Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Time for Tea

I have always been a coffee drinker and love the smell of freshly ground coffee.  At one time I even banned instant coffee from the house, preferring only the French press method.

I don’t really like a cup of tea (except funnily enough with proper Afternoon Tea) but a few years ago did start drinking the redbush tea, a caffeine free tea originally from Africa which I find very refreshing indeed.  It is something of an acquired taste and did take me a while to like it but now I do make a cup when I need a really thirst quenching drink.

I have heard lots of time in the past however, that drinking green tea has loads of health benefits both preventative and curative.  I have never got on with fruit teas.  The smell lovely but fail to deliver the same experience to my taste buds as they do the nose.

Many years of eating in SoHo in London (the Chinese quarter) I learned to really like the Chinese jasmine tea served with meals.  This is thirst quenching, caffeine free and contains lots of health benefits. 

So I was intrigued to try jasmine tea from Choi Time’s award winning collection (  Melissa Choi sent me some samples of her jasmine tea pearls and other teas in her range to try.  First of all the fragrance was intense and beckoning.  You need 5-10 pearls in a pot and pour boiling water over to release the flavour and let it brew for 4-5 minutes. The smell was so strong it was torture waiting for it to be ready to drink.  It did however keep its promise and was a lovely drink on a hot summer day. This tea is what they call ‘single estate’, green lu-cha tea leaves naturally scented with thousands of jasmine blossoms and then dried rolled into ‘pearls’.  Much easier to measure out exactly the right amount than loose tea such as that found in high street tea/coffee shops.

Melissa Choi  learned the wonderful tea drinking and appreciation from her grandmother since an early age.  She started bringing the best quality teas back from her trips to China and Hong Kong for friends and this blossomed into a thriving business.  Her teas are beautifully packaged and she also has a range of beautiful glasses and teapots to enhance your tea drinking experience. Her teas are sold online and are also stocked in Harrods and Selfridges.  If you want to order online Melissa will give readers of this blog a 10% discount till the end of the year.  Just type ‘HRKitchen' in the discount voucher area.  This offer will be held until the end of 2011.

The next tea that I tried was Thousand Year Red.  This is a single large flower which did make me laugh when I first saw it.  This tea aids digestion, strengthens the immune system, helps to lower cholesterol and has anti-ageing properties.  To brew pour hot water (82-88C) into your cup or pot.  Drop one bulb into the hot water and watch the bud uncurl.  You can use this one flower bud for 5-12 infusions depending how strong you like your tea.  Apparently using the same bulb or pearls intensifies the anti-oxidant effects too. 

I decided to invite my friend Lizzie to have a tea party so we could try some of the teas.  We did find the Thousand Year Red a bit of a disappointment.  It was great to watch the flower bud unfurl but it didn't seem to have much aroma or flavour.  We brewed a couple of pots so had lots to drink and hopefully we help our digestions!

I certainly look forward to trying the rest of the samples in the range in the very near future.  Don't forget, use the voucher to try some of these pure and fantastic teas for your self.

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