The Beginners Guide to Tea Tasting

As with wine, tea is described in the same sort of way. There are tea sommeliers, tasting notes, guides, books - which can be quite overwhelming and maybe might be a bit scary But fear not! I'm here to give you the basics so you can wow your friends with your new knowledge.
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5 Ways To Make The Perfect Cup of Loose Leaf Tea

If you're a seasoned loose leaf tea drinker, you probably have all the equipment, but if you are new to loose leaf tea (welcome! Pull up a chair) then here are five products which will help you on your move away from tea bags to loose leaf tea

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Make Any Tea Decaffeinated With This Simple Hack!

If you've been a customer for a while, you know that I don't do decaffeinated tea, but I get asked for it a lot. As one of my brand values is that I only sell teas that I drink, I will never stock it (sorry!), but I have this little hack that you can turn any of tea into decaff! 🤯 

It's really simple and you don't need any fancy equipment! Read below for the very simple process!
Just be aware though that won't remove all the caffeine, even decaffeinated tea isn't actually 100% free of caffeine because it's impossible to do that. Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical within the tea leaves - do you know why? It's a natural pesticide! Some people think caffeine is added to tea during the process, but nope it's already in it for this reason! 
All you need to do pour your water over the leaves and leave it for about 30-45 seconds. After that, chuck that liquid away and then pour new water on those leaves and brew as normal. You remove anywhere between 50-90% of the caffeine! That's it!
Have a go and let me know what you think! 
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What Are Those Taster Bags Made Of?

I have been getting so many messages, some quite angry, saying that my bags are just standard plastic bags and I'm not eco friendly at all, which is incorrect on both accounts. In this blog post, I'm hoping that I can explain what they are and how you can dispose of them correctly

What are the taster bags made of? 

These bags (made by Polybags) are classed as bio-additive bags. What this means is that they are made from regular polythene with an additive that accelerates the degradation process. 

So how does it biodegrade if its plastic? 

When exposed to sunlight, heat or mechanical stress, these bags first break down through oxidation into smaller fragments. After this step, it then biodegrades into naturally-benign materials (CO2, water & biomass), disintegrating in anything from a few weeks to two years, depending on the disposal environment

But doesn't all plastic disintegrate over time? 

Regular polythene will degrade over time, but this process can take decades or even hundreds of years in a landfill site, which isn't great. And if it does eventually disintegrate it doesn't fully go away (you've heard of microplastics) 

The additive used in these taster bags ensures that this process is sped up by hundreds or even thousands of times

OK, how much faster?

The bags will degrade and physically disintegrate in anything from a few weeks to 24 months depending on the physical conditions in the disposal environment (presence of oxygen, moisture, heat, mechanical stress and/or microbes). Now that is speedy! 

How do I dispose of these properly? 

There are two ways you can dispose of your taster bags once you've finished your tea:

1. Recycle it (before it starts to degrade) Believe it or not, you can recycle plastic bags, and it's no difference with the taster bags, you just need to do it before they turn to mush! Check with your local council to see if they can take LDPE bags (you'll see the ♻️ logo with the number 4 in it)

2. Pop it in your normal bin. It sounds counter intuitive, but the bags need heat, oxygen and pressure to degrade quickly, and landfill is the best place for it and ultimately taking up less landfill space.

3. You could compost it, but it would decompose very slowly. This timescale for biodegradation does not meet the requirements for European compostable packaging standard, although independent studies have demonstrated that plastics with the additive compost well and produce good quality compost with no toxic effects

Final comments

I hope that explains a bit about the bags and how you can safely dispose of them. I'm always trying to improve my environmental credentials, so if there are any developments, you'll be the first to know 😊

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Dalgano Matcha Recipe

So you may have seen my instagram post about my trendy drink that I made, and have been bugging me for the recipe, so here it is!

A bit of background if you haven't heard of dalgona anything and wonder what the fuss is all about

This trend has happened since we've been in quarantine, thanks a Korean TV show called 'Pyunstorang' Basically the host went to a place called Macau, tried the drink and said it was dalgona as it looked like a traditional Korean sponge which has the same name. Next thing you know there's a hashtag #dalgonacoffeechallenge, TikTok videos and everyone is making this

Since coffee ain't my bag, I thought I could make one for tea, so I did! As usual, I didn't have the ingredients (like sugar!) or the actual equipment, but I still made it! And you can too!

You only need 4 ingredients and about 15 minutes (but it would be quicker if you had the right equipment - I'll explain later)

 Ingredients

  • Oat Milk - I used Minor Figures because I have it, I would normally use Oatly because it's my favourite and best by a mile
  • Golden Syrup - this was a substitute because I didn't have powdered sugar. I hate golden syrup so it's not ideal for me to use! 😖
  • Matcha - I used quite a lot, because I used a lot of aquafaba, but when I make it again I would use 0.5-1 teaspoon for one cup
  • Aquafaba - now, this is freaky stuff! It's the water from canned chickpeas and it whips like egg whites! I don't know how it works! Again, I used all the juice, so it made loads and took FOREVER to whip. For one cup I would use 2 tablespoons

Method

1. Whip the Aquafaba

This takes ages and I used a hand held electric whisk (my trusty one from Tesco which cost me £5. It did smell like burning as it was on full blast for so long!) If you have one of those fancy stand mixers, I think that would cut out all the time and boredom 💤

I ended up using a milk frother and the whisk at the same time!

 

  

2. Wait till you get stiff peaks 

It will happen, I promise! And when it does you'll be like "What the ??" because you can't imagine some weird, chickpea water can make this, but it does! 🤯

On a separate note, DO NOT just try it without sugar! It just tastes like chickpeas! I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't that! 😳

 

 

 

3. Add the Matcha

Sieve it through a little.....er....sieve if you have one (my tea strainers are perfect)

 

 

 

 

 

4. Add the sugar

Or in my case golden syrup! 🤦 I think with the powdered sugar you'd be able to test as you go with to how much sugar you want, whereas with the syrup it was all or nothing really!

 

 

5. Assemble the parts

Pour your milk in the glass, depending on how much 'fluff' you have and what size of glass, will depend on how much milk you'll need. For this glass I used about 2/3 full of milk

Spoon on the fluff and then get your camera!

 

Let me know how you get on and what you think!

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