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Christmas time is a favorite for many, meaning yummy food, delicious drinks, and of course, gifts! I find that tea can be a delicious drink and a gift rolled into one because it’s warm, cozy, and it’s something that can be given or received. I have given and received tea for Christmas and it’s always been quickly opened up and brewed so we could sample the never-before-tasted tea. This holiday season, English Tea Store has some new holiday flavors that will keep you from ripping these open before giving them away (or saving them until brewing for Christmas)!
Swiss Hot Chocolate Black Tea – This is a surprising blend of Ceylon tea grown in Sri Lanka mixed with cocoa beans and white chamomile petals for a nice floral lift. You can’t even tell this is a tea! Add a splash of milk for a creamy effect.
Vienna Egg Nog – For those who are fans of egg nog, this is a real treat! This is another Sri Lankan grown Ceylon tea but with delightful hints of ginger, cinnamon, and caramel. Try with or without milk!
Peppermint Matcha Green Tea – Our delicate matcha powder but with a refreshing peppermint flavor. This matcha powder can be drank in its simple form brewed with hot water or you can make Peppermint Matcha Green Tea Lattes oreven in desserts such as cheesecake. Be creative!
Whether you give these teas as a gift or buy them for yourself, be sure to share with a friend or a loved one. After all, it is the season of giving and one of the best parts of tea is being able to share it with someone.
Have a Merry Christmas!
Is it OK to say I do not like chocolate cake? I do make chocolate cakes and I do eat some chocolates, like Maltesers but I have never been a fan of rich chocolate cakes so I make this orange flavour cake and put chocolate chips in and it is good.
You can of course use cocoa powder in place of some of the flour if you want a chocolate colour, you can also use milk, plain or white chocolate chips, I only had white chocolate in stock. I filled half with orange marmalade and half with lemon curd and butter icing to satisfy the whole family!
You will need: Two 8″ cake tins well greased or one well greased 10″ cake tin. Oven 180 C 350 F Gas Mark 4
- 8 oz Butter
- 8 oz Caster Sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- A few drops of vanilla essence
- A few drops of orange essence
- 8 oz Self Raising flour
- Grated rind of an orange
- juice of half an orange
- 4 oz chocolate chips
Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy then add the beaten eggs with a spoonful of flour and the vanilla and orange essence. Fold in the flour, grated rind, juice and chocolate chips. Pour into two 8″ cake tins or one 10″ tin. Cook for 35 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. Leave in the tin to cool slightly, using a cake tester or needle prick all over the top of the cake and then mix the other half of the orange juice with a little hot water and pour onto the cake. When slightly cool take from the tin and place on a wire rack until completely cold.
Slice the cake, or not if you have made two! Spread orange marmalade or lemon cheese on the bottom half then cream or butter icing onto the underside of the top half of the cake. Sandwich them together and enjoy a piece with a cup of tea.
Smack dab in the middle of winter, it’s hard to keep up hope for Spring. Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and the excitement has sadly worn off from it. With all the winter storms and blizzards coming and going, the world outside the window becomes white and colorless and the only reason to come outside is to dig yourself out of the snow.
When I visited my fiance in January 2016, we were hit by Winter Storm Jonas out on the East Coast of the United States. It was my first ever blizzard, being a California girl. For me, it was fascinating to watch the wind blow the snow that was falling but the aftermath was just atrocious! But during the storm, all I had to enjoy was my Yorkshire Tea, which I thankfully packed from home. While I love my Yorkshire, it got to be very boring when it was all the tea I had to drink while being snowed in since I love variety. Since I was away from home, I did not have access to my tea collection from home, which has green, white, herbal, and rooibos teas along with black.
Here are some good teas to help get you through a blustery blizzard:
Organic Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose Festival Green Tea -This green tea, which is most often used during Japanese tea ceremonies, is flavored with sweet Montmorency Cherries. The taste is light, fruity, and smooth and can be enjoyed iced or hot. The caffeine content of this tea is low and is considered to be a good source of antioxidants This tea is sold in loose leaf form.
French Blend Tea – This one is truly a treat. If you want to escape or just have something a bit different but still enjoy black tea, then this one is just right. This tea is inspired by Britain’s neighbor, France, it is fragrantly noted by Earl Grey, Lavender, and Jasmine, while blended with Ceylon, Nilgiris, Assams, and Kenya tea. The lavender in this tea is from Provence along with some beautiful rose petals to add its romantic charm. The color when brewed is a nice, rosy color, helping to make you blush!
Long Island Strawberry Green Tea – Finally, to help make you think of more summery days, this tea has summer written all over it. Another one of our Sencha green teas, this tea is grown in the Hunan Province of China. Strawberry is not only the key fruit but dried papaya pieces help boost it’s sunny flavor! Try it hot or iced with some strawberries in the glass!
These teas are also good pick-me-ups when you’re a weary traveler. I will know next time I head out on a trip (or as the British say, on holiday), to pack more types and flavors of tea!
When someone asked me to think back to when I first started drinking tea, I had to think. It was in my teen years, but I’m not sure what led me into drinking tea back then. Maybe it was my introduction to “white tea” and “green tea” that tantalized my taste buds. It took me a while to adapt to these, but I didn’t really explore tea until I got older.
Children in the United Kingdom are usually introduced to home-brewed tea at a young age. Cups of black tea are incorporated into everyday life and are later introduced to other types of teas like darjeeling and oolong. They learn to become little connoisseurs! American children do drink tea but not as much as their English counterparts. One thing they do have in common is the tea sets! Many children have tea sets and love to throw tea parties! They can invite friends or family to join them for tea time (I would have tea with my dolls and stuffed animals). Having tea together encourages play time, imagination, and social skills.
I live with my nine-year-old nephew and he has a budding interest in tea. When he learned I became a tea blogger and what I would be doing, he was very interested and tried a few brews with me. Now, I like to brew myself a cup of decaf tea at night to encourage sleep and my nephew will ask for a cup, which I will happily make for him. While he prefers his iced, he loves tea very much and we will drink together. Sometimes his older sister and younger brother will even join us! My nephew has even tasted PG Tips which he likes. While I have yet to teach him the winning combination of digestives and tea, he has expressed interest in not just trying teas alone but biscuits and cakes! I really enjoy teaching him about tea and English culture. I am so proud to be this young man’s aunt!
For the little tea drinker, a good fruit tea can be suitable for their young taste buds. A simply wonderful tea for children is our Bingo Blueberry. While it is good hot, it is refreshing as an iced tea. It is an herbal tea so it has no caffeine and has a strong blueberry flavor along with a dark purplish color. Another kid-approved tea is the Bella Coola, which has a citrusy pineapple flavor. The color for this one is a little bit orange-red. This one is good iced with a garnish of strawberry or pineapple. Since summer is almost here, another way to enjoy these teas is to make popsicles out of them (once they are sweetened to the child’s liking).
Warning: When brewing tea, make sure an adult is handling the hot water and enjoy under proper supervision.
If you know me, one of my favorite brands of tea to brew is PG Tips. It is usually my go-to tea for whenever I feel like I need a good pick-me-up or something to warm me up in the cold days of winter. It was one of the first British teas I tasted before I really began to dive into British food and culture and I introduced it to my young nephew, keeping the love for PG Tips well into the next generation.
While plain black tea is what they started with, PG tips recently began to expand their tea line from beyond the standard black tea. While there is loose leaf and decaf, PG Tips has ventured into the world of green, herbal, and fruit teas. Five varieties of green tea have been produced by PG, Pure Green, Juicy Raspberry, Fragrant Jasmine, Vibrant Mandarin Orange, and Zesty Lemon. Each box of green tea has 20 bags and is a fine blend from Indonesia and Kenya. All but the Pure Green are infused with a floral or fruity flavor.
Perhaps you fancy a more lighter taste and less caffeine? That’s where the herbal teas come in. Delicate Camomile, Refreshing Peppermint, Smooth Redbush and Vanilla, and Aromatic Spices and Mint are all here to soothe you. Camomile is infused with delicate flowers, Peppermint is a clean and refreshing minty goodness, Redbush and Vanilla is a mixture of South African Rooibos, vanilla flavor, hibiscus flowers, and cranberry, and finally Spices and Mint is a combination of familiar spices like cinnamon, mint, and a bit of orange.
Still prefer black tea? There are some new varieties that PG tips has in store such as the Strong One and the Fresh One. The Strong One has a bright red color when brewed, a malty aroma, and a bold tea character. This tea is blended from teas grown in Kenya and other African nations. The Fresh One is also red when brewed, and this tea is a Breakfast Blend plus English Breakfast, all blended from tea grown in Kenya.
It is hard to choose from all these varieties! I like to expand my horizons and try new tea but if you’re a tea lover like myself, you might have a large cupboard full of tea! Have you tried any of these flavors? Let us know!
Did you know that June is Iced Tea Month in the United States? While millions of people drink it all year long, it is widely celebrated during this early summer month on June 10th. It’s a good time, too, since iced tea is a very popular drink among Americans, especially in the summer months! About 80 to 85 percent of tea that is consumed in the United States is taken iced. While my palate is adapted to the British style of tea, who could blame my fellow Americans for liking iced tea? It’s refreshing, especially since a large amount of the U.S. is overrun by humidity during the summer months. Iced tea is dated all the way back to at least the 19th century, however, it was not made popular until the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri.
The best thing about iced tea is that just about anyone can make it! You can make it to however you fancy. You could take it sweetened or unsweetened, add a bit of lemon, or garnish it with a nice piece of fruit. While iced teas consumed in the U.S. are usually ready to drink, many use teabags to make it themselves. However, another method of iced tea brewing is growing in popularity. The Keurig brewing system is already synonymous with coffee brewing and many are using it to brew iced coffee.
With more households owning Keurig brewers, many of the owners like tea. So to settle the growing demand, many tea companies began to make k-cup versions of their teas. Twinings has recently made some delicious varieties like:
Prefer a simple black tea? Not to worry! There’s a pure black tea as well!
If you still prefer to make it the old-fashioned way, there’s always the regular Twinings Teabags, Shangri La which steeps a total of 12 quarts per packet, or even our English Tea Store brand. I have previously mentioned Lady Londonderry as one of my personal favorites since it tastes like summer, with notes of strawberry and lemon in there. If caffeine is not your fancy, then the Casablanca is a brilliant tea that goes well iced! A bright red color when brewed, it is not too strongly scented before it is brewed. Once you taste it, it is a light fruit medley. Great for kids, too!
Iced Tea Day is a great day to kick off a summer of iced tea, picnics, and barbecues. Bring family and friends around for a nice cup or pitcher of iced tea and watch some fireworks. Happy summer!
Both of our teas this month are fruity, just right for the fresh blossoms of spring here in the states. Peach apricot is our first choice for the month, being a Ceylon black flavored with real papaya, apricot, and peach fruit. I love peaches. Chambersburg is a drive to the east from where we live in PA, and the peaches you get there are unrivaled: big enough to be a full meal for two, sweet, and so juicy you need a knife and fork to eat them. Families make a day of going for Chambersburg peaches just like they do Bedford apples in the fall.
According to the Almanac, peaches ripen faster in a closed paper bag at room temperature. If you are a gardener like me, you are familiar with this principal. I remember weekend fall days in the garden, picking all the green tomatoes that were healthy, hoping to get them in before the cold snap ruined them. We’d wrap the tomatoes in newspaper and pack them in paper bags to store in the basement until we were ready for them. They ripened this way and we were able to extend our growing season. When you live in the Laurel Highlands of PA, the growing season is short and anything to extend it is appreciated!
Until the Chambersburg peaches are ready, this tea is the next best thing, with a very heady aroma. This tea is steeped 3-5 minutes for best body and just a smidge of sugar really makes it come alive. At 15% all month, it’s all the sweeter.
Our second tea for March is vanilla flavored black tea. According to our site, “Vanilla calms the nerves, lifts the spirits and improves the romantic aspect of one’s life.” Wow. Maybe I should have written about this one last month instead of wasting space driveling about chocolate (oh, wait, sorry, chocolate is never drivel.).
I’ve lately found myself tempted to buy some essential oils and experiment, because they are great for making your own lotions, body scrubs, and candles. Around the DIY sites you can find 1001 uses for them, and vanilla is one of the most popular. If you mix some coconut oil with sea salt and a few drops of pure vanilla, you can smooth and nourish your skin in one inexpensive step. A drop of vanilla on the cardboard toilet paper tube before you put it on the holder will make your bathroom more inviting. And if you are painting a room, a tablespoon of the oil into the paint will not only knock out paint fumes but make the room smell pleasant for many months. Who knew? Vanilla being at the top of the list for creating your own “me time” products attests to our site’s statement.
I’m not sure how the weather is in your locale but where we are, the winter has been one of the coldest, breaking a few records. More commutes than usual have seen white knuckles through ice, significant snow, and “wintry mix” (euphemism for “holy man, not this mess again!”). I am voting for a two-minute mini break when you get to the office. Brew a strong cup of our vanilla black tea, inhale deeply and languidly, then sip slowly as the steam brings warmth back to your cheeks and the scent envelops you. If your boss pokes his (or her) head out and yells, you can tell him (or her) I gave you permission for this and your productivity will be higher. If you are the boss, treat your reports to this tea.
The Chocolate Mint Flavored Black Tea blend from English Tea Store is the delectable paring of chocolate and mint. This tea delivers a bright and coppery infusion and a chocolatey mint flavor that is especially prominent when milk and sugar are added. We find this tea tastes best when served hot, but it can also be enjoyed over ice. Using flavoring oils, not crystals, gives the tea drinker an olfactory holiday before indulging in a liquid tea treat.
Rather than write more about the traditional chocolate Valentine gift, I’d like to point out a new feature on our site that starts with this tea. It will be slow in coming, as all good things are, but you will no doubt find it helpful. One by one your tea merchandiser Tammy is added very detailed information on each of our teas. Here is what she is presenting for the Chocolate Mint:
Cup Characteristics: Fresh lovely mint combined with full flavored chocolate tea that is wonderfully reminiscent of an after-dinner mint
Infusion: Bright and coppery
Ingredients: Black tea, Blackberry and Peppermint leaves, and Natural flavors
Caffeine/Antioxidant Level: Medium/High
Grade(s): OP (Orange Pekoe)
Manufacture Type(s): Orthodox (Traditional leafy)
Region: Nuwara Eliya + Dimbula + Uva
Growing Altitudes: 4000-8500 feet above sea level
Shipping Port(s): Colombo
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!
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!