When I'm not designing coasters, I'm drinking lots of lovely cuppas, served beautifully! Here are my 5 latest brews...
Tuesday Tea Tasting
As a huge fan of Cornwall (ahh the childhood memories of holidays spent searching for crabs in the rock pools) I was happy to hear there was a tea that would help me reminisce. I was given tea when I was quite a small child and no trip to the beach occurred without carrying a ridiculously large thermos down the coast path (along with the pasties of course).
Tugboat Tea is based in Truro but sells online (alongside coffee) and I love their simple Cornwall flag-coloured packaging. They blend a large range of teas but their Cornish collection appealed most for it's local twist. Order them for your next British seaside excursion!
Before you hit the beach: Their Cornish Breakfast brew will go perfectly with a full Cornish Hungryman's (or a croissant if you're more Continental!)
By the sea: Fill your thermos with their Tinner's Tea. Tough enough for tin miners, it's a gutsy cuppa to keep you warm when you've just stepped out the surf.
Cream tea: When it's time for your afternoon cake or Cornish cream tea (remember jam goes on the scone before cream in Cornwall) match it with their Cornish Afternoon blend of black tea, Bergamot and lemon zest. Sip, relax and enjoy your holiday.
Did you know? Compared to seagoing tugboats, harbour tugboats are generally smaller and are often also termed lunch bucket boats, because they are only manned when needed and only at a minimum (captain and deckhand), thus the crew will bring their own lunch with them.
Find them: Tugboat Brews, Truro Pannier Market TR1 2LL Monday through Saturday 9 - 4.30
Tuesday Tea Tasting
Introducing this week's guest blogger, 6 year old Lottie! She was my chief taster for a new range of fruit tea for children - Tweetea.
The range of fruit teas (with fun, colourful packaging) were born from the lack of options when kids go to cafes with their parents. So here's an alternative, healthier option from the sugary fruit juices or super sweet hot chocolate. A drink that they can enjoy out and about with mums and dads in cafes, warm at home, or cold in a drink bottle for school.
So what did Lottie think...
Do you wish you could drink tea like mummy and daddy?
Yes, it makes me feel grown up and like a princess!
Do you like this new fruit tea?
It is fruity. I like the fruitiness. But maybe a bit watery. It's different from normal tea because normal tea has milk but this has fruit.
Which flavour do you prefer the Mixed Berry or Strawberry & Vanilla?
The strawberry one because the other one was a bit too sweet.
Do you like the packaging and the pictures of the birds on the boxes?
Yeah I really like the drawing and there's a little story on the back. It has different drawings and it has who they are. It's just like a little imaginary story.
Would you like mummy to buy it in the shop or at a cafe?
If you could invite anyone round for tea who would it be?
My grandparents. They drink lots of tea aaaaaall the time. Grandma would like this tea too!
Tea facts: Tweetea is available in 3 flavours - Mixed Berry, Strawberry & Vanilla, Orange & Pineapple. £3.95 for a box of 15 bags.
East London rejoice! While it is still overrun with coffee shops, new tearooms are popping up in the East, and ready for you to get your brew on. The latest of these is Tea Leaf London. It's turned an old cafe (once a book shop) into tea-topia with shelves of tins of tea for you to buy and try at home, or sit for a while and enjoy a cuppa in their nook at the back, or window seat at the front while people watching.
Their numbered tins go up to No.74 and most of these are available on the long and lovely tea menu. I sipped a No.14 First Flush Darjeeling. It was smooth and light and a lovely gold, making it earn it's 'Champagne of Teas' status. The greatly received free top up was totally delicious.
Tea Leaf London fact: Based in the East End, “Tea Leaf” is a nod to its Cockney origin by playing with the rhyming slang - many of their discount codes start with THIEF and Tea Leaf’s typographical logo also represents jail bars!
Tearoom facts: Tea: from £2.20
Close to Bethnal Green station: 65 Roman Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0QN
Tuesday Tea Tasting
Some people (myself included) drink tea regularly throughout the day at the same time every day. (You could almost set your clock by my colleague's tea breaks.) So Yorkshire Tea offers three different teas to mix your daily brews up a bit.
It can't be morning already: Their Breakfast Brew is rich and strong with an extra powerful punch of Assam. Sip and WAKE UP!
Is it nearly home time? The Breaktime Brew is refreshing with the flavour of orange and lemon to get you through the afternoon.
Just before snoozeville: Bedtime Brew is decaffeinated and blended with lemon balm and nutmeg, perfect as a hot drink before slipping under the duvet.
Did you know? When Safeway was taken over by West Yorkshire-based Morrisons in 2004, commentators in the London press noted the amount of shelf space in one former Safeway store that was suddenly given over to Yorkshire Tea.
Tea tip: don't mix these teas up! If you are putting them in tins or caddies make sure they're labeled ;)
After a walk on Hampstead Heath, what better way to refuel than with cake and a cuppa.
Louis Patisserie is a Hungarian cafe, founded by immigrant Louis Permayer in 1963. And it hasn't really changed since. The patterned carpet, the panel walls, and the leather chairs take you back in time and to Eastern Europe, but with classically English teacups.
With a range of tea, and an even bigger range of cakes and pastries, it's cosy and unique and the perfect spot to warm up after a wintery walk.
London fact: Hampstead has, for a long time, been known as the centre of the largest Hungarian community in the British capital.
Tearoom facts: Tea: £2.20, cake £3.80
Super close to Hampstead station: 32 Heath St, London NW3 6TE