A while back the PR agency for Trumpers Tea got in touch to see if I was interested in receiving some free tea on the basis that they get a blogpost out of it. Being proper Yorkshire I do love a cuppa and, more importantly, I love a free cuppa so I agreed to the deal.
Not long after I started to regret my keenness; I like a cuppa, but I like a proper cuppa and the chances were that I was gonna get some herbal teas in this package. Now Earl Grey is as adventurous as I get. See, herbal tea, for me, is something that is as pointless as de-caff coffee and as half arsed as rose wine. How was I gonna get on with these fanciful blends?
More to the point, where was I gonna find the time to faff about with tea leaves and teapots? Yes, I will happily while away a few hours in the kitchen over a hot stove to create a culinary delight, but when it comes to a mug of tea, it takes me two minutes tops and I had no desire to add a second longer to this process.
Too late; the deal was done and before I knew it I was picking up my parcel of Trumpers Tea from the Post Office. I say parcel, this was more of a hamper to be honest. There were five little tea caddies, a biscuit, a tea towel and a mug infuser. Everything was beautifully packed in some green crepe paper with a few chamomile flowers thrown in to really pretty things up.
Suddenly my fears of signing myself up disappeared, especially on sight of that mug infuser. Made by Chatsford, it sits neatly in any mug, making loose leaf tea accessible to the busiest of people. I simply have to put a teaspoon of the tea into the infuser, place it in my mug, pour over boiling water, stick the lid on and let the tea infuse until it’s brewed to my liking. Fantastic – this I like.
The tea towel was from Betty Twyford, and although I am more sushi restaurant than aga kitchen I’m liking the contemporary, in a retro way, design. It’s great quality too; 100% cotton and it will put my Primark samples to shame. The biscuit cleverly came in the shape of a tea-pot and was from One Jolly Girl who is Sarah Taylor. It was far too sweet for me, especially as it was coated in a thick layer of icing, but the husband enjoyed it.
On to the tea…
Not quite ready to try some of the herbal teas yet, I started with English Breakfast which is a blend of Assam, Kenyan and Ceylon teas. Now this is a proper tea, one that I can drink any time of day. It’s robust and strong; the kind of tea you’d expect to find in a roadside cafe, the kind of stuff that keeps Britain going. Lovely Jubbly!
Next up was Trumpers Orange Roobios with African spices. At first I was a little nervous; it all sounded a bit fancy to me, but on reading Trumpers website I found that this can be drunk with or without milk, I eased a little as adding milk brings some familiarity. The tea leaves look completely different to others and it looks like it’s made from petals rather than leaves. The warming orange and spice flavours do make this tea rather delicious and luckily for me, there is a familiar tea after-taste too.
Just the name Malawi Oolong puts me off the next one to be honest and, in all fairness, the leaves aren’t particularly attractive, looking a bit like floor sweepings. Having said this, the tea itself is a nice yellow-orange colour. The taste is very light and delicate with hints of floral notes. It’s a bit too light for me to be honest, although Trumpers do suggest that the tea could be served cold which could work for me as it would be good to have a bit of flavour and some antioxidants in my daily dose of water.
I have never got on with green tea in the past and I wasn’t looking forward to trying this one. As with the Oolong the leaves really don’t look appealing, although this is just because they are dried and once the water is added they are refreshed back into soft green leaves. Trumpers suggest that you should watch the uncurling of the leaves in a glass, but let’s face it, no amount of theatre is going to make this stuff taste any better than it does. Having said that a little bit of honey does take some of the bitterness off and given that this tea has been said to help prevent cancer, I really should just get over myself and drink more of this.
The last time I had chamomile tea it was out of a carton purchased at my local Chinese supermarket. It was cold, sweet and delicious! Rather naively I didn’t actually think that the tea was made with chamomile flowers and so I was quite surprised to find a selection of pretty daisy like flower heads in the tin. The tea itself is delicate and floral too; an easy drinker that is perfectly pleasant both with or without honey. Given that I’m normally asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow I won’t be using this as a relaxant before bedtime, but it will be good when I need to de-stress a little.
So, what do I, a busy woman who is accustomed to drinking tea made from a tea bag think to all this loose tea lark? Well, firstly, by using a mug infuser, there was very little impact on the time spent making my cuppa. Not only is the infuser simple to use, it’s easy to clean and just as convenient as the bog standard tea bag.
Then there is the issue of the taste. Owner of the boutique company Claire Trumper says “As the name suggests loose leaf is made with whole tea leaves and it smells, looks, feels and tastes completely different from tea leaves that have been cut and processed into tea bags. Almost all of the true flavours of the pure tea leaf are lost in this process.” This makes perfect sense to me and I think it can be taken as read that loose leaf tea has more flavour than the bagged stuff.
Aside from the taste, there is also the look of the tea. Each one looks completely different; something that can’t be appreciated when using tea bags. The Breakfast tea looks how it should considering its strong and robust flavour. It looks industrial, even a bit dirty and to me it looks ‘Northern’ which can only be another reason for me to love it. On the flip side the Roobios and the Chamomile teas look so delicate and pretty, you simply can’t help but want to try them. And although the Oolong and Green Tea look pretty ugly in their dehydrated state, they undergo a significant transformation once they’ve had a good soak.
Of course, if you do have a bit of time on your hands then you could perform your own tea ceremony and here are Claire Trumper’s top tips for the perfect cuppa…
1. Put fresh water from the tap into your kettle- water left in a kettle looses it oxygen and the tea lacks flavour.