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Serious Tea Drinking

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

One problem with my new office is that you aren't allowed to eat or drink at the desks. Another problem is the nearby communal seating area and kitchen are being refurbished so there's quite a long walk to the next nearest place where I can sit and drink.

My old office was near the department kitchen and I used to keep a good selection of teabags and loose leaf teas on my desk. I am now reduced to keeping a selection of teabags in my bag for those occasions when I manage to take a tea-break.

I found an interesting tea related chart on the Tea Appreciation Society website which lists a number of interesting tea related facts. Among them are the ideal temperatures for different styles. I already knew that green and white teas should be brewed at below boiling, but I didn't realise they only had to be at 65-70°C and 65-70°C respectively.

At the moment I have the following teas in the house:

  • Gunpowder tea: One of the most readily available green teas, and usually a reliable option.
  • King Bladud's Blend: A black tea, named after the legendary king who founded the city of Bath. These first two teas were bought from the tea and coffee stall in Bath market.
  • White tea: from Whittards. A mild refreshing tea.
  • Te Med Blåbärssmak: A blueberry flavoured tea from Ikea.
  • Tesco Loose Leaf Tea: Claims to be leaf but is actually more like tea dust - the contents of a teabag but without the bag. OK for when I want a decent strong cup with milk.
  • Earl Grey: Teabags, made by Clipper.
  • Redbush: Teabags, from Tetley. I have had various flavoured redbush teas but usually prefer the plain ones. A redbush flavoured with orange which I bought from the German Market in Birmingham a few years ago was quite nice though.
  • Darjeeling: Asda own brand 'Selected by you' Teabags. Nice light flavour, better without milk.

Most of the time I drink tea without milk, which is handy in work since at the moment there isn't anywhere to keep any. I first started drinking it milkless when I was at university in Aberystwyth. Milk would go off before I had chance to use it so I just stopped bothering buying any. Now, when I have milk in tea, I prefer it to be semi-skimmed. For some reason, skimmed milk seems to make the tea taste worse, and full milk is a bit too creamy for tea.

Herbal Teas

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /

I am quite an avid tea drinker and usually have 3-4 cups per day when I'm in work. I tend to drink mostly green tea but occasionally have a cup of a herbal tea such as rooibos. We have several herbs in the garden which are suitable for tea-style drinks so I thought I'd give them a go.

  • Mint Tea. I don't know what type of mint we have because it was bought as a 'growing herb' from the supermarket. A couple of dried leaves in a cup of boiling water makes a fairly refreshing drink.

  • Lemon Balm. This is pretty much the same as Lemon Verbena. 5 or 6 leaves in a cup makes a decent drink. Since Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family I also tried it with a mint leaf added to the pot.

  • Hyssop Tea. I followed a recipe I read on another website and tried it plain and also with lemon juice and honey. I wasn't impressed and won't be trying it again. It wasn't as bad as the Cornsilk Tea I tried last year.

Cornsilk Tea

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

We planted sweetcorn in the garden again this year but it was very late ripening. I only harvested it this week after the plants had started to die off. When I opened the cobs none of them were fully ripe, so I hung them up to dry. I'll have a go at making popcorn with them at a later date.

I can't remember where I first heard about cornsilk tea but I decided to give it a go tonight. I separated the long strands of silk from the cobs and cut off the brown dried ends. I put a handful in a jug and poured boiling water over. After about 5 minutes or so I strained it into a cup. The drink was a strange yellow green colour and smelt of tinned corn. It wasn't a very appetising smell and the drink didn't taste very nice. I only managed a couple of sips before I decided to pour it away and make a proper cup of tea.

I think I will stick to 'normal' tea from good old Camellia sinensis. I don't mind whether it's green, black, white or oolong. Although I will also drink Rooibos or Lemon Verbena too.

That's me in the corner, losing my revision

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

We have two exams next week, and everyone must be at home revising because I have the office to myself today. Revision is going slowly. I somehow managed to distract myself by watching the first few episodes of Black Books using the 4OD thing from Channel 4 to watch the episodes on-line.

I also managed to lose a tea bag. I keep a tin on my desk with assorted teas in it - at the moment it has a couple of types of green tea, some earl grey and some rooibos (aka Red Bush). I reached into the tin, grabbed a bag at random, picked up my mug and walked towards the door. I realised I was only carrying the mug, not the teabag, which was nowhere to be seen. Not on the desk. Not in my pocket. Not dropped on the chair or floor. I came to the conclusion that I must have put it back in the tin.

I've suffered from senior moments before, but this was one of the more extreme.

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You can't make tea with twigs

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /

I made myself a cup of green tea in work and, not for the first time, found some reasonably sized bits of twig in amongst the leaves.

Apologies for the photo being a bit blurred (it was taken on my phone) but you can just about make out the length of the twigs to be about 4cm.

Green Tea

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

I recently ran out of Green Tea, so I bought a packet from a local deli - I ended up with a pack of 'honey and jasmine' flavour because it was reduced from £2.50 to 50p (it was out of date, but tea keeps for ages so I thought it was worth a try). It tastes ok.

Here is the old packet of tea which I was drinking - it contained 4 smaller packs, each of a different variety.

This is the back of the box:
chinese tea packet

And here are the individual boxes:  

Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail Thumbnail

Click on the thumbnail to view the image