PG Tips Chimpanzee

While searching online for tea I found the history of PG Tips. It is not everyday that a product such as tea has a unique story behind it. I do not know about you, but I find the history of how a business came about to be quite fascinating.

You see PG Tips began with an entrepreneur who opened his first shop in Manchester, United Kingdom in 1869. Mr. Arthur Brooke opened what we would call a modern day coffee house selling coffee, tea, and sugar. He had the fantastic idea to break the mold of other tea companies who were producing blended teas. Mr. Brooke produced pure, high-quality teas from India and China making his brand quite popular. Who would have thought being different and innovative could work?

Following Arthur Brooke’s influence of innovation and creativity, PG Tips launched a novel advertising campaign involving chimpanzees. At this time there were not many commercials aired in the United Kingdom. PG Tips hit gold with the campaign for the chimpanzees to be one of the longest running characters in British television advertising.

Another bit of the story is PG Tips produced the most expensive tea bag ever made. The tea bag was covered in 280 diamonds raffled off to raise money for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Okay, okay, I know-do not give away the entire story. Sit down with a cup of tea and check out the rest of PG Tips’ history.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A classic entry originally published 01.23.2009

WD-February-HomeWe are please to announce Woman’s Day chose our Tea for One as their Pretty Pick, in February 2015’s issue. The Amsterdam Tea For One featured comes in more than a dozen cheery colors and we have guaranteed the $10.99 price during the run of this issue. This set is very affordable and durable, and goes with you wherever you go! Both dishwasher and microwave safe, you will find this indispensable little set your new favorite go-to. ETS Tea for one sets range from $6.99 for our brand, to $38.99 for the prestigious hand-painted gilt-rimmed porcelain Vanderbilt by Biltmore.

~Your Editor

© Ragne Kabanova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Ragne Kabanova | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Earlier this month we presented our first tea of the month for January, Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Our other tea is the China Jasmine Green tea. The description on our website is very brief: “The China Jasmine tea blend from English Tea Store is a green tea with a surprising body with the captivating character of jasmine.” The ingredients are simply green tea and jasmine petals. But like all teas, this one too has a story.

Jasmine tea is said to be the oldest aromatic tea, and is used for soothing and relaxing. Green tea is typically used as the base for the flower addition, though black and white can also be used. There is an inherent, subtle sweetness to this tea brought by the jasmine. As early as 200BC, this tea blend traveled from Persia, through India, to China, where ours is still grown today. Vietnam also produces a bit of this tea.

© Arnon Ayal | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Arnon Ayal | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The jasmine flower is best grown in the higher elevations of the mountains. The tea leaf is picked and harvested when it is ready, and stored until the jasmine flowers are ready in late summer. The jasmine is picked early in the day, when the flowers are closed. Towards nightfall, they open and release their scent. It is at this time that the tea is flavored: the tea leaves are either layered with the harvested jasmine flowers, or mixed together. Over the course of four hours, the scent of the jasmine is absorbed into the tea. This process can be repeated a few times, depending on the tea, before the blend is dried and packaged.

tolstb_grncjs-25p_china-jasmineJasmine tea is a welcoming tea, often served to guests upon arrival. We welcome 2015 with this aromatic blend.

~Your Editor

IMG_2721

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

When my dentist was pregnant she craved sweet things and I made her a Mars Bar cake which she loved but banned me from making it unless she was pregnant.  To say this is fattening is a bit of an under-statement.

You will need 3 Mars bars

150 g (1 1/2 stick) butter

150 g (6 cups) Rice Crispies or corn flakes if you cannot buy rice crispies.

IMG_2733

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

250 g (9 oz) Cadbury’s milk chocolate.
Melt the three Mars bars with the butter either over heat or in a microwave then add the rice crispies and combine well.  Spread the mixture into a shallow tin and refrigerate until set ( a few hours will suffice)  Melt the chocolate and use it to cover the whole cake, cut into pieces whilst still warm and allow to cool before trying to eat it!

~JB

I like both Redbush (Rooibos) and Honeybush teas, though both are actually the leaves of flowering legumes, and not really tea at all. Neither has caffeine, both are low in tannin, and both come from Africa. Both are rich sources of antioxidants. Both have naturally sweet undertones. Close cousins, both these herbs require a longer-than-Ceylon steeping, of 5-7 minutes. Because of the low tannin, the “tea” will tolerate this length without becoming bitter. Rooibos is only grown in South Africa, and Honeybush is rarer still, relegated to only the eastern and western cape regions of South Africa. Both are harvested by cutting and bruising, oxidizing (fermenting), then drying. Given the similarities, why choose one over the other?

honeybushHoneybush was one of the first black tea substitutes. There are 23 species, each with a slight varietal flavouring. Originally cultivated by hand in the mountainous regions of east coast South Africa, much honeybush is still hand picked today. However, in 1998, group of South African farmers formed the South African Honeybush Producers Organization (SAHPA), which promotes new growing and production techniques. As a result, two large Honeybush plantations have opened since 2001, as have many Honeybush research partnerships. If you have tasted this tea, more prolific Honeybush is a very good thing! This tea is usually composed simply of honeybush, which carries undertones of wood and honey. It is so aromatic that it can be steeped on the stove and left to scent a room. It is likened to a hot apricot or dried fruit mixture in taste and a bit of honey added while brewing enhances the natural flavour. It is said to have a stronger but more pleasant flavour, than Rooibos.

bourbonRooibos, Honeybush’s more robust cousin, has long been believed to alleviate headaches and stomach aches. It also answers to the name Red Tea, Bush Tea, and Red Bush Tea. It has an earthy, creamy, sweet flavour. Unlike most teas, there is nutrition information accompanying this herb. Though trace, a typical cup of Rooibos contains Iron, Potassium, Calcium, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, Fluoride, and Manganese. Unlike plain honeybush, rooibos often comes flavoured: strawberries, lemon, orange, peach, pina colada, bourbon street vanilla, the list is endless. It is said to taste more “medicinal” and the flavoring helps cut down on that. Unlike honeybush, if you steep it a bit less than the 5-7 minutes, you will still get a full-bodied cup. The needle-like leaves are fermented, which gives the plant its reddish color and enhances flavor. Unoxidized Rooibos is available as “green” rooibos but is grassy, malty, and pricier than the red version.

Those who have tried both range from “very similar” to “distant cousins who don’t even talk and I much prefer…” I am drinking a porcelain cup of unadulterated, delicate honeybush right now and it suits me fine, just as a rich rooibos in a thick earthenware mug on a snowy day does.

~Your Editor

Flapjacks are easy to make and last a while in an airtight tin.  I sometimes double up the recipe and hide half of them to make them last longer!

Flap jack

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

250 g (2 sticks) butter
250 g sugar (1 cup) (either caster of a mixture of brown sugar and caster)
4 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
500 g Porridge oats
pinch of salt
250 g (9 oz) Cadbury’s milk chocolate

Heat the oven to 375 F, 180 C or gas mark 4-5

Grease a swiss roll tin, Melt the butter in a large pan and stir in the sugar stirring all the time.  Add the syrup and salt and combine the oats thoroughly.  Press into the tin and cook for 15 mins.  Then turn down the oven a little and cover the tin with foil to prevent burning and cook for a further 10 mins.  Leave in the tin and mark into squares or fingers and allow to cool.  Melt the chocolate and use to cover the top either in one piece or individually.  If you cover the whole thing cut through the chocolate before it cools.  Fork the top to make a pretty pattern!

~JB

For the shortbread:
170g plain flour
60g caster sugar
120g unsalted butter

For the caramel:
1 tin of condensed milk (397g)
2tbsp golden syrup
60g caster sugar
1 cup of soft brown sugar
120g butter
1 tbsp vanilla essence

For topping:
1 (100g) bar of milk chocolate melted

chocolate caramel shortbread

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Method:
Preheat oven to 170 deg C or gas mark 4, lightly grease or line a 8″ square cake tin.

For shortbread, sieve flour and sugar together into a large bowl. With clean hands, rub the butter into the mixture until it comes together as a dough (if squeezed in hand should keep its shape) then press it into the bottom of the prepared tin spreading it evenly and prick all over with a fork. Bake for 15-20 mins or until golden brown.

For the caramel, while shortbread is baking, pour the condensed milk syrup, sugars, butter and vanilla into a saucepan and cook over a medium heat. Note: You must continue to stir once the mixture heats up! I did turn mine up more but it is important to keep stirring (do not allow the mixture to burn and stick). This step takes awhile – be prepared! The mixture will eventually thicken and become a deep caramel colour. Once thick enough, pour on top of the shortbread base, then put into fridge to chill for 30 mins or so.

Melt chocolate using a Bain Marie method (a inch or so or boiling water in a saucepan and a glass bowl placed over the top to allow the steam to melt the chocolate without curdling it). Pour chocolate over set caramel and return to fridge to set for 30 minutes. Cut into desired squares, then return to fridge to set completely (mine took an hour or so).

These will keep for 5 days in an airtight container, refrigerated

Tip…..use a mixture of different chocolate if you like-try mixing dark/milk/white and swirl together when pouring over caramel set in fridge.

~JB

One of my favorite ways of enjoying tea may not be familiar among the British but it is beginning to sweep the United States by storm. Bubble Tea, or Pearl Tea and Boba Tea (boba is what bubble tea is called in the area I live in), is a Taiwanese variant of milk and tea but with an added twist of little black bubbles. The term bubble comes from the little black “bubbles” or “pearls”* on the bottom of the cup. But what are they?

The little bubbles are actually a form of tapioca. The tapioca comes from the cassava root. Americans make tapioca pudding from this but the Taiwanese use this to make their little pearls. They make them small or large. In addition to the tapioca pearls, they add other things like pudding (not the British pudding!), aloe, and flavored jellies like lychee or mango. This can be added to the milk teas, clear teas, and even the slushies they make!

Boba

(c) Crystal Derma for use by The English Tea Store

The tea used to make the bubble tea are simple black, green, oolong, and ceylon teas. They are mixed with milk or made iced. Another type of drink that is made by bubble tea shops is called a snow, which is LITERALLY like snow! Just be warned, they’re very hard to drink. The fun part of bubble tea is that the milk tea can be made in many flavors, like coffee, chocolate, taro, red bean, or fruity flavors. The plain teas like black, green, oolong, and ceylon can also be flavored as such. Of course, the MOST fun part is drinking the pearls through a straw. Usually a large, wide straw is given so the pearls can travel up and be chewed (yes, I eat the pearls).

Unfortunately, there is a debate among my fiance and I. Where I come from in California, there is a competition for bubble tea. I like to get the “Tapioca Milk Tea” which is made with black tea and milk and I consider it to be the basic flavor but when I visit my fiance out in Virginia, there isn’t such a flavor. I tried to order it out there and everyone gave me funny looks, including the fiance. The closest thing I had to get was coffee/mocha and it just wasn’t the same.

I have been a fan of bubble tea since about 2001 or 2002 as a teenager and it’s an undying love for me. The local specialty stores are finally stocking the pearls to make my own bubble tea. You need to take the pearls and cook them. Once I obtain these next time I go, I hope to tell you all how to make them! I have also been told it is just black tea that is used to make the original milk tea. However it is made, bubble tea is delicious!

*When consuming these pearls, they CAN be a choking hazard. Do be careful and supervise a young child if they are enjoying one!

~CD

Muffins January

(c) Julia Briggs for use by The English Tea Store

Over the pond here we have imported your muffins and made them our own.  We use a normal cake mixture and use slightly larger bun cases than normal.

Heat the oven to 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4

100 g or  4ozs Butter
100 g  or 4 ozs Caster Sugar
2 medium eggs
100g or 4 ozs Self Raising Flour.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time with a small amount of flour to stop curdling then fold in the flour and put the mixture into muffin cases inside a bun tray.  Cook for 15 to 20 mins,. until firm on top.

When cold decorate with piped butter cream and tiny marshmallows or other decorations of your choice.

~JB

© Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Phil Date | Dreamstime Stock Photos

January brings fresh beginnings and with it, many new resolutions. There are the typical “lose ten pounds,” “make time for family” and other very worthwhile goals. But many of us choose to try new things, or master a hobby or skill. The English Tea Store brings you teas of the month, which is a featured selection offered at a discount. In January it is Buckingham Palace and China Jasmine Green teas. In the spirit of learning and trying new things, we will be exploring the monthly teas in depth here. Today we will look at the Buckingham Palace.

The Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea loose leaf blend is a delicate medium tea with a hint of Earl Grey and Jasmine. This is a lighter afternoon tea.

At least three times each summer, the Queen holds a garden party at Buckingham Palace, as well as one in Edinburgh. Queen Victoria began this tradition in 1860 with what was called “breakfast” but was actually served mid-day. Back then, she hosted two of these events a year; in the fifties the third was added. Originally a prestigious debutante rite of passage, they now include honorees recognized for service. From 4-6PM, the over-30,000 guests are invited to stroll the grounds while royalty mingles through a series of laned walking paths. Each royal family member takes a different path so guests never know whom they will run into. The beginning and end of the event is marked by the National Anthem. According to the British Monarchy website, even though the event lasts only two hours, a staggering number of sandwiches, slices of cake, and cups of tea are served by over 400 waitstaff. Over 27,000 cups of tea are served from long buffet tables.

tolsll_afnbpg_-01_buckingham-palace-garden-party-loose-leaf-teaThe tea that is served is a delicious Palace medley of five teas: Ceylon Early Grey, Jasmine, Assam, Dimbula Ceylon, and Ceylon East of Rift. The intriguing hints of high-grown pure Ceylon Earl Grey blend effortlessly with the soft jasmine from Fujian Province. Couple this with malty Assam (from the estate of Borengajuli), flavory Dimbula Ceylon (from Hatton), and golden cup East of Rift Kenya (from Kambaa and Kagwe); and you have one of the most flavorful teas to come from the British Isles. The flavours present themselves at separate times in the drinking of the tea so no two cups are ever the same.

Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea is available from ETS in either bag or loose leaf.

~Your Editor

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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