Although beer is my favourite drink, tea is definitely my favourite non-alcoholic drink. Tea has its advantages over beer. You can drink as much as you like and still drive, and also you don’t get yelled at by the missus as you can’t get plastered on tea. Teapigs started out in 2006. They have a range of teas in every colour you can think of from black, green, white, red (Rooibos), blue (Oolong) and Herbal tea. They also sell teapots, mugs and a range of gadgets and accessories, such as the Loose Leaf Infuser and the Infusing Wheel (which sounds a bit like a Chinese tea torture device).
I was impressed by the professional look of the packaging for these three tea blends. Though there are three tea temples in each tin, which means there is an awful lot of packaging for just nine bags of tea. However, it does say on the bottom of the plastic box to reuse the tins or recycle them, which is a comfort. Teapigs’ website also states that they use environmentally friendly packaging, so the plastic will end up in the recycling bag later…
English Breakfast - Morning Glory
There is a cockerel on the front of the tin to help you get in the waking up mood. This tea is made from a blend of Rwandan, Assam and Ceylon tea. After infusing for around three minutes and adding a spot of milk, I let the drink cool for a few more minutes. On drinking I could easily taste the hardened edge of Assam, followed by a sharp kick that was a taste I was unfamiliar with. I suspect that this taste was the blended Rwandan. These two flavours brushing together in the mouth really enliven the senses with each mouthful, this wake up taste then gently smoothes out with Ceylon. It’s an ingenious blend of tea that is a real treat to wake up to. It’s just a shame I only have two temples left now…
Chilli Tea – Drink it Raw
The fire extinguisher on the front of the tin raised some alarm bells for this tea. I’ve tried chilli chocolate and chilli beer, but not chilli tea. Without tasting I can’t tell whether it’s a good idea, but it is innovative, as I’ve never seen chilli flavoured tea before. This innovativeness could either be considered as brave or foolish. Sometimes you just shouldn’t do something, even if it hasn’t been done before. It suggests on the tin that you can drink this with or without milk. I decided to try it with milk to start with and perhaps drink one without milk later. Ceylon tea has been blended with orange peel, chilli pieces and natural orange flavouring. The tin suggests you try it with a slice of orange also, but I thought that there was enough orange in the ingredients without adding any more.
There is a strong orange smell to this beverage that worryingly screams of Beechams. Fortunately the drink itself actually tastes like tea that’s been flavoured with orange, rather than an orange flavoured remedy for a bad cold. Unlike the smoothness at the end of each mouthful of the English Breakfast blend, there is a light bite of chilli at the back of the mouth. Still the orange flavour threatens to overpower when breathing in the aroma before every taste. Just before my tastebuds differentiated between the tea and the orange flavour and a sinking feeling took over, the chilli bite snapped me out of it. Ceylon Orange Pekoe tea mixed with chilli may help to alleviate the smell and strong taste of orange, whilst still giving the chilli bite I actually started to look forward to at the end of every mouthful.
Chocolate Flake Tea - Melt Away
Chocolate mixed with coffee works for some, for me only in coffee flavoured chocolates. Coffee mixed with tea doesn’t work at all – come on, we’ve all tried it once and it’s revolting! Chocolate mixed with tea? A few months ago I’d have said that was a silly idea, yet a few months ago I said that chocolate beer was a silly idea, and look where that got me! However, I’m just not at all keen on the idea of chocolate mixed with tea. The tea bag smells quite strongly of chocolate, which is small wonder considering the tin claims that there are cocoa beans and chocolate flakes mixed in with the tea. In the absence of cream I had to opt for milk, having just finished my lunch I couldn’t help thinking that this drink could go down very well indeed or alternatively be a complete disaster. As with all these blends the tin recommended 3 minutes infusion, so I gave it roughly three minutes to infuse.
This beverage does smell of chocolate and you could be mistaken for drinking a hot chocolate if you close your eyes and just whiff, yet the liquid looks like a regular cup of tea. There is no froth, no brown glop to mix in, you just remove the tea temple and let it cool. On tasting I was pleased to find out that I was wrong again; you can mix chocolate with tea and get away with it. If you hate those rotten powdered chocolate drinks or the ones you have to mess around with boiling milk and then adding a blob of chocolate that never properly mixes in, then this is the drink for you. This drink is perfect for a late night hot drink before bed or a hot drink for pudding after a good hearty meal. There is a decent hit of tea with every mouthful wrapped lovingly around by a cocoa flavour that never overpowers the tea. The cocoa flavour respects the tea, pulling out the tea flavour without being sickly sweet, yet the cocoa still dances on the tastebuds as if it was always meant to be there. I don’t usually like a pudding, but I do like a hot drink of tea after a meal and this is absolutely perfect for a required chocolate hit, without the guilt of added fat on my belly. This Chocolate Flake Tea should be in every restaurant. I’ve found my perfect hot pudding drink and simply have to get more of this chocolate tea! And if I drink loads of it; I won’t put weight on, I can still drive and I won’t get yelled at for slurring or falling asleep in strange places!