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Week 3 Best Seller, Budget Tea, and Blue Lady

Crikey I'm slacking! Lovely lovely Assam for Day 15. So new it isn't even on the website yet. Nothing 'special' just a really good 'Autumn Blend' which has been such a joy to drink all day. Good body with a wonderful smooth aftertaste.

mug of assam autumn blend tea without milkassam autumn blend tea leaves on a saucer after brewing

Day 16: Pai Mu Tan Organic White Peony - this is hands down our best selling tea. I'd forgotten just how much I like it - it's incredibly clean with an almost buttery aftertaste. Because I'm stingy I also rate the value for money - this is the 5th infusion!!!montage of paimutan tea in china cup and leaves

 No.17 in my ‪#‎yearoftea is Blood Orange Rooibos. Also known as Redbush it's a traditional drink in South Africa. The chunks of freeze-dried citrus give this herbal a wonderful scent and an added dimension to the earthy flavour. As well as having a good rich taste, being caffeine-free and really high in antioxidants makes it good for me too! ‪#‎winwin 

 Blood orange rooibos drink and steeped leaves

Day 18: Apparently, this is the most depressing day of the year.So for my 18th ‪#‎teaoftheday in my ‪#‎yearoftea I've opted for an Earl Grey Blue Lady Citrus Special. Because Bergamot is used to lift the spirits.
It's a black tea so you could theoretically put milk in it...if you were raised by wolves.cup of earl grey blue ladyearl grey blue lady leaves before brewing

Day 19: Today's ‪#‎teaoftheday is a decaffeinated Assam - strong and malty with a lovely chocolatey finish. Decaff teas always used to have a really weird aftertaste but the High Pressure CO2 method of decaffeination has made that a thing of the past.

decaffeinated assam tea in cup and leaves on saucer

 For Day 20 in my ‪#‎yearoftea I've chosen to share one of my favourites It's a Thailand Choui Fong Green Tea really fresh tasting with a little bit of hazelnut at the front and a lively aftertaste. Water at 80°c and steep-time of 3 mins gives you a lovely bronze liquor.cup of thailand choui fong tea with ladybird packaging and tealeaves

 Day 21: Woke up feeling a bit 'meh' so figured a good antidote would be a Moroccan Nanamint tisane.Whereas I don't exactly feel like I'm sipping the golden stuff in--a-little-alley-cafe-a-stone's-throw-from-the-bazaar, it is really nice and I think I'll be using it later in the year to make a sorbet....‪#‎yearoftea

moroccan nannamint tea with leaves

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All there is to know about Tea!

Below is a copy of a Post Card posted in Kingussie, in the Scottish Highlands dated June 23rd 1906 and sent to Mussoorie, India arriving on the 15th July 1906. I have transcribed it exactly as printed although the sender added a few comments. I believe it sums up all there is to know about tea and tea drinking.

Extract from Armstrong’s Self-Educator. From 1906

Mr. Barlow:- “Now, Harry, I want you to write down, in plain English, all that you know about Tea, which your recent lessons have treated of, and show me how you have profited by my instructions.”


Tea was first invented in Ceylon by Sir. T. Lipton, who brought it over from America to this country in his yatch, called “The Mayflower,” which sailed from Boston after great difficulties created by the crew refusing to do their duties and throwing many of the chests of tea overboard. The crew came to be known as “The Pilgrim Fathers,” because John Bunnion wrote an account of their voyage under that title.

Tea is a brown liquid and is made or confused in tea-pots by women. Its taste is not nice unless a lot of shugar is added to it and it is mostly drunk with milk also, to keep it from getting on peoples nerves.

The Rushins drink their tea in caravans, which they get from China.

People that like their tea little and often are called tea totlers to distinguish them from people that don’t take tea at all, who are called totle abstainers.

Tea is full of black things that float about in it, and you can tell your fortune by them, and whether you are going to marry a lady or a gentleman, and how many, and whether they are fat or tall, and whether it is to be this year, next year, sometime never, and a lot more things.

The different kinds of tea are Black tea, Green tea, Mazawat tea, D tea and other sorts. That is all what I know about tea.

Harry Sandford

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My #yearoftea with a different #teaoftheday

If you follow us on Twitter , Facebook or Instagram, way back on January 1st I decided to embark on a 'Year of Tea' by drinking a different tea or tisane every day. This wouldn't be a great hardship as I drink gallons of the stuff anyway. I was simply going to do it more 'mindfully' (to use that ghastly expression). I even made the decision to not limit it to teas which I like but to hopefully rethink teas I don't like with a fresh approach...we'll see about that as I've not worked up the enthusiasm to do that yet.

Anyway because I'm a bit of a Chocolate Teapot in the 'Media-Savvy' department it didn't until now occur to me to post them here - I know ! 

So because we're on Day 34 already, and as none of the posts are terribly large or in-depth it may be better as a weekly round-up rather than a daily post

So watch this space.....

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Indian Sub-Continent Black Teas

Despite there being a slight downturn in black tea consumption as well as production, India is still the world’s greatest producer of fermented tea. China is still the world’s largest overall producer of tea, green as well as fermented and semi-fermented.

The tea plant was deliberately taken, stolen, from China and after quite a few ‘stumbles’ finally found its feet and took off, enjoying the high altitude and warm but very humid conditions found especially in north-eastern India.

Black tea was the preferred production method by the British population and is usually taken with milk and often sugar. It has been noted that in all the countries the Romans occupied they introduced grapes for producing their national drink and certainly it is true for the British Empire; Kenya tea production ranks world third after India and former Ceylon forth.

Assam is the largest producer and most productive of all the tea growing areas of India followed by Terai, also highly productive per hectare, next comes Kerala still a significantly large growing area. Sikkim and the other North Indian states whilst being slightly more productive than Kerala are only a third in size. Finally Darjeeling, half as big again than all the other North Indian states combined but producing only a quarter the amount per hectare as Sikkim and a fifth of the amount Terai produces. Darjeeling tea gardens rely on high quality production rather than producing quantity.

This has led to a certain amount of adulteration and falsification resulting in worldwide Darjeeling sales exceeding well in excess of 60,000 tonnes compared to the actual production of 18,000 tonnes.

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The Five Stages of Black Tea Production

Today’s interesting Tea Fact

Producing black tea requires five successive operations. After the tea leaves are withered, a drying process that reduces their moisture content by half, enabling them to be rolled without breaking.

This rolling or macerating, causes essential oils to be released but still retained within the leaf.

The leaves are then carefully hand sorted according to size and form (whole or broken leaf).

Next comes fermentation, which transforms the leaves from being ‘green’ through an Oolong stage (semi-fermented) to fully fermented ‘black’ tea. This fermentation process is tightly controlled, the leaves are thinly spread out and exposed to warm, (75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit) extremely humid air for several hours. The leaves in effect start to compost or bio-degrade, the secret is knowing exactly when to holt this fermentation and move onto the final stage, firing or drying.

This stops fermentation and removes virtually all moisture allowing the leaves to be stored safely for a considerable time,

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