Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Twist Teas: Mint Humbug


Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to a wonderfully delicious tea. A tea that has made a superb first impression. This tea is the second tea from Twist Teas fun and flavoursome Puds Without Sin Collection. 

It's a tea I REALLY like. The tea in question in the mouthwatering Mint Humbug.

Last month I reviewed the wonderful Banana Shake from Twist. That particular blend has gone down a real treat and I even (kindly, in my opinion) gave my rooibos loving nephew a couple of bags to take home and try. 

I was immediately struck by Banana Shake as, I will admit, I have a slight obsession with banana flavoured tea. Why and where it started I cannot tell you but it lingers there, in the back of my mind. Yet, banana tea is not one anyone would come across on a regular basis so I was delighted when I received some through the post from Twist. I've been drinking it non stop and after a rather unfortunate bout of stomach flu last week all I did was crave this imaginative tea.

So could the banana shake be bettered? Well I thought not. But today I cracked open the Mint Humbug box, not expecting to love it as much as the banana shake. And yet, here I am, sat snuggled in bed, loving every sip of this wonderful tea.

Before I start the review I'd just like to fill you in on the Puds Without Sin Collection, just in case you don't know. Essentially Twist Tea's have created a complete collection of pudding flavoured tea's. The collection has been designed to provide that wonderful hit that you get from a good pudding without all the naughty - and rather inconvenient bits - such as calories, fat and sugar. It honestly is a pure win win situation. The best of both worlds. Indulgence and comfort that you can get only from tea, without any of the guilt you may feel as you tuck into your favourite pudding.

With the exception of the mint choc chip tea, which contains black tea, all the lines in the range are either rooibos or herbal based so it's caffeine free to boot!

It's fair to say that Twist Tea have also managed to achieve the one thing I thought was impossible - they have got me absolutely loving rooibos. I will say that I probably couldn't drink a cup of it unflavoured, however, Twist Tea have created such fabulous flavours that I'm now enjoying several caffeine free cups of tea a day which I really am very pleased about.

So ... onto Mint Humbug!

This blend of tea comes in a generously filled silky pyramid tea bag. I love the colour of the rooibos, I find it visually attractive and certainly appealing. One of the best hints I can give you about this tea is do stick to the recommended infusion time of 4-5 minutes. I often leave mine for up to six minutes so the tea reveals even more of it's gorgeous flavour. This is a tea that is best left infusing for more rather than less time if you want to experience the flavour at it's fullest.


 This blend, just like the banana shake, infused to a dark, copper red colour. It's just another way this tea is really interesting. It's just fabulous to look at and warming and inviting for this time of year.

Firstly, the mint flavour, which comes from a blend of peppermint and spearmint, is warming and refreshing and makes your mouth dance. It's spicy and yet at the same time, light and does not sit heavily on the stomach like pure peppermint can do, for me, anyway. I personally think the blend of peppermint and spearmint is ingenious as sometimes peppermint can be a bit harsh so the spearmint softens that hardness somewhat, making a brilliant level of flavour which evolves with each sip and which stays in your mouth for some time after the tea is finished.

Interweaving through all the lovely minty-ness is a sleek, smooth wave of toffee flavour that blends perfectly with the mint. It's rich, tasty and moreish. It makes you greedy for this tea, so it's good that this tea is without sin. When you take your first sip  you want more and more and that then progresses to wanting another cup and before you know it the kettle is once again boiling. In addition to the gorgeous flavour you also have the natural sweetness from the rooibos itself that adds just another decadent layer to this fun blend.

My honest feeling about this tea is that one cup is never - and will never - be enough. It is almost like a visit to see the bestie which you never want to be over. You do not want this cup of tea to end. And there is a pang of disappointment when it does.

If you had asked me about the Puds Without Sin Collection yesterday, I would of said nothing could match up to banana shake. I was totally wrong on that assumption.

I can't say which of the two I prefer. It may even be level pegging. I love the Banana Shake because it's funky and fun, I love the Mint Humbug because it's classic and effortlessly chic. There most certainly is something very special about these two blends, something that draws me to them whenever I open the tea cupboard and something that immediately distracts me from making other tea choices.

Quite often tea blends such as these are good at the idea level but never seem to hit the spot. These blends, however, really do. They are a joy to drink and are ideal autumnal blends.

I will end this review simply by saying that I love the Puds Without Sin Collection. And if it's still in production this time next year, could we  have a Christmas edition, Twist Teas? Pretty, pretty please. Maybe a Christmas cake or mince pie? Please .....
















Friday, 29 September 2017

Hotel Chocolat: Teaolat Cacao Breakfast Tea


This evening I am wrapped up in bed drinking one of the most luxurious tea's I've ever been fortunate to taste. It is not only extremely tasty and one hell of a treat - it's also stylish and elegant. The Jackie O of the tea world.

This gorgeous blend is from Hotel Chocolat and is a blend called Cacao Breakfast Tea.

I will admit that this is a costly tea. On researching this for the blog I noted it was £5 for ten tea bags. This is luxury and the rest of the box, I have decided, will be held back for Christmas.The tea was given to me by my dear friend, Christine, who had purchased it whilst on holiday earlier in the month. Without her I would not of been able to try this tea and I can only thank you, Chris!

When I was discussing chocolate based tea's with a friend years ago they thought it was simply a case of a chunk of Dairy Milk being chopped up and mixed with tea leaves. However, I can say, it's far more sophisticated then that! This tea consists of malty Assam tea and cacao shells which are the shells that form around the cacao bean. Mostly, it's thrown away but Hotel Chocolat use the shells's for it's rich, luxurious taste. And that is exactly what this tea is.

Tonight, as I have done everytime I've tasted this tea, I opted not to add milk to this blend. This was a brave step for me as I cannot take breakfast blends or Assam tea without milk. They are too strong or too malty for me so I have to add a dash of milk to take the edge off. However, with this blend not only would the milk be superfluous, but would totally distract for the rich, deep flavour of this tea.

When I drink this tea I am totally aware of the luxury. And this is a tea to be savoured and enjoyed at leisure, not gulped back whilst you're heading out of the door. I always give this tea fifteen minutes to fully enjoy, and it deserves only your full attention. You cannot share this tea with anything. That would be scandalous.


The tea comes in silky pyramids and is full to bursting with tea. In the picture above you can see the rich Assam tea leaves with the cacao shells chopped up. They are the pieces that resemble chocolate.

I placed this tea in the mug and let it infuse for three minutes. From the moment the packet is opened the chocolate scent is easily detected. It's gorgeous and surprisingly not sickly as some chocolate teas can be. The tea brews to a dark amber colour.

The base tea in this blend is Assam. Assam is a strong blend easily detected by it's full bodied, malty element. I wasn't sure how this would work using a tea so strong. Would it detract from the chocolate element? Well, I'd say no. In fact it's a partnership that works really well together. The strength of the Assam tea really supports the chocolate taste very well indeed.

I loved the robust Assam used in this tea, it's of a very high quality. It's rich and just mild enough not to be overpowering, however, if you over brew this tea I expect the Assam, and it's slightly bitter edge would ruin the tea. Brewed correctly, however, it's a real delight. I've never been able to drink Assam without milk so it's full flavour is always partially hidden, in this blend I could enjoy it fully.

The cacao shells bring a glorious, smooth chocolate flavour to this tea. It's not quite as smooth as milk chocolate but far less bitter than dark. It's somewhere in between I guess, but I love the rich element to this tea. It's really, really good. Very moreish and you feel as though you're having a real treat when you drink this tea. I love how the chocolate flavour lingers in the mouth long after the tea has been finished - a pleasant reminder of the tea that is, quite frankly, joy, happiness and luxury in a cup.

This is quite a unique tea and it's actually quite hard to describe this tea in words. It has tea like elements from the Assam tea, naturally, but it also has hot chocolate elements too. A weird cross between two drinks, yet somehow it really works.

As I'm watching my weight, and as chocolate is firmly out (till Christmas, at which time I shall loosen up a bit and have one or two Roses) this is a really good substitute. It's devilishly wicked and tempting, however, is wonderfully devoid of all the naughty bits that makes real chocolate bars off limits to me! It's certainly a win win for me! Perfect for those times when only chocolate will do. (Which I admit is quite often!).

This is a glorious tea. And ideal for a winter treat. It's expensive for a relatively small amount of tea, however, on this occasion I certainly believe it's best to have a little less of something that is REALLY GOOD rather then have lots of second rate, cheap tea.

I cannot wait for my next cup, which will be in a few months during the festive season.

If you want pure, indulgent, luxury then with this blend from Hotel Chocolat that is certainly what you get. There is no doubt about that.

All I can really say is thank you so much Christine for your very kind gift. It meant a lot and tastes delicious. Without you, I'd never think of trying this. I didn't even know Hotel Chocolat did tea!

So, readers, why not treat yourself?

Sssh, though, as this tea is our little secret!



Twist Teas: Banana Shake


The first of tonight's tea reviews is a review of a very interesting blend.

It's from the utterly fabulous company, Twist Teas and is their equally fabulous Banana Shake tea.

Banana Shake comes from their new range of tea called Puds Without Sin. In essence they are all funky dessert based teas but without any of the downsides to actually eating the pudding, for example these tea's contain no sugar or artificial sweeteners. So they are a guilt free treat. And I, for one, am extremely grateful for that!

Earlier this week I was contacted by the lovely Claire offering me a chance to taste a couple of their tea's. I was happy to receive anything but I must admit, being a lover of banana tea, I was especially excited to see that in the box, alongside the Mint Choc Chip I had received the Banana Shake. 

Banana Shake is a rooibos tea. I will state from the start that rooibos and I have had a rocky relationship. When I say rocky, it was truly on a Charles verses Diana level. I hated it. I can't dress it up or lie. I hated it. However, over the past year there has been a distinct thaw in the frosty relationship. I'll admit that I probably wouldn't get on with pure rooibos but I do enjoy it when it's flavoured and there is no better flavour to match then banana.

I love this tea to absolute pieces. After popping out to the local shopping centre, in the middle of a torrential downpour this morning, I got back dripping wet and not particularly happy. So whilst I was changing out of wet jeans and into comfy pyjama's I brewed a cup of this astonishing tea, knowing that I could not resist reviewing this tea this evening. As rooibos can be infused for a longer period of time I left it to brew whilst I got changed and came back to see a beautiful, copper coloured cup of tea waiting for me.


From the moment the infusion process begins this tea makes a stunning impression. How can a tea that brews to such a glorious colour, as seen above, not be inviting? I challenge you to not be tempted by this tea. I am sure you'd fail. It just looks absolutely glorious, sparkling and vibrant. This was love at first sight.

The aroma of banana is strong and mouthwatering. I'm not a fruit lover overall, I prefer vegetables, but I do love banana's and this tea smells fresh, healthy and has that lovely sweetness that you get when banana's are prefectly ripe.

So far, so very good.

By the time I sat down to drink this tea I was frozen through and needed the warmth from the tea as much as the taste. As I cradled the mug in my hands I took a sip, not totally sure what I'd make of it, as it's rooibos after all.

However, I was not disappointed. Not for a second.

The flavour of banana is strong and rich. It's mouthwatering and moreish and once I started sipping I just couldn't stop. With each mouthful I appreciated and enjoyed this tea more and more. It's glorious flavour leaves you wanting more - and so far today I've had seven cups! It's a good job it's caffeine free!

Underneath that gorgeous, fulfilling flavour of banana comes the rooibos distinct taste, which is itself very sweet. I liked how it's almost herbal element brings a depth of flavour to this tea. The two flavours are very rich yet are not sickly or overpowering. They can soothe even the sweetest of teeth and I find it gives that sweet hit that I miss. This tea needs a fine balance, too much of either flavour would be too much, yet Twist Teas find that balance and blend the tea perfectly.

Over the past couple of years dessert tea's have been quite popular. Some have worked, others (like the Twinings range) have not. This tea, however, gets two thumbs up from me. Not only was I so impressed that I came away liking rooibos a LOT more then I did before I tried this, but I firmly believe that if you are dieting, as I am doing, there really is a decent tea out there that can satisfy you as much as your favourite cake or pudding. And that is very impressive.



Banana Shake comes in a silky pyramid bag and is generously filled with tea. But look at it. Oh so pretty and those beautiful colours are ideal for this time of year when autumn is knocking at the door!

I never thought I'd say this about a rooibos tea but I will - I cannot recommend this tea highly enough. It has everything. Yes, it is a tea that does what it says on the box - you genuinely feel as though you are enjoying a nice dessert. It's visually beautiful, it fruity scent fills the kitchen, it tastes so good and it's caffeine free - ideal for me who has been suffering horrendous nightmares lately.

It's warming, comforting and just wonderful. I know as autumn arrives we'll be blasted with lots of pumpkin spice type tea's but I would say this has to be MY tea of autumn. It's relatively simple but executed supremely well.

If there is one tea you should buy to get you through the change of season's into the colder weather, it has to be this fun blend. I am super impressed and am already craving another cup!

I'll end this review by saying a huge thank you to Claire from Twist Teas for sending this out to me. I can assure you, it really has gone to a good home!





Thursday, 28 September 2017

Whittard: Blend No 97: Breakfast Earl Grey


Over the summer quite a lot has been going on here at Laura's Tea Room so I haven't been blogging quite so much. I still felt passionate about tea and passionate about bringing tea reviews to my readers, but, quite honestly, I was tired, stressed and whenever I attempted to blog it was with a half heart.

But recently I've tried a selection of tea's new to me and all of these fantastic new blends have well and truly reignited my love for all things tea and I have missed blogging so much that I am now back, fully refreshed and eager to go!

Throughout my absence I have had several emails from a reader named Tony who simply wanted nothing but to check in and see how I was doing. He, and his wife, are absolute tea addicts but who sometimes feel lost in the huge range of tea that is out there. So, with Tony in mind, and with his dedication to Earl Grey, I thought it fitting the first tea I review is a Earl Grey.

I have never hidden my love for Earl Grey. I've always been upfront and honest that I am totally obsessed with the blend. I love it's rich, full flavour. I've drunk some exquisite Earl Greys and some downright awful ones. And my honest opinion of Whittard's Breakfast Earl Grey is that it sits, smack dab in the middle of that spectrum.

At the end of August, a dear friend from Blackpool, where I used to live, had come to London with her daughter to visit the sites and see a couple of shows, so one of the day's she kept free and we had a wonderful day out, drinking plenty of tea and catching up. I hadn't seen her in three years and it was as if not a day had passed without us seeing each other - I guess that is what a real friendship is all about. No matter the time or distance it stays rock solid.

A lot of the day was spent meandering around Covent Garden - an area that despite being a Londoner I hadn't visited often but have gotten to know well since I moved back. And of course, no visit to Covent Garden would be complete without a trip to Whittard's.

My friend was very patient as it took me ages to pick a tea. Somewhat lost in the choice I fell back on a Earl Grey. It was, I thought, a safe option. So, I went back home and boiled the kettle. Sat back and almost instantly that familiar, much loved Earl Grey scent filled the kitchen.

Breakfast Earl Grey, according to Whittard, is designed to be a stronger version of it's normal Earl Grey. Something to give you a kick start in the morning. I suppose it's slightly akin to having Assam instead of Breakfast tea in the morning. It is supposed to have oomph, to have the same effect as that early morning coffee. It's designed, I suppose, to get you up and going in the morning.

But does it do just that? Is it so radically different?

I have to say yes, it is!

Firstly, lets talk about the technical aspects of the tea. As far as I can tell the tea is only available in a pack of 50 teabags. I didn't notice the tea having a loose leaf option in the shop and it only brings up teabags on the website so I'm assuming that is all the tea is available in. Despite what the picture shows above, the teabags are actually slightly coloured so I am assuming they are unbleached though I cannot say for definate. Inside the box the tea bags come in a foil back to preserve freshness. I would highly recommend that you keep the bags within it's original foil packaging as it's quite strong and the flavour may seep into more delicate tea's if kept together.

I have long become used to using loose leaf tea and making my own teabags so I will admit having a ready made bag is a wee bit more convenient in the mornings when I'm only half awake. Slight laziness on my part I will happily admit!

The tea is an absolute joy to watch as it infuses. It starts off as a light amber colour and then develops into a rich copper colour. From my experience of this tea, I would say that once it reaches the copper stage that is when the tea is infused enough and the teabag is ready to come out. Of course that is my personal choice, you may find you'd like it in longer, but when this tea is described as being stronger than normal Earl Grey Whittard are not lying!

I don't actually think that even I was prepared for the strength of this tea. It pretty much knocked my socks off. Yes, I drink my tea black so of course it would appear strong then to those who add a splash of milk to their tea, but my god it really does pack a punch.

The base tea's used in this blend are a very good mixture. There is a strong and malty Assam tea, a rather more mellow Ceylon tea and a brisk, fresh and bold Kenyan tea. Mixed together they form a tea strong enough to take the Earl Grey flavour.

The base tea's form a rich, earthy, almost coffee like flavour. It has a slightly roasted element about it too. I like the fact that it's really flavoursome and has depth. However, I do find that some of the bags really allowed you to taste and experience the base tea's whereas other bags tasted more of the bergamot element. I'm not sure if this is a blending issue or even if it is just a change in my tastebuds but I would of preferred, overall, to experience the rich flavour of the tea far more than I have done so far - and I'm about half way through the packet.

So what of the bergamot flavour? Well the bergamot orange is what is used to give Earl Grey it's distinctive taste. And this is very strong indeed. In fact I would say at times the flavour is almost overpowering. Though it's lovely and I adore that familiarity I would have to say it's the strongest Earl Grey I've yet to try and sometimes it's just a bit too much. Even to the point where I can't always finish a mug, other times I can drink it down almost in one.

This is such a odd tea for me to blog because it is such a changeable tea. Now it could be again down to my taste buds but sometimes it all feels just too much other times it's just right and perfect. And I swear blind that the blending of tea varies between each teabag.

I would also pay much attention to the making of this tea. I infuse this blend for three minutes exactly. Even a half minute more can turn this tea from a pleasant Earl Grey to a bitter, nasty mess. So in a way, this tea is extremely delicate in as much as it needs to be handled carefully, almost mollycoddled through the infusion process. If you leave this tea to infuse whilst you go off to answer that phone call or go to pick your mail up off the mat - do it at your own peril as it could mean the difference between a lovely cup of tea and a horrid one.

I cannot decide if I like this Earl Grey or not. The quality of the ingredients are very good. The actual base tea is delicous. Yet, the strength of the Earl Grey is slightly off putting. Sometimes it's fragrant, sometimes it leaves a oddly perfume like flavour in your mouth. Sometimes it works for me, other times it doesn't. Not much help to you, the reader, I understand. But it's one of the oddest tea's I've ever experienced because I just can't decide whether it's my thing or not. On paper it should be. In my heart though, it's not hitting the spot.

To sum this blend up, I think you'll love it if you like your tea strong, you like the perfume element of Earl Grey and you take your tea with a splash of milk. It may not work for you if you drink your tea black, dislike the floral element to Earl Grey or don't like strong, overpowering flavours.

I think this is a blend that I shall leave you to make your own mind up about. And I will continue drinking this till I have emptied the box, however, I don't think I'll purchase this again. I'd much rather buy a refill of Bohemian Raspberry, my personal favourite blend that Whittard sell (now that is a blend that makes my mouth water!).

This tea is interesting in as much as it's really made me think about tea. And it's put me at odds with myself. I'd love to hear your views if you decide to try this tea.

And for Tony, if you've not tried this yet, you need to!








Tuesday, 26 September 2017

A Hello From Laura

I've just spotted that it's been a few months since I last blogged about tea. How time flies when you get older, eh?

This summer has been crazy and busy. And I have been tired to a level that has been unbelievable. Tea drinking has been constant, but I've lacked the energy and gumption to blog about tea. That passion has never, ever left me and I've truly missed blogging but I just couldn't seem to summon up the energy to do it. In addition it's been a really hot summer as well which hasn't helped.

However, things have settled (and cooled) down a little bit and I am very eager and keen to get back to my two major passions - tea and writing about tea. I just love it and it makes me happy

This week I've been on holiday from work and have drunk pot after pot after pot of tea. And it brings me as much joy as it always does. Rummaging through the tardis of a tea cupboard I've discovered tea's that I have forgotten that I had and it's like discovering them all over again.And I have loved every second.

Today I received a email that both surprised me, shocked me and probably is the main spark that has ignited my excitement for tea blogging - CHRISTMAS! Amazingly Twining's are the first tea company to put this year's Christmas blends out on their website. From what I can see they are exactly the same as last years, but I will be checking back to see if anything new and exciting is added.

As autumn rolls in, the nights get darker and the air crisper I cannot wait to see what this autumn brings in the line of new tea's. I'm beyond excited at the prospect. There is so much opportunity out there for companies to create fabulous tea's and for us who love tea to enjoy them.

And into the new year there is the next National Tea Day which I will (hopefully) be attending.

So things are looking exciting in the tea world and I can't wait to get started to bringing these reviews to all of you lovely folk who read this blog.

And I'd also like to take this chance to thank those readers who wrote in asking how I was doing after noticing a lack of posts since June. Your thoughtful emails and concern was very touching indeed.

So, here's to more tea drinking and tea reviews. I am so excited to get started!

Friday, 9 June 2017

The Tea Experience: White Bellini


I have a lot to thank teatourist for. The awesome tea subscription service is coming up trumps month after month. This month I've had the joy to experience the idyllic Sherlock Holmes tea. Last month I thought it's delightful selections could not be bettered. This month they have done that.

For now, I am sitting here sampling a white tea so perfect, so fragrant and tasty it has blown my socks off. It's a white tea so gorgeous that I shall, after blogging, be purchasing some. That tea is the gorgeous White Bellini from The Tea Experience.

I love white tea. It really takes to fruity flavours such as pomegranate and peach very well. In it's pure state it's delicious, albeit it sometimes very delicate that it can leave you feeling underwhelmed. Overall though, I've had  some wonderful white tea's.

When I was searching through the latest teatourist box which popped through the letter box a couple of weeks ago, I was instantly drawn to this tea. The fact it was a white tea, and it was peachy seemed just perfectly refreshing for the spell of hot, muggy weather we've been experiencing in the UK lately. However, it wasn't till this evening that I finally decided to make the tea and give it a try.

Instantly, upon opening the packaging, I was hit with the gorgeous, light and aromatic smell of peaches. As a lover of peaches I was especially smitten. It smells so fresh and tasty! Just yummy!


Visually, this tea is gorgeous. It has entire tea leaves as well as twigs from the tea plant. In addition, as you can see the tea includes pieces of dried raspberry and peach, as well as a fruit that I think is currants. A delightful mixture. But what I really love in this picture is you have the entire tea leaf. This isn't crushed up, it's kept whole. It's absolutely gorgeous!

When preparing white tea the water simply cannot be anywhere near boiling point. White tea is delicate and the leaves can easily scorch making a horrid bitter mess. So, I started to boil the water in the kettle and switched it off way before it reached full boiling point. I let the water cool further as I was filling the teabag. This method worked as, not to sound big headed or anything, but I managed to prepare this tea perfectly!

White Bellini is one of those tea's that is a absolute joy to drink. This is tea that is perfect to relax to. I can honestly say that whilst sipping on this tea you won't want to do anything else but relax. It makes you feel so lovely that all you want to do is savour it's flavours - and not much else.

From the first sip the main taste of the tea is the peach. It's very strong, mouthwatering and delicious. With each sip you get a awesome burst of fresh fruit flavours. It's so sweet and juicy you feel almost that the peaches could of been picked this morning. It's luscious and incredibly moreish. I think I finished this tea in record time. The tea makes you greedy. Once tasted those peach flavours make you want more and more. A casual drinker to a addict in mere seconds - that's how it feels for me!

Underneath the gorgeous peach comes the slightly tart flavour of raspberry. This works really well as that tartness is a perfect balance to the sweetness of the peach, making this tea both sweet but not sickly or too overpowering. So from the first sip you get that hit of sweetness rolling across your tongue, followed by a sharpness that isn't unpleasant, only interesting and which provides this tea with a exciting and unexpected twist.

But what of the actual tea? Well to be fair the white tea is up against two really strong ingredients. But still, that slightly grassy element to white tea is present. The grassy element, though far less than green tea, is just something I really like. However, by it's nature, white tea is as delicate as bone china and the flavour of the tea wont be the first thing you'll detect. But it is there. Present and pretty as it always is.

I absolutely loved the combination of fruity flavours in this tea. It's been blended to utter perfection. White tea is a hard tea to produce and prepare correctly and this is a hit on all sides. So impressed am I by this blend that I will be treating myself to some - this is instant tea love. A love affair that will last for some time I hope!

There have been only a handful of times when I've been knocked sideways by the instant effect tea has on me. Recently it's been Kukicha. 

As much as Kukicha's strength and power blew me away, White Bellini has done the same with it's gorgeous delicate qualities, it's wonderful femininity  and it's gentleness.

I would highly recommend this tea, especially as summer is fast approaching. I can assure you it will be the perfect compliment to those long, hot summer days.




Thursday, 8 June 2017

Chash Tea: Sherlock Holmes Tea


There are three major interests I have in life that developed very early on in my childhood. My general interest in Princess Diana. My (obsessive) admiration for the Beatles, in particular George Harrison, and my utter, complete love for Sherlock Holmes.

It started when I was a wee six year old reading the Ladybird edition of The Hound Of The Baskervilles. And it flowed through my teenage years as I read story after story and watched the marvelous Jeremy Brett (in my opinion, the ultimate Holmes) solve all manner of cases, The Eligible Bachelor being my favourite. Or is it The Dying Detective? Or the Mystery Of Thor Bridge? Or The Copper Beeches ....?

(Holmes. Drinking tea.)

So, I suppose you can guess my excitement when Dan from Chash Tea told me that they had just released their new blend: Sherlock Holmes. This glorious blend made it's premiere at this years National Tea Day, which I sadly missed and which I still feel so upset about.

Even more annoying then missing National Tea Day was the fact that during my recent supermarket sweep like, bonus spending shopping spree with Chash, I overlooked this tea amid all the excitement. Having sworn blind I had ordered it and then checking my invoice to find I hadn't I was bitterly disappointed. However, this month's teatourist box has recently arrived and what did I find amid all the other wonderful tea's? This little gem. Finally, I was going to try this blend. I was beyond excited.

The ingredients in this tea are exciting and different. They are: Breakfast tea, lapsang souchong, ginkgo and elderflower blossom. Now I will admit, lapsang souchong and I do not make the best of bedfellows. I was put off it a long time ago by drinking a really potent, bad quality lapsang and have been rather nervous around trying it again. I have though, tried it since a few times and found that the better quality the lapsang is, the nicer the taste. I don't hold grudges either, so went into trying this tea with new eyes and fresh taste buds.

This is such a pretty tea to look at. The actual tea is so dark in colour and the elderflower adds a dash of startling colour. It smells nice and smoky too, but delicately so. This certainly isn't a type of lapsang that is so strong that it throws you halfway across the room, and on this matter I was very pleased. I knew that had it been too strong I would of struggled with the smoky element. Aroma wise, the strength of blend is just right.

I first tried this tea after a pretty hard and stressful day at work and it was just the right tea to relax to. I am so happy that I love this tea so very much. I suppose, because of it's name, it's a blend I really wanted to like. And I honestly do.

The first flavour that comes through is the smokiness - and that is natural as it's such a obvious flavour. But I was really impressed that though it's a very present taste, it is by no means overpowering. How Chash have achieved this is beyond me but it's a spark of utter genius. The lapsang souchong fills the mouth with a interesting smoky flavour, but at the end of the sip there is a sweetness to that smokiness as well. It's rounded and well balanced and I feel the amount of lapsang added to this blend is just about perfect. 

Underneath that smokiness lay the breakfast tea. This is a fine and strong tea to use as the base tea. I think that the base tea needs to have strength to carry the smoky flavour. This tea probably wouldn't of worked so well had a Ceylon or Darjeeling been used. I love the slightly malty element to the breakfast tea. It's rich, smooth and moreish. It bursts with flavour leaving you feeling both satisfied and relaxed.

Underneath this malty, smoky match made in heaven, there is a fruity, plum like sweet taste to the blend which I assume comes from the ginkgo. This adds a sweet femininity to this very masculine blend. 

If you had asked me to describe what I think a Sherlock Holmes based tea would taste like then this is pretty much what I would of said. When I think of Holmes, I think of the thick tobacco smoke within his rooms, and the thick peasouper fogs that filled the air outside. This tea is magical and gives Holmes another dimension. As odd as this sounds when I watch Holmes now I automatically think of this tea. So when I drink this tea whilst watching Jeremy Brett portray that conundrum of a man, it's like I'm experiencing Holmes in 4D! Not only can I see and hear it, I can now taste it. I can taste the air in 221b Baker Street. 

The Sherlock Holmes blend is one of the most different and special tea's that I have ever tried. One of the very few tea's that has made such a impact straight away. There is also such a emotional attachment, for me at least. This perfectly created and blended tea adds it's own magic to those wonderful stories by summing up Holmes and his life in liquid form. 

I did try to take this tea to work in my Bodum and it wasn't the best idea. My mind wondered constantly to Holmes, to Victorian London, to Dr Watson. To violin music, to Moriaty, the Reichenbach Falls. It was just a good job it was a Sunday and we were quiet!

This is just a splendid, strong and flavoursome tea. Both satisfying, comforting and exciting. A perfectly crafted joy of a blend. 

And much joy it has brought to this ladies life.