Much has been made this year of “Twixmas” the time between Christmas and New Year, the time of year we all recognise because we’re unsure what day of the week it is, and we’re still nibbling our way through the festive food, that was designated as “for Christmas” in the lead up to the celebrations. We still do that ritual of asking what you want for tea, but know that the answer is more than likely going to be turkey, or ham. That is until the new year when we’ll add beef to the repertoire!
But life is starting to get back to normal. Our Christmas guests have gone, the turkey is off its carcass and in only a small number of containers in the fridge. But the real barometer of returning to normality is the decline of the cheeseboard and that the pigs in blankets, even the second batch, have vanished more quickly than you’d know.
The calm after the whirlwind of family visits and the general hubbub of December is something to enjoy though, and this year it’s been enhanced by a proper cuppa, and artisan ones at that from Adagio teas, who sent a selection of their seasonal teas for me to try. In this post I’ll share a bit more about each of the samples, which are extensive.
Adagio teas are a family company who source their teas direct which means they arrive fresh and the farmers benefit from a better deal. On their site there’s information about the types of tea, the five basic steps of tea processing - plucking, withering, rolling, oxidising and firing, and the five basic styles of tea - white, green, oolong, black and pu erh.
I’m a big tea drinker, but I hadn’t realised that there was so many options and choices when it comes to flavours. The Yuletide Toddy is a mixture of cranberry and orange, whereas the Rooibos Nutcracker has a different slant of Christmas with nuts, caramel and cocoa, and is a good reminder of our trip to the ballet in Birmingham last month.
These small tins are a great way to get started into a different kinds of tea, chestnuts are one of my go to Christmas flavours - chestnut stuffing anyone? No, you don’t like it either, no problem, that’s more for me is the usual gist of the conversations - so to have a tea that brings that roasted chestnut smell in a cup, well that sounds almost perfect.
The Sweet Tooth Teas box intrigued me. Sweet tea isn’t normally my thing and I’m not one for sugar in tea. The Tiger Eye blend caught my eye though with its smooth flavours, the website says this has a high caffeine level and the reviews warn of over-steeping this one.
Masala Chai is one of my favourite teas, and I’m regularly found in the queue in the cafe at work asking for one of these. So much so, that if I opt for something else the servers there look most confused, so I was pleased to see a chai selection in this parcel, and while I haven’t tried these yet, I’m looking forward to branching out from my usual “plain” chai.
I also find traditional Earl Grey teas challenging, but the names of these blends may just make me overcome this. I think I’ll be easing myself into these gently, perhaps starting with the green and Rooibos blends, which are described as a classic blend with a twist. I think making sure I’ve some shortbread to hand will help with easing myself in. There’s something about a cup of tea and a biscuit, or two isn’t there?
The final two sample boxes have teas with names I can’t pronounce but flavours I know I will enjoy. Oolong tea is one of the five basic types of teas, and one of the most time-consuming teas to create using all of the five steps, but the result is a more complex flavour which are often smooth and rich.
I’ve only shared some information about tea in this post because it’s impossible to do it justice in a single post, but if you’re interested in learning more about the different types of tea, health benefits, the teabags vs loose tea question, or even food pairings then do take a look at the Adagio teas website, like me, I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how much effort goes into a cuppa.
Tea is so much a part of the British psyche. We all know that a cup of tea will fix almost anything, help solve a problem or just provide some thinking time, and it’s something that is part of who we are, but so often we reach for the household name tea bags rather than anything more. So this Twixmas, my tea exploration journey has resumed, and I’ve a feeling it’s going to continue through to the 91st of January or whatever, at least and hopefully much further into the year as I’ve rediscovered that there’s really something rather nice about using loose leaf tea, which feels like a treat, when really it shouldn’t.
Are you joining me?
* This is a collaborative post, but all opinions are my own.