Archive for December, 2013

Your tea journey

Posted: December 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

As I’m not at home much at the moment, reviews are few and far between for now but this got me wondering what else could I write about. And so it struck me, every0ne who is a lover of tea must have a back story about how they got to where they are now.

I remember when I was younger my great auntie having a full tea set, a proper pot, tea cosy, milk jug and sugar bowl and proper china cups and saucers. That to me was one of my childhood memories, seeing the loose tea scooped into a pre warmed pot, then filled with boiling water and a tea cosy put over it. Then leaving it a few minutes and pouring it out into the cups, milk first and sugar, then the tea.

It wasn’t until I stopped drinking alcohol that I became an avid tea drinker. I was picky about what I bought at the supermarket but I wouldn’t deviate from a good breakfast tea or an Assam. About two years ago I went away for a weekend with Gemma (my wife) and in our lodge there was a teapot. As we went out to get some shopping at Booths I picked up a pack of loose tea to take back with us. The next step came when a colleague went on holiday to Sri Lanka (not at all jealous!) and I always ask people if you’re going away to bring me back some tea. This is what he did but this was in the form of loose tea so then I had to buy a tea infuser and off I went.

Finally when I went to London in August for a film festival, I had time to kill so popped down to the Twinings shop on The Strand and bought back a selection of various teabags but I also tried some loose tea at their teabar at the back of the shop. This is where my enthusiasm and inquisitiveness for different types of tea started and from there on in I try and get some new teas every month to try. Some I love, some I’m indifferent to but it is an interesting journey to try something completely different and I’d say I like tea in a way another person may have an interest in wine or quality malt whiskies.

Not everyone gets it as they just see tea as an everyday commodity like milk, bread, sugar etc but as you delve beyond the mediocrity of the teabag there is a lot to enjoy. Learning about where your tea comes from, the country and estate, where it is grown, how it tastes and learning how to properly brew it using the right measurements, temperature and time is a skill in itself. It is also an interest that doesn’t cost the earth, a nice shipment of tea for a month costs me less than what a couple of bottles of wine would.

So what next? Well I got a teamaker for Christmas which offers different brewing temperatures and means I can resteep to my hearts content. I’d also like a gongfu set and also a proper quality set of cups and saucers too. All I need now is a bigger house to store it all.

Do I have any suggestions for a person picking up and trying loose tea? Well the first step is to learn your own taste preferences, there is no right or wrong answers. Try and sample as many different teas as you can but learn how to make it correctly. I’m adamant the reason many people dislike green tea is that its down to dipping a teabag in boiling water and wondering why it tastes so awful. Try a quality loose green tea, lower temperature for a shorter time and taste the difference. You chill white wine and serve red at room temperature so learn how to make the tea you have bought.

Any finally don’t over complicate it, get a selection of loose tea, your kettle, a pot and a strainer and off you go. It’s how I started and it really is that simple.

Kris

 

 

Happy Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

Look what Santa left under my tree…

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Hope you all have a lovely Christmas

Kris
MBT

Apologies

Posted: December 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hello all

Firstly apologies for the lack of updates. We’ve started new rosters in work and family issues has meant my updates have been few and far between however I hope to get everything back on track soon.

In the meantime I’ve been looking at a new tea order but for lesser quantities but of a top quality product so any suggestions would be much appreciated. The budget isnt important but it must be worth the expense.

I’ve also invested in some scales to measure my tea more accurately to ensure I’m getting the best taste possible
So thats me done for now.

Stick the kettle on and keep it simple!

Kris

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Another company that specialises in Sri Lankan teas? This was too good an opportunity to miss so for my next tea order I put in a bulk order for a variety of teas from this wonderful tea producing country. I ordered a mixture from a variety of estates totalling around £50~.

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The order arrived the next day, all the teas in sealed bags tied with string and labelled clearly. Brewing notes came seperate with information about the tea and its estate and I also received several complimentary sample packs which was a really lovely and unexpected addition.

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It shows that the person who runs this site clearly knows their teas and will help you with suggestions and ideas which for a new person to tea is a real bonus, it doesn’t feel like they are trying to sell to you but to help you select teas they think you will like.

The pricing is very reasonable too especially for the quality of what you are getting. At the time of writing this I’ve tried three of the teas and they are magnificent and tasty and refreshing. The brewing notes are very clear so as not to spoil your teas.

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All in all I have no hesitation in recommending Monsoon Mountains Tea Company to you all. The helpful and attentive service plus top notch products is a winning combination, I have months of tea for what I paid and love trying the different varieties of Ceylon teas. If you place an order you will need to do so via PayPal or cheque but it didn’t take long to open an account and link it to my debit card.

Everything considered I would make another purchase from this company and look forward to seeing what new teas are available next year. Keep up the good work Rebecca.

Price: Very reasonable 8 / 10

Information: Excellent. Seperate brewing notes for every tea with information on its background. An improvement? Perhaps this could be printed on the packaging label 8 / 10

Packaging: Brilliant! It looks amazing, every tea having its own string sealed packaging, a real lovely touch. 9 / 10

Service: Really top notch – can not be faulted 10 / 10

Delivery: Arrived the next day! You really can’t fault that and kept informed of the progress throughout 10 / 10

Total: 45 / 50

http://www.teahills.co.uk

monsoon@teahills.co.uk

0131 558 3263

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Purchased from:  The Tea House, 15 Neal Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9PU

Price: £3.25 for 125g

http://www.theteahouseltd.com/ (Website currently being modernised – download the .PDF)

 

I had never tried a Nilgiri tea before and at that price for a decent sized bag it seemed worth trying it. I bought this when I was still very new to loose tea and all I seemed to enjoy was black tea or rooibus. Opening it up I put two spoonfuls in my pot

 

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This is quite a fine black tea but as you can see there is a lovely blend – next job…brew it!

 

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This brews to a lovely colour, not quite as dark as an Assam but it does smell lovely as its brewing away

 

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This is a really delightful black tea, it doesn’t pack the same punch as an Assam but it doesn’t have that astringency either. This is a lovely tea from India and works so well just on its own or with a spoonful of honey.

There’s no real dominant flavours but with this there doesn’t need to be. This is just a lovely simple black tea and at that price you can’t really fault it either.

 

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Purchased from: http://www.teahorse.co.uk

Price: £11.95 monthly subscription

http://teahorse.co.uk/tea/russian-caravan/

 

Smoked ham. Smoked cheese. Smoked bacon. All good in my book. Smokey tea though….?

 

I’ve never enjoyed Lapsang Souchong tea but I wanted to try a different smoked tea and as this came as part of my monthly subscription it wasn’t costing me anything to try it.

 

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The dry leaves smell lovely and the smokiness doesn’t take over. There is a lovely blend of teas in here with some oolong blended in for good measure too and a pinch of Lapsang. This looks like a quality blend as you can see in the picture above.

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Four minutes with boiling water and it’s ready – this smells lovely as it is brewing.

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What works well with this Russian Caravan is that it doesn’t suffer from being overpowering. The smokiness is there and it’s pretty much at the front of the aroma but it never takes over and this has changed my opinion on smoked tea.

I couldn’t drink this all the time but as a little treat once in a while it would be nice. Pop it in an airtight tin and bring it out once in a while when you want something flavoursome.

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Purchased from: http://www.teahorse.co.uk

Price: £3.75 for 25g

http://teahorse.co.uk/tea/green-mint/

 

Teahorses’ Green Mint tea combines Gunpowder Green Tea with peppermint – at first sounding like a really delightful combination. When you open up the pack the aroma of the mint really hits you.

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This really does smell amazing prior to brewing; a real feel of freshness to the mint combined with tightly rolled balls of green tea. Hitting the kettle on and allowing to cool to the suggested 80C – pouring water over it brings out the minty aroma even more.

 

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As it brews the gunpowder tea unfurls and the dried mint leaf opens out and this looks amazing as it is brewing in a glass pot!

 

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It’s only as you taste it that it loses that real initial promise that the dried leaves offer – in terms of taste the mint is still there but it doesn’t take over or dominate the cup in any way. Don’t buy this as a mint tea as you may feel disappointed (see https://morebloodytea.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/opinion-twinings-mint-humbug-pyramids/ for a really strong mint tea) but that said the two flavours do work well together. My first thought was when would I drink this, if I want green tea that is what I would brew, if I wanted a mint tea then likewise but these two together? Just a thought.

Still it is a nice brew, it works ok but again, I’ve tried it but wouldn’t buy more.

 

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