If, like me, your work day is punctuated by endless cups of tea, I think you deserve to move beyond Tetley and into the realm of the new herbal.
Coffee and I have never been friends, but I tried. A ristretto in Rome finished that endeavour off – I almost fell in the Trevi Fountain, so unstable was my gait following an enthusiastic barista’s efforts.
Tea and I just get on. I drink endless cups promising to make me detoxed, relaxed, awakened and even loved (thank you Pukka, I feel loved by you). Below is my guide to help you navigate the plethora of teas which seem to have sprouted up everywhere of late.
Even if you are wealthy (and healthy), enough to have a fully stocked cupboard, knowing when and how to drink your tea can be complicated but I promise that once you have conquered the herbal, you need never feel the jittery coffee knee again.
Best tea for beginners:
The Bloom 5-step tea treatment plan is great to get to know the sort of teas you ought to drink at different times of the day. The five different blends are designed to support your body from waking up and the mid-morning slump to getting to sleep. The flavours are well chosen and the bonus is that you’ll stay hydrated all day as herbal tea, unlike caffeinated drinks, won’t contribute to dehydration.
Best treat yourself tea:
Kusmi tea is a real treat from the off. The beautifully packaged gourmet tea either comes loose in tins or in muslin tea bags with the kind of detail and design which is very pleasing to the epicurean. The company has a 140 year heritage and in 1888 Prince Vladimir (the tea), was born to celebrate the Vladimir the Great’s Christianisation of Russia 900 years earlier so, if you read the packaging as I do, you’ll learn something, too.
Strawberry Green Tea is a perfect blend for the morning and for those who are looking for an afternoon treat, try Euphoria (my favourite). Keep these out the communal office cupboard – they will disappear very quickly. If you’re not a fan of ordering online you can now buy these from John Lewis - hurrah!
Best selection of Japanese teas:
Clearspring (available at Planet Organic) have a cult following for their roasted teas. My husband sniggered when I made myself a cup of the roasted twig tea. He took a sip of mine and muttered something about it not being too bad. I went on holiday the next day and upon returning, there was one teabag left in the pack. He has not sniggered since. An excellent range of teas which taste clean, crisp and occasionally woody. If you like your greens when it comes to tea, go for Clearspring.
Best bargain tea range:
Pukka takes the trophy for this. At £2.25 for a packet, you can’t really go wrong. The packaging is great, the flavours good and each bag comes individually wrapped, so they’re ideal for travel. My favourite is the relax tea, which does exactly what it says on the box, and is a great choice for bedtime.
This has to go to teapigs. These loving piglets have created a range of well-selected teas, which not only taste delicious but are presented beautifully and are a pleasure to use. The biodegradable tea temples allows the tea to ‘grow’ into the bag and infuse properly. I love the Popcorn tea. Apparently Victoria Beckham is a fan of the Liquorice and Peppermint, which is sweet and warming – perfect if you have a sweet tooth mid-afternoon, like me. In any case, if VB is drinking it up you know it’s probably good stuff.