Saturday 27 June 2009

Review: Beas of Bloomsbury

Bea's of Bloomsbury afternoon teaRealising, a couple of days ago, that I've been slacking on the proper afternoon tea front lately, I decided there was nothing for it but to have a light lunch and prepare for 4pm sugar high. It was a lovely day so I hopped on my bike and met a friend at Bea's of Bloomsbury. I'd never been there before but I'd heard good things about it - especially the cakes - and that was encouragement enough for me.

Saturday 20 June 2009

Review: Candy Café, Soho

Candy Cafe Soho bubble teaWhat is that strange phenomenon when you hear about something for the first time and suddenly it seems to keep crop up everywhere? Well, that has been my experience this week with bubble tea. Until a week ago I had never even heard of this drink when I stumbled across a reference to it online. I did a little bit of research and discovered that it was a drink invented in Taiwan, apparently in the 80s, but now popular throughout South East Asia, the west coast of the USA, and Canada. It's a drink that seems to have countless variations. Some contain actual tea, green, oolong or black, some don't; some have milk or soy milk in, some don't; some have fruit or are purely fruit based, and some don't; etc. etc. But the one thing they have in common is tapioca. What?! I hear all you Brits saying, the disgusting stuff like frog spawn that we used to be force-fed at primary school? Well, no, not exactly. It is possible to get a bubble tea made with the small white pearl tapioca but the more common drink is made with large black tapioca pearls.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

China Tea from a Russian Shop in Paris

Kusmi Tea Jasmine flowersI was recently invited to dinner by a friend who is an amazing cook. Needless to say I was quick to accept the offer, not least because she is also a tea fan and I knew she'd have something interesting for me to try. Well, she didn't let me down. She had made the most amazing Asian food with dim sum, noodles, gyoza, pak choy, tofu and an absolutely delicious mango dessert. And the tea offering was pretty darn good too.

Saturday 13 June 2009

Hot or Not?

Tea mug thermometerI was enjoying a cup of white tea yesterday when it occurred to me that I haven't written explicitly about water temperature. The more tea-savvy among you may know all about this, but I suspect there's a good chance that some of you don't realise just how important it is to use water at the correct temperature when making a cuppa.

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Smell Over Substance?

Rose tea camelia WorldWhy are most fruit and herbal teas so disappointing? They promise so much with their heady aromas and intense colours but when it comes to drinking them they are usually a big let down.

Monday 8 June 2009

Embrace the Blues

Oolong tea leaves cupWhen my partner bought me a tea tasting day as a birthday present last year I was really excited. Although I was no regular tea drinker I had been to my fair share of tea shops, and even one or two Chinese tea houses; I was really looking forward to learning a bit more. But I was in no way prepared to discover a whole new type of tea. Of course I'd heard of green tea; white tea? - sure I'd even tried it; black teas? - well obviously, didn't we all grow up with them at home? But blue tea?- what?! When the Master Tea Blender gave it its other name, oolong, I realised I had heard of it but I really had no idea what it was.

Saturday 6 June 2009

When does enthusiasm become obsession?

Tea cupboard tins
I don't know how it happened. A couple of years ago I was the kind of person who would occasionally have a cup of Typhoo or a fragrant but bland herbal tea. I mean, tea was OK but nothing to get overly excited about. More of a way to step away from the keyboard during a busy work day than anything else.