(ETS image)

(ETS image)

Fall is coming up fast, so your fall teapot line-up needs to be brought out of storage and prepared for duTEA. Don’t have any Fall teapots? Goodness gracious! Something needs to be done about that and quickly. Fortunately, I have the solution – eight teapots that will bring a feeling of that crisp, clean, cool, Fall air to your tea time.

1 James Sadler Big Ben Monument Teapot

For some reason, Big Ben, the worlds largest four faced chiming clock, makes me think of cooler Fall-time weather. The clock is just over 155 years old and is regarded by many as the most popular landmark in the UK. Small wonder that Sadler, known for their collectible and iconic designs, would make a teapot version of this clock tower. This one is trimmed in gold and will fit in nicely with your houseful of teawares – or give you a good start on your own collection. Teapot measures 8″ high x 7″ wide, and holds 2 cups (about 20oz). Not recommended for microwave or dishwasher use.

2 English Garden Teapot

The colors of fall are well-displayed here in this hand-painted ceramic teapot. The sturdy design also seems to convey Fall, the season of harvest and bounty. The teapot holds 34 ounces, a good size for having a friend over and sharing a cuppa with them. Don’t forget the matching cream and sugar set.

3 English Cottage Fine Bone China Teapot

The iconic English country cottage is also a symbol of chilly weather outside and a warm fire inside with a nice pot of tea and cakes. This teapot, from the English Heirloom Collection, holds 6 cups to warm you thoroughly and serve your guests. It is pleasing to the eye as well with fine gold edging, vibrant colors, and a detailed rendition of the well known cottage of Anne Hathaway against crisp white English bone china. (The pattern is available as a complete tea set, too.)

4 Blue Willow Porcelain Teapot with Infuser

One of the most enduring transferware patterns is Blue Willow. This teapot holds 32 ounces, nice for a Fall tea time with a friend or two. The pattern had been around since the late 1700s and depicts the famous Chinese legend of a wealthy man whose daughter falls in love with his clerk. The young couple elopes and the father pursues them through his garden and onto the bridge where they transform into lovebirds and fly off beyond his reach. Central components to the story, the weeping willow, pagoda, bridge and lovebirds, are shown on every piece. The teapot will be quite the focus of conversation for your guests as you tell them the story.

5 Hemisphere 32oz Teapot

Orange and round like a pumpkin, this teapot, which holds 32 ounces of tasty hot tea, is ideal for a Fall tea time. The contemporary styling will suit those of you with that more modern flair to your décor. The durable stoneware helps keep your tea warm longer and assures that this teapot will serve up cup after cup for many years.

6 Wedgwood Oberon Floral Teapot

A bit more formal in design, this teapot is elegant yet very much in line with the Fall theme here. The exotic Chinese-inspired pattern is in soft shades of green and gold, with black accents, against pure white fine bone china. The border is of pale sage green with red accents, featuring vine motifs, bursts of flora and rimmed with lustrous 22-karat gold. It holds 1.4 pints of hot tea, so is a smaller one in our line-up.

7 James Sadler Teapots – Red Lion

I couldn’t resist including another Sadler design here. This teapot, depicting the Red Lion Pub in rich detail with flowers and even a dog on the front steps, will be quite the show piece at tea time. Your guest will be examining every side while enjoying the tea inside. This bone china teapot is a bit smaller, holding only about 16 ounces, for that more intimate tea time.

8 Country Sunflower Teapot

Another teapot with the colors of Fall accentuated by country sunflowers and made of sturdy ceramic. It holds 35 ounces for serving to your guests. And don’t forget the scones!

As cooler weather approaches, and the leaves begin their annual transformation, let your teapot reflect that seasonal change and bring the spirit of Fall to your tea time!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or 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.

The word is that tea can be good for your health. You might have already heard that one. Or you might have read some articles on the topic, such as the ones we have listed here. But as I was sorting through patent records recently, something I do from time to time, I discovered that tea has been proposed as a remedy for some ailments that we probably haven’t covered at this site.

If you’re like me, you can’t help but cast a skeptical eye on remedies and alleged cures for hair loss. I’m not saying that a patent for Hair Treatment Lotion is one to generate skepticism, but one can’t help wondering. It was issued a few years ago and, to summarize, “the invention provides a hair treatment lotion of green tea, gentian, and geranium in aqueous solution, and methods for using this lotion to prevent or treat hair loss.”

If that’s not enough hair loss remedies for you try, the even more recent Composition and Method for Treatment of Hair Loss With a Combination of Natural Ingredients. It apparently does not use actual tea as one of its components but rather epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), an active compound in tea that’s alleged to provide a wide range of health benefits. There’s also some caffeine and saw palmetto berry extract in there, just to liven things up.

If it’s the scourge of migraines that plagues you, then you might find it interesting to review a 2005 patent with the unwieldy title, Comprises Brewing Black Pekoe Tea, Then Adding Aspirin Tablets, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Honey. Which pretty much says it all, except to note that “The entire hot and concentrated composition is then cooled over ice so that a person suffering from a migraine headache may quickly drink it.”

If you’re looking to recover more quickly from your next bout of exercise, there may be hope in the form of a 2013 patent called Use of Tea-Derived, Theaflavin Enriched Extract to Increase Exercise Performance and Reduce Exercise Recovery Time. Then there’s the Anaerobic Tea Steeper and Method of Use. This one is not designed to address any specific treatment but rather is intended “to maximize the preservation of the antioxidants in the aqueous tea extract to be used as a health-promoting beverage.”

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or 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.

Guayusa tea with chai (Screen capture from Twitter)

Guayusa tea with chai (Screen capture from Twitter)

The world of tea is already complex enough, with all kinds of terminology flying around, so it’s small wonder that terms get a bit…uh, rather jumbled. The bad part is that it causes confusion for many who may not have a level of knowledge to help them distinguish one thing from another.

By far the most rampant egregious tea term usage is “Chai Tea.” It’s everywhere. And it’s the sort of thing that makes my teeth hurt when I see it, the way the sound of fingernails on a blackboard does. Some of you may be asking, “What’s wrong with ‘chai tea’?” The fact that you ask is what is wrong with the term. It is so prevalent that few know what “chai tea” really is. Most of us think of it as that tea available mainly during the Winter holidays and with a predominantly cinnamon character to it. In reality, “chai” is another word for tea. See some more of these words here.

Speaking of cinnamon, that’s another term misusage but not strictly a tea term, so I only mention it here as a side note. Much of what we know in the U.S. and Europe as “cinnamon” is actually a similar plant called cassia. The difference matters mainly to those trying to take advantage of various health benefits that true cinnamon is supposed to have and that cassia does not. See my article here.

Another term that raises the hairs on the back of my neck is “red tea” when it refers to Rooibos (“redbush”). In reality, “red tea” is the Asian name for what we call “black tea” – fully oxidized Camellia sinensis leaves. Rooibos is a completely different plant, as shown in my article here.

“Herbal tea” can be just as bad, causing unending confusion for folks who need to avoid caffeine and are advised by their doctors to avoid tea. Many of these herbals have no caffeine. So the manufacturers have to add “caffeine free’ to the package that is already crowded with other data of questionable usefulness.

Tea Room applied to a corner of a small restaurant is another horrifying spectacle. Doesn’t a room have those tall, solid, hard things? I think they’re called “walls.” In general, the term “tea room” is getting totally overused to the point where people just attach it to the name of their eatery to add what they think is a touch of class. See my article here.

But the most egregious thing we’ve seen so far is a photo of a teabag in a mug with a packet beside it labeled “Guayusa Tea with Chai.” Egads!! The issues: Guayusa is not tea but rather the leaves of a holly tree (ilex guayusa) from Ecuador in South America (and it does have caffeine); and chai is tea, but in this case they are using it to mean spices (which are not specified). Just heaping on the tea terms there – possibly a way to get on the tea bandwagon.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or 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.

Ecstasy is a glass full of tea and a piece of sugar in the mouth. – Alexander Pushkin

Czar Nicolas Russian Caravan Tea (ETS image)

Czar Nicolas Russian Caravan Tea (ETS image)

If you’re like me, then when you think of great tea-drinking nations, you probably think of the United Kingdom. Who are actually topped in tea-drinking by countries like Turkey, where they consume nearly three times as much as the Brits on a per capita basis. Then, there’s Morocco, Ireland, and Mauritania, all of which fill the spots on the list just ahead of the UK.

One of the countries that you might not think of when you think of great tea drinkers is Russia. But they have a long history of tea drinking and are credited with popularizing and possibly even inventing the samovar, one of the world’s earliest tea gadgets.

Given the proximity of the two countries, it’s probably no surprise that China eventually started trading one of their precious and unique commodities – tea – with Russia. Russians are first thought to have tasted tea – at least according to the historical record – in the early seventeenth century when envoys from the Tsar, who were dispatched to Mongolia in 1616, encountered a strange beverage made with leaves. About two decades later Mongolia made a gift of about 600 pounds of tea (though that amount varies, depending on the source) to the Tsar. His envoy grumbled a bit, remarking that furs would have been a better choice than these curious leaves.

But tea began to catch on, and by 1674 a Swedish envoy noted that it was being sold in Moscow for 30 kopeks a pound and was claimed to be a remedy for the ills brought on by drinking too much of the harder stuff. By the early to mid-eighteenth century tea had begun to regularly make the long journey from China to Russia, often by camel caravan. Much like in Britain, as the popularity increased and larger supplies were imported, prices fell even further and things began to snowball. By 1810, according to one source, one Russian trading guild was responsible for importing nearly three million pounds of tea into the country.

And so it went. Nowadays the Russians are not ranked all the way at the top of the world’s tea drinking nations. But the beverage is still something of an institution there and enough tea is consumed to put Russia’s citizens fifteenth on the list of tea drinking peoples.

See also 5 Signs That You’re “Going Russian” at Tea Time

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or 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.

The tips just keep coming. It seems that everyone who has ever steeped tea has the perfect method (even author George Orwell). And I’m here to present even more tips on steeping that perfect pot of tea.

Perfection is up to you! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Perfection is up to you! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

I’m going to begin by defining the goal here a bit better. Let’s think about a few things. What is “perfect”? What is “tea”? What is “steeping” (or infusing or brewing)? [A bit of a side note here: technically, you infuse tea, but culturally folks are used to saying steeping or brewing, so whatever works for you is fine here.]

A Perfect Pot of Tea Defined

For each type of tea this will be different. For flavored teas where fruits, flower petals, spices, and other items have been added to the tea leaves, again this will be different for each. Generally, perfect will be the exact right combination of tea, water, temperature, steeping time, and steeping vessel. Each will work in tandem to bring the full flavors out of the tea leaves and any additives.

Okay, Now How to Achieve This

The options are infinitesimal. A quick online search for “how to steep perfect tea” can pop up thousands of hits. Some are definitely better than others. The general advice is to use certain water temperatures and steeping times depending on the type of tea (white, green, yellow, oolong, black, or pu-erh). But there is also the school of thought that divides general tea steeping methods into Western (non-Asian) and Asian. There are lots of variations within each, but generally, Western uses larger pot sizes (2-, 4-, and 6-cup being the most common) and larger cups (4 to 16 ounces) while Asian teapots and cups are much, much smaller and measured in milliliters (ml) or cubic centimeters (cc).

Focusing on the Western approach, it is good to use a glass, ceramic, or bone china teapot for steeping, determine the proper temperature for the water and the steeping time, warm the teapot with a little hot water, add the tea (loose is best, but I understand that it can be a bit too much fuss, so an infuser or even teabags are good here).

Temperatures & Time Recommendations (for hot tea):

Tea Type Tsp per Cup Temp Time
White 1 to 1.5 80-85°C (175-185°F) 4 to 9 mins
Yellow 1 90°C (195°F) 3 mins
Green 1 65-80°C (150-175°F) 45 secs to 4 mins
Oolong 0.5 to 1 90°C (195°F) 3-6 mins
Black 0.5 to 1 90-96°C (195-205°F) 2-5 mins
Pu-erh 0.5 96°C (205°F) 15 secs to 7 mins
Blooming* 1 ball 83°C (180°F) 3-4 mins or until open

*Blooming teas are in tight balls (or other shapes) and take longer to open and the water works its way in.

Bottom Line

The best way to steep the perfect pot of tea is to do a bit of research first and then apply that knowledge. Enjoy!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or 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.

If you were a medical person in 1877 and happened to be reading Physician and Surgeon: A Professional Medical Journal, you would have run across an article called The Use and Abuse of Tea. It begins with the following statement, “A French observer has recently tabulated the evil results which in many cases follow the excessive use of what is now the favorite beverage of Teutonic and Slavonic nations.”

It notes that said observer has presented a “formidable” list of problems that can result from tea consumption but goes on to note that opinions on the matter were somewhat divided in the English medical community at the time. With some making light of the alleged evils of tea while others were going to the other extreme and likening it to alcoholism. The anonymous author goes on to further assert that as two of the most popular “nervine stimulants” of the day (which still holds true today, for that matter) the good to be had from drinking tea and coffee outweighed the downsides of occasional abuse.

A brief listing of benefits follows and if you’re looking to stretch your vocabulary you might be interested to know that tea is thought to be a “sudorific,” meaning that even when consumed in its hot form it is said to have a cooling effect.

On the downside the author does concede that overdoing it with tea can cause nervous and digestive problems and divides the “sufferers” from excessive tea drinking into three groups. There are the “pure brain-workers,” who supposedly find their ability to think impaired by too much tea. Then there are the “women of the better classes” whose consumption at afternoon tea and the rest of the day ends up impairing their appetite and causing problems. Last of all are the working classes who turn to tea in lieu of a “cheap and appetizing mid-day meal” and suffer ill effects as a result.

On the flip side, and this should come as good news to all of us who aren’t willing to do without our tea, no matter what anyone says. There is apparently a small group of people for whom tea seems to be a “positive poison.” Which works just fine for me.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or 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.

See article text for which of these is which. (ETS images – montage by A.C. Cargill)

See article text for which of these is which. (ETS images – montage by A.C. Cargill)

Forget the teabag and steep your loose leaf tea in an infuser…or even in a strainer. Infusers are one thing. Strainers are another. But sometimes a strainer can double as an infuser. Honest! So how do you choose the one (or more) that’s right for you? Here are a few tips.

Mesh infusers

These are good for those teas where the tea leaves, herbals, and other items (flower petals, etc.) are fairly small. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Which you choose will depend on what you will use them in and your own personal preference. They are usually in two halves that are hinged together. And they often have a chain attached, while others have a handle.

Examples:

  • Heart Mesh Tea Infuser – Stainless steel. Fill with a spoonful of your favorite loose leaf, close it up, and steep just like a teabag. To clean, open it up, shake the used tea out, and rinse well. Measurements: 2.5 inches in diameter. (“A” in the image)
  • Snap Mesh Tea Ball Infuser – Stainless steel. Fill this ball with a spoonful of your favorite loose leaf, close it up, and steep just like a teabag. Dishwasher safe. Can be used with all loose leaf teas. Measurements: 6 inches L x 1.5 inches. (“B” in the image)

More solid tea balls and infusers

On these the holes are usually a bit larger and fewer in number. That means less contact of those tea leaves and herbals with the water. Unlike the mesh infusers, you will probably get a less intense steep. The larger holes also mean you need to use them with teas where the leaf pieces are larger (but not too large) and they don’t have other thing in them, such as lots of spices, that could leech through those holes. These also come in other designs, such as ones shaped like teapots.

Examples:

  • Mini Tea Ball – 1.25 inch – 18/8 stainless steel. Fill with a spoonful of your favorite loose leaf, close it up, and steep just like a teabag. Intended mostly for mug use. To clean, open it up, shake the used tea out, and rinse well. Measurements: 1.25 inches x 1.5 inches. (“C” in the image)
  • Tea Ball – 1.75 inch – 18/8 stainless steel. Fill with a spoonful of your favorite loose leaf, close it up, and steep just like a teabag. To clean, open it up, shake the used tea out, and rinse well. Measurements: 1.75 inches in diameter. (“D” in the image)
  • Snap Heart Tea Infuser – 18/8 stainless steel. Fill with 1 teaspoon of your favorite loose leaf tea, snap shut to hold your tea in place while steeping, dip into your teacup, and stir. Rinse with water and hang to dry. Dishwasher safe. Makes great tea party and bridal shower favors. (“E” in the image)
  • Teapot Tea Infuser with Caddy – Stainless steel. Teapot-shaped, comes with its own caddy. Fill halfway with your favorite loose leaf, close it up, and steep just like a teabag. The caddy acts as a drip tray. Dishwasher safe. Infuser Measurements: 1.5 inches x 1 inch, Capacity 1 teaspoon. (“F” in the image)

Mesh strainers

I’m one of those folks (and we are growing in number) who forego the teabag and steep the tea loose. So a strainer is a must, pouring from the steeping pot into the serving pot (my 2-teapot method as described here). You could also just strain into cups, especially if you are making a smaller amount, not the 6 cups (48 ounces) that we do. You can also put the dry tea leaves and herbals into the strainer and set it on the top of the cup filled with hot water and let steep that way. Here again the size of the mesh is important, with a finer mesh being needed for those teas ground to a finer dust.

Examples:

  • Mesh Tea Strainer – 18/8 stainless steel. Sits securely over your mug, allowing you to pour your hot water over it. The 1 inch deep fine mesh bowl catches even the smallest tea leaf. Dishwasher safe. Dimensions: 7.25 inches L x 2.5 inches W. Please Note: You will only receive (1) mesh tea strainer (not several as the photo shows). (“G” in the image)
  • Double Ear Conical Strainer – 18/8 stainless steel. The design allows for an even, more secure hold onto your mug. Dishwasher safe. Dimensions: 3 inches x 1.93 inches x .51 inches (“H” in the image)

Larger-holed strainers

Just as with tea balls, these strainers have larger holes and so should be used with teas and herbals that have larger pieces. These often have a matching dish for the strainer to sit in between uses.

Fortunately, the options of each are plentiful, with new ones coming out all the time.

Example:

  • English Tea Strainer – Chrome finish adds touch of elegance. Fits over the rim of your cup to catch loose leaves as you pour your tea. (“I” in the image)

Ditch the teabag

Go with an infuser or strainer. You will notice a true flavor difference that is sure to delight!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or 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.

When we think of making homemade soup, we think of an all day task that requires several ingredients, including patience. Soup from a can or a box seems to be the simplest route to take. This recipe is one that takes no time at all and is far and away better than anything that comes from a can. Simple ingredients with such easy steps that make a hearty delicious soup. Not to mention with the added benefit of green tea. Just imagine a creamy bowl of tomato bisque soup accompanied by a melty grilled cheese sandwich and a hot cup of green tea.

 

Tea Tomato Bisque Soup (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

Tea Tomato Bisque Soup (photo by Janet Sanchez, all rights reserved)

4 garlic cloves finely chopped
¼ medium white onion diced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a medium sauce pot cover and place over low to medium low heat for 20-25 minutes or until garlic is golden in color and onions are translucent with a golden hue.

1 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 tbsp green tea
1 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 tbsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1-2 bay leaves
1/3 cup heavy cream

Heat the vegetable stock to 212°, steep the tea in it for 5 minutes. Place the tomatoes and the onion and garlic mixture into a food processor or blender, pulse until smooth. Place puree back into the sauce pot with the tea vegetable stock as well as the salt, sugar and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf. Stir in the heavy cream.

Recipe serves 4 people.

See more of Janet Sanchez’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or 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.

Eight months gone and the ninth month of the year is beginning, a time for looking forward to cooler temperatures and the annual re-coloring of the foliage around us before it quits the branches and blankets the ground. Some teas and herbals to help you more fully appreciate this time of things falling:

5 September Teas to Fall For! (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

5 September Teas to Fall For! (ETS image composite by A.C. Cargill)

 

1 Dessert in a Cup: Scottish Caramel Toffee Pu-erh Tea – Loose Leaf*

Pu-erh teas are in a class by themselves. They are what’s called “fermented” teas. The leaves are processed like a black tea (in this case) and then stored awhile. It gives them a somewhat unique flavor profile that many describe as “earthy.” This version adds in sweet caramel and toffee to combine with that earthy quality for a flavor that is sweet, burnt, and sugary – dessert in a teacup. This flavored tea also includes almond pieces, so if you have a nut sensitivity, this might be an issue.

2 Vibrant: PG Tips Vibrant Mandarin Orange Green Tea*

Part of that new line-up of teas from an iconic British brand. A top brand of tea in the UK, PG Tips is a Unilever brand. Their original special blend has been pleasing palates for over 75 years. In late February 2014 they added some updated blends and flavored teas to their line-up. This one is a natural blend of fine quality green teas from Kenya and Indonesia, this PG Tips green tea is bursting with vibrant mandarin orange flavor.

3 Crisp like Autumn Air: Apple Spice Flavored Black Tea*

Ceylon high-grown (5,500 feet elevation) black tea combines with apple pieces, cinnamon, blackberry leaves, safflower petals, and other natural flavors. The vapor-proof triple-layer bag seals in the aromas and flavors, so this tea arrives at your door with the freshness it had when it was sealed in that bag. This is one of my favorite Autumn flavor combos.

4 A Favorite Fall Flavor: Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai*

Pumpkin time is here again! This spiced Chai (the Hindi word for “tea”) will fill your senses with that wonder pumpkin essence. In addition, you will get the perfect balance of flavors of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and allspice. Steep in water heated to a full boil for 5 minutes. You might want to add a touch of sugar. I like it with milk and sweetener.

5 Basic Black: Taylors of Harrogate – Pure Assam Tea Bags*

Some sources say this tea is grown from Chinese seeds, but that is not quite accurate. The Camellia sinensis assamica was already being cultivated and used to steep up a strong beverage when Robert Fortune was able to sneak plants and seeds out of China. The Brahmaputra River flows out of China into the state of Assam in Northern India and is partially responsible for the abundant crop and hearty flavor of this style of tea. While some tea growers have begun processing the leaves into orthodox black teas, green teas, and even white teas, the bulk produced is still CTC Assam, which is the basis for this tea. Malty, brisk, and full-bodied, this tea will be a real eye-opener in the morning. I enjoy it with milk and sweetener.

Hope you get to try some of these during September and get ready for the joys of harvest!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or 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.

Here’s a quick quiz. It’s all of one question, so don’t be intimidated. What’s the best shape for a teabag? To the best of my knowledge – and not taking into consideration novelty type items – the most popular choices would be the standard rectangular teabag, the somewhat more modern round teabag, and the positively newfangled pyramid-shaped teabag.

PG Tips pyramid teabags (from the PG Tips official site)

PG Tips pyramid teabags (from the PG Tips official site)

If you keep in mind that one of the most important factors about your steeping teabag/gadget of choice is that it allows room for the water to circulate freely among the tea leaves, then that might give you a clue as to what the correct answer might be. My own vote would go to the pyramid teabag for the fact that it does seem to allow the water more room to circulate.

Which is apparently the correct answer, at least if we’re to believe a British group known as the Advertising Standards Authority, who describe themselves as “the UK’s independent regulator for advertising across all media.” They recently weighed in on a spat between two very well-known British tea companies and offered the opinion that the pyramid teabag tops round teabags.

The trouble started when one of the firms ran a TV commercial that touted the merits of their pyramid bags. The other company complained to the ASA, claiming that the commercial disparaged the company’s brand, as well as their round teabags.

In such a case, as the ASA notes, “The rules are also very clear about comparative claims. They are allowed but they must, of course, be truthful and fair as well as ensuring they avoid denigrating a competitor’s product or brand.” They ruled that company A proved their claims – and provided test results, to boot – regarding pyramid teabags and that they didn’t badmouth company B.

Which isn’t exactly definite proof that pyramid teabags are superior to the round ones (and by extension, the standard issue rectangular teabags) but’s it’s interesting to note nonetheless.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or 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.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. 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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