Time for a bit of Honestea – how honest are Londoners?

I’m a Northern lass at heart, and have often wondered how the folk down South compare in terms of honesty and integrity. It’s often the source of many a joke, but it was interesting to see the differences just between North and South London in a recent social experiment from the people at chilled organic herbal and fruit tea drink brand, Honest.

UK Honest Tea

Lemon with Honey and Pomegranate and Blueberry Honest Teas – yum!

An honest experiment…

Based on a similar experiment conducted across the USA, called the Honesty Index, the Honest team in the UK set up an honesty box where they left some goodies out across a number of London hotspots at an unmanned stand with a “Take one, leave £1” sign for three weeks. The results were pretty extraordinary!

Some payed the full £1, others some left small change, foreign currency, or didn’t pay at all. Some lovely peeps donated £1 without taking a bottle! 85% paid at least something for their bottle of Honest, and a reassuring number of only one in seven didn’t pay anything.

So, how did the different areas of London compare?

1. East London – 94% honest
2. West London – 93% honest
3. Central London and North London – 84% honest
4. South London – 80% honest (am a bit shocked by this compared to the other regions – buck your ideas up, South London!)

Are women more honest than men?

Women in London seem to be the most honest by a small margin, with 86% donating compared to 84% of men. In the experiment, women were most likely to donate small change, or at least something in order to at least appear honest, while men would either pay the full £1 or leave nothing at all.

Don’t judge a book by its cover…

The Honest experiment found that brunettes, at 88%, were slightly more honest than blonde, who were 83% honest. Both were more honest than those with black hair, of whom only 78% were honest. Brunette women were also found to be the group most likely to stop for a bit, look at the ingredients on the bottle, and then donate. (Not sure what to make of this – most of my close friends are brunettes, one’s blonde, one has jet black hair, and I’m part blonde, part brunette. Hmm…)

– 91% of bespectacled Londoners were honest
– 78% with visible tattoos or piercings were honest
– Men with beards were 69% honest
– Bald people were very honest at 93%, compared to those with hair (84%)
– Men with long hair seemed to be the most honest group overall

Only in London…

Some of the weird and wonderful highlights of the experiment included:

– One woman paying for two bottles – one for her, and one for her hairdresser
– A very nice chap bought five bottles for his colleagues with a £5 note
– A dog lover paid for a bottle, showing it to the dog for approval
– One person paid with a Euro coin, another paid with two Nuevos Soles (from Peru)
– Mums used the opportunity to explain to young children the concept of honesty – and then encourage their little ones to pay for a bottle
– A driver stopped his bus full of passengers to nip out and pay for a bottle for him and a colleague who was driving behind him!
– One woman stopped her car at a red traffic light, paid £1, grabbed a bottle and whizzed off!
– A homeless man selling flowers paid the full £1 for a bottle just as a man in a suit grabbed a bottle without paying (this one makes me very ashamed of some unscrupulous Londoners!)
– Couples were most honest, with 92% paying the £1, compared to 84% of people who were on their own

Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest

Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest

Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest, and long-time fan of the UK and London, was delighted by the experiment and its results: “Bringing Honest to the UK is one of those pinch-me moments – being able to conduct the Honest Index here after the success we’ve had in the US is really something. We thought we’d try the Honest Index in London, and it’s great [to hear] such positive and heart-warming results.”

Check out the video for more.

How honest are you, my tea-drinking friends? Would you have left £1 for a lovely bottle of Honest?

I know I would! (♥Rubs halo…!♥)

Food for thought…

Rachael xx

Refreshingly Honest – An honour to hear about Honest Tea and honesty from a truly ethical entrepreneur

#Refreshinglyhonest
I was truly honoured to be one of a small group of tea bloggers and tea enthusiasts to be invited to the launch of Honest Tea in the UK, the refreshingly healthy, bottled, herbal and fruit tea drink brand from Seth Goldman, ethical entrepreneur and the company’s “TeaEO”.

The UK Honest Tea Launch

Ethical entrepreneur Seth Goldman shares his story at the launch of Honest Tea in the UK (Image Courtesy of Coca-Cola GB)

The setting was modern, intimate and, to quote the brand’s strapline, refreshingly honest. In the unlikely urban oasis environment of trendy Shoreditch venue, Look Mum, no hands! and flanked by a miniature orange grove created especially for the occasion, a row of tables were set out with newly sprouted lemon balm shrubs in vintage packing crates and fantastically tasty, healthy food providing the perfect backdrop for the tasty, refreshing teas.

The miniature orange grove

The miniature orange grove set up for the UK launch of Honest Tea

A delightfully sunny summer’s day was the ideal setting. After a thirsty journey to get to the launch, I was very glad of my first bottle of the Pomegranate and Blueberry variety – a sweet, fruity blend that was just right and matched the food that was served perfectly. I also enjoyed a Honey and Lemon Honest Tea, which was soothing to a hay fever induced scratchy throat.

Honest Tea has a genuinely remarkable story, springing up from humble beginnings around a Maryland kitchen table in 1998 and growing to be the best selling tea in the USA by 2007. The Honest Tea journey and growth shows how a combination of a strong mission, vision and ethics are the key ingredients to a recipe for a successful business that works to make the world a better place. It was fascinating to hear Seth tell us his story with great warmth, honesty, humour and humility.

Some of the UK Honest Tea blends

Lemon with Honey and Pomegranate and Blueberry Honest Tea blends

Seth was also more than happy to share his thoughts, advice and tools of the trade for those launching or looking to run ethical and healthy food and drink businesses, which is certainly refreshing and was sincerely welcomed by the group. You can read the whole story in Seth’s book, Mission in a Bottle –  well worth a read as a tea lover, businessperson, or if you too are an aspiring ethical entrepreneur.

The brand was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2011, but despite this phenomenal growth and success, the company has remained true to its original mission and vision – -a refreshing approach. You can find out more about Seth’s vision, his work as “TeaEO” and the Honest Tea ethos at drinkhonest.co.uk and on the Coca-Cola UK blog.

Seth Goldman shares his story

Hearing about the outlook for the food and drink industry and the remarkable Honest Tea story from its founder, Seth Goldman

Seth believes that the food and drink industry is going through a profound change currently, with a new focus on health and sustainability, without compromising on quality and taste. He describes their original vision as a hope to “shift people’s diets toward organic, authentic beverage recipes that taste ‘just a tad sweet’.” This drive for low sugar and caffeine free products is opening up innovation in tea, in particular, something I will return to on the blog in my series on tea for health. As well as being Certified Organic and approved by the Soil Association, the packaging is fully recyclable and made partially from plant materials from sugar cane. There’s a delicious, “circle of life” feeling to a drink designed to replace sugary drinks coming in packaging made from sugar cane!

The Honest Tea varieties at the launch

Lemon balm – one of  the ethically sourced herbal ingredients in the Honest Tea varieties

This new perspective in the industry poses great opportunities for authentic brands with simple ingredients and a planet and human-friendly ethos. He is also an advisor to and on the board of a number of other like-minded food startups, including a plant-based burger that could be set to challenge the carnivorous options at the BBQ!

Seth is genuinely excited and spoke humbly about Honest launching in the UK, saying, “This is one of those pinch-me moments. We can’t wait to share our drinks with folks in the UK and are confident the Honest name and brand values will translate without the need of an interpreter.”

An amazing afternoon with like minded people and words of wisdom from an inspiring businessman and human being. It will be great to see what’s next for the Honest Tea brand and Seth’s other admirable business ventures.

Honest Tea is stocked in a number of bars and restaurants in the UK (like Look Mum, No Hands!) and can be found in Whole Foods (the first store to buy the fledgling brand in the US in the early days), Co-Op and branches of M&S Simply Food at BP Connect service stations.

Seth Goldman's book, Mission in a Bottle

Seth Goldman’s book, Mission in a Bottle

Foodies Festival Fun

The Fabulous Foodies Festival

View of Foodies Festival at Syon Park

The fabulous Foodies Festival at Syon Park

At the end of last month, we returned to Foodies Festival in our local area for the fifth year in a row, this time joined by some good friends, who were visiting from Birmingham to enjoy the VIP experience with us.

The second year at this picturesque venue, Syon Park, the well established Foodies Festival did not disappoint. It was even bigger and better than last year, including a beautifully designed VIP tent, with a grand piano bar, comfortable seating area and unlimited supply of tea, coffee, soft drinks and biscuits.

The grand piano VIP bar at Foodies Festival Syon Park

The grand piano VIP bar

After the threat of rain on a muggy morning, the weather actually stayed bright, hot and sunny for us, so we enjoyed a leisurely afternoon strolling around the many stalls, sampling delightful food and drink, listening to the live music, and even enjoying a mobile massage! What a treat – and what a great way to spend a sunny day!

Tea friends old and new…
Old tea friends, Teapigs, had a whole double decker bus devoted to tea lovers this time around, and the creative social enterprise tea company, Tea People, were there again this year, as well as our recent tasty treat provider friends from the Surrey Food Festival, Wholesome Bakes, who offer gluten, dairy and nut free cakes and bakes.

The Teapigs Bus at Foodies Festival Syon Park

The Teapigs Bus at Foodies Festival Syon Park

The Great British Sausage
Other festival favourites from previous years, such as the always impressive Great British Sausage Company, provided tasty snacks. You have to have a top notch hot dog at a food festival, don’t you think?

Burlesque baking!
We also enjoyed a truly scrumptious cake decorating demonstration from the vintage-tastic Burlesque Baker, Charlotte White, who we had the pleasure of meeting when we first arrived in the VIP tent and who decorated a delicious chocolate cake with pretty baby blue and silver icing and decorations. My friend, a talented and keen baker, enjoyed the tips on how to make different flower designs for cake decoration.

Anyone for a G&T?
I was also very excited to meet the team behind Silent Pool Gin at the festival, as they are local gin distillers, based nearby in Surrey, and their branding is just exquisite. I bought a set of their delicately decorated green-blue glasses, which I will share in a future post.

So, we enjoyed a day of food, fun, drinks, learning about how to prepare, make and decorate food, learning about different drinks, some much needed relaxation and massage, and, as usual, lots of tasty tea. What could be better?

Foodies Festival is still running throughout the UK – upcoming dates and venues can be found at FoodiesFestival.com. Other Foodies Festival locations in the London area are Blackheath, 8-10th July, and Alexandra Palace, 27th-29th August, and not far away in Oxford, 2-4th September.

There’s also a Foodies Festival coming up soon “Up North” in my old neck of the woods, at Tatton Park, 15th-17th July, as well as Harrogate, Edinburgh and Oxford still to come in August and September.

I hope you get the chance to enjoy the Foodies Festival experience this year!

Rachael x

First Food Festival of 2016

Tasty food from Surrey Food Festival in Richmond

Tasty treats from Surrey Food Festival – tea, coffee, cakes, cookies and olive oil

I visited the Surrey Food Festival at Richmond’s Old Deer Park last weekend, and had a lovely time trying out lots of tasty food and drink in my local area and meeting some great people.

I met some fantastic artisan food providers, from the wonderfully meaty cuisine of Meat The Chef (chicken skin skin-on fries, anyone?), to Sussex oil and vinegar makers, Stratta, to the delightful team at tea and sweet treat makers, Brew and Bites, who tempted me with Persian sweet treats and their beautiful tea and coffee blends. I also found plenty of gluten and dairy free fare to taste and take home, thanks to Wholesome Bakes and online marketplace Free From Market. We even bought a few cheeky bottles of wine from The Vineking, which we were able to try out and taste at the festival and then, once we’d got expert advice from the wine experts on the stand, bring our favourites home with us.

So much good food and drink to take home
I returned with an impressive haul: herb flavoured olive oils from Stratta, Rosy Grey tea and Colombian coffee from Brew and Bites, gluten and dairy free cakes and cookies from Wholesome Bakes, and, of course, a cheeky Prosecco and Cabernet Sauvignon from local wine specialists, The Vineking.

Afternoon tea at home with treats from Surrey Food Festival

My own afternoon tea at home with tea and treats from the Surrey Food Festival and my new bespoke coasters from Individually Inspired

Time for tea
The obvious thing to do when I got home was to have my own special afternoon tea with my tasty treats, so I brewed up a refreshing and delicate pot of Rosy Grey, a blend of Ceylon black loose leaf tea, bergamot, rose petals and rose buds.

The tea is so pretty and smells divine – almost too good to drink! But drink it I did, and it was exactly what was needed after wandering around outside for a few hours and feeling a little tired after all the fresh air!

Paired with a gluten and dairy free raspberry cupcake and served on the lovely Tea with Rachael coasters that Individually Inspired made for me, it was the perfect time to take a moment and relax. I also had a good look through the show guide and the Taste Awards brochure for inspiration for other fabulous foodie finds!

Rosy Grey tea from Brew and Bites

Rosy Grey tea from Brew and Bites – looks and smells too pretty, but tastes just as good to drink!

I’ll be heading to Foodies Festival at Syon Park again next Bank Holiday weekend with some fellow foodie friends, so am looking forward to enjoying our VIP tickets and trying even more tasty treats!

Until next time, hope you also get to enjoy some fabulous food this Bank Holiday weekend – a whole extra day to take the time to sit back, relax, and have a good cup of tea! (And maybe a cake or two…!)

Enjoy,

Rachael xx

 

The Great British Brew – Part Two

Happy New Year! Well, better late than never…!

I’ve been taking a bit of an extended tea break over the past few months. As well as getting some much needed rest, I’ve had a few fun tea adventures along the way.

London New Year fireworks

Happy New Year!

With a New Year, comes new hope; and renewed resolve.

I love the timeless quotes that Sykes Cottages picked out in their recent Great British Brew survey – this one is very appropriate at the start of a shiny new year!

Where there is tea, there is hope

Where there is tea, there is hope…

A rather different cup of tea

Massis Tey Latte

The award winning MASSIS tea Tey Latte

Awesome Person

Confidence in a cup from MASSIS tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not long before the festive break, I had the pleasure of attending a very special event for MASSIS Tea. From their fab, creative home, The Madd Hatter’s Cafe, in the heart of London’s West End, which twinkled with pretty festive lights and decorations, we were serenaded by a number of excellent bands and singers, and had the opportunity to try some exotic taste combinations.

MASSIS tea are the creators of the unique Tey – an espresso-like tea shot, made with a signature blend of tea leaves using a conventional espresso machine, that was designed to redefine the nation’s favourite drink and do something truly different with the Great British Brew. Tey works particularly well in lattes and tea cocktails.

Festive decorations

Festive decorations at the MASSIS Tea Concept Store, the Madd Hatter’s Cafe

On this freezing December evening, I was looking forward to trying a Gingerbread Hug – a Tey Latte – excited at the prospect of combining two of my favourite things, tea and gingerbread! I certainly wasn’t disappointed by this warm and toasty hug in a cup!

I also enjoyed a wee tipple in the form of a tea cocktail – a beautifully fragrant and flowery blend including gin and rose petals. A great source of inspiration for parties – and it was great to see that they have something to suit different tastes and seasons. It’s not difficult to see why MASSIS tea won a 2015 Sussex Life Award for Food and Drink Innovation of the Year, with their combination of “creativitea” and a knack for what flavours go together.

Tea cocktail

A MASSIS tea Tey cocktail – almost too pretty to drink! Almost…

I will definitely be popping in to their concept store again for a cup of something different when I’m next near Covent Garden, and look forward to seeing more from the very enthusiastic and knowledgeable MASSIS tea team.

Adventures in hospitalitea

Gluten free afternoon tea at Beatons

A specially made gluten free option for my afternoon tea at Beatons Crowthorne

The Beatons tea menu

Plenty of tea choice at Beatons

My tea adventures have thankfully continued into 2016. Just last week, I was delighted ti be invited to the unofficial launch of the latest of the lovely Beatons Tearooms and Bookshops, the nearest one to my home yet, in Crowthorne. Welcomed by our gracious hosts, Paul Mitchell, franchisee of the Crowthorne Beatons, his friendly team, and Beatons’ expert Creative Consultant, Liz Darcy Jones, I was honoured to join a table of distinguished guests, including journalist and TV presenter, Juliette Foster.

Delicious cakes at Beatons Crowthorne

The delicious selection of cakes at Beatons Crowthorne

I thoroughly enjoyed a couple of lovely pots of tea, including a rich, earthy Assam and the signature Beatons blend; along with a carefully made, gluten free afternoon tea – even though it’s not officially on the menu, they had a number of great gluten free options for me to indulge in, such as delicate finger sandwiches on gluten free bread, a moist and delicious orange and polenta cake and even gluten free crumpets!

It was a cosy and very enjoyable afternoon of fine, loose-leaf teas, great food and intelligent and enlightening conversation with some lovely ladies.

cakes and chandelier at Beatons Crowthorne

The delicious cakes and sparkling chandelier at Beatons Crowthorne

The official opening of Beatons Crowthorne will be on 30th January, in aid of Berkshire’s Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice, where they will be joined by the Mayor of the Borough of Bracknell Forest and best-selling Berkshire author, Virginia Macgregor. I’m sure it will be a fun filled event to celebrate Crowthorne’s new bookshop, where guests will enjoy signature teas, carrot cake, live music from the local Skin and Blister Sisters, and even some poetry!

New Year’s Resolutions – Green Tea

Tea features heavily in my New Year’s Resolutions – I intend to drink more of it and try out new blends, as ever, but also plan to increase my intake of healthy green teas. I was kindly sent some rather special green teas from the lovely, entrepreneurial ladies at Tg Teas, Sophie and Hua, including a delicately flavoured ginger and lemon zest green tea and some healthy, low sugar iced green tea drinks, which proved rather a hit with my colleagues in the office, particularly following festive indulgences!

 

Tg Teas Ginger and lemon zest green tea

Ginger and lemon zest green tea from Tg Teas – healthy and delicious!

 

Tg’s ethos, to get people off the sugar and drinking healthy green tea, really resonates at this time of year, and their approach to tea, from their packaging, to their branding, to the all natural ingredients used in the tea, is really refreshing.

Here’s to a healthy, happy New Year!

Be sure to enjoy lots of tea in 2016 – I certainly will!

Douglas Adams quoted about the restorative power of tea

Douglas Adams on the restorative power of tea

Rachael xx