Swiss Hot Chocolate Flavoured Tea

An e-mail from the English Tea Store yesterday reminded me of their Swiss Hot Chocolate Flavoured Tea. Being a chocoholic from childhood, this tea caught my eye last year around Christmas time. When I say “last year” I’m really referring to the end of 2018. Not only do I love chocolate, but I also love hot chocolate. By the way, I make mine with half-and-half. It’s delicious!

The English Tea Store has managed to combine two loves into one drink. How awesome is that?! This blend comes in a loose leaf format, so you can adjust the strength WP-ETStore-Swiss Chocolate Teato your preference. Just opening the bag gives you a hint of pleasure to come when the smell of chocolate sets your olfactory receptors to tingling. Paired with honey, this tea is dessert in a cup for those who aren’t supposed to be consuming a lot of calories that tend to go along with chocolate. I especially enjoy combining this tea with the chocolate cookies from Maria Emmerich’s Comfort Foods book. Put those two treats together and you’d never know you’ve embarked on a lifestyle change. Keep in mind as I’ve pointed out before, honey is not allowed on a Keto diet. I cheat!

The only negative that I’ve found with this tea came from steeping it too long. I’m a slow drinker. By the time I’d gotten to the third cup, it had a somewhat bitter taste because I’d left the tea in the pot instead of removing it after it had initially steeped.

If this blend sounds like something you’d enjoy, visit the English Tea Store’s website now to save 15% on this and other selections. That e-mail I mentioned at the beginning of this post said you could save 15% on ETS brand teas, including January’s featured teas, of which this is one, through January 21st. Use code DEAL15 at checkout.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are given for reference and ease of use.

Photo Credit: English Tea Store

Afternoon Tea with Wittard

After a nine hour plus day of taking care of a two year old, sweetheart though she is, it’s nice to come home and have a good cup of tea. Such was the case this afternoon when I came home and made a pot of Afternoon Tea by Wittard. They gave this particular blend the number four (04) designation since 4:00 is the perfect time to enjoy this blend. And enjoy it I did.

This blend of black tea (70%), jasmine-scented green tea (29%), and bergamot flavouring was just what I needed to make the shift from silly-acting caregiver to sensible, if not somewhat boring, adult. By the time I’d finished the third cup I was refreshed, ready to fix supper and visit with you through this post. The soothing aroma of this blend went a long way in aiding with the shift. Add to that the smoothness and lack of astringency, I was one relaxed granny.

It’s been quite a while since I had this selection which means I’d forgotten that it was a blend of black and green tea. It was after I’d added milk to the first cup that I read the ingredients and the note to only add milk to black tea. Add to that faux pas the fact that the best-by date passed more than three months ago. No matter. It still tasted great!

The only thing that would have made this tea a better choice this afternoon would have been for it to be caffeine free. Even though this isn’t a decaf blend, I’ll not forget that I have it in my stash to enjoy in the future when my day seems a bit longer than usual.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. Links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Red Bush Chai

Back in 2005, a fellow quilter told me that she loved Chai tea. I’d not heard of it before then and doubted that I’d like it. I just wasn’t as adventuresome then as I am now. So, I never bothered pursuing her suggestion to get myself a cup at the local coffee shop which, by the way, is no longer in business.

About four or five years ago another quilting friend made a cup of tea for me at a Christmas party. I loved it but thought it was a very spicy hot chocolate to begin with, so when I found out that it was actually Chai tea I was shocked to say the least. I couldn’t believe that I’d not followed through all those years ago on the first quilting friend’s suggestion which would have meant that I could have been enjoying Chai tea for many more years than I have. Needless to say, I’ve made up for lost time ever since that Christmas party and have several Chai selections in my tea stash.

The one I’d like to share with you today was purchased at HomeGoods. It’s a Red Bush Chai which is 100% organic and hails from The Tao of Tea. The description on the label says that it is, “A non-traditional blend of Chai. Made with caffeine-free South African Rooibos and uplifting spices.” The spices include cinnamon, spearmint, cloves, and cardamom, all of which are organic. This blend is very warming and one that I tend to have in the evening, especially when the weather is cold. Having said that though, I don’t limit my Chai drinking only to cold weather. I’ve been known to indulge in mid-summer when it’s both hot and humid outside just because I needed the comfort that comes from this spiced tea. I do add milk and honey to my Chai regardless of which variety from my stash I choose to make.

In addition to enjoying tea, I also love to read. I’m pretty picky about what I read though and tend to stick with a handful of authors. I’m not sure how I came to start reading the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith, although I’m sure it was probably because the one genre I read the most is mysteries and these are mystery type books without lots of dead bodies. The first book I read was while we were vacationing in Ft. Morgan a couple of years ago. The book I had on hand started somewhere in the middle of the series, but I absolutely fell in love with the main character, Precious Ramotswe. While I’ve never been to Botswana, I was struck by just how similar her upbringing and mindset was to my own. Who’d of thought that a fictional character from Africa could have so much in common with a girl raised in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia. The fact that I could so easily relate to her character is probably what hooked me on this series and has caused me to collect almost all of the books that have been published to date, in hardback no less. Of course, it didn’t hurt any when I read that she loves Red Bush tea. How could you not like a character who loves Red Bush tea? She drinks it at a regular time each day but also when she needs to do some thinking. The relaxing effect of this tea is definitely conducive to reflection which is why I sometimes turn to it myself when lots of thinking on an issue is needed. Sadly, the pot I had tonight finished off my bag of tea. Were it not for the fact that I have a couple of bags of Rooibos in my stash already that I could doctor up I’d go buy another bag of this exact tea. Yes, it’s that good and has been one of my favourites ever since the first cup.

Ahhhh…Paris

We all know that stress has an adverse effect on your lives. It can cause any number of ailments ranging from obesity to Alzheimer’s disease which are just two of many other nasty complaints. While it’s normal to be stressed with things over which we have no control, for example the death of a loved one, it’s not good to remain stressed over emotional issues for any length of time.

When stress over which I’ve had no control gets the best of me, I tend to turn to WP-ParisParis tea as a way to relax and regroup. A quilting friend shared Paris with me many years ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Paris smells wonderful and it tastes wonderful. In fact, it’s one of Harney & Sons best selling teas. The ingredients include black tea, oolong tea, black currant flavor, vanilla flavor, bergamot oil, caramel flavor. If you like fruity teas then you’ll enjoy Paris, stressed or not.

There is also a decaf version of the original Paris, and I love it too. To say I was thrilled when I discovered this option would be an understatement. There are times when tea drinking has to wait until the evening. Having a decaf version of Paris makes it possible to enjoy this blend without having to worry about staying up all night.

Like saving money? According to an e-mail I received today from Harney & Sons, you can save 20% on herbals and tea accessories between now and January 8. While I’ve not yet tried their Paris Herbal, which is also caffeine free and uses a WP-Mothers BouquetRooibos base, I’m sure it will be just as enjoyable as their regular Paris. Saving 20% on this selection is all the nudge I need to place another order. While you’re at the Harney & Sons website, be sure to add Mother’s Bouquet to your cart. This is another caffeine free blend that I really enjoy. I think it’s the orange fragrance and flavour that make this blend so appealing and relaxing. The loose leaf variety is one of the most colourful mixes I’ve seen. I can’t help but always think what a beautiful quilt one could make with the colours in Mother’s Bouquet.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. All links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Photo Credit: Harney & Sons

Typhoo – One of Britain’s Finest

Although we’re southerners, born and raised, where Sunday dinner typically consists of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, soup beans, biscuits, cornbread, etc., we decided to go another route for our Sunday afternoon meal when our children were young. The reasons for doing this were two-fold. One, we wanted to give our children, who were involved in gymnastics and ballet, a better chance than we had of not growing up to be a fat kid, and two we wanted to teach them proper table manners, grace, and etiquette. So, on Sunday afternoon we sat down to tea with a tablecloth on the table and Blue Willow dishes from which to eat our sandwiches and scones. We played classical music in the background and talked about whatever topic came up. Needless to say, since our children were aged five, seven, and fifteen when we started this, give or take a year, the discussions usually centered around questions about something from a Sunday School lesson, or working out the logistics of an upcoming gymnastics meet when the younger two were older, or if it was November we discussed the Nutcracker a lot because all three children eventually danced in it as one or more characters.

During that timeframe, we were going to church in Huntsville which was a 50 minute drive one way, so during Nutcracker season the parts that our children were in usually held practice on Sunday afternoon. We tended to spend the whole day in Huntsville rather than make two round trips because not only did we go to the morning services we also attended the evening services. Those Sundays were really loooooong days for everyone. We enjoyed doing Nutcracker but were ever so glad to get back to our Sunday afternoons at home and continue the calming effect of afternoon tea.

Our children are all grown and gone now, but Rick and I still continue to have afternoon tea on Sunday in lieu of lunch and supper. Almost without fail I make a pot of Typhoo tea while Rick handles making lettuce wraps which are more Keto-friendly than the sandwiches of old. Don’t misunderstand me here and think that we are dyed-in-the-wool Keto folks like those we admire and are tying to emulate. We’re not, yet, but we’re working on it. We still enjoy a couple of Walkers shortbread cookies with our wraps and tea in the event that I’ve not gotten around to making a Keto cookie to enjoy instead. The impetus of this ritual isn’t so much eating for nourishment but enjoying the quietness of the moment. It gives us time to be still together, enjoy our tea and a light meal, and converse about the week that’s past or the one to come. And yes, we do still play classical music while we enjoy our afternoon together.

WP-Typhoo Box“Why Typhoo?” I hear you ask. “What happened to PG Tips?” Well, I’ll tell you. I can’t remember just when or why we started drinking Typhoo, but I’m pretty sure it’s because we ran out of PG Tips and teadog didn’t have that brand in stock at the time I went to order more but did have Typhoo. I think that at that time it was even offered in a tin, and you know me and tins. I still have and store my Typhoo in that rectangular red tin. It holds two foil bags, so I have one of regular Typhoo and one of decaf.

I really do enjoy Typhoo. It is a full-bodied blend with no bitterness, unless of course you let the teabags sit in the pot all day long (yes, I’ve done that) and then warm up that tea. Still, it only takes a bit more milk to tame this stronger cup of tea. I enjoy Typhoo with honey moreso than with Swerve, Stevia, or even monk fruit. Again, honey is not allowed on a Keto diet, but there are just some things I’m not willing to give up yet and my honey is one of them. I’ve given up many of the sugary and gluten rich foods that are not good for me, but honey will probably stick around for a while longer.

Since you’re sitting at the computer, take a few minutes and visit the Typhoo website. There’s a lot of good information there including the history of the brand. For example, I had no idea it began as a cure for indigestion. Amazing! When I visited the site before I started writing this post, I was surprised, and may I say thrilled, when I found that there are recipes for sweets to make and enjoy while drinking your tea. Needless to say, I’m going to have to try some of these. I’ll probably substitute Swerve for the sugar and almond flour for the flour. I think I’ll start with either the Honeyed Tea Cupcakes or the Tea Flavoured Shortbread. They all look quite yummy though, so I’m sure there’ll come a day when I can say I’ve tried them all. While I can drink tea by itself I really prefer to have WP-My Typhoosomething to go with it. Otherwise, it’s like eating a sandwich without potato chips. Also, take their quiz, share it on social media, and you could win a year’s supply of Typhoo tea. I took the quiz which ended up looking like this, but I haven’t figured out how to share it yet. I’m very behind the times and don’t have a clue as to how to use hashtags. Besides, while winning a year’s supply of Typhoo would be absolutely amazing, I’m even more interested in getting my hands on the little one-person teapot and cup that shows up in their home page banner. That would definitely make my day.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. Links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Photo credit: teadog

Green Tea Blueberry

Yesterday, Rick and I went to Emil’s up in Tullahoma for lunch. If you live closeby and haven’t been there yet, you need to go. They have a buffet on Friday from 11-2 with the best chicken salad as well as awesome fried chicken and gravy. And the apple pie? It’s to die for!

After we left there, full as a tick, we went over a street to Celtic Cup. It was a rainy, gray day and I wanted some hot chocolate. This is another locally owned shop you need to check into if you live in the area or find yourself visiting us one of these days. While there I purchased a blueberry scone to have for breakfast the next morning, i.e. today, before the shop opened. Of course, if you’re going to have a blueberry scone then you need blueberry tea, and I just happened to have such a tea on hand. The tea I chose comes from Tea of Life and is a green tea. I purchased this tea from Tuesday Morning down in Huntsville. It contains green tea with blueberry pieces and blueberry flavour, and as an accompaniment to a blueberry scone it’s perfect.
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The oval tin contains 50 teabags divided into two foil packets of 25 bags each. The blueberry fragrance is noticeable when you open the lid and even moreso when you open one of the packets of tea. Since it’s a green tea the steeping time is less and the water doesn’t have to get as hot as it would need to be for a black tea. That means you get to start enjoying your tea just a little sooner, always a plus. This particular blend has a lovely aroma and taste once steeped. While you can taste the blueberry it isn’t tart like some berry teas can be. Of course, I added a bit of honey to my cup and greatly enjoyed both the scone and the tea before greeting my customers for the day.

Since it is National Hot Tea Month, those who came to the shop today were able to select an individually wrapped tea. It was a very windy and pretty chilly day, just right for a good hot cup of tea. What more can you ask for? Tea and fabric…ahhh…

NOTE: There are no affiliate links included in this post. All links are given for ease of use only.

The Brand that Changed Everything

As mentioned in a previous post, PG Tips was gifted to me from a friend of a friend who was visiting from England. Before this, I refused to the drink tea that we purchased from our local grocery store because its taste was awful. When the visitor handed me a box of PG Tips I knew I’d have to make some for her and our friend, and that I would also have to drink it. Needless to say, I wasn’t thrilled. Imagine my surprise, and great relief, when I tasted and actually liked this new tea. The difference between the PG Tips brand and that in our local store was like night and day. That gift changed my perception of tea forever.

Knowing that the box of tea wouldn’t last forever, I went on the hunt for a place to purchase PG Tips online. The online store that came up was teadog.com. I was thrilled to say the least to know that once I ran out of my original box of PG Tips I’d be able to buy more online.

Pic-PGTips Xtra StrongThen teadog added PG Tips Extra Strong to their offerings. Because our youngest had started college and was “meetin’ herself a comin’ and a goin’” I figured that an extra strong version of her favourite tea was needed. The extra kick from this tea has gotten both of us through some long days. My one concern was that the stronger flavour would be bitter. Thankfully, it’s just as good as the regular variety and has no bitterness at all. The addition of milk and honey make this selection smooth and rich. Love it!

If you’re looking for a stronger tea to get you through the day, than look no further. PG Tips Extra Strong will do the trick.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. Links are included for reference and ease of use.

Photo Credit: teadog.com

Organic Orange Green Tea

993EB5EE-BCA4-41E6-9009-597124ADFA72I’d like to share another green tea with you today. This tea comes from Touch Organic and consists of organic green tea and natural orange flavour. While I enjoy it hot, it can also be made as an iced tea. The non-bleached (light brown) tea bags come individually wrapped which makes this tea a perfect choice to take with you each day or to include in a card for a friend. If you do include a teabag in a card, you might want to take the time to go to the post office and have them hand cancel the envelope. That way you don’t have to worry about the slight hump caused by the teabag causing the card to get caught and ripped open when running through the machinery.
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How does this offering taste? Lovely! There’s no bitterness and the orange flavour is noticeable but not overpowering. I tend to take my tea with honey, but since I’m supposed to be cutting out carbs I used half a teaspoon of monk fruit today. It was still a flavourful tea, but I must confess to preferring the added sweetness of honey over the monk fruit.

This is not the only tea variety from this maker in which I’ve indulged. I have also enjoyed they organic mango green tea blend as well. So much so, that when I ran out I purchased another round caddy when I found it again at HomeGoods. I divided the teabags between the two caddies so that I could have this blend both upstairs or down whenever the mood struck.

Knowing that I’m drinking an organic tea whose leaves haven’t been sprayed with a laundry list of chemicals is reassuring, especially since I’m trying to detoxify my body and make it healthier. Be sure to visit the Touch Organic website to learn about their vision and labour practices. While you’re there, peruse other offerings that I’m sure are equally enjoyable. If you try, and enjoy, a different selection, please feel free to share that with us.

NOTE: There are no affiliate links included in this post. Links given are for reference and ease of use only.

Happy National Hot Tea Month!

Happy New Year and Happy National Hot Tea Month! It’s hard to believe that it’s 2020 already. Not only did 2019 zip past, but the last 20 years have zipped past as well. It seems like only yesterday that everyone was worried our computers would crash the minute midnight struck and we were propelled into not only a new year but also a new century. Everyone prepared for the worst, but thankfully it never happened. Life went on, didn’t even skip a beat, at least not in my little world.

Lots of changes though have happened in both your life and mine over the past twenty years. For my part, our children have grown up and flown the coop with the youngest having graduated college back in 2015. My hair has gotten whiter and my joints ache more now than then, that’s kind of the bad news. The good news is that I have developed a taste for hot tea. Still don’t care for sweet tea, and yes, I’m as southern as they come, but I have branched out where hot tea is concerned from that first taste of PG Tips gifted to me by a friend of a friend. If she only knew what a tea monster she created with her generosity. It’s because of this that I’m sure I’ll be able to share a different tea with you each day for the month of January. Some will be varieties that are always available, others may be limited editions or seasonal offerings. I’ll try not to include very many of those though since it might be impossible for you to purchase and indulge in them yourself should my description of them peak your interest.

So, without further ado, we’ll kick the New Year off with a green tea because green teas are very good for you as they are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. If you’d like to learn more about green tea you can read this very thorough article by Dr. Jockers. While you’re there, check out the rest of his website. He’s a proponent of the Ketogenic (Keto) lifestyle and has a lot of information that will help you get your New Year off to a healthy start.
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This variety, Green Tea Pomegranate, is from English Tea Shop and is a fairtrade and organic tea. I purchased my tin of loose leaf tea from HomeGoods. It contains organic green tea (85%), organic rose petals (5%), organic pomegranate pieces (5%), and natural flavourings (5%). You know you’re in for a treat the minute you open the foil bag. The fragrance is most appealing and kind of reminds me for some reason of the bubble gum portion of the suckers I had as a kid. I think they were called Blow Pops. Loved those suckers!

This tea can stand on its own, but I add a bit of local honey and it’s even more delicious. It’s recommended to drink 2-3 cups of green tea per day. If you’re following Keto you won’t want to use honey though. Try monk fruit instead. I enjoy this flavour of green tea because it doesn’t set my teeth on edge as some green teas that I’ve had in the past have done. Some might label it a dessert tea, and it could definitely be used for that, but I tend to have it in the morning around 10:30 a.m. to tied me over until lunch time.

1D34675B-B58A-4574-89E9-F97D58264848If getting healthy in 2020 was one of your resolutions, then you need to add tea to your day in general and this variety in particular. If you don’t find it at HomeGoods be sure to check in one of their affiliate stores, TJMaxx or Marshall’s. Of course, once you look in any of these stores you’re probably going to find other teas that you can’t live without (which is a big part of why I have such a large selection). When you do, be sure to share with the rest of us. After all, what are friends for…

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. Links are given for reference and ease of use only.

Holiday Spice from English Tea Store

You’ve probably noticed that I missed posting a final holiday tea blend on the 25th. That’s because we were out of town from the 22nd until late the 25th. After getting a late start back home and driving for several hours, the last thing I wanted to do was to sit at the computer and try to gather my thoughts about anything. Not to despair though because we celebrate Christmas for 12 days, so I’m still within the Christmas timeframe, at least from our point of view. If you want to read about our 12 Days of Christmas celebration you can go here and amuse yourself. It’s kind of a long read because I’m a very thorough explainer of anything and everything that I feel the need to explain. So, before you go there, grab yourself a cup of tea and a cookie or two. And please, ignore any shift in tenses that you might find. This is not English 101.

The selection of tea I’d like to share with you now was one I purchased for the last holiday season from English Tea Store. Thankfully, this selection is available year round so if this review tweaks your interest you can easily purchase some for yourself. If you’re not sure you’ll like this selection then start with their five bag sampler that is currently being offered for just $1.11. I think though that you will be going back for more.
Pic-ETS Tea-Holiday Spice
I purchased the 25 bag tin as we live in a humid climate and tins of tea are better than boxes of tea for that reason. As you can see, it’s just a plain silver tin with printed labels attached. The label on my tin says “New Improved Flavor!” but since this was my first time to try this tea I had nothing with which to compare it. The teabags are round and said to be in the English style with no strings or tags. That was a new bit of information for me as I didn’t realize that English teabags and teabags of other origins differed in these details. They also claimed to be 50% larger, containing 0.1 ounce of tea. With that claim in mind, I used just one bag for my two-cup teapot. Both cups of tea were lovely and neither was weakened by the additional amount of water used with only one teabag. I only point this out because I tend to put two teabags in my little teapot, pour out one into my cup after it’s steeped, and then refill the pot. This gives me three cups of tea with which to start, or end, my day.

According to the label on the top of the tin, this blend is a “fine quality black tea with cinnamon and orange natural flavors and spices.” The only other spice noted on the English Tea Store’s website is cloves. The tea has a very nice spicy aroma but is not overbearing, nor is the flavour. Each flavour is a nice mix, not too strong, not too weak. By that I mean you can taste each one but no one flavour overpowers the other. I sweetened my tea with a teaspoon of local honey which added to the richness and enhanced the flavour. I’ve learned the hard way though to keep stirring my tea from time to time when using honey, otherwise it sinks to the bottom of the cup and the last couple of sips are way too sweet, even for me.

Forgive me for stating the obvious here, but this is the last holiday tea post for the 2019 year. Tomorrow starts both a New Year as well as National Hot Tea Month. It will also begin a new endeavour on my part which is to review a different tea every day both here and on a new blog site, Hooked on Tea, that I’m setting up. I will double post to both sites for a while and then split them up again so that those interested only in quilting won’t have to endure information about tea things and vice versa. This new site might not be visible for a few days, but I will definitely let you know when it is. I’m not completely sure what direction the new blog will take or what all I will include, but I hope to make it one for sharing both my love of tea and the accoutrements that go along with it, of which I have collected a lot over the years. Until tomorrow…Happy New Year!

NOTE: There are no affiliate links in this post. They are provided for ease of use and reference only.

Photo Credit: English Tea Store

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