“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
– CS Lewis
I love tea and I think that this is a trait that goes beautifully alongside being a bibliophile. However, I really do not like plain English breakfast, I actually detest black tea, but I love green tea and herbal tea and I just want to share my love a little bit. I have always detested tea but when I became ill, my mother being a bit of a hippy told me to give herbal tea a shot, she herself detests them but I actually really fell in love with them a little bit. It was a hot drink that I enjoyed and that in itself was a novelty.
I used to be a Twinings devotee but now I’m not so much, I’ll still buy a Twinings product if it’s on offer but, on the whole, I prefer other brands now and I just want to talk about my love of tea and smaller tea brands because I feel they don’t get as much love.
So this is pretty much a post about my enormous, and still growing, tea collection. If you’re looking for whether you should put the milk in first or whatever, this is not the post for you. However if you want to hear pros and cons comparing loose leaf and the teabag and read a post soliloquising about favourite brands this is just what you were looking for!
To the left is my tea bag collection as of a few months ago. Since then I’ve added to it a bit with various other teas, primarily more flavoured green tea!
Teabags are great because they’re portable I put mine in a Tupperware container to take out with me. I suggest everyone do this with herbal tea or not, because it saves you a huge amount of money asking for hot water!
My favourite brands of bagged tea under £3 a box are Clipper and Pukka. Both are unbleached tea bags which I’ve personally found make an enormous difference to the overall flavour of tea. Since going over to unbleached I can really taste a difference between seemingly identical products produce by companies like Twinings. Pukka are good as all of their teabags are individually packaged so I can throw a few in my bag without worrying about the bulk of a box
Some of my favourite teas that I always have in a handbag or rucksack are Lipton’s Orient Green Tea – this one I have to buy in bulk as I can’t find it in a supermarket ANYWHERE so I have to purchase 6 boxes at a time from Amazon and stash it for a good 6 months until I get through it. I discovered it through university as it was an option in the coffee shop and I fell in love! It has a nice note of star anise which takes off some of the bitterness associated with green tea! It’s also a bonus that these too are individually wrapped as they’re a lovely pick me up during a long day on campus.
As for tea you can buy at your local Tesco, you can’t beat Clipper. It’s a bit more expensive than Twinings but for me at least you can taste the difference. I’ve only tried their many varieties of green tea – my favourite is the Mango Green Tea which I can drink until the cows come home! This is one I generally have a little tub of in my rucksack, it’s great. I also love Pukka but they’re a little more pricey in that 20 teabags is about £2.50, they’re individually wrapped and they do great flavours; I love their Super Matcha Green Tea. It doesn’t have the same benefits as the ‘neat’ Matcha green tea but it is that bit more potent, so probably not for the the first time green tea drinker!
Loose Leaf Tea
This is something I’ve only got in to recently but I love it. The fresh tastes completely different to the stuff you get in a teabag. I’ve discovered a beautiful little company called The English Tea Shop which do some beautiful tea as loose leaf, teabags, mesh pyramids… depending on your budget. They do have quite a limited range but some of the blends sound glorious! The ones below are the three I own but I really want to get my hands on more of their goodies.
The loose leaf stuff comes in an air tight bag within this beautiful tin and, sadly, I do have to order it from Amazon but it is totally worth it. This stuff is glorious. I don’t actually like Chamomile tea but as I’ve been having trouble sleeping I thought I’d give loose leaf a go and it’s actually quite pleasant! So I think that’s something worth noting is that something you can dislike actually tastes a lot better when ‘fresh’ (it’s dried but still fresher than teabags!)
Most cities do have a shop where you can acquire loose leaf tea; we have quite a few places that do some really interesting house blends and it’s really worth going in and having a browse and listening to recommendations. Tea can be fun it doesn’t always have to be plain English Breakfast (though that comes in loose leaf form too!) and I think it really makes a fun present.
For loose leaf you don’t need much, I bought a Bodum teapot with an infuser built in but if you have a cafetiere you can use that for tea too! Or simply buy a tea strainer. You will always get a little leaf get through even the finest of meshes.
So I was very excited when I discovered there was more to tea than your builders brew. And not only do they smell great, they have huge health benefits too! They can aid digestion, relax you, help with heartburn and sickness, help wake you up, even boost your immune system to some degree. There are fabulous traits associated with hippy tea so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
I hope you enjoyed this post because I really enjoyed writing it. I love talking about tea and if you have any to recommend I would really like to hear about them, my tea collection can’t be big enough!