It's a tea story: reviews, learning, setting up shop

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Review of Williamson Tea

I’ve recently been drinking teas from the mini cru set from Williamson Tea. In this you’ll find Earl Grey with Blue Flowers, Pure Green with Earl Grey, Purple Blush and Zinga Black. I’m always on the lookout for British brands and, more importantly, those with an ethical background. All of their teas come from their Rainforest Alliance and UTZ certified farms in the highlands of Kenya, and they have set up the Williamson Foundation that works in collaboration with farmers investing – amongst other things – in healthcare and education for them and their families.

Williamson Tea

Williamson Tea Mini Cru Set

I started with the Pure Green. The first thing to hit me was the intense perfumed smell that you get from an Earl Grey. The flavour didn’t disappoint – it had the freshness of green tea with that unmistakeable bergamot taste. This is best steeped for 30 seconds and taken without milk.

The Earl Grey with Blue Flowers makes a classy cup. I’m often disappointed with Earl Grey teas as these tend to smell better than it tastes. This kept its flavour and strength, even with milk. I steeped this for a few minutes – the stronger, the better for me!

Now, the Zinga Black is a special tea. The leaves are picked from the Ejulu tea bushes with big, hearty flavour. I enjoyed this without milk and steeped for a couple of minutes.

The Purple Blush has a soft, malty flavour that is best drunk without milk. The advice is to add a slice of lemon and watch the tea take on a delicate purple hue, and it really does! I took the teas into the office and the Pure Green and Purple Blush didn’t last the week.

I am a fan of loose leaf tea, and always will be, but there’s no denying there’s an elephant in the room that you can’t ignore when it comes to Williamson Tea.

The tins retail at approx. £6.50 each containing 15 teabags. You can find out more about Williamson Tea and their full range at: https://www.williamsontea.com

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I’ve recently been trying some teas from the lovely folk at Tea People. If you caught up on my last blog you will have read my interview with Neeraj Agarwal, one of the founders.

Here’s a review on the single estate Makaibari Darjoolong, Makaibari First Flush Vintage Darjeeling and a Makaibari Silver Green Darjeeling.

Makaibari Darjoolong
photo 3-1This is an Oolong tea from the Makaibari tea estate in Darjeeling and produces a lovely deep amber colour once brewed.

It smells of warmed honey and has a subtle floral flavour, which makes for a perfect afternoon tea. Oolongs are traditionally from China although Darjeeling Oolongs are produced in India using Chinese methods and this one has been made very well.

I’d pair it with salmon sandwiches or something rich and fruity like a strawberry tart.

I used 1 teaspoon per cup and brewed for 3 minutes with a water temperature of 85º.

Makaibari First Flush Vintage Darjeeling
The Champagne of teas!

A ‘flush’ is indicative of when tea leaves were harvested. The first flush is usually in Springtime and is the first round of young leaf buds that have been picked.

This had a very golden hue with hints of sweet muscatel.photo 1-1 The leaves are very perfumed and almost smelt like a dessert wine.

Darjeeling goes well with creamy foods, but I had to enjoy this one solo. I think it would suit a cheese plate, but my preference would be to have some good dark chocolate to compliment the sweet plum flavours this tea has to offer.

Oh, and don’t ruin such a lovely cup by putting any milk in!

As with the Darjoolong, I used 1 teaspoon per cup and brewed for 3 minutes with a water temperature of 85º.

Makaibari Silver Green Darjeeling
photo 2-1This is a green Darjeeling tea that has the distinctive grassy notes found in green teas, but is more delicate. It’s a good one to start with if you’re new to green tea.

As with the first flush Darjeeling it has a lovely golden colour with a mild and fresh flavour. This is the first time I’ve tried a green Darjeeling and really enjoyed it. It’s definitely one to have your cupboard!

This would go really well with white meat and salads. I think it would make a great iced tea too!

I steeped 1 teaspoon per cup just under 2 minutes (you could get away with steeping it for longer) using a water temperature of 70º.

Tea People is a social enterprise that sends 50% of their profits to fund the educational needs of children in tea-growing regions.

You can find out more about their tea by visiting: https://www.teapeople.co.uk

I hope you enjoyed this post. As always I’d love to know what you think.

Thanks for stopping by!

Teapreneur x

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Tea People – tea is what you make it



I’ve been talking to people in tea. Tea People to be more specific. 

Neeraj Agarwal and his wife, Vishaka founded Tea People with their friend Gillian Gamble whilst working together on a project renovating a school for the children of tea garden workers in Darjeeling. Together they not only have a real love for good tea, but realised they could use it as a medium for bringing about positive social change.

The idea of Tea People itself was born in 2009 whilst they were all still pursuing corporate careers, and trying to build Tea People on a part-time basis. It proved more than a challenge to get this off the ground and after dissolving the company the trio re-established the business in 2011. Even after that it took almost two more years before Neeraj decided to quit his job and get fully involved in building Tea People in early 2013.

As some of you will know I’m on a similar journey, so I was intrigued to learn more. I’ve followed Neeraj on Twitter for a while and we’ve chatted on and off, but having read through the website, I contacted him to explore the idea of working together in the future.

The Tea People philosophy is very much aligned to my own, which is building a business that that aligns its strategy with the advancement and well-being of people and the environment. I want my tea lounge to be at the heart of the local community as well as give something back to the people, and their families, who work so hard – and are often overlooked – to provide us with quality tea.

I asked Neeraj what drives him to succeed and where his passion for tea came from. This is what he had to say:

“For me the biggest driving force is the social element of Tea People. I am motivated by the fact that whatever we are doing can have a direct impact and help improve the lives of children in those under-served areas. These children have the talent, the enthusiasm and they also dare to dream, but lack opportunity. If, through our efforts we can help fulfil even some of those dreams, I would consider those efforts to be fruitful and worth pursuing over and over again.

I consider myself to be fortunate to have been born and bred in Darjeeling, home to the finest tea in the world. Tea there is a part of everyday life and I grew up in a household where tea was never out of reach for even children. I started drinking tea at the age of 5 (or maybe even earlier), and it was never considered unsuitable for children. Of course, as kids our consumption of tea was restricted to only one or two cups a day, but it was enough to inculcate a lifelong love for this most amazing beverage”.

An exciting journey and a beautiful philosophy, I think. 

If you’d like to find out more you can visit the Tea People website: http://www.teapeople.co.uk

Thanks for dropping by – as always I’d love to hear what you think.

Teapreneur x


Venetian Rose Tea Review

A few days ago the lovely folk at Chash Tea told me that I had won some of their Venetian Rose tea. I never win anything!

It arrived within a couple of days and I was greeted by a lovely, hand-written card from Dan Rook, founder. The tea itself came in a cool glass jar with a cork stopper. An heady aroma of rose and vanilla jumped out of the bottle and filled my kitchen, so I was looking forward to trying a cup.


Venetian Rose Tea

The black tea comes from India, Ceylon and China and had lots of little yellow rosebuds in it. The flavour is actually very delicate compared to the hit you get when you open the jar. This is perfect as you wouldn’t want the flavour of rose to overpower the tea itself.

This is a very elegant cup that is smooth and a little bit sweet. I took it without milk and, personally, think milk would dilute the flavour, but as with most black teas you could add some if that’s your preference.

This makes for a great evening cup to relax over before hitting the hay. 

Let me know what you think if you find yourself trying a cup. 

Enjoy! x


Tea Facts:

Type – Black tea, blended
Colour – Deep amber
Taste – Floral
Water Temperature – 95°C
Drink – Without milk
Steep – 2-3 minutes

100g of Venetian Rose loose tea costs £5.75 from Chash Tea: http://chashtea.co.uk

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Saffron Tea visits Teapreneur

Hello tea lovers!

It’s cold, wet and grey out there – perfect weather for an hot cup of Assam and a slice of banana cake. January has been a really busy month juggling work, tea courses and business planning…lots to share, but today we have a guest blogger – the lovely Anjum of Saffron Tea.


Assam Mokalbari and Winter Chocolate from Saffron Tea

We met via Twitter some months ago and share a mutual interest when it comes to drinking good tea. I was kindly sent some samples of Assam Mokalbari and Winter Chocolate. I love fusion teas and their winter chocolate was rich and malty – my kitchen smelled heavenly! The Assam was divine and a firm favourite with its long leaves and golden tips. It’s a second flush with a rich, caramel and buttery flavour. This you have to try! 

Assam is grown in India and comes from the Camellia Sinensis Assamica plant, which is related to the Chinese Camellia Sinensis but with much bigger, broader leaves. Assam handles milk and sugar well, but is just as good on its own. 


Here’s Saffron Tea’s story:

Being brought up very close to tea farms in Africa, drinking tea – mainly chai tea whilst growing up, becoming a tea lover at a very young age and spending over 7 years in Toronto, provided  me with an opportunity to experience an up-close perspective on Tea, yes you heard me right, I said Tea, not coffee.  Unusual to associate Tea with Canada, you would normally think of Britain, or China, or India and Tea.  Well here’s the news, Tea is everywhere in Toronto, from the industry to the arts, the tea life style here is rich and abundant.  

As a tea drinker myself, I started researching the history about tea, and did a crash course as a Tea Sommelier. I had to attend the Toronto tea festival which took place in February 2013.  It was a fantastically buzzing day for tea lovers old and young!  It marked an occasion for tea merchants to come together and share their unique new blends and tea equipage, while a broad range of seminars were held throughout the festival. I was surrounded by excited tea merchants, eager onlookers, and the tea connoisseurs; I could just tell how much they loved the art of making tea, showing off their exquisite manner of pouring and steeping, and resting, and then sipping!  So I did the taste test of a green tea, I smelt the tea first, the aroma was light and fragrant, than a sip, and it was the most significant taste, a very light and lovely cup of tea, that I didn’t want to put down.

Let me share with you what I learnt alot about the types of Teas and thier benefits. Lesson one was to learn what Tea is and where it comes from?  So I was told, Tea is an aromatic beverage, which, in its most basic form, consists of hot water and the leaves of a plant called Camellia Sinensis.  A simple explanation, which even I grasped easily until I was told that “Herbal tea” (the one we rave about, when we want our healing especially) is technically not a true tea. This is made from herbs, spices, and fruit (rather than Camellia Sinensis), this infused drink is referred to by tea experts as a “tisane.”  

Saffron Tea was born when I moved to England and partnered up with my sister, who has a wealth of knowledge about tea and is a tea enthusiast!  Our tea journey began not so long ago in, and it has been the best experience so far. Absolutely love it!  We are purveyors of loose leaf tea, tea ware and also have taster boxes and/or monthly subscription boxes.  

At Saffron Tea, we create our own tea blends with tea masters and cater for all.  Our artisan teas are award winning to organic to straight teas which come directly from tea farms around the world.  Having done few successful events, and testing the niche in the market, we are sure to say that we are proud of what we have achieved so far, and we hope that our customers are as pleased with the result as we are.

Please follow us on twitter @saffrontea1 

Website: coming soon 

Happy Brewing!


I hope you enjoyed this post from Anjum. My next blog will fill you in on the course I took with the well-respected duo Tim Clifton and Jane Pettigrew. 

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and as always share your thoughts and keep spreading the tea love!

Teapreneur x