The Perfect Pot and Cup of English Tea
Trumpers Tea & Betty Twyford
I was delighted to receive a wonderful treasure trove of loose teas last week, and I DO mean a veritable chest of tea treasure; I am a BIG tea drinker as well as being a loose tea drinker, and so the caddies of Trumpers Teas that arrived along with a fabulous Betty Twyford retro tea towel and a handy Chatsworth mug infuser was almost like waking up on Christmas morning for me. I love tea so much, that when I travel backwards and forwards between the UK and France, tea is always on my “must take” list. I am a promiscuous tea drinker, I have a set routine of teas that I drink, and I veer between Yorkshire tea (in bags) for the “tea in bed” brew to a glorious pot of rich golden English Breakfast tea for the next brew on the daily schedule; I can then be found indulging in a pot of Assam for a mid-morning Pick-me-Up before progressing on to a more delicate and citrus flavoured Ceylon just after lunch. Mid afternoon may find me indulging in a pot of fragrant Earl Grey, with a scone or slice of cake, and tea time is definitely a time for a pot of Darjeeling, a wonderfully elegant and restorative tea, and a tea that I often have before retiring to bed. I also imbibe in the odd cup of green tea and another favourite is the calming and soothing Malawi Oolong, with its fruity and citrus flavours, a tea that is packed with antioxidants and is perfect for a night time brew.
Trumpers Teas have twenty years of experience in tea tasting and tea blending, and that was obvious from the results of my first cuppa, which was a pot of the delicious Malawi Oolong tea; it was light and fragrant, and yes, I DID get that aroma and taste of lime blossom……all of the teas that were sent to me were in tea caddies, and I love that idea as refills can be purchased, thus saving on wasteful packaging. My next tester tea was a cup of English Breakfast, a tea I am well acquainted with, and one that is perfect for first thing in the morning; often referred to as the “builder’s tea” it is a robust tea with a strong flavour, and one that I love when accompanied by bacon and eggs with toast and marmalade. Trumper’s blend of English Breakfast is made with teas from Assam, Kenya and Ceylon, and I really enjoyed their complex blend.
My next tasting treat was a fabulous brew made with Trumper’s Orange Rooibos, this is such a healthy tea and can is full of antioxidants as well as being caffeine free, plus, you can re-infuse it throughout the day, which is handy and saves a few pennies! I love Rooibos teas, and this one was very special as it is infused with orange zest and spices, giving a warm and yet zesty brew which was very refreshing. I was pleased to see that I had been sent some Green Tea as part of my tea treasure trove! I am trying to drink more green tea as it is packed with health benefits and the tea I was sent by Trumpers was delectable – fruity and magical! Why magical, well, you can see the tea leaves unfurl or “awaken” as I like to think of it as the hot water is added……Trumpers advise you to rinse the leaves with a little hot water to reduce the caffeine content and remove any bitter flavours before filling the pot with water ‘just off the boil’ for a perfect cup of tea, and that you can keep infusing the same leaves all day for the full benefits. The tea is clear and refreshing and delicatley fragranced with stone fruits, which I discovered, is because the tea plants are interplanted with peach and apricot trees for shade, so they take on some of those subtle flavours.
My last tea testing session was with the wonderful Camomile tea that had been sent to me, and again this tea was in a useful tea caddy. I have had camomile tea before and I love its sweet scented flavour and aroma. It is a perfect soothing tea to have before bed as its calming effects are well known. Along side my caddies of tea, I was also lucky enough to receive a VERY handy tea infuser for mugs – called the Chatsford Mug Infuser, this handy accessory makes making tea with loose tea leaves in a mug a breeze – and SO quickly too! So who says you cannot have your loose tea and drink it in a mug? I have an army of tea strainers, tea balls and tea cosies, but I didn’t have a mug infuser, and I have found this invaluable already for solo mugs of good loose tea, a fabulous tea accessory that I can totally recommend. Loose Tea = Mug Infuser = Good Tea for the BUSY person!
Last but not least, as part of my Tea Lovers hamper, as I like to call it, I also received a FABULOUS retro styled tea towel by Betty Twyford! I LOVE Betty Twyford’s products, maybe it’s because I am an AGA owner and cook, but lots of her lovely items are Aga related and my tea towel is part of her fun “Spotty Dots” range. It could not have been more perfect, as the pretty dusky duck egg blue and vanilla cream polka dots match my kitchen décor perfectly, and my Aga just happens to be cream too. The tea towel is made from high quality 100% cotton and is a generous size (48 x 70 cm) with a helpful twill tape loop on the reverse for hanging and to ensure its always at hand. THANK YOU Betty, I LOVE it! You can drool over the rest of Betty’s wonderful products here: Betty Twyford – Traditional Values Brought Home
And so to that perfect pot and cup of tea; The perfect pot of English tea leads to the perfect cup of English tea…….I know this is NOT a recipe, but it is amazing how many people do not know how to make a PROPER POT of tea. We always make a pot of tea at home – even if there is only one of us here, we just use a smaller pot or a tea infuser ball. I also prefer loose tea to tea-bags, but we do use good quality tea-bags as well. This is my method for making a perfect pot of tea, and therefore a perfect cuppa. This has been posted due to a request from my daughter, who obviously has FAR more sophisticated tastes as a post-graduate than when I was one, plus, what can be nicer then baking a cake, inviting a couple of friends over and having a natter with a cuppa? It puts the world to rights! Quantities are listed for a pot of tea for two…..you can increase or decrease the amounts to suit. The following extract is from Mrs Beeton’s book of Household Management printed in 1880; here she suggests the method for a “perfect” cup of tea, using loose tea of course and NOT tea bags:
“There is very little art in making good tea; if the water is boiling, and there is no sparing of the fragrant leaf, the beverage will almost invariably be good. The old-fashioned plan of allowing a teaspoonful to each person, and one over, is still practised. Warm the teapot with boiling water; let it remain for two or three minutes for the vessel to become thoroughly hot, then pour it away. Put in the tea, pour in from 1/2 to 3/4 pint of boiling water, close the lid, and let it stand for the tea to draw from 5 to 10 minutes; then fill up the pot with water. The tea will be quite spoiled unless made with water that is actually ‘boiling’, as the leaves will not open, and the flavour not be extracted from them; the beverage will consequently be colourless and tasteless,— in fact, nothing but tepid water. Where there is a very large party to make tea for, it is a good plan to have two teapots instead of putting a large quantity of tea into one pot; the tea, besides, will go farther. When the infusion has been once completed, the addition of fresh tea adds very little to the strength; so, when more is required, have the pot emptied of the old leaves, scalded, and fresh tea made in the usual manner.”
See you later with FIFTY SCONES recipes, yes, it’s my March Tea Time Treats round up and there are FIFTY entries this month……so I better get my typing fingers refreshed with a cup of tea! Bye for now, Karen