Saturday, 9 August 2014

Catering tea bags!

Well, it has been a long time. I have consumed an awful lot of catering tea recently, due to a project I was involved in. Namely, the Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony.
Having auditioned back in March, I was really pleased to be part of the 900 strong cast of Festival goers. We had a massive secret to keep as we knew back in June that Lulu, Deacon Blue, the Prides, and Kylie would be performing!
For the week before the ceremony we had daily rehearsals, and this is where I consumed copious amounts of tea. The catering tea bags had already been put out into paper cups for us, and each cup contained a visible amount of tea dust. Quality tea this was not, but I had an amazing Commonwealth Games experience. Everyone was so friendly, the choreography was great and I had a ball on the night itself- what could be better than dancing around with athletes cheering you on and filming you. Definitely the experience of a lifetime.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

UGOT- English breakfast

I haven't posted in a while as I have been away from my flat, and haven't consumed anything more exciting than typhoo. Today I was travelling back by train, and had a connection at Newcastle. Unfortunately my train was 7 minutes late, which meant that my connecting train pulled out as I ran down the platform, giving me a half hour wait for the next one.

The facilities at Newcastle Central have been upgraded, I used to go to Greggs for a cuppa but now Greggs has gone. To be honest, the tea was never that great, it always managed to taste faintly of coffee, but it was only £1:15 which is the lowest priced tea I have found on any rail journey.

Anyway, I was offered a flyer for a £1 hot drink from UGOT which had just opened the previous day. Never one to turn down a bargain, I went for  a cup of tea (normal price £1:75 for 12oz or £1:95 for 16oz) I was pleased to see that instead of a bog standard tea bag, the cup contained a silky pyramid style. The tea is always much nicer with these tea bags. There was no branding on the tag (nice and easy to extract from the cup, no fishing around with a thin wooden stick) so I don't know if this was a branded pyramid or an own blend. The tea was very palatable, more orangey than some and quite robust and malty. There was only a slight flavour of paper cup! I felt reinvigorated and ready to return onto a carriage for the final leg of my journey. This was a decent cuppa and definitely a good alternative to Costa-lotta

UGOTs website is not quite up and running yet but they do have a facebook page

Monday, 14 July 2014

Axxent: Cupcake Tea- Lovely Cherry

This is another tea from the set I purchased in TKMaxx.  Today I am drinking Lovely Cherry, which is black tea with vanilla and cherry. Straight away you can smell the cherry, but it is more of a cherry pie smell than a fresh cherry smell. When drinking, I am reminded of cherry gummy sweets. This is a quite sweet tea, so makes a good pudding substitute. Overall, pleasant but nothing special.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Twinings- Vintage Darjeeling

Today, I'm drinking Twining's Vintage Darjeeling. As you can see, I've been drinking it for a few days and have got a way down the tin already. The Vintage Darjeeling is from the international range, but doesn't appear to be in stock at the moment. As with Darjeeling teas I have had in the past, the leaves are not  all black but a mixture of blacks, browns and greens. Darjeeling teas tend to be delicate and this is no exception. It's a very subtle flavour.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Twinings- Tie Guan Yin Oolong

I was really lucky to win a 6 month tea tasters membership in February, I love getting my monthly tea from Twinings, although sometimes I struggle to review them in good time. Here is a good example- Tie Guan Yin is May's tea.

Tie Guan Yin is an oolong tea. Neither green nor black, the leaves are left out for just long enough to lightly oxidise- you can actually see that the leaves have a brown tint around the edges where oxidation has occurred. The leaves have been rolled, according to my tasting notes, up to 100 times. This is a real artisan tea. Translated literally oolong means "black dragon" and as you look at the tiny pellets of tea you can imagine a dragon curled up with it's tail sticking out. As you add the tea to the infuser, you can hear a chink as they hit the glass.
I used water at about 90', and infused for 2-3 minutes. As the leaves are infused, they begin to unfurl, rising into the water like tiny flying dragons. I couldn't resist taking a picture of the tea infusing- I had nothing to do with the positioning of the leaves here! The leaves unfurl to become surprisingly large. The leaves can be used with several infusions.
I do think it is quite difficult to describe the taste of an oolong. It's similar to both green and black teas, but different. Less grassy than a green, it is almost floral in taste, a bit nutty and buttery too.  I am struggling to get acquainted with green tea, but like with white tea, I have enjoyed sampling this tea. It's another tea for a day when you want something special and different. Of course, being a Twining's tea, the quality is superb.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Tea and Cake Planet

Despite the fact I charged the batteries especially, I forgot to bring my camera, so apologies for lack of photos.

Today I went to Tea and Cake planet at the Boiler House in Newcastle. I paid £15:50, which included entry into the one of event, and a *TeaShed afternoon tea.

The venue itself wasn't very large, and I don't know if I would have thought it worth the general admission fee if it wasn't for the fact I was going for afternoon tea. There were some tea vendors and a couple of food stalls as well as live music and some lindy hop dancers.

I attended a talk on "The Science of Tea". As someone with a Biochemistry degree, I found it rather light on the science front, but I was probably a little unusual on that. I did get to taste several teas including teabag black, loose leaf black, green, lapsong suchong, darjeeling and assam, however to my taste all of the teas had been "masted" (what I would call "mashed"- it just means infused) for too long and were not at their best. I did taste teas a little later with Tea Owl and her infusion times were much more to my liking.

My afternoon tea was provided by the *TeaShed, and started with what they described as an "amazing popaball cocktail" which was squash with weird jelly balls. There was unlimited tea available, I had 5 cups in all- one Rosie *Lee (a yummy darjeeling), one Baby it's Cold Outside *Tea (Chai, which I have never had before and didn't really enjoy), one All day breakfast *Tea, and two Mr Grey's *Tea (which I have already reviewed). There was masses of food too, I had a beef burger, a fishcake, crackers and brie, coleslaw, salad, a chocolate macaroon, a mini meringue, a mini profiterole, a piece of lemon cake and a large raisin and cherry scone with jam and cream. Needless to say I was full and won't be needing much dinner tonight. I was given two free twenty packs (Rosie *Lee and Northern *Brew) which market at £3.50 each, so overall very good value there.

From the stalls, I made two purchases, firstly flowering tea from Tea Sutra (they look so pretty) and secondly rhubarb and cream oolong from Quilliam brothers. Eventually I will have space in my cupboard so I can open them and review them. 

I enjoyed my afternoon of tea, and look forward to next year, hopefully they will get more tea merchants on board to give a wider selection of stalls. It was nice to treat myself to an afternoon tea, I'll have to do it again sometime!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Excited for Tea and Cake planet

I have just booked my ticket for Tea and Cake Planet in Newcastle tomorrow. I am going to have the *Teashed afternoon tea- I think I will take a teddy for company as I am going by myself. I am really excited for tomorrow and have set my camera batteries to charge!