Monthly Archives: August 2010

Post Bank Holiday Tea Tasting – Fairtrade Pomegranate Echinacea

Let us say I’m slightly sceptical about this tea. For all my bluff of having a refined taste and knowing about tea, when it comes down to it, I can’t resist a cup of builders. Strong black tea, with a large wallop of milk (save the sugar though). I’ve never ever got herbal teas. And to be honest, I had no idea what an “echinacea” was until I popped the bag in the mug. Pomegranate though, I am rather a fan of…

So, first off: echinacea. Wikipedia (don’t say four years at university hasn’t taught me how to engage in critical and complex research) leads me to believe it is essentially a daisy, though purple in colour, and means hedgehog Here’s one with a bumble bee on (the flower, not a hedgehog sadly):

There’s all sorts of jazz about it being good for immune system or something too. Blah. I don’t drink tea for health, I drink it for taste. And this tea leaves me a little bit confused. Its far darker than your typical fruit tea, with a fair bit more substance. There’s an orangey taste and something a bit peppery too. The pomegrantate aroma is fabulous, the pomegrantate flavour is just about there but nothing to shout home about. Which is what gets my goat about fruit teas. They always smell sublime yet have no real taste. This is better, but I’d rather have a mug of builder’s in all honesty.

TomA

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Bank Holiday Tea Tasting – Fairtrade Rooibos Chai

Rooibas chai is today’s sixth cup of tea in this tasting. It is significantly spicier than the white tea chai tasted earlier, with a good chunk of cardamon and star anise flavour. It is a good tea. I like chai. I like tea.

I’m never quite sure whether or not to add milk to rooibos. I very rarely do, as they never have the bitterness that (bad) black teas do, with the milk sometimes threatening to overpower if added. Yet with a chai, I feel it should be sweet, milky and hot. Do you add milk or not?

[I did eventually add milk and was glad I did – supreme cup of tea.]

TomA

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Bank Holiday Tea Tasting – Fairtrade Green Tea

Hm. A green tea. Not a bad green tea, not a stunning green tea. Just a green tea. A touch disappointing after some of the blinding teas I’ve had so far today.

Hackney Empire is somewhere I’ve not yet ventured but really should. It has been and done it all – built in 1901, started as a music hall hosting names such as Charlie Chaplin, been a Mecca bingo hall (…hm…), been more of a mecca for stand up comedy in the 1980s and was refurbished a few years back to provide a proper orchestra pit for opera.

For more info on the mugs, email SaraNotSarah [AT] gmail [DOT] com

Time for another cuppa soon I guess…

TomA

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Bank Holiday Tea Tasting – Fairtrade White Tea Chai

Oh. My. God.

This tea is just the best thing ever. Sweet, smooth, with a wonderful caramel taste. I’ve become quite a convert to white tea lately and a good cup of chai is always a pleasure. I’m a bit short on words on this tea. Its hard to explain just how good it is. Mmmmmmmm.

The Bethnal Green gas towers are a touch easier to talk about. They’re a landmark I’ve been aware of for at least the last decade, from when I used to get the train down from Norfolk to London. As we started the final approach to Liverpool St, I’d always be amazed at these gigantic structures – sometimes just a skeletal framework with some seemingly miniature ladders around; other times in awe at how this structure encompassed what appeared to be a massive vat. I probably figured out that they were storage of some description, but it was only later the complexities of gas storage came to light for me – the challenges of keeping it “air” tight, maintaining appropriate pressure and having such a huge yet dynamic structure. Strangely enough, it isn’t far removed from my day to day life, but enough of that.

TomA

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Bank Holiday Tea Tasting – Earl Grey

While I’m not normally that great a fan of green tea and rooibos, I’m normally rather scathing of Earl Grey. The process of taking some decent black tea and adding bergamot to create a tea that clings to the back of your throat and smells a touch too funky seems a strange one to me. Its that moment of disappointment when you order a cuppa on holiday and find yourself presented with a choice or earl grey or a cup of hot water.

So, while I didn’t mind this brew – being substantially nicer than a lot of other earl grey teas I’ve had the (dis)pleasure of tasting – I’m still not a convert.

The Museum Of Childhood in Bethnal Green however is AWESOME. It has been donkeys years since I’ve been, so probably about time I went back for a visit.

TomA

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Bank Holiday Tea Tasting – Green Tea & Rooibos

I’m not generally a huge fan of either green teas or rooibos. So I’ve been intrigued to see what a combination of both is like.

Amazing is the answer. There’s all sorts of extra goodness in this tea – ginger, liquorice, cinnamon and rosehip – and it really does taste special. Deathly sweet it must be said, but in a rather satisfying, old school sweetshop way. Yum. There are pear drops in there, sherbet lemons and maybe some liquorice bootlaces too. Immense.

The mug is also rather special too. This is the first in a series of four East London landmarks – the Rio cinema, in Dalston. Its a wonderful, 1930s art deco building on Kingsland Road and one of (if not the only?) cinema left this side of London. Expect a mix of arthouse, foreign and the occasional block buster and classic film, set in a proper theatre environment – a pleasant escape from the soulless Odeon etc cinema experience.

TomA

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Bank Holiday Tea Tasting – Fairtrade English Breakfast

Breakfast teas for breakfast time. A good strong cuppa with a healthy splash of milk is about the only way I can start a day properly. This Fairtrade English Breakfast is a touch fruitier, or maybe spicier, than my usual English Breakfast brew (currently the staple is Twinnings Organic English Breakfast), so it feels like a little bit of a treat. A bad English Breakfast tea can be a total non event, a good one should be rich yet subtle. This seems to perfectly fit the sunny-Monday-morning-and-I’m-not-at-work criteria, full of verve and excitement. A really rather good brew.

All these teas are individually bagged Four O’Clock branded teas, produced by Transherb. I’ve not come across these in Europe other than a single cafe in south east Sweden; they’re based in Quebec and have a rather tempting range of teas. Rather looking forward to getting through the next 7 cups…

TomA

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