Enjoying an extended tea break…

Time for a tea break…

Need More Tea

Need More Tea?

Well, I’ve been enjoying an extended tea break, resting the old arthritic wrists from all the typing and enjoying some leisure and relaxation time to celebrate my birthday. I also had a wonderful birthday afternoon tea at the award winning Ham Yard Hotel – more on that in another blog post…

It’s given me time to try some really wonderful teas, and I’m going to share each of them with you over the coming weeks. A huge thank you to all the lovely people at Teakruthi, Varietea, Tea Tourist, The True Tea Club, Ahmad Tea, Whittard of Chelsea, Tetley and My Cup of Tea for my fantastic teas – trying your teas over the past few weeks has made me really happy, and I’m really looking forward to sharing my thoughts and recommendations.

I’ve also had some lovely birthday presents, including some fantastic mugs and tea gadgets, of which I am sure you will approve!

Finally, I’d like to thank and give a big shout out to the wonderful Shaherazad, creator of 18 Hour Heels, for the comfortable, shiny, sparkly and downright gorgeous shoes I’ve been wearing again and again on my adventures – much more to come on those, soon, too.

18 Hour Heels

Shiny, sparkly shoes by Shaherazad – my fabulous 18 Hour Heels

Until next then, hope you’re enjoying a lovely, relaxing cuppa and having a tea break of your own.

Rachael xx

Caffeine – friend or foe?

In the latest in my series about tea for health, I thought it would be good to get to the bottom of the ever-changing approach to caffeine. Is it good for you? Some articles claim that caffeine can support your health, others say it is detrimental – I’d like to investigate and draw my own conclusions.

The truth about caffeine?

Caffeine applied topically can help get rid of cellulite and firm the skin. It’s a key ingredient in many expensive and high street body creams for this very reason. Caffeine is also added to some “Max” or “Ultra” painkillers, such as Paracetamol or Co-Codamol, to speed up the pain relief process.

A little caffeine boost can help when you’ve overindulged a little the night before, or if you’re just downright exhausted.

Tetley's Superteas

Superteas, including Alert, from Tetley

My personal feeling about caffeine is that everyone responds to it differently. Certainly, you shouldn’t be relying on it for an instant energy all day, every day, and this is often an easy trap to fall into. However, the occasional boost, as long as you have not been advised to avoid it, does no harm, as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve certainly found my Alert tea from Tetley useful to perk me up in the mornings, which is an everyday tea blend with the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee added.

With Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS for short!) I have to be careful not to have too much – I have had the odd incident when a very large cup of coffee has caused palpitations – although I do find the odd caffeine boost helpful when taking my pain medication and as a much needed pick me up on days when I’m feeling particularly tired and drained.

A good cuppa tea

A nice cup of tea

As a seasoned tea drinker for most of my life, I have never had any problems drinking caffeinated tea, and usually have several cups a day. The levels of caffeine in black tea are higher than in green tea, but still not the same as you will find in a cup of coffee.

In fact, I have it on good authority from a bonafide tea expert that the caffeine in tea is actually different to that in a cup of coffee – Georgia Ginsberg, Director of family run and fabulous tea company, Dragonfly Tea (more on this great tea brand coming soon), discussed the caffeine content in tea when we met recently and said that there is definitely less caffeine in tea and there is actually a difference in the way it is absorbed when compared with coffee. Tea is also full of antioxidants, which are good for your overall health, protection from external factors such as pollution, and assist with anti-ageing and immunity.

Decaff tea from Whittard of Chelsea

One of Whittard of Chelsea’s decaffeinated options

Vouchercloud recently published a very illuminating article on caffeine, which provides some useful and surprising results for the caffeine content of a range of popular drinks, including a variety of different types of tea. It makes for interesting reading – thank you to Vouchercloud and Whittard of Chelsea for providing a wealth of information on the subject. Vouchercloud also has a number of money-off offers at the moment – worth checking out for getting your fix of Whittard’s tea and stocking up on your favourites!

 

 


How much caffeine is in my drink?

Type of Tea Serving Size Caffeine Quantity        Caffeine Level
Black Tea 240 ml (cuppa) 14-90 mg Moderate
Black Tea (Decaffeinated) 240 ml (cuppa) 0-12 mg Low
Darjeeling Tea 240 ml (cuppa) 19-55 mg Moderate
Oolong Tea 240 ml (cuppa) 50-75 mg Moderate
English Breakfast Tea 240 ml (cuppa) 40-70 mg Moderate
Earl Grey Tea 240 ml (cuppa) 55 – 90 mg Moderate
Lady Grey Tea 240 ml (cuppa) 14-40 mg Moderate
Green Tea 240 ml (cuppa) 12-30 mg Low
Jasmine Green Tea 240 ml (cuppa) 17-30 mg Low
Lemon Green Tea 240 ml (cuppa) 12-30 mg Low
Matcha Green Tea 240 ml (cuppa) 70 mg Moderate
White Tea 240 ml (usual size cuppa) 30-50 mg Low
Rooibos Tea 240 ml 0 mg Caffeine free
Peppermint Tea 240 ml 0 mg Caffeine free
Red Berry Tea 240 ml 0 mg Caffeine free
Ginger Tea 240 ml 0 mg Caffeine free
Camomile Tea 240 ml 0 mg Caffeine free
Other Drinks
Coffee 240 ml 150-200mg High
Coca-Cola 330ml (can) 32mg Low
Diet Coke 330ml (can) 42mg Low
Coke Zero 330ml (can) 32mg Low
Coca-Cola Life 330ml (can) 26mg Low
Redbull 250ml (can) 80 mg Moderate
Relentless 500ml (can) 160 mg High

Source: Vouchercloud

Cutting down on caffeine

If you’re looking to cut down on caffeine, but not cut it out completely, there are a number of tasty teas to try. Green tea is lower in caffeine than black tea, thanks to the oxidation process used on the green leaves to turn them into black tea that releases more caffeine from the leaves. White tea is even less processed, so is another good choice. Oolong is the best of both worlds, like a refreshing combination of green and black teas.

Good quality green tea is light and should never be bitter. Be careful how you brew it – don’t use boiling water or leave it to steep too long, or it will taste stewed and bitter. There are a wide variety of flavoured green teas you can try. Floral, relaxing Jasmine Green Tea, combinations of mint and green tea, or fruit flavoured green teas are all good options.

I’ve talked about some of my favourite brands on Tea with Rachael before and mentioned some in here already, but if you are looking for inspiration and a dizzying choice of blends, with or without caffeine, have a look at some of these tried and tested tea brands I enjoy regularly: Dragonfly Tea, Whittard of Chelsea, O-Teas, Teavivre, JollyBrew, Ahmad Tea, Chateau Rouge, Twinings, Clipper, Brew and Bites, The Kent & Sussex Tea and Coffee Co, to name just a few.

Caffeine-free treats

Rooibos and Honeybush

If you’re looking to cut right down or cut out the caffeine completely, there’s still plenty of choice. Naturally healthy Rooibos and Honeybush teas have been used medicinally for years in Africa and are a go-to if you want a comforting, caffeine-free brew, or if you’re feeling a bit under the weather. Peppermint and mint tea blends are caffeine free and great for digestion, helping you beat the bloat after a large meal or overindulging. Also great if you’re if you’re feeling a bit sickly. Ginger tea is also good for digestion and is a safe way to help fight nausea if you’re unwell or suffering from pregnancy sickness.

Lemon and rosemary tea

Lemon and rosemary tea from O-Teas

Herbal teas

Cosy, comforting herbal teas, such as lemon and ginger or lemon and rosemary are great if you have a sore throat, or as a warming cuppa in colder weather. I’m a fan of teas with lavender in, too – a natural antiseptic, whether in a herbal blend or mixed with black tea.

There are also the cold, herbal tea drinks I’ve blogged about before and are naturally caffeine-free – Honest and Tg Teas are refreshing and portable, so you can drink them anytime! More on these lovely tea treats in future posts…

Time for a detox tea?

Another great option if you’re looking for a caffeine free brew is a detox tea range. If you’re looking to drink detox teas for health benefits it’s a good idea to avoid any that have any laxatives or any nasties in them.

A great brand I’ve tried recently is Teagime, which tailors tea blends to your specific needs, to create, yes, you’ve guessed it, your very own Teagime. You fill in a health questionnaire and they blend the teas to support what you’re looking to achieve. In my case, it was avoiding the late afternoon slump, curbing sugar cravings and aiding a good night’s sleep.

Teatime teatox teas

A fabulous box of Teagime Teatox teas and illustrated tea guides

I was delighted to receive a tailored selection of teas from Teagime – one for morning, one for the afternoon, and one for night time. After filling in a questionnaire on their website abut my particular concerns and health requirements, they created blends specific to my requirements.

Everything about the brand is comforting and frankly, looks beautiful – from the information leaflet that comes with your box of teas, to the pink steepers that are provided for the loose leaf teas, to the logo and the look and feel of the website.

Tasty teas from Teagime

Not what you’d expect from a detox tea – the tasty teas from Teagime are a comforting treat!

The teas themselves are tasty, with an unusual choice of fruit and herb-filled flavours and a variety of custom-built blends tailored to you. Impressive, innovative, and highly recommended!

So many wonderful teas to choose from – with or without caffeine! How do you prefer your cuppa?

Until next time, hope you enjoy a nice cup of tea – or two – with or without caffeine, whatever you prefer xx

It’s 2015: Time for tea!

Newby Tea at The Bingham, Richmond

A lovely pot of Newby tea and pretty china at The Bingham, Richmond

Happy New Year!

After a blogging hiatus towards the end of last year, following injury, illness and a number of other reasons, I’m looking forward to making this year “The Year of the Blog”!

2014 wasn’t exactly the year I was expecting, but I have high hopes for the New Year and am feeling positive!

 

A New Year’s Eve to Remember

I saw in the New Year with my lovely husband eating a fabulous six-course tasting menu at Richmond’s beautiful  Bingham hotel. We had a lovely room overlooking the river, inspiring a search for a new home by the river, where we hope to move in March. I can’t wait to wake up to the peaceful, comforting sight of the river and being surrounded by greenery once more!

Miller Harris toiletries at The Bingham

Luxury Miller Harris toiletries at The Bingham

A stylish room at The Bingham

Our stylish room at the Bingham

Do Not Disturb sign at The Bingham, Richmond

Celebrating in style at The Bingham, Richmond

Time for Tea…

I had several lovely cuppas courtesy of Newby Teas, and thoroughly enjoyed my moments of luxury!

In the spirit of “New Year, New You”, I was recently introduced to SlenderTox Tea by the BloggersLove Hub. I’m delighted that this is a health product based on one of my favourite things – tea! I am keen to try the 14 day teatox and see if it helps improve my overall health and wellbeing, ups my energy levels (which are in need of a jumpstart right now!) and that the evening teatox helps me enjoy a good night’s sleep.

I will update you on the results as I go along – very excited to be trying out another tea experiment!

I had a lovely New Year surprise this week, winning some delicious-smelling teas from JollyBrew. The packaging is stunning, making a welcome addition to my tea cabinet and matching the blue themes of my kitchen. I can’t wait to try all three loose-leaf teas – I will share the verdict, but I predict they are going to be amazing!

The Gift of Tea

The elegantly packaged JollyBrew Teas

The elegantly packaged JollyBrew Teas

Festive gifts of tea and coffee

The gift of tea…and coffee!

I received some wonderful tea related gifts from family and friends over the festive season: a real favourite tea of mine, Harney & Sons’ Tower of London Blend Tea, a wonderful blend of black tea with Bergamot and dried fruits; Christmas Thanks from Twinings, which tastes like Christmas cake and is pure comfort in a mug; several lovely mugs; lots and lots of Teapigs; and Christmas Blend teas from Whittard of London and Kent & Sussex.

Slendertox Tea

Time for a TeaTox

This was all after a pre-Christmas visit to one of my favourite shops in Covent Garden, The Tea House, to stock up on my favourite Ahmad blends, Vanilla Tranquility and Cinammon Haze. I’ve been drinking these in abundance, both at work and at home.

Gingerbread Lattes, anyone?

I also received various gingerbread-themed gifts, as my obsession with gingerbread lattes shows no signs of waning! I have to admit I drink them all year round, rather than just as a seasonal treat. I am really looking forward to trying out the Gingerbread Body Lotion from the fabulous Sniffy Whiffy – keeping that festive feeling going through the dark January days! I’m collecting my parcel tomorrow, so will keep you posted…

Until next time, wishing you a very Happy New Year – here’s hoping 2015 is a fantastic one!

Enjoy your January tea break,

Rachael XX

 

An Afternoon Celebration of Tea

Soho's Secret Tea RoomI was very excited to visit Soho’s Secret Tea Room in London this weekend, which I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know about until a friend (and fellow blogger) invited me there for a traditional afternoon tea.  We spent a very pleasant afternoon there, enjoying a very traditional afternoon tea with all the trimmings.

The tearoom is set up in a traditional, retro style, with old 1940s adverts inside the menu and quirky vintage mix-and-match china and tableware.

Fabulous Toile de Jouy Teapot

We were a served a lovely, big pot of tea to share, in what has to be my favourite teapot yet!  Depicting a traditional “Toile de Jouy” scene, I really wish I could add this to my teapot collection at home! Toile de Jouy has a special significance for me, as it featured heavily in my vintage-inspired wedding!

We were also given a timer to ensure we brewed our tea for the correct amount of time – something I always appreciate, as I like a nice, strong cup of tea!

We enjoyed a cake stand full of treats – sandwiches, scones and enormous slabs of cake!  What better way to spend the afternoon, than whiling away the hours drinking lots of tea, chatting, enjoying good company and eating tasty treats?

We continued our afternoon celebration of tea with a visit to The Tea House, located nearby in London’s Covent Garden.  This fantastic, olde-worlde shop stocks a fantastic variety of teas, teapots and other tea paraphernalia – I was in Heaven!

Tea-Time Treats e Tea House, Covent Garden

I stocked up on two of my favourite teas – Vanilla Black Tea and Cinnamon Haze black cinnamon tea from Ahmad Tea – as well as some new spoons and steepers for when I use my loose leaf teas and some additions to my Willow Pattern china collection.  I do love an excuse to buy anything tea-related!

Extending the tea theme, I also tried out for the first time one of my new tea-inspired fragrances – Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea Cherry Blossom –a lovely, light, summery scent, to go with a sunny day of tea in London!  I also recently bought Jo Malone’s Earl Grey and Cucumber Cologne to wear throughout the summer, and a fun London home fragrance kit with diffuser reeds – apparently the scent of London is of tea leaves and bergamot, which I think it very appropriate in my home!

Tea perfume Tea scent

What a fun, tea-filled Saturday afternoon in sunny London – it certainly brought a smile to my face!

Until next time, hope your weekend is also suitably tea-filled!

Rachael x

An Afternoon with Earl Grey

When I’m busy and feeling a bit tired and stressed in the afternoon, I like to take a tea break with Earl Grey.  And not just any Earl Grey, oh no!  I have a select list of favourites – and would like to share them with you!

Twinings Earl GreyThe Classic Earl Greys – a strong kick of bergamot to get you through the day…

Twinings Earl Grey – a true classic

I have a friend who swears by this blend and no other – and you can see why.  Always a failsafe cuppa –  a light, floral flavour with a strong kick of bergamot that enlivens the senses!  And it works very well in baking too!  As a novice baker myself, I’ll leave this to the experts – check out this fabulous Twinings Earl Grey Cake recipe, tried and tested by the same ever-faithful friend!  Scrumptious – and best enjoyed with a steaming pot of Earl Grey!

Ahmad Earl Grey – the discerning choice…

Ahmad Earl GreyThis is a real classic – great flavour and a strong aroma, again with a clear hit of bergamot.  This is very drinkable, as it has a lighter flavour than some other blends.  It works particularly well when you want to make up a nice big pot of tea.  I also find this very refreshing, so it suits all weather!  Note to self – don’t drink up all your stock at once!  I’m planning on stocking up on more of this lovely tea when I head over to America in a couple of weeks’ time.

 

 

Time for something a little bit different…

Twinings Lavender Earl Grey – two of my favourite things: lavender and tea! 

Twinings Lavender Earl GreyThis is great for winding down at the end of the day, or for the morning after the day before (have been known to provide this after parties to soothe those pesky hangovers)!

I come back to this favourite time and time again.  My husband bought me a full Twinigs tea chest last Christmas, where I was delighted to find this little treasure!  I have since stock-piled boxes of twenty teabags and find myself getting through them remarkably quickly!

I do find this tea rather addictive – one cup is just never enough!

Teapigs Darjeeling Earl Grey – a match made in heaven!

Teapigs Darjeeling Earl GreyI’m a big fan of Darjeeling, so when I first walked past a cafe selling Teapigs Darjeeling Earl Grey a few years ago, I was intrigued and excited! This blend is really unusual and a very refreshing, malty, comforting taste.  I like this tea first thing in the morning as well as an afternoon refresher – I find it goes well with breakfast, or keeps me going nicely when on the go.  And I have to say, I love the packaging – I’m also a big fan of sausage dogs, so the quirky label always makes me smile!

English Garden Empire Earl Grey – the Empire Strikes Back!

This is smoky, sultry and smells fabulous – either in or out of the pot!

English Garden Empire Earl GreyI made a pot of this after I was feeling sorry for myself and suffering following a wisdom tooth removal.  My friend, another fellow tea enthusiast, came round to the house to cheer me up and we decided to do a mini-tasting of the best Earl Greys and my favourites.

I particularly liked this flavoursome blend, firstly for the smell of the dry leaves, then the aroma once the pot was brewing, then the comforting, light Earl Grey taste. What makes this blend different is the smoky aftertaste, which is really quite different to anything I’ve tried before.  You can strongly smell the bergamot in the dried leaves, but once brewed it’s a very subtle flavour, and I think the smoky, malty taste makes it quite unique.

I’m feeling a bit tired and worn-out again today, so think it’s time for a tea break.  Looking forward to spending another evening with Earl Grey!

Until next time, enjoy your tea break (and why not join the marvellous Earl Grey?!)

Rachael X