as that will be hard to judge after only a pot of tea, but I will write about the flavour.

Today has been busy so after all of my chores were complete, and the casserole was in the oven I settled down to try this wonderful concoction.

This, by no means, is a delicate tea. It's not one of those herbal tea's that taste of very little indeed. This tea has flavour, punch, strength and more then a generous amount of kick!

I have tried nettle tea before and I absolutely love the earthy element to it. It's something to get your teeth into! I find nettle has a full, rounded flavour, that supports other elements in a blend, be it other plant elements or fruits. Sipping this tea was like saying hello to a old friend.

The peppermint brought a familiar, sweet flavour to this healthy tasting tea. It rolls over the tongue midway through the sip and your taste buds dance along with it. I found it a refreshing element to the tea and something that spiced the blend up, bringing a tasty element that was both pleasant and warming. The burdock root is most likely also responsible for this gentle, sweet element. I have tasted this once before and it's utterly gorgeous.

This is a blend that has many different layers and they do not hit you all at once but in various parts of the sip you get different flavours. There is a slight bitter edge to this tea, which I think, may of come from the dandelion leaf. It's not unpleasant, but it does take the edge off the natural sweetness.

I found Recover to be a tasty blend, and I enjoyed drinking it whilst relaxing and watching a couple of episodes of Tales Of the Unexpected which is an all time favourite of mine! And it's a herbal tea that I do, actually, find to be tasty rather then bland and mess of nothingness. It also makes a tasty different to chamomile which can vary in quality and taste, depending on who is producing it.

Overall I was impressed with this blend of tea, and most certainly am looking forward to trying the other two blends over the coming weeks. I think the reason this tea was enjoyed so much is I love the pure, natural, earthiness of this tea. I love how healthy it feels to drink, you feel as though it's something that will really do you good. I love nettle tea's, peppermint tea's, all of that kind of thing so I enjoyed this very much.

It may be best though to bear in mind that this is quite far away from your usual cuppa. So please, do expect something totally different to what you may be used to! The unique blends of flavours will most likely suit all types of taste, but still, it's quite unusual.

I think those that love green tea, especially in it's purest form will really enjoy this. I can say this with confidence as I know many green tea lovers who also enjoy herbal tea's and all the wonderful flavours they bring with them. And if you are feeling stressed or simply overloaded with day to day life, do take a few minutes out to try this wonderful tea - and enjoy it in peace and quiet.

I'm really impressed with Blendologly and look forward to what wonderful and marvelous herbal tea's they come up with in the future!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Twinings: Earl Grey Green Tea

Regular readers will know that I am utterly nuts about Earl Grey. And I'm also nuts about green tea, so the latest creation from Twinings, Earl Grey Green Tea was sure to pique my interest. It was on offer in Tesco's so I decided, on a recent visit, to purchase a box.

The packaging for the tea is, like the blend, new and fresh. It's certainly eye catching, and that's hard to do in the world of tea packaging which, on the whole, is rather nicely done, both in design and with the use of colours. I had heard bits and pieces on Twitter about this new tea so thought it was worth a go.

Before we start though I want to stress that on the whole, I'm not a great fan of green tea purchased in supermarkets. Most of them, especially the stores own brands, just do not come up to scratch, not after tasting tea from places like Teavivre.  They tend to be bitter, cheap tasting and rather oily when flavourings are added. However, that said, in a rush I have been known to pick up a box of Twinings selection pack if I'm out of green tea.

I was doubtful on this tea. I wasn't sure how the green tea would work with the traditional flavours of Earl Grey that we all know and love. But on first taste I was pleasantly surprised.

Twinings Earl Grey Green Tea is a light, fruity drink that is both refreshing and tasty which is good news as it's been hot here in the UK over the past few days.

With this tea it's vital to follow the rules of green tea preparation - leave the water to cool for a few minutes to avoid burning or scorching the leaves, and don't over infuse, a couple of minutes will be more than enough. This tea goes go very bitter if you brew it incorrectly. I know this from personal experience and had to pour away a entire pot when I got distracted.

This is a smooth tea, with deep, fruity flavours. The base green tea, is good and solid, with a slightly astringent quality which is not unpleasant, and which leaves a nice, strong taste in your mouth, which I enjoy! The fruit flavours are delightful - making your mouth feel refreshed and this tea is brilliant to take if you are really thirsty as it's a a thirst quencher, and quite addictive, too. I make a pot of this up and so have quite a few cups at a time.

I thought the fruity flavours of this tea worked really well with green tea. Normally, with green tea, you get more delicate fruits added, such as peach or pear. This tea certainly did have a oomph and left a mark. The green tea and the flavour are both strong though, so do be careful when brewing as both have a tendency to lean towards bitterness.

Sadly though, there is a problem with this tea, no matter how nice it is, this is not a traditional Earl Grey - or at least not in my eyes it isn't. When I think of Earl Grey, I think of citrus fruits. Oranges and lemons. However, when drinking this tea, especially as the tea cooled a little, all I got was the flavour of grapefruit, which I subsequently discovered was an added flavour to this tea. It really reminded me more of a tea I recently reviewed - Royal Palace Tea - then Earl Grey.

Don't get me wrong, this is not an unpleasant tea, it's really nice and refreshing, but it's not a traditional Earl Grey as we know it and I do have a slight issue with it being named as such. A traditional Earl Grey has bergamot added, which is responsible for the citrus taste. Though refreshing, the primary taste of this tea is grapefruit. Yes there is bergamot added to this tea, but it's so subtle it's barely detectable. One of the greatest pleasures in my life is enjoying the citrus flavours which come along with Earl Grey and which lifts the black tea onto a different level.

But, putting my biased view of Earl Grey aside, and whether this is technically a Earl Grey or not, I did actually like this tea. It's not delicate, it packs a punch, but does make for a satisfying brew. I found it to be fully flavoursome, enjoyable and refreshing.

I have tried some green tea's from Twinings recently (such as some of steamed green tea's) and wasn't that impressed, however, this one has ticked the box. Just don't expect it to taste just like your favourite Earl Grey because it's not quite the same. But, in it's own right, it's enjoyable none the less.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Tea From Vietnam: Mountain Mist Green Tea

As Spring is reluctantly showing it's beautiful face over London, there is a definite change in the type of tea that I'm drinking. Over winter there is the urge for sugary chai's, warming Lady Grey and, of course, my favourite, Earl Grey. 

But now it's warmer, sunnier, naturally I turn to lighter tea's. Green tea's in particular and those with light, refreshing flavours such as lemon and other citrus fruits. 

Therefore, this morning, I'm reviewing a green tea from Tea From Vietnam called Mountain Mist. (This morning their site is down for maintenance so I cannot link directly to the tea).

Mountain Mist is a green tea that has large, slightly curled leaves. 

Upon opening the pack of tea there was a slightly smoky aroma, rather like a delicate lapsang souchong. (A good quality lapsang, not the type that you can get in supermarkets that reminds me of smoked kippers!). For a green tea this, on initial appearance, was going to have a  bit of oomph to it!

Quite recently I have gone back to my tea roots and have started making tea in a proper teapot, so I warmed the pot, boiled freshly drawn water, let the water cool slightly whilst I was making up some teabags with this tea, poured the water over the tea and let infuse for two minutes (I timed it exactly!).

Mountain Mist infuses to a lovely light green colour that almost sparkles in the pot! It's almost clear and looks and smells really pretty. Because I have made this in the pot I was relieved to discover that I had made this tea perfectly. I think I must have learned something over the six years I've been drinking tea! Making it now is almost second nature and though I do take care in preparing green tea - a lot can go wrong very quickly - I'm really proud that I can make a good green tea, and I can only be thankful to those tea professional's, such as James Pogson from Northern Tea who have taught me all I know!

When I took my first gulp (I was thirsty today, no time for delicate sipping!) of this tea, I was really impressed. This is a tea with substance. Green tea can vary from being extremely delicate to quite robust and this, certainly, was full of body. And I loved it!

Mountain Mist has all the elements of green tea that green tea lovers adore, and which those who firmly stick to black tea, will, most likely, not appreciate as much as I. Firstly, this tea has definite woody, plant like feel to it and this is the first element of this tea that comes through. Mountain Mist will certainly make you feel as though you have a proper cup of tea, which sometimes, I will admit, is lacking with green tea. This is a green tea version of a really good, strong cup of Assam!

Underneath this powerful flavour there is a sweet after taste which is pleasant. There is also a slight astringency to it too. Don't misunderstand this. This astringency is not the type of bitterness you get when you make green tea incorrectly, (which is down more often then not to using water which is too hot, therefore, burning the leaves), this is a slightly natural astringency that you do get with green tea, but which is often hidden with flavours such as lemon or spices when tea is purchased from a supermarket, for example. I have always been quite fond of that slightly tart twist with green tea, it gives it a kick which I enjoy.

The best thing about this tea, though, is it's quality. It's a tea that looks healthy, looks tasty and has a lovely feel to it. There is a solid, earthiness also to Mountain Mist. It's natural, pure and unadulterated and though I do enjoy green tea's that are mass produced (mainly because of the flavours they add), it's when you drink something so pure such as this that you really do get the beauty of green tea.

This will be enjoyed by green tea lovers and obsessives. I'm not totally sure if it would be right for those who like the more delicate green tea's such as Twinings, which are lighter and have added flavours - it's a bit full on. And it's certainly not for those who are new to green tea as I'm sure the strength of it's flavour would be very off putting. 

But for those of us who have tried many different types of green tea, mostly which are of high quality, this really does reach very close to perfection. 

There is something lovely to be able to have that feeling of having had a really great, satisfying cup of tea. It's not a feeling you always get from green tea, due to it's delicateness, but with Mountain Mist you feel as though you've had something solid and sturdy. It's a green tea, that should be served not in your best china, but your favourite, battered old mug. It's the green tea version of a builders brew and not only am I impressed but ever so slightly in awe of this totally unique, different green tea. 

In the coming days I will be reviewing a new green tea from Twining's which I recently purchased from my local supermarket, and actually, I'm impressed with how good it is for a mass produced tea. However, when you try something like this, you are tasting something from a totally different stratosphere. 

So, if you love green tea I know you'll love this. Once tried it will leave a impression you'll never forget. It's taste will remain with you, I'm sure!


Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Royal Palace Tea

Other than tea, I have several passions. I love to cross stitch, listen to music (mostly the Beatles) and I will read or watch anything to do with the Tudors - that fantastic British dynasty which contributed to much change in the country I live in. Earlier this year, after doing a bit of overtime over the Christmas period, decided to buy myself a Historical Royal Palaces pass, which gives me unlimited access to the major royal palaces, Kensington Palace, the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and Kew Palace. The other benefit, aside from being able to visit those fantastic places whenever I wish, is that I have a nice little discount in the cafe and gift shops.

Recently, I visited The Tower of London that has an amazing two floor gift shop, with gifts to cater for every price range, from pocket money priced items to lovely tea sets costing over £100. When I visited I brought a wonderful Anne Boleyn cushion (one of my favourite Tudor characters) and a tin of this amazing Royal Palace Tea.

To readers in the UK this tea is available either in the gift shop of any Royal Palace or online. In the USA it's available from it's producer, Harney & Sons.

The first thing that caught my eye about this is it's tea. Secondly, it's in a wonderful caddy. The pattern on the caddy emulates the decoration on a tea service also available through Royal Palaces. Now, when I purchased this tea there were a couple of options, including a Royal Wedding tea. It was hard to choose but finally opted for this tea.

Royal Palace Tea  is a black tea, flavoured with the lemon, and uniquely, grapefruit, which in itself is a food I dislike, but, oddly, works well in tea. The tea comes in silky pyramids (thirty in a tin) and is filled with a substantial amount of tea.

The black tea has a smooth, almost nutty quality. It's dark in colour and looks gorgeous. The aroma of grapefruit is very strong, but extremely pleasant, the lemon less detectable by scent alone, but just unscrewing the caddy is wonderful as the lovely, fresh, fruity scent fills the air. As we approach summer this is a wonderful tea. It's light and fragrant, not at all heavy.

I made a pot of this tea. I will admit my first attempt was a disaster. I over brewed the tea, and maybe because of the grapefruit, it was bitter and undrinkable. Now, if I'm not making it in the tea maker (I prefer to make it in a pot when friends are here - much more impressive!) I set it for three minutes and no longer.

Now I have perfected the art of making this tea, it's extremely enjoyable. I like the fact that due to the lemon and grapefruit flavour, it's light and easy to drink. It's also refreshing and makes your mouth feel nice and cleansed after drinking.

The grapefruit, by it's nature I suppose, is the stronger of the two flavours. I can't eat grapefruit as I dislike the texture, but in this tea it's flavoursome and moreish. The lemon, which I have to admit is barely detectable, adds a ting. Even though it's the lesser of the two flavours, I'm positive without it it would be a totally different tea.

There are several layers of flavour in this tea. Underneath it all there is the strong, robustness of the actual tea itself which supports the strong grapefruit flavour. A lesser tea would drown underneath it all, but this is a well balanced, even tea which is both satisfying and fun to drink.

I like how different it is. How they have bravely put two strong flavours together to make a tea that is different but isn't too different that it's outlandish. Harney & Sons is a name I know of, and a name I've heard positive things about, but till now haven't had the opportunity to try.

I've served this tea up with lemon drizzle cake. It also goes well with freshly baked scones. It's versatile and can be taken with a drop of milk, but I think taking it black is the best way to enjoy this fragrant, summery tea.

This tea is a classic, stylish tea to add to your tea cupboard. And the caddy is very pretty too.

If you are careful not to over brew this, I'm positive this will become a firm favourite. The only disappointing thing about this tea is you cannot buy the refills!

So, if you're visiting the Tower of London then do pop into the gift shop and grab yourself a tin of this lovely tea. You really wont be disappointed and you will also have a wonderful souvenir from one of London's most recognisable landmarks.

Twinings Say Farewell To Their Traditional Chai.

Aside from my love of tea, one of my many other loves is window shopping for tea. Earlier this week I was looking on the Twinings website searching for a box of Chai, which I've been hankering after, and discovered, with a dose of surprise, that my beloved chai is being discontinued.

I haven't seen this tea on the shelves in a long time. In fact, it seemed to be replaced by the new Spicy Chai which, due to the addition of ginger, is a totally different tea. Therefore, I've ordered myself several boxes, which I will ration, so I can enjoy this beauty for a while longer.

Twinings Chai is a smooth, black tea, flavoured with cinnamon, cloves and other spices. It's best taken with milk and a liberal amount of sugar. It's comforting and warming on cold nights.

I had originally switched to chai after Twinings discontinued their wonderful Mulled Spice Christmas Tea which was out of this world and simply a tea that Twinings have never been able to replicate during the seasonal period. Their Christmas Cake tea was brilliant but never quite found it's way into my heart like Mulled Spice did!

It seems over the past couple of years that Twinings have gone through a revival, and have radically changed their lines of tea. It started back in 2015 when they repackaged their traditional Earl and Lady Grey with some fantastic new designs.

The sheer amount of tea they now sell is, quite frankly, staggering. They have added to their fruit, herbal, green and black lines. In black tea they have the wonderful China Rose tea (review coming soon), in green tea's they have Apple and Elderflower, in herbal tea's they have added a mint selection pack and in fruit tea have come up with oranges and lemons - and that is just the tip of the iceberg. As a tea lover, it's natural to be excited when new and inventive lines come up. And, I will admit, they seem to have upped the quality of their basic black tea's too.

At the same time, though, it's saddening when regular favourites get discontinued. At the expense of old, much loved tea's come the new, exciting tea's. But, I feel, this is a dangerous strategy. What if the new tea's are not hits? Could Twining's loose the foothold they have on the supermarket shelves?

It is also somewhat galling to see something as hideous as Beetroot Burst sitting on the shelves, when something as nice, and popular, as Chai gets relegated to the Twining's archives. I'm just hoping that my much loved Lady Grey doesn't get discontinued. That would be a step too far.

I am all for change. All for ringing in the new. The fact that there are tea blenders out there creating some wonderful new blends is both exciting and intriguing to the tea obsessive. I also appreciate that there isn't room on the shelves of supermarkets, on in fact, in Twinings own shop for everything. But tradition isn't a bad thing either.

And I generally do not understand why Twinings are discontinuing a line that not only sells well (I can't count how many times I've seen the "out of stock" sticker under the Chai space) but is a customer favourite. But then again, that is probably why I'm a only a tea blogger and not the head of a huge, massive tea company!

A Very Belated Happy New Year

It's been a while ... and I'm sorry!

As regular readers will know at the end of last year I found myself a new job. It's working in a supermarket and it's long hours ... and hard work. It's taken me a while to settle in fully, but I've made friends, have many laughs and generally having fun.

The love of tea and the love of blogging has never left me though, and I'm getting right back into writing about my love for tea.

I do hope you have enjoyed my posts and will enjoy my new ones.

I have plenty of tea to review and plenty of opinions on what's going on in the tea world so please watch out for my new posts!

It's good to be back!