Come October, most love to say that these last three months of the year are the best. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are some of the best times for celebrating. What better way to celebrate the upcoming holidays than with chocolate and who doesn’t love chocolate? Starting with Halloween, the sweet celebrations begin. As soon as October approaches, stores begin to not only sell Halloween candy but also Christmas decorations and a few sweets. You may say it’s too early but if you live in the UK and are a fan of chocolate, then it is tradition. This is because chocolate boxes and tins go on sale, and they are some of the most anticipated sweets of the holidays.

teatssc1000015120_-00_nestle-quality-street-tin-820-grams-2016Now these are no ordinary chocolates. These beautiful sweets are colorfully wrapped and in random shapes and sizes. Much like a box of standard chocolates, each package will tell you what to expect in each chocolate, except you can pick whichever ones you like!

Quality Street is made by Nestle, identifiable by the purple box or tub. Quality Street was created after a man named Harold Mackintosh inherited his father John’s toffee factory after his death in 1936 and Harold revolutionized Christmas chocolates. In the early days, only the wealthy could originally afford Christmas chocolates since they were made with imported ingredients but with Mackintosh’s plan to use local ingredients, it lowered the prices of his chocolate and made Chhxm_08_c133_-00_cadbury-roses-tub-2016ristmas chocolate affordable to everyone. His invention, Quality Street, is made in the original factory from 1936. In 1988, Nestle purchased the brand and has owned it ever since. In previous holiday seasons, Nestle has released entire single serve chocolate bars devoted to favorite flavors of Quality Street (like honeycomb crunch and even chocolate green triangle). There has even been a giant strawberry! Quality Street was named after a play written by Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, who was mostly known for writing Peter Pan.

Cadbury Roses are the Cadbury equivalent of Quality Street, launched in 1938 to compete with the main brand of Christmas chocolate. The Roses name apparently comes from “Rose Brothers”. Cadbury Roses have only 10 varieties of chocolates.

teatssc1000020922_-00_cadbury-heroes-11-39oz-323g_1Finally, another hit among chocolate lovers is the Cadbury Heroes. This is a mixture of Cadbury favorites like Dairy Milk, Fudge, Wispa, Dairy Milk Caramel, Twirl, Eclair, and Creme Egg Twisted. The best part of this is that they are all miniatures! These “fun sized” treats come in a range of sizes from small bags, to boxes, to large tubs.

All of these wonderful sweets are delicious and are enjoyed throughout generations. Their popularity is growing throughout the world so it’s no wonder it’s gaining attention here in the States. The tradition of Christmas chocolates have been well-established with British families and now American families can create new traditions with them. Try some today. You will wonder how your holidays ever did without!



As soon as summer is over, pumpkin spice and cinnamon begin to fill the shelves of stores faster than you can say “Halloween”, boots replace flip flops, and coats are brought out from dark closets and into the bright orange sunshine. The cooler weather is finally upon us for a short time, and you can finally enjoy tea hot once again! What better way to celebrate Fall than with tolsll_psp_-00_loose-leaf-tea-pumpkin-spiceour Fall flavored tea?

tolstb_cran_-00_cranberry-pouchOur refreshing Cranberry Black Tea is a good way to transition to fall but still have a sweet fruity flavor. The black tea is grown in the high districts of Sri Lanka: Nuwara Eliya, Uva, and Dimbula. This tea is flavored using oils and not flavoring crystals, which give the tea a more brighter taste. Try it iced for a cool, refreshing experience!

Or are you a huge fan of pumpkin? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Twinings Pumpkin Spice Chai is perfect for your pumpkin fix without having to get a latte. Twinings is one of Britain’s best known tea brands, using quality black tea along with the finest spices for their chai teas. Add milk once your cup of pumpkin chai is ready and you will be taken to a spicy heaven! Not a fan of chai? Try our English Tea Store Pumpkin Spice, a blend of black tea and South African Rooibos, creating a medium caffeinated tea to give you a lovely balance of flavor. We also have Stash’s Pumpkin Spice, which is a decaf blend and is in a small 10 pack.tolsll_meraps_-mercedes-apple-spice-herbal-loose-leaf-tea

For the apple lovers, we have our very own Mercedes Apple Spice Tea. It’s a crisp and spicy blend of apple, hibiscus, cardamom, cloves, pepper, and cinnamon. It’s caffeine free and it’s loaded with Vitamin C! Need more of a spicy kick? Try Twinings Apple Chai, a sweet chai equivalent to the Pumpkin Chai but with apple flavor. It is a one of a kind tea experience that will leave you wanting more!





(c) English Tea Store – Crystal Derma

There is a huge difference when it comes to baking in the United States versus the rest of the world and that is weight versus volume. Americans measure using the US Standard while everyone else measures using weight. If you have tried to make a recipe straight from a British or European cookbook or baking mixes, you will notice that their recipes are laid out in grams (g) and fluid ounces (oz). In American recipes and baking mixes, it’s completely different. Everything is measured out in cups, both wet and dry. Teaspoons and tablespoons are used in both measuring systems but they are actually completely different when it comes to the actual measurement of the teaspoon or tablespoon.

The British measure their baking ingredients by using a kitchen scale. Many years ago, kitchen scales were standard and had to be manually calibrated. In recent years, people have been converting to digital kitchen scales because they are much easier to work with than standard. The only downside to owning a digital kitchen scale is that the batteries will occasionally run low or die and so you will have to replace the batteries every now and then. The perks of owning a kitchen scale are much better, as you can use one bowl to measure everything instead of having to use cup after cup like we do here in America. It saves a lot of mess.

It also very important to weigh EACH ingredient as you work with a kitchen scale since every ingredient is different. If you were to weigh about 200 grams of all purpose (also known as plain) flour and then need caster sugar afterwards, do not assume that they are the same amount. Every ingredient weighs differently. Get the scale and weigh the caster sugar. It may take a little more or a little less. For the US measures, weight is no difference. Amounts are exactly how they are measured. For one US cup (dry) to be measured, it is best to level off the excess with a butter knife for exact measurements.

Along with measuring ingredients, there is also a different way to measuring temperatures. If you are reading a British recipe and it says to heat the oven to, let’s say, Gas Mark 4, it may baffle you if you are unfamiliar with using a certain type of British oven. Gas marks are how to heat up gas ovens in the UK. Other stoves are marked with temperatures in Celsius, which are also known as Centigrade. Ovens in the US use Fahrenheit, so always look for the C or the F when looking at temperatures. American gas ovens do not have gas marks and can be preheated to Fahrenheit (some ovens may even have Celsius on the knobs), even if the stove is electric.

While it is good to use the American measurements, it’s even better to know how to measure the British way. It may seem hard at first but it really is easy to master once you get it working! Plus, you won’t need to convert any recipes!




(c) Good Housekeeping UK

If you miss custard creams or just crave them, then you can make them yourself with a few simple ingredients from your pantry and a little custard powder. This recipe for custard cream cookies is from Good Housekeeping UK. I first made this recipe before I had a kitchen scale (more on this later).

US Standard

  • For the cookie:
  • 2 cups All Purpose (plain) flour, plus extra to dust
  • 6 dry tablespoons Bird’s custard powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/8 cup or 7 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Filling
  • 1/3 cup (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup icing/powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp Bird’s custard powder



  • 200 g (7oz) All purpose (plain) flour, plus extra to dust
  • 50 g (2oz) Bird’s custard powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 75 g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 125 g (4oz) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • For the Filling
  • 75 g (3oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 125 g (4oz) icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp Bird’s custard powder
  • For the biscuits, put the flour, custard powder, baking powder, sugar and butter into a food processor, or use a fork and mix until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Alternatively, rub the butter into the flour mixture using your fingertips.
  • Add the egg and milk and mix until the mixture just comes together. Tip onto a work surface, bring together with your hands, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 mins or up to 1 day.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out dough until 3mm (⅛in) thick. Cut it into an even number of 3cm x 4.5cm (1¼in x 1¾in) rectangles, re-rolling trimmings as needed. If you like, mark the rectangles with a diamond and a dot in each corner.
  • Put rectangles on prepared sheets and bake for 13-15 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on the sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, put the softened butter into a large bowl and sift over icing sugar and custard powder. Mix to combine (don’t add water as it needs to be fairly thick). Set aside.
  • When the biscuits are cool, sandwich together with some of the filling, using a knife, spatula, or a piping bag if you want a less messy finish.


If you have seen an episode of the Great British Bake Off, you will notice some of the contestants explaining their ingredients. If you hear names like “caster sugar”, treacle, or “black treacle”, you may be familiar with it or it may leave you scratching your head, depending on which side of the pond you are from.

When I am not making or drinking tea, I am baking and I tend to bake A LOT. When I first started to bake British recipes, I noticed that in order to have the best results, British ingredients are the best. I tried to use American ingredients like granulated sugar in place of caster sugar and the difference is a huge one. The difference between caster sugar and granulated sugar is that caster sugar is much more fine than the granulated sugar. The crystals are much more easier to dissolve when being stirred in and baked. Demerara sugar is a much different story. Demerara is much more coarse than caster sugar and looks much similar to Turbinado sugar, a certain sugar that we in America see in a little brown packet. This sugar has a toffee/molasses-like flavor. Other popular sugars in the UK are Muscovado sugars. Much like the brown sugars we have here in the US, there are light and brown versions. Muscovado sugar is a naturally brown sugar while brown sugar has molasses added to it. Muscovado sugar usually gets its color from sugar cane juice

It is not just the traditional ingredients and flavors that the competitors have used. Contestants bring their own flavors from home, ones they or their family enjoy that bring them such sweet (or savory) memories. They have made their own flavors from simple fruits like Morello cherries to sweets like Pontefract Cakes, and even cola flavors. Some of these flavors are combined, such as mango, hazelnut, and rosemary and made into a sweet treat that you would not believe. These home cooks have such incredible skills that it is astonishing.

You can also add tea to your baking, wet or dry! Tea loaf cakes are a common bake in the UK, which involve actually BREWING tea, soaking dried fruits in it, and adding it to the batter! If you prefer to use dry tea leaves, Stash Tea has a recipe that you can use to make Earl Grey Tea Bag cookies!


I admit that summer is not my favorite season of the year. It’s too hot, too bright, and nearly everyone I know goes away on vacation. While I am stuck at home, there isn’t much to watch on TV, either. I’m stuck watching a bunch of reruns until they come back with new episodes…until late September or early October.

But for some, August is the best time of the year for television! Why? Because it’s The Great British Bake Off! Viewed by millions in the UK, it’s one of the most anticipated TV events of the year! In the US, the show is known as The Great British Baking Show. The premise of the show is to find the best amateur baker in all of Great Britain. At the beginning of each season, there are ten bakers who are to bake a Signature Challenge, a Technical Challenge, and a Showstopper Challenge. These are each judged on appearance and taste. The show is run for ten weeks, ten episodes, and each episode has a theme, like pastry, bread, or even gluten free. The bake-off takes place in a tent, most recently in Berkshire.

Watching this show inspires me to unleash my inner baker. Many of the recipes the competitors make all look so delicious and easy, but looks can be deceiving! I have tried for several years to make a perfect Victoria Sponge and it has been so difficult! It has taken a lot of training and patience! So, for the next few posts, I will explain how baking products are a bit different in the UK, baking temperatures, measuring, and more about the Great British Bake Off.

Put on the kettle, it’s going to be fun!



With the Olympics going on at the moment, it’s been quite a ride so far for the delegates over at Rio de Janeiro. History was made not just by America’s own Michael Phelps but some nations alone such as Fiji, who won their very first medals. Whether you support Team USA, Team GB, or any other team, celebrate them by toasting them with a lovely cup of tea. Not just with any tea, toast them with a cup of GOLD!

Not sure on which of our special teas to try? Here are a few good ones to get you started!

ttoh40b_ykg_-00_yorkshire-gold-tea-bags-40-countYorkshire Gold: Much like its standard counterpart, only a bit stronger. It has a malty taste thanks to a fine blend of teas from Africa, Sri Lanka, and India. It’s a perfect mate for your breakfast either black or with milk and sugar. Try it in loose leaf, too!

Typhoo Gold: Another fine brew, Typhoo Gold is a strong blend of Assam and African black tea leaves. This tea is also Rainforest Alliance Certified.

PG Tips Gold: This is the finest and the most indulgent cuppa that PG Tips has to offer from their range. A golden blend of Ceylon, Assam, and African teas are pressed to release their natural juices and create their bold and rich flavor. The teabags are pyramid shaped to allow more room for water to flow through and decrease the brewing time.

Barry’s Gold Tea: This Irish tea is a signature blend for Barry’s Tea. Their tea comes from the most luscious tea gardens of Rwanda, Kenya, and the tbry_gld40_barrys_tea_gold_blend_40ctAssam valleys of India and produces a lovely golden color. This tea is one of our must-try teas! We also carry it in loose leaf!

Lyons Gold: Another well known Irish brand of tea, this expertly blended mix of Ceylon, Assam, and Kenyan teas brings a rich, full bodied flavor to your teacup. Every box comes with 80 teabags but it may not last very long if this is your favorite!

Whether you have tried one or all of them or you simply like their regular brands better, have it with a little cake or cookies while watching your teams play. Don’t forget your flags!

For USA and other national flags, head over to our sister site,





You may have heard of Tazo teas a few years ago in certain coffee shops and proved to be very popular. We are happy to announce that their teas are now here at the English Tea Store! We currently carry 11 varieties of the Tazo brand tea. They range from simple teas like Earl Grey and Chamomile but if you are feeling more adventurous, you can try the less than traditional teas like Zen, Refresh, and my personal favorite, Passion!

Here’s more info if you want to check out the other flavors of Tazo!

Wild Sweet Orange – If you are looking for a caffeine free tea, this is one of Tazo’s many delicious options. This tea is an herbal infusion of licorice root, lemongrass, citrusy herbs, and a hint of orange essence, not to mention the sweet taste of orange peels. The sweet tea tops off with blackberry leaves and rose petals. It will help curb your citrus craving and let you feel mellow.

Green Ginger – If you’re a fan of both green tea AND ginger, then this tea is for you! Green ginger is a spicy mix of  ginger along with a hint of juicy, sweet pears and made with all-natural ingredients.

Organic Peachy Green – A blend of darjeeling green and black teas to help give you a nice pick-me-up along with a lovely peach flavor and a hint of cucumber. Try it iced for an amazingly refreshing summer drink!

Sweet Cinnamon Spice – With Autumn around the corner, I feel this tea is much more suitable for the upcoming dog days. This herbal infusion of spicy cinnamon and star anise will wake you up from the lazy days of summer!Tazocategory

Organic Chai – Chai is already popular with many, so why not try Tazo’s version? Robust and spicy, this exotic blend of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, star anise, and black pepper to black tea will take you on a taste adventure. Try iced or hot with a bit of milk.

Passion – My personal favorite from the Tazo range. This sweet tea brews a beautiful pink color and is made with zesty orange peel, hibiscus, lemongrass, and rosehips, along with a luscious passion fruit taste. I enjoy this both iced and hot!

Refresh – Another favorite of mine, this tea really does live up to its name! Refresh is a mint tea blend of spearmint and peppermint leaves and a bit of tarragon. I like to add a little honey to my cup of Refresh to add a kick of sweet flavor! Did I mention this is caffeine free, too?

Try them and let us know how you like them!



IMG_20160723_0845101_rewindSummertime brings the best in food and drink, bringing sweet fruits, bountiful vegetables, and refreshing drinks. In the scorching hot summer heat, many of us love a nice, refreshing glass of iced tea. Perhaps you would like a bit of honey in it? But then there’s the issue of dealing with the mess of sticky honey!

That’s where the Nektar Honey Crystals come in. It is a sweet mixture of honey and cane sugar meant for times where you need just a bit of sweetness. They are small yellowIMG_20160723_0912131_rewind granules that come in an easy to pour bottle or in small packets, perfect for when you want to take your honey on the go. When you use a packet of honey, this is equivalent to one teaspoon of liquid honey, so it gets very sweet! Try it in green or black teas!

Uses for these crystals are not just for drinks but for food, as well! When I tried these for myself, I sprinkled some (well, a little too much) on my plain oatmeal and on my fruit for breakfast one morning. It really added a lovely flavor to my oatmeal and made my fruit taste even sweeter, kind of with a maple taste.

Other ideas for using these Nektar Honey Crystals are not limited to just breakfast food and tea, but to smoothies, baking, and even cooking savory foods! Add some crystals to a BBQ sauce or sprinkle some in with your seasonings for your steak rub. These are sure to please your taste buds and save you time.




You love your tea kettle. It is there for you when you are happy, sad, angry, or need a good pick-me-up. It brews the hot water for your tea, coffee, cocoa, and many other things to make that specialIMG_20160721_2217203_rewind drink for you. But sometimes, your tea kettle may need a bit of love and care itself.

Over time, your tea kettle may develop limescale, mineral deposits, and hard water residue. If you see any buildup in your tea kettle, whether it’s electric or standard stove top, don’t worry! It can easily be fixed with something that might be sitting right in your cupboard!


  • White Vinegar
  • Water


Warning: Be sure to UNPLUG your electric tea kettle and let it cool before cleaning! Safety is always a must when handling electric appliances.

IMG_20160721_2213418_rewindFor Electric Kettles:

  • Fill your kettle with equal parts (about 1 cup of both) white vinegar and water, then let it soak for about an hour.
  • Turn on the kettle and let the solution boil up until it’s at a rolling boil or the kettle shuts off. After that, pour out the solution and rinse thoroughly with water, about once or twice.
  • Fill with water and boil again to clear out the vinegar from the kettle. It should be ready to use once you have boiled water in it once or twice, to be safe.

For Range-Top Kettles:

  • Fill your kettle with equal parts (about 1 cup of both) white vinegar and water, then let it soak for about an hour.
  • Set the kettle onto the stove, turn it on, and let the kettle get to a rolling boil. Turn off the stove and pour out the solution. Rinse thoroughly with water, about once or twice. Like with the electric kettle, fill with water and boil about one or two times.
  • If there is still a little bit of residue left, try wiping with a damp sponge.

If you look at my pictures, I admit I did not wait an hour because I was too excited to try this experiment out and it did work on my Ovente kettle! So if your kettle is not brewing the best water for your tea and other drinks, try this method before going out and buying a special cleaner. It’s cheap and it’s a “life hack” that you have mastered.


Before Cleaning


After Cleaning











Explore our content:

Find us on these sites:

Follow Us!     Like Us!     Follow Us!     Follow Us!     Plus 1 Us!
Follow Tea Blog on

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Tweet This!    add to    add to furl    digg this    stumble it!    add to simpy    seed the vine    add to reddit     post to facebook    technorati faves

Copyright Notice:

© 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.

Blog Affiliates

blogged - The internets fastest growing blog directory

Networked Blogs

%d bloggers like this: