Lockdown Loose Leaf Love

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I’ve been so lucky during lockdown to have received some stellar loose leaf tea selections from some tea people who really care – about their customers and the planet. I really value the tea companies that share the love of what they do, do it with love and create experiences with their teas. That personal, caring touch makes such a difference, and having a wide variety of blends and tea treats has really helped while staying at home for months on end. Time for a tea break?

Unboxing the beautifully packaged Jai Tea with bright pink paper and inspiring quotes
Unboxing the beautifully packaged Jai Tea

Jai Tea Jewels

Jai Tea sent me so many wonderful loose leaf teas, that I have paid it forward and sent some of them to friends and family. Being shielded, it’s a lovely way for me to show I care through the magic of tea! I feel it’s only right to share the love they put into these lovely teas and enjoy a virtual tea break or two with my loved ones. I know some of my friends have been bitten by the tea bug now too and have been enjoying some of the lovely tea treats.

Jasmine, founder of Jai Tea, is clearly passionate about tea, travel and providing luxury food and drink experiences for her customers – that certainly shows in the beautiful website, luxury products that are clearly crafted with care, and their engaging social media posts. Her customers obviously appreciate it, too – I see so many lovely reviews of the Jai tea and food gifts. They do some great competitions over on Facebook, so have a go – you might win something very special!

I love Jai Tea’s branding, look and feel – especially the romantic names for the loose leaf tea blends, elegantly written in calligraphy on the packets. Wrapped in fuschia pink (my favourite!) paper, with the brand’s logo gilded on the tissue paper, beautifully boxed and including inspiring quotes in their thank you cards within, it’s quite the treat to unbox these teas and survey the tea adventures before you. And there are adventures to be had all around the world from your teapot – Parisian Nights, anyone? Or revisit a bygone era with blends such as Queen Victoria’s Promenade. Very nice with some old fashioned violet and rose creams, by the way…

I felt it was proper to brew these teas in some of my vintage and more decorative teapots and serve in my vintage china, setting the mood for relaxation and inspiration as I write at my desk, or get carried away with a good book. Bliss! The innovative ingredients alongside the loose leaf teas were flavourful and all natural, something that made a real difference to the subtlety of the flavoured black tea blends and received a big thumbs up from me. I loved the flower petals – violet, rose, bergamot, cheery blossom – mixed with top quality loose leaf tea and other soothing ingredients.

Jai Tea's romantically named On Behalf of My Love, a cinnamon black tea
Jai Tea’s romantically named On Behalf Of My Love, a sweet, comforting black tea with cinnamon.
Discovering new tea with Bruu
Discovering new teas with Bruu

Bruu Tea Brewing Discoveries

I was talking on Facebook and Instagram last week about the tea adventure approach and the caring ethos of Bruu Tea that shone through its packaging, messaging, and loose leaf tea selections. There are tasting and provenance notes for each tea and tea region featured in the monthly tea subscription box, giving you the opportunity to discover new and different teas with every box. There was also a style of tea to suit all tastes, from more traditional strong black teas, to fruity and tropical tea blends that suited the summery weather we had during Spring’s lockdown. Along with the heartfelt message from the company’s head Tea Taster, Scott (what an amazing job!) to bring cheer and encourage us to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, I liked everything about my Discovery Box and really support and salute Bruu as a brand. You may have seen the “Tea-Rex approved” stamp of approval on my Instagram and Twitter feeds recently! Have a look at some of the photos of the box and its contents on there – great stuff!

Unboxing the Bruu Tea Subscription Box to with a personal message from Head Tea Taster Scott during the pandemic
Finding a heartfelt message from head tea taster Scott in my Bruu Tea box.

Stir Me Tea Turns It Tropical

Stir Me is a recently launched Kenyan loose leaf tea brand, with stunning packaging and branding, innovative Kenyan tea blends and a friendly, helpful face, Reena, at the helm. The Stir Me strap line is, “Better tea… better conversations” – how appropriate! A local company, based in Twickenham, they hand delivered a wide variety of teas to me, including some creative, soothing chai blends and summery selections, perfect for the changeable weather we are experiencing this summer! Featuring an elegant Orange Pekoe black tea, turmeric chai, Persian Chai with rose petals and cardamon, there was also a selection of tropical summery tea blends, Mango Mania, and the Pina Colada white tea blend. Again, there was a loose leaf tea to please all tastes and some real favourites of mine in there, such as rose petals and black tea based blends.

The tea boxes feature colourful patterned packaging and fun branding, reflecting the friendly, community-focused and fun ethos of the tea brand. I was so delighted to try these teas and to meet Reena briefly from the window when she dropped the teas off. On that note, check them out on Instagram. Lots of lovely reviews and stories capturing the vibrant branding and tasty teas. Better tea… better conversations…

Sunny selection of Stir me teas with bright, colourful packaging
My sunny selection of Stir Me Kenyan teas

I also received my loose leaf tea selection in a very pretty and practical mini shopper bag, which I have been using to carry all my bits and pieces around when heading out to the garden to enjoy the sunshine and a tasty tea. Helps me to get away from it all without going any further than my garden path, all while shielding in quarantine. you can find them on the West London Hampers website, too.

Stir Me Tea Natural Fabric Mini Shopping Bag saying Hakuna Matata
My lovely little bag from Stir Me – Hakuna Matata!

Hakuna Matata, everyone!

Drink tea, enjoy life, and don’t worry…

Rachael XX

Time for a very timely tea invention

The right time for a nice, strong cup of tea

Strong English Breakfast from Twinings

Strong English Breakfast from Twinings and a very special mug

The lovely people at Twinings got in touch with me again recently about some rather exciting news and it could not have been better timing! In recent weeks I’ve been enjoying my wonderful selection of teas and trying lots of different blends in some of my favourite mugs – both old and new – but I’m ashamed to say that some of my teas have been forgotten about as I’ve got distracted by the “To Do” list and other festive activities in the run up to Christmas. I’ll leave them to brew for the recommended three to five minutes (usually around five minutes for a nice, strong black tea, which is my everyday favourite). It seems I’m not alone…

Forget tea not?

According to the latest statistics collected by Twinings, 74% of British people – that’s almost three quarters of the population – make a nice cup of tea as their first drink of the day; and one third claim it’s the very first thing they do when they wake up. Despite this famous British love affair with tea, one in five surveyed (that’s 22%) admitted to regularly putting down their tea and forgetting about it!

Never fear, there is a solution – and one I really need in my life, as I’ve forgotten about two cups of tea today already! Twinings have created a prototype cup, which they are calling the ‘forget-tea-not’ – that not only lets you know that your tea is at optimum drinking temperature but reminds you about your tea so it doesn’t spoil by playing a rendition of the “Bing! Bang! Bong!” song when the tea reaches 68 degrees centigrade.

The designs for the Twinings Forget Tea Not Tea Cup

The designs for the Twinings Forget Tea Not Tea Cup

A lot of thought has gone into this from the tea lovers at Twinings – a collaboration between the famous tea house’s master blenders and some rather clever designers. The cup is hand painted in colours that match the branding of the Twinings English Strong Breakfast blend and it is all designed to optimise the tea drinking experience by ensuring the tea is at what they believe is the optimum tea drinking temperature after milk, 68 degrees centigrade, in a shape that maximises the ability to taste the different notes in the tea.

Having met a Twinings master blender myself and learned a lot about what has gone into making their English Breakfast blend over the decades, I can tell you that they genuinely love their morning cuppa and place special significance on the role of a god cup of tea at breakfast time, which is only right and proper, in my opinion!

The right start to the day

As part of their recent research, Twinings have also been looking in to the best ways to start the day – which, of course, while tea is a very important element in the process, often involves more than just the essential morning cuppa! I’m partial to a nice, strong cup of tea in the mornings and find it hard to function without one, but there’s more to it than that. They enlisted the help of psychologist, Dr Lynda Shaw, to get her top tips and life hacks for the best ways to start the day the right way. I identify with a number of these – the power of positivity and a positive start to the day to pave the way for a great day ahead is not to be underestimated, and I do find that a good cup of quality tea in one of my favourite mugs provides a much-needed smile to set me up for the day!

Starting the morning the right way with a good cuppa

Starting the morning the right way with a good cuppa – and a view!

Dr Lynda Shaw’s Morning Rituals That Set You Up For a Successful Day and Are Something to Look Forward to

1. Prepare your mind and write down three things you are grateful for, which will stimulate the rewards systems in the brain. In so doing, you will achieve a more positive outlook for the rest of the day.

2. Set your attitude by adding how you want to behave today – do you want to be calm, energetic, kind, or perhaps all three? A positive feedback loop in the brain will keep you on track.

3. One of the first things you probably do in the morning is make a cup of tea for yourself, so make sure it’s a quality one. Use your favourite tea in your favourite mug or cup and sit down and savour it.

4. How about getting physical? Stretch, run, walk, go to the gym. Exercise in the morning is a ritual that sets you up for the day, but choose something you enjoy to get a real glow.

5. Drink a glass of water to hydrate, then go through your automatic bathing routine which allows your mind to wander and muse wherever it wishes to go, giving space for creative thought.

6. If you take public transport to work, reading an article online on the way gives you topical things to talk about and helps you feel informed and in control.

7. Try waking 10 minutes early so that you can lie there with your eyes closed, allowing your brain to enjoy the alpha state. This is a creative place and you are likely to come up with new ideas or answers to difficult questions. Record them or write them down immediately.

8. Make your bed. It feels good later to come home to an orderly house, helping you to feel calm.

9. Eat your favourite food for breakfast – something that is colourful, such as fresh fruit and yoghurt, or make a smoothie with both fruit and vegetables. Your body will love you for it.

10. Text a friend or family member and tell them how great they are. Doing something meaningful at the start of your day will give you both a boost.

When can I try this magic mug?! I’m excited…!

This is very exciting news in my world – I’m really hoping that this prototype goes into production and am very much looking forward to the opportunity of it becoming available so I can have one for myself!

Until next time, I hope you enjoy your morning cuppa and it sets you up for a fabulous and very productive day – all the more important at this very busy and festive time of year!

Raising a good cuppa to you all – Compliments of the Season!

Rachael XX