Fun with festive teas

Time for a cosy, festive cuppa – part two!

Festive tea

Festive teas from Tea Sparrow

Tasty, festive teas from Tea Sparrow

The lovely people at Tea Sparrow sent me a host of fabulous, festive teas from their holiday tea box selection. What a treat for tea lovers! Tea Sparrow organise monthly tea boxes with a selection of teas from different suppliers around the world, some of whom have featured on Tea with Rachael before, like the tea experts at Just Tea and The Tea Guy. I’ve been enjoying some fab new festive flavours recently, and the selection from Tea Sparrow certainly didn’t disappoint, with tasty and classily Christmassy treats such as Winter Almond Rooibos from Tea Desire and Organic Christmas Delight from Sonnentor, the fresh, sweet tasting Safari Oolong from Just Tea, and the downright decadent Cream of Earl Grey from The Tea Guy.

Festive teas from Tea Sparrow

A festive selection of teas from Tea Sparrow

An elegant Oolong

I’ve rediscovered Oolong recently and find it so refreshing and easy to drink. The Safari Oolong from Just Tea blends the refreshing taste of Chinese Oolong  with the sweetness of Kenyan tea, something that Just Tea are known for. It was an almost fruity tasting combination and a great way to start the day.

Winter teas from Tea Sparrow

Tea Sparrow’s winter teas

Refreshing Rooibos

I’ve also been drinking a lot of Rooibos, particularly with some added natural flavours, in an attempt to fend off the winter lurgy and keep hydrated throughout the day. The combination of flavours in the Winter Almond Rooibos from Tea Desire is uniquely festive – almost like a comforting slice of cake. Delicious!

Comforting cinnamon

You’ll also know I’m rather partial to a bit of cinnamon, especially in the winter, so I was excited to try the Organic Christmas Delight from Sonnentor, which blends organic cinnamon pieces, raspberry leaves, orange and apple pieces, liquorice, cloves, marigold and cornflowers. It’s like Christmas in a cup and comforting for mind, body and soul. Liquorice, cinnamon and marigold are known to have tummy soothing properties, too, so this is still a treat even if you’ve over-indulged during the festive season! A clever idea for tea lovers at Christmastime.

Would you like a dash of cream with your Earl Grey?

Regular Tea with Rachael readers will know I love a good cup of Early Grey. While I’m not really allowed much dairy due to an intolerance, I do tend to have the tiniest dash of milk in my Earl Grey, treated myself to a calming cup of The Tea Guy’s Cream of Earl Grey after my weekend lunch and it was the perfect cuppa to satiate my sweet tooth. When you open the packaging, it smells like a box of chocolates – a sweet, creamy, vanilla scent – and the taste is just the same, with a refreshing hit of citrus bergamot to stop it from being too sweet. The note on the packaging essentially says you won’t be happy with any other Earl Grey after tasting this, and while my tastebuds are always open to trying different Earl Grey blends, I did love this and the combination of vanilla and Earl Grey flavours really bring together my favourites in a tea. Highly recommended!

I was really impressed with the friendly communication from the lovely Tea Sparrow team and really enjoyed the full selection of teas I received. A really nice idea for a festive tea gift and there’s bound to be something to suit all tastes in their carefully thought out selections.

Find out more about Tea Sparrow and their story at www.teasparrow.com – along with some great tea cocktail and comforting flu fighting tea recipes!

The gift of tea from Basilur

A festive tea book from Basilur Tea

A festive Tea Book from Basilur Tea

Basilur Tea sent me some of their beautifully packaged festive teas. I don’t know if you’ve seen their packaging before, but if you haven’t, get on the website and take a look! Beautiful artwork, sparkly tins and boxes and…tea books. Yes, that’s right, tea books! Ah, another combination of two of my favourite things! What a fabulous festive gift idea – and you can collect volumes of tea books to display on your shelves! Heaven!

Tea book volumes from Basilur Tea

Collect volumes of tea books from Basilur

A good quality brew

Sencha green tea from Basilur

Sencha green tea from Basilur

The tea is excellent quality, too – I enjoyed pure Ceylon and Sencha green teas and am keen to try some more of their teas, which come highly recommended on Twitter.

As you can see, I’ve been really spoiled for choice these past few weeks and am looking forward to enjoying many more festive cuppa in the run up to Christmas.

Big thanks to all the lovely tea people who have helped me try all these delicious teas ready for the Christmas festivities – thank you to Tea Sparrow, Basilur, Bruu and The Kent and Sussex Tea Company.

A cosy cup of tea

Cosy cuppa

I hope my festive tea tastings have given you some ideas and provided some festive inspiration. Only a few weeks until the festive season now – I hope you also get to enjoy many a good festive cuppa!

Until next time – Compliments of the Season to all, Cheers!

Rachael XX

The experience of tea – enjoying tea, your way, at home

Making the most of the full tea experience

What first springs to mind when you think about tea? Does it conjure up images of a lavish afternoon tea with vintage china and tableware, or a cosy cuppa snuggled up at home? For me, it’s both: as a true tea lover, I am equally happy enjoying a luxurious high tea sitting in a fancy hotel, taking tea in a cosy corner of a traditional tea room, curled up with a steaming mug of tea and a good book or stack of magazines.

I talk a lot about enjoying the experience of tea and sharing my tea adventures, both outside the home and inside, but Tea with Rachael all started when I thought about how I really get the chance to sit down, breathe and take a break with a good cup of tea at home.

A cosy cuppa

As a vintage enthusiast, I have an impressive collection of pretty teapots, delicate tea cups and saucers, but rarely lay the table as a full afternoon tea in the comfort of my own home. On a weekend, I am usually found in a cosy spot with my aforementioned book, magazines and big mug of tea, unless the weather is good, in which case I lay out tea on the balcony to make the most of the sunshine and riverside view.

Something that occurred to me while enjoying a good cup of tea at home was the number of different elements that go in to the experience of drinking tea. I have my favourite mugs, teapots, blends of tea, and am always seeking out pretty trays – both new and old – on which to set out all the tea paraphernalia. I like to think of my style and preferences here as unique to me, to my own tastes and tea experiences.

Cosy cup of tea

Blogging fuel – a cosy cuppa

Another essential piece of this mix is the humble coaster – something that is plentiful in my home. I am also a keen interior design enthusiast, collecting furniture and treasured pieces for the home – again, both old and new – and coasters that reflect these designs and my home style while protecting my furniture have an important part to play in both the look and feel I am hoping to achieve in my home and the overall tea drinking experience. I even use coasters on my outdoor table, as it’s white and I don’t want to spill tea, coffee or red wine on it! I have a variety of designs that reflect my interests and personal tastes, ranging from Anne Boleyn to cats, to historical and local photography.

Celebrating moments and memories

It was considering this element of my tea-loving life that I discovered Individually Inspired. The company’s founder, Dinesh, makes individually designed, personalised gifts, which can be tailored to suit vintage and modern interiors alike. A delightfully personal memento of special occasions, I particularly like the Engagement Plaques in wood and slate. These individually designed gifts work beautifully to commemorate engagements, birthdays, weddings, Christenings and naming ceremonies –  even special anniversaries or honeymoons.

New York plaque from Individually Inspired

Celebratory New York engagement plaque from Individually Inspired

 

Bespoke slate Paris plaque

A bespoke plaque from Individually Inspired to celebrate that special time in Paris…

 

 

One area that we have been discussing is a bespoke range of wooden coasters that can be customised and personalised with individual designs and messages. Here’s a prototype of a Tea with Rachael teacup design, which sums up my philosophy on enjoying a good cuppa with friends and family. Counting a considerable number of fellow tea enthusiasts among my friends and family, I think that personalised coaster collections would make fabulous gifts for them!

Bespoke coaster design

Creativity in action: Dinesh of Individually Inspired designing a bespoke Tea with Rachael coaster

 

 

Bespoke wooden Tea with Rachael coaster

One of a set of bespoke Tea with Rachael coasters from Individually Inspired

I’m interested to hear what kind of coasters my fellow tea lovers like. Are you a vintage lady or gent, or do you prefer something more modern? What bespoke designs would you choose/create? What else do you use to protect your furniture and good tea ware?

Until next time – enjoy that cuppa, and make sure you don’t make a ring on the table!

Rachael xx