So much information about tea out on the web and whilst brushing up on a bit of knowledge I became distracted on some of the fun, pub quiz, pop master type information. You never know when you will need to shout out loud that you know the year Iced Tea was invited or the origin of the little tea pot song a few of my favourites nuggets of information
Tea Bags invented over 100 years ago (1908) by an American Thomas Sullivan. He would place loose leaf teas in a silk bag to give to potential customers as samples. Instead of these bags being opened and used directly in tea pots the customers, accidently, would simply put the bag in the pot or cup and add the hot water. Tea has moved on a lot since then but happy say Novus tea continues to use silk for its pyramid teas.
Tasseography is the correct names for reading tea leaves. Not a common word so when those fortune tellers approach offering you your future destiny for a few pennies you can impress them with knowledge.
High Tea was introduced by Queen Victoria when the evening meal was followed by taking tea at a physically high table
Earl Grey was in fact the British Diplomat to China during the 19th Century who apparently never set foot in the country. Various tales and legends of heroic deeds, water hardness and gifts being presented for saving peasants lives are around, so I’m not entirely sure!! The scented oil Bergamot was apparently initially added to imitate some of the more expenses Chinese teas before importing.
Lemon curdles milk so you should never have these both in the cup. Plus, I presume tastes awful.
1877 – An Ice tea recipe was published in a House Keeping magazine.
Formal Tea Service included a “slop” bowl. This was used to discard water used to warm the pot. As we know warming the pot, using freshly boiled water, clean equipment and crockery is recommended for a perfect cuppa
The song “I’m a Little Teapot, Short and Stout” was written in 1939 by Clarence Kelley and George Harry Sanders. It was created to assist teaching children overcome a challenging tap dance routine as the rhythm gave the correct beats to move to.
It was only in 1717 that women could drink tea in coffee houses in England. These cafes were all men only and it was only when Twining’s opened the Golden Lion that welcomed women. Twining’s has the oldest original commercial logo in the UK.
The average person in the UK drinks 16 cups per week. 11 at home and 5 at work
As long as you maintain your leaf tea in ambient, air tight and dark it can last for up to 2 years. Naturally it will deteriorate over time, but as a rule the larger and tighter leaf ie Oolongs & Pearls, the longer they will last. Green and White teas tend to lose flavour quickest due to the natural oils within them, and black tea due to the process are the longest. Tea bags 6 – 12 months.
I’m parched, the sun is shining and fancy a nice refreshing Egyptian Mint to get back to the day job.
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!
Whilst I sit here drinking a standard, regular builder’s tea which has been produced for me by a huge company with 2 letters in its name, a monkey as a brand image and in pyramid shaped bags, I’m drifting away again from what I’m supposed to be doing and wondering what is it about this cup of tea that just does the job.
If we think of all the soap opera watched over the years, no matter how great or rubbish life is, it’s a cuppa that sorts it. The same with weddings, funerals, high tea’s, afternoon teas, hospital trips its all the same – tea bag in the cup, hot water, give it a stir until it looks right and add milk, let it cool a bit then off you go!! (my preferred method throws up several thoughts in its self – tea bag first? milk first? water boiled and cooled or still vibrating which is correct, stir or squeeze)
So why? Quality is important naturally but for me it’s a distraction, a break to get up and put the kettle on, have a biscuit, relax for a few minutes, re-energise and focus.
Could it be the time it takes as you can pop the kettle on, make a brew and sit back down during the Coronation Street adverts? Could it be the ease of preparing or the warmth and comfort it gives?
With hundreds of varieties, brands, blend and flavours to choose from why limit it to just one, especially as teas don’t just taste good they have significant benefits.
Black Tea’s such as the regular builders I’m currently enjoying are full of positivity. Recent research suggests that compounds such as theaflavins and thearubigens are present in black teas which are loaded with healthy benefits such as reducing high cholesterol, releasing digestive issues, reduction in high blood pressure, boosts low concentration levels, and even assist with weight loss. You can of course enjoy an Earl Grey, an organic Darjeeling, or a nice Lapsong Souchong as hundreds of varietal and blends within this category. Green and white teas (all teas come from the same tea plant FYI which is the Camellia Sinensis) but are harvested earlier and processed differently. Both high in antioxidants. White teas being higher as less processed. Our eyes, skin, memory and general health and wellbeing all benefit from these antioxidants. Plenty to choose from including Dragonwell Green, an organic Jamsine, Matcha or a delicate rare Pai Mu Tan. Interestingly Green and White teas contain around 15-20g of caffeine with black teas being around 45mg.
Herbal infusions (Not Tea) Caffeine free, an infusion of leaves, seeds sometime bark and roots simply infused in hot water. The range is huge from various Mints to Chamomile’s, Gingers, Rooibos, Rosehips then into more creations such as Persian Pomegranate, Wild Encounters or Berries with Nettles. It is suggested that they can help with everything from soothing a cold to indigestion relief, to fighting nausea and infections. Not just great in hot water, refreshing over ice, blended in food recipes or even served alcohol
However you take it, and for whatever reason you can’t beat a cuppa!!