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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

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

© 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

With December coming to a close, the frantic holiday rush picks up and it’s hard to find a good time to wind down and relax with a good cup of tea. My seasonal picks for the month of December from the English Tea Store are sure to delight and soothe even some of the most frazzled holiday preppers.

For a good holiday tea to entertain your guests who enjoy tea, English Tea Store’s Holiday Spice is a must. The spicy flavors and a hint of orange will take you into the spirit of the holidays along with a burst of energy to keep you going. I enjoy my cup without milk and a hint of sweet.

(c) Crystal Derma for ETS use, all rights reserved.

(c) Crystal Derma for ETS use, all rights reserved.

For those in the mood for some mint flavor, you are in for a treat! The English Tea Store chocolate mint tea is a good pick-me-up. At first, I thought chocolate tea was not my thing and I am a huge chocolate lover but I felt not in tea. Once I opened up my bag, however, I was in heaven. A minty chocolate scent burst up to my nose and I thought to myself, This is tea? I immediately brewed my cup in anticipation, sweetener and milk nearby. I expected it to taste a little bit like a peppermint mocha and it does, but not as strong as I thought it would be. Milk made the flavors more subtle yet. Delicious.

Finally, my favorite is the peppermint tea. If you have never tried peppermint tea, you must. Fine tea leaves allow room for minty flavor in your cup. It’s good any time of day, even before bed since it’s caffeine free! Plain sweetener is just fine but some honey is also good for more natural sweetness. I like to mix both. If you like peppermint with a caffeinated kick, I would suggest the Stash White Christmas tea if you order it before it’s gone. It has not only peppermint but a bit of ginger in it.

I hope you join me again next month for January’s tea roundup. In the meantime, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings!

~CD

Christmas is almost here and that means fun and festive times with friends and family! Delicious food, the smell of the Christmas tree, decorations, the holiday specials on TV, and the arrival of loved ones. After the festivities comes everyone’s favorite activity: presents. Now, I love to receive gifts as much as the next person does, but I discovered as I got older that I love to give more than I love to receive. The exciting feeling of deciding what to give someone. If money is tight, I like to bake gifts. The best part, though, is seeing their faces light up when they unwrap the gifts.

Pat MugSo if you’re shopping for a tea lover (or even a coffee lover), mugs are some of the best gifts you can give. This past August, my oldest sister and I were shopping in a department store when we spotted the cutest mug for our stepmother. She isn’t much of a tea person but a huge coffee drinker and mugs are also her thing. She has a collection herself that I am not allowed to use (except for one mug that I love to use, hee hee). I knew I immediately had to purchase that mug for her (especially while I had some extra money. Never too early to start). It’s a cat that says, “I have an attitude and I know how to use it!” So I got this along with a bag of Minnie Mouse (she is a fan of her) jelly beans and that was the gift. I know she won’t eat the jelly beans but she will definitely use the mug.

I was lucky and picked this up in the summer when the holidays were 4 months away, but if you’re in a pinch for time this holiday season, just find a clever mug (Doctor Who, clever sayings, or whichever. There’s a mug for pretty much anyone) and fill it with some tea and honey sticks. A few envelopes of the Twinings Christmas Spice to warm up their holiday or the Twinings Winter Spice to soothe them into a crisp apple joy. Better yet, you could mix them both up and put a little ribbon or two. If tea is a little short, hot cocoa or sweets are always the best, especially chocolate!

Paperchase2Paperchase1One of the benefits of becoming older and wiser is that I am appreciating the simple things like tea and mugs and how big of a gift they are to me. I don’t need any fancy gifts as as long as I have tea and the comfort that comes from it along with my loved ones. The past two Christmases I received a mug each year. The first mug I received, I spotted it at Target while shopping with my oldest sister. That year I had become a self-proclaimed mug collector, so I told my my sister that I fancied that cup. It had some cute Japanese anime-like drawings of adorable little ladies on it from Paperchase Kishi Kishi (which was actually from the UK, as I read on the box) that was briefly sold at the big box store but sadly is no longer there. It was only about $5 so it didn’t cost very much but I didn’t think about buying it. I unwrapped it come Christmas and it was immediately one of my favorite gifts. The next year, my second older sister gave me a sock monkey mug with two handles on it that was also stuffed with hot cocoa mix and candy canes. It was another one of my favorite gifts of all time since I love sock monkeys and mugs and this was all in one!

Sock Monkey MugThat is one of my favorite things about mugs. It’s a pleasing feeling to learn your friends and family know you when they get you a mug with something you love on it (or in it. You might love giant mugs that are like soup bowls)! You get to express yourself and your loves/interests with them. Collecting mugs is a good hobby to take up. There’s a wide variety of mugs everywhere, so you can do a theme or mix and match. Just be careful because the collection does add up fast!

~CD

 

Green Tea

Wouldn’t it be great to find a great tasting beverage that has the potential to improve your health? There is such a beverage – tea. Research has indicated that tea is healthier than water. This definitely a positive point since tea has more flavor. So, what are the potential health benefits?

Research has found that tea is healthier for your body than water. Surprising, since popular consensus states water is the healthiest beverage for your body. Findings have been reported that tea rehydrates the body as well as provides disease-fighting antioxidants. Tea may offer protection against stroke, heart disease, and several types of cancers.

Do you want more reasons to drink tea? Drinking tea has potential benefits such as boost the immune system as well as strengthen teeth and bones. Tea may also improve artery function by aiding in blocking LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol).

How about drinking green tea? Research has found that senior citizens in Japan who consumed one or more cups of green tea per day were less likely to present cognitive and memory problems. Green tea contains EGCG, which appears to reduce the production of a toxic protein that clogs the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease.

All these healthy reasons make me want to get my infuser and brew a cup of tea. Health benefits and delicious taste make this an excellent beverage of choice. If only everything that tasted good proved to be healthy for us.

© 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 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 OLS/ETS blog entry originally published 01.23.2009

For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the heart of Winter is upon us. In the U.S., that can range from freezing cold with 12-inch snowfalls and high winds to desert highs in the 70s (the poor darlings have to wear sweaters!) and the vague threat that something moist will actually fall from the skies. Hee! Whatever the weather is like where you are, there is a perfect Winter tea for you to enjoy.

The Perfect Tea Indoors When There’s a Blizzard Outdoors

A crackling fire, warm fuzzy slippers, a few layers of pullovers, a fresh batch of scones hot from the oven… hmmm… something’s missing here. Oh, yes… tea!! But it needs to be the right tea. Here is my tea of choice:

  • Blackcurrant Black Tea — A naturally flavored Ceylon black tea from estates at more than 5,500 feet above sea level. Wonderful very berry deep blackcurrant aroma and flavor with no chemical aftertaste. (my review)
Blackcurrant Black Tea (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Blackcurrant Black Tea (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

A Grey Day Tea That Will Turn the Skies to Blue

Monk’s Blend (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Monk’s Blend (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Winter and grey skies go together like — you guessed it — scones and tea! And those grey skies can convey a feeling of anything from bleakness to coziness. For hubby and I it’s usually the latter. Grey skies are perfect background for a wonderful teatime, and that teatime can make those grey skies as cheerful as blue skies. A tea that is particularly effective at achieving this:

  • Monk’s Blend — A tea that delivers an incredible cup with the sweetness of pomegranate and the scent of vanilla. The liquid has light and fruity notes of grenadine and caramel that create a unique, heavenly flavor. (my review)

Tea You Can Drink While Wearing a Parka (But Not Necessarily While Skiing)

Snow being one of those precipitous Winter events, people tend to associate activities like skiing with Winter, too. Even if you don’t ski, you could find yourself part of a “ski party,” that is, a group of folks spending time at a ski resort, with some of them schussing through that powder of icy crystals. Since the outside temperatures are usually at freezing or below, warm attire such as parkas are worn. I remember one such ski trip where I was the only non-skier in the lot. Bundled in a parka, I relished a nice pot of hot tea all to myself. Ah! Can’t remember what tea that was, but here’s a tea that would be good to try:

Nine Bend Black Dragon (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Nine Bend Black Dragon (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

So, is there any one perfect Winter tea? I doubt it. There are many, for each of us has that perfect one all our own. Enjoy and stay warm and cozy!

© 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.

brit flagI fell in love with Britain at a young age, even going as far as wanting to live there when I grew up. When I did grow up, my life took different turns and I ended up staying in the United States. I figured the closest things to Great Britain would be to immerse myself into the food and culture. I became an English major at my college since I love to read and write. While my school offers a program to study abroad in Oxford, I am unable to go due to my current obligations. I hope to save up to go Britain for a visit so I can find the Globe Theatre, Big Ben, and ride a red double decker bus.

PG MonkeyHowever, Britain isn’t complete without a nice cuppa tea! I started my tea drinking journey with PG Tips after I watched one of their funny advertisements on their website featuring their mascot, a wooly monkey and his human companion, Al (played by English comedian Jonny Vegas). The tea bags are in pyramid form so the loose-leaf tea can unfurl and steep more freely than the standard, round, and flat teabags. The taste is smooth, crisp, and robust. The tea itself is strong when black but it can be mellowed out with the addition of milk.

digestiveFrom what I learned in my research, tea is an important part of life in Great Britain. My best friend and I went to an afternoon tea and I can see why the British love it so much! It’s very calming and relaxing to take some time to enjoy tea along with some sandwiches and tasty scones. Tea is considered a meal and there are a lot of places where you can stop have a nice cup of tea. When I have my tea at home, I enjoy it with some digestive biscuit dipped into my cup. But do be careful, they soak up rather quickly and can break apart and get lost in the bottom of the cup!

~CD

 

Well, most of us in the U.S. have set our clocks back for one hour. It’s that seasonal time change we undergo twice a year. If you’re like me, it can take a few days to adjust so that you don’t automatically wake up an hour earlier than you should (your internal clock will say it’s 7 a.m. while your clock now reads 6 a.m.) or get sleepy an hour earlier than your usual bedtime (the clock will say 10 p.m., but your body will say it’s 11 p.m.). Plus, those of you used to having your Elevenses Tea Time and your Afternoon Tea (at 4 p.m.) will find yourselves wanting tea at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. respectively. Tea can definitely help you make this adjustment to the seasonal time change. Here’s how.

Egyptian Chamomile Caffeine Free Herbal Tea - Loose Leaf Pouches (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Egyptian Chamomile Caffeine Free Herbal Tea – Loose Leaf Pouches (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Staying Awake Longer

This is a little tricky. You can have a nice strong cuppa tea such as matcha or a breakfast blend in mid-evening to keep you alert a bit longer. Then, switch to a nice cuppa chamomile infusion about a half hour before bedtime (the new one, that is) to help calm you and get you ready for sleep. Timing is critical. But so is avoiding taking in too much fluids shortly before going to bed. Your common sense will have to be the real judge here.

Staying Asleep Longer

If you follow the advice above but also don’t drink too much of the chamomile, you will be very likely to sleep until your alarm goes off. (Nothing is worse than waking up ahead of that alarm and then trying to get back to sleep just to be awaked by the alarm just as you have managed to doze off.) Another option is a cuppa tea with warm milk in it at bedtime. It will help you sleep deeper which will assure you don’t wake too early.

Adjusting Your Tea Times

This is going to take some willpower on your part. Or you can apply a little trick I’ve learned. Have an extra cuppa at breakfast. If this doesn’t work, though, you might try having your Elevenses tea time early – about 10:30 a.m. – and your Afternoon Tea also early by about a half hour. A couple of days of this will help you last until the new normal time.

Yes, resetting our clocks can lead to periods of adjustment. But with a bit of help from tea, you can cope!

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.

Flowering Tea - 3 Flower Burst - Green Tea (ETS image)

Flowering Tea – 3 Flower Burst – Green Tea (ETS image)

Tea is being cultivated in more and more countries around the world. China and India remain top producers with Sri Lanka and Kenya being close contenders. It makes me and others interested in the culture of these countries, and that includes some of their holidays. So, I have been looking them up and thought I’d start sharing some of them with you as a way of enhancing your experience of enjoying their teas.

Guy Fawkes Day – United Kingdom

Always on November 5th and also known as Gunpowder Day. It dates back to when King James I, an avid Protestant, was crowned king and began persecuting Catholics (unlike “bloody” Queen Mary who did the opposite). Well, as can be expected, a group of Catholics didn’t like this very much and sought to send a bit of a message by blowing up the British Houses of Parliament when the king and his supporter were in the buildings. Their leader was – tick… tick… tick! – Guy Fawkes! He led the infamous Gunpowder Conspiracy of 1605. He was stopped as he was about to light the fuse for all the gunpowder that was set in place for the big bang. And appropriately the day is celebrated with fireworks and bonfires – and effigies of Fawkes. The UK is quite a bunch of tea drinkers, although their tastes are getting more varied. And they have a bonafide tea garden there called Tregothnan. A great tea to celebrate with is Gunpowder (hee! couldn’t resist).

Veteran’s Day – United States

Always on November 11th, this date was called Armistice Day and first celebrated in 1921, but was changed to Verteran’s Day in 1954. It honors those members of the Armed Forces who served and died in any wars or military service. The date was selected since it was the day marking the official end of World War I in 1918. It’s a time for pausing and having a moment of silence – and then a nice hot pot of tea! More and more tea gardens are growing tea here in the U.S., from the garden in Charleston, South Carolina, to the ones in Hawaii. Time to celebrate with a nice blooming/flowering tea.

Labor Thanksgiving Day – Japan

November 23rd is the annual celebration of Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤労感謝の日 Kinrō Kansha no Hi) where thanks is giving to those who perform manual labor in fields and factories. Various festivals are held throughout the country, and school children give drawings of thanks as gifts to local kōbans (police stations). This holiday is the modern incarnation of a harvest festival known as Niiname-sai (新嘗祭?, also read as Shinjō-sai) that possibly dates back as far as the reign of the legendary Emperor Jimmu (660–585 BC). The modern version came about after World War II in 1948. You have several Japanese teas to choose from, so just pick one for your celebration.

While you dedicated tea drinkers certainly need no such reasons for drinking a great cuppa, these will help you get a better feel for the source of those teas and may inspire you to a special toast to them all.

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.

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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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