Fathers Day

Fathers Day

As a father of 3 wonderful boys, what more could I possibly want for Father’s Day ​this year. Ideally the morning will start with cards and cuddles, being bought breakfast in bed, allowed to dose of again for a few hours, up for a freshly made lunch, more cuddles and presents of a new car, new clothes, new rugby boots, a couple of bottle of gin and bottle of whiskey, lots of appreciation, few more cuddles, off to the pub for a couple of pints then out for dinner at my favourite place to enjoy the food and a couple of glasses of wine. Yeah right – in realty it will be out of bed and silly o’clock as number 2 child cannot seem to sleep past 6am, preparing breakfast, tidying up, dad’s cabs to football / drama then collection from football / drama, lunch, afternoon spent doing the household chores that not had time to do during the week, dinner, tidy up, bath the boys, school bags packed and ready to do it all over again the following day.

What I really want is something I can call my own, something that will last and give me enjoyment whilst the hectic-ness of life goes on around me, so if the good lady is reading this, these are my top 5 gifts for Father’s Day, nudge nudge!!

​In at number 5, the Hario Hand Grinder, small, portable, ideal for instant and consistent for manual grinding. Essential kit when it comes to filter brewing on the move. Dead easy to use, store and maintain.

Number 4 – the Aeropress. What a cracking invention, ideal for getting the caffeine fix when needed and a terrific way to try different coffee’s. Easy, no fuss, allows you to understand brewing and the variables i.e. time, pressure, grind size etc.

My number 3. A Clever dripper. What’s so cleaver about this you say?  so easy to use, no mess, cleverly has a release valve in the base that allows the brewed coffee to pour into your cup once ready , simple, portable , makes a really clean cup of coffee. Did I mention no mess? It really is clever.

Number 2 has to be a Chemex. Look stunning, all hand-blown glass, ideal for dinner parties, durable, makes brewing coffee fun and sociable, allows you to brew to your taste.

My number 1 dad’s gift has got to be a syphon. How cool are these. Takes me back to chemistry lessons or watching breaking bad. A memorising and fun way to make a cup of coffee. Cold fresh water in the bottom, heat via the burner so the water rises and creates a vacuum, ground coffee in the top chamber, allow brew time, remove the burner and watch as it magically returns to the lower chamber as brewed coffee. I was never any good at chemistry at school so in my mind this really is magic.

The common thing I have noted whilst dreaming of Father’s Day, all these brewing gadgets are small enough to store away, to travel with, to clean, make cracking coffee & inexpensive.

The kids don’t need to spend much so they win, they don’t take up much room, don’t need electricity, don’t make a mess or a noise so the wife wins and if I still get a hug from the boys in the morning I’m a winner whatever happens this Father’s Day.

Make time for TEA

Make time for TEA

Tea is a huge part of our lives, for me personally the morning routine is pretty much the kettle on as soon as awake and before speaking to anyone, grab a largish cup, pop in a pyramid tea bag, fill the cup, allow the tea to infuse, remove the bag, add milk (yes milk last – however I’m open to debate on this?) and stir.  In our house we have a couple of moments to enjoy it before getting on with the chaos of getting the kids sorted for school, feeding cats, making lunches, brushing teeth, putting shoes on and getting the bikes ready – which to be fair has become a fine art over the years, however I never generally  manage to finish a cup of tea before 8 in the morning apart from recently on father’s day was I bought an English breakfast in bed !

Whilst similar in ways to the production of coffee, the variety of teas is close to 2,000 however generally broken down to 3 main categories, Black’s, Green and Whites and herbal infusions, some of which I love and others that are not my cup of tea so to speak. Blacks include Earl Grey’s, Darjeeling’s, Ceylon’s, Lapsong Souchong’s (always like saying this!!) and of course the nations favourite, English Breakfast. Greens and Whites such as Green, Matcha, Oolong’s and Jasmine’s are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that have powerful effects on the body which are said to include improved brain function, fat loss, a lower risk of cancer and many other impressive benefits, then we have the Herbal Infusions such as Mints, Chamomile and Rooibos – caffeine free, full of natural ingredients, refreshing, healthy, tasty and colourful.

Not knowing too much about teas we partnered with Novus, a family ran business with blending, manufacturing and packaging all done in the UK and not a million miles from Hessian Towers, which makes a great working relationship. With so much passion and enthusiasm, Novus have won great taste awards year after year for 99% of the products and support us with training, education, customer visits as well as bespoke premium display solutions and tea ware accessories for hotels, restaurants and cafes.

My personal tea education has moved rapidly from the common tea bag where you dunk your bag in hot water for 17 seconds, stir it a bit, squeeze it a bit, look at the colour in the cup and add milk to suit, to recently ensuring freshly boiled filtered water, a clean cup, infused for 4 minutes until dark brown and a touch of milk. English Breakfast should be rich, full bodied yet delicate in flavour as well as capable of packing a punch. Novus only ever use the highest grade of whole leaf tea out of the 28 grades, classed as Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe or FTGFOP for short. The standard “17 second dunking tea bags” we have grown up use very small particles known as fanning’s or dust, very poor quality but unfortunately used by the market leaders. Novus also use the same high-quality leaf across its product range of pyramids, loose leaf and individually wrapped bedroom envelopes, I know other companies will us a lesser quality in the tea bags – not our friends at Novus.

The pyramids themselves are 100% Biodegradable as decomposes into carbon dioxide & water and resolves into the Earth faster than a newspaper does which is impressive!

Now then, having discovered decent English breakfast tea my taste buds were then blow away by some of the other teas and infusions Novus offers. Not experiencing anything other than the “17 second stir” growing up, tasting Persian Pomegranate literally blew my socks off! Apple, pomegranate, orange peel, blackberry leaves, liquorice, Hibiscus and Rose petals blended together in harmony this is simply stunning with the most amazing red colour. Infused for 4 – 5 minutes it gives a sweet, well rounded fruity caffeine free drink full of super fruits and antioxidants which can’t be bad for you! Superb served over ice as well.

My mornings will still be chaos I’m sure but need to make more of an effort to enjoy these wonderful teas and infusions. Tea is just not for Father’s Day!