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  • Black Tea

    It is November, it is raining and the days are getting colder so our Tea of the Month this month is ideal for keeping you warm on these winter afternoons!

    Black Tea!

    The best leaves of the Luponde estate go onto our orthodox black tea. At this altitude the Camellia sinensis bush grows slowly producing a deep and rich, yet crisp, fresh tasting ‘English Breakfast’ style tea making it perfect for your everyday cup.

    Our black tea is made using the traditional orthodox method and you can read all about this on our ‘How Tea is Made’ page.

    As well as being a comforting drink and one that goes perfectly with cakes and biscuits black tea has many health benefits. Black tea contains similar amounts of polyphenols as green tea. These are antioxidants and have great restorative powers. Black tea can help strengthen the immune system and fight off those pesky colds and flu. It has been known to aid in expanding the airways and help asthma sufferers. Black tea can also improve cardiac blood flow and coronary function. It contains abundant tannins which have a soothing anti-inflammatory effect on the digest tract. In 2010, researchers found that people who drank tea had significantly less cognitive decline than non-tea drinkers. A cup of tea contains manganese, which is essential for general development, and potassium which helps to maintain the body’s fluid balance. Although gram for gram tea contains higher levels of caffeine than coffee, less weight is used when making it and therefore a cup of black tea contains considerably less caffeine.

    Now you can be confident when you are enjoying your black tea that is doing you some good!

    You can win some of our black tea this November by emailing your details to or by popping them into our teapot in-store.

    We are also offering 10% off all black tea purchases month! Enjoy!

    Melissa, November 2014

  • Halloween Treats - Chocolate Bat Biscuits

    I was searching for some fun Halloween recipes and came across these fantastic chocolate bat biscuits on the BBC Good Food website which would look fab on the side of your mug of tea this Halloween!

    Quick and easy to make they are ideal to do with kids this half term!


    • 125g butter, softened

    • 85g icing sugar

    • 1 large egg yolk

    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    • 1 tsp milk

    • 175g plain flour, plus extra for rolling

    • 1 tsp fine espresso-style powder coffee

    • 50g cocoa powder

    • ¼ tsp salt

    To decorate:

    • 100g bar dark or milk chocolate

    • Chocolate hundreds and thousands

    • Coloured writing icing (or make your own with 100g icing sugar, 2-4 tsp water and some colouring)


    Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and pale, then beat in the yolk, the vanilla and milk. Sift the flour, coffee, cocoa and salt into the bowl, then mix together to make a soft dough. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap and chill for 15 mins.

    Dust the dough all over with a little flour, then roll it between two large sheets of baking parchment, to the thickness of a £1 coin. Remove the top layer of the paper, stamp shapes with an 8cm bat (or other) cutter, and carefully lift to the lined sheets using a palette knife. Re-roll the trimmings. Cut a 1.5cm x 5mm notch at the base of each bat’s body. This is about right to sit the bats on thick tumblers; if your glasses are finer-edged, make the notches thinner so that the bats stay put. Bake for 10 mins or until the biscuits feel sandy and smell rich and chocolatey. Cool on the sheets for 5 mins, then lift the cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely.

    To decorate, melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. One biscuit at a time, brush chocolate over the bat ears and wings with a small paintbrush, then cover with chocolate sprinkles. Tap off the excess. Pipe faces and fangs onto your bats, then leave to dry. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.


    (Image courtesy of BBC Good Food Recipes)

    Melissa, October, 2014

  • Winter is coming...

    With the evenings getting darker, the pumpkins, fireworks and Christmas cards on display and the crisp air in the mornings I thought I would share with you a few positive reasons why it is great that winter is on its way!

    • The clocks go back – an extra hour in bed!
    • Halloween – a reason for fancy dress and lots of sweets and chocolate
    • Fireworks – wrapping up warm, standing by a bonfire and watching a firework display (oh and sparklers)
    • Great TV – the return of series we missed during the summer and the start of addictive new ones
    • Warming food – pies, stews, soups, crumbles and custard!
    • Hot drinks – teas, seasonal coffees and hot chocolate!
    • Clothes - a gorgeous winter coat and stylish boots
    • The build up to Christmas – shopping, carols, mulled wine and mice pies
    • Christmas – food, presents, silly jumpers and festive cheer!
    • The possibility of snow days!
    • ttt

    I know it is always hard to see the summer drift away and those lazy sunny days spent outside seem a thing of the past but just remember there are lots of awesome things about the winter months that will keep you going through to 2015!

    (Image courtesy of Google Images)

    Melissa, October 2014

  • National Chocolate Week - Epic Hot Chocolate

    It is National Chocolate Week and although I am very fond of a chocolate bar/cake/biscuit or anything come to think of it covered in chocolate I thought I would share with you this recipe to make your own hot chocolate mix.

    It is this mix that Rob made as favours in small jam jars at our wedding and we are still getting messages from friends and family saying how delicious it is. Unfortunately we can’t take credit for it as it is a Jamie Oliver recipe, but this winter we are going to experiment by adding in some other flavours or spices.

    Jamie Oliver Epic Hot Chocolate

    Cinnamon – spiked homemade hot chocolate

    Serves 8-10

    You will need 2 pints of milk for this amount of mixture

    2 tablespoons Horlicks

    2 tablespoons cornflour

    3 tablespoons icing sugar

    4 tablespoons quality organic cocoa

    100g good quality dark chocolate (70% coca solids), finely grated

    1 pinch ground cinnamon

    1 pinch sea salt

    The idea is to put all the ingredients into one large jar and then mix before you use.

    Bring the milk to the boil, then add the mixture and give it a good whisk and leave to bubble for a few minutes. It will be lovely and thick.

    For the wedding we thought that they looked really lovely still in layers, so we left them like this allowing guests to shake them before use! We also modified the quantities to make little jars.


    (Image courtesy of Andy Tyler Photography)

    Melissa, October 2014

  • Competition Time!

    This October WIN some of our fresh and light green tea by emailing your details to or you can pop them into our teapot in-store!

    Good Luck!

    (Image courtesy of Google Images)

    Melissa, October 2014

  • Tea Tasting Returns!

    From November we will be starting our monthly tea tasting sessions in store. It is a great way to come and meet the team, try our full range of teas and learn all about them. They are free sessions and you can pop in at any point during the allocated 2 hours so bring a friend and come and see what makes our tea so special!

    Keep an eye on our What’s On page or our Facebook and Twitter feeds to find out dates and times.

    Melissa, October 2014


  • Green Tea

    It is the start of October, the evenings are getting darker and we are well on our way to cosy nights in, Halloween and the countdown to Christmas. This October we are making our fresh and exotic tasting Green Tea our Tea of the Month and as it is full of antioxidants it is ideal to keep you healthy this time of year. Some research has shown that green tea drinkers have lower chances of developing heart disease and some cancers. As well as this, green tea has been known to increase metabolic rate, which can aid in weight loss. Green tea has the ability to lower serum glucose, helping to protect against kidney failure. Tests have found that green tea could help improve memory and slow the development of Alzeimer’s disease.

    A lot of people say to us that they don’t think they like green tea and that is can taste quite bitter. We pride ourselves on the fact that once they have tasted ours they are shocked at how smooth and fresh it tastes. Brewing green tea is also a huge part of that. To brew perfect green tea, take a pinch or small teaspoon of the leaves. Green tea should be made with water that is about 80ºC. We find it is easiest to boil the kettle and then let it cook for 10 minutes. Boiling water will burn the leaves giving the tea a bitter taste. Once cooled slightly, pour the water into your small teapot or mug over the leaves. Allow to brew for 5-8 minutes.

    Fact: The leaves can be used 4 or 5 times, throughout the day.

    You can win some of our green tea by emailing your details to

    We are also giving customers 10% off any green tea purchase made in October!

    (Image courtesy of Google Images)

    Melissa, October 2014

  • Nice

    At the start of September Rob and I decided to go on a last minute 4 night babymoon break to Nice. Deciding on a location wasn’t the easiest or quickest of decisions as we wanted a mix of relaxation, culture, sunshine, good food, pregnant friendly and not too far away! We eventually landed on Nice and I am so glad we did!

    From the moment were coming into land along the coast of the Côte d’Azur and the sun was shining and we were getting ever closer to the stunning blue sea I knew we had made the right decision. It has to be one of the most spectacular landing approaches I have seen.

    Rather than bore you with tales of our holiday I thought I would sum up the best bits for us about Nice (I did ask Rob which bits he enjoyed the most) and show you a couple of pictures we took. Hopefully this will persuade you to take the short trip to one of the most beautiful cities I have been to.

    Best bits of Nice:

    • Côte d'Azur – the coastline is breath-taking with its stunning blue sea and picturesque views.
    • Food - due to the fact that you are not far from Italy we found that there was a real mix of French and Italian influences. What more could you want?! French pastries for breakfast and pizza for dinner!
    • Cleanliness – the streets were spotless no litter, graffiti or mess in site.
    • Parks with fountains – we discovered a beautiful spot to have our breakfast in the Jardin Albert 1er and just further along was a beautiful promenade with fountains and features which we made sure we visited each day.
    • Bus ride to Monaco – one day we decided to take a day trip to Monaco and rather than doing an organised tour we got one of the public buses which follows the coast road all the way to Monaco. The views are incredible.
    • Old Nice – all the narrow streets and nik nak shops and little cafes were a treat to explore.
    • Pebble toilets on the beach – being pregnant means a lot of toilet breaks and fortunately all along the beach they have toilets that are made to look like a giant pebble (I assume to blend in) which are free to use. Much more fun that a London public toilet!
    • Trams – I don’t know why but I love a city with trams and Nice is one of them.


    Melissa, September 2014

  • How do you like yours?

    Working in tea quite often leads to questions of how do you make a perfect cup of tea or should you put milk in tea and if so should it go in first or second? I also go to meetings or homes and they worry that the cup of tea they present me with won’t be up to scratch! This is never a worry as I just love anyone offering to make me one! Obviously everyone has their own tastes and preferences and therefore it can be quite hard to judge what their perfect cup of tea may be. What we can tell you is how best to brew our tea and what we think gives it the best taste possible.

    For our black teas we suggest using a pinch of the leaves or a small teaspoon (if using loose leaf) and place in an infuser. Tea likes space and the more it has the more flavours will be released. Boil the kettle with fresh water and then pour into your teapot or mug over the leaves or tea bag if you are using one. Then allow this to brew for 3-5 minutes to get the best flavour possible.

    Now the question of milk. This is very much a personal preference and some people like milk in their tea and some do not. With our black teas I think they are appreciated better without milk. For added sweetness a drop of honey or even lemon is a nice touch. If you do add milk the question of milk or tea in first is a tough one. It’s like asking someone if they put cream or jam on their scones first! I don’t believe there is a correct answer and there are many theories to both. One for milk first being that people who used fine china were worried putting hot tea in first could crack the china, so by adding the milk first it would cool the tea down. A lot of people prefer milk in second so they can monitor easily the strength they want the tea. Let us know on twitter which way you do it!

    We have information on how to brew all our teas on our individual tea pages and also have a handy infographic on brew times and temperatures!

    Now go put that kettle on and make yourself a well-earned cup of tea – just how you like it!

    (Image courtesy of Google Images)

     Melissa, September 2014

  • Chocolate Roulade

    After watching The Great British Bake Off Last night I am determined to experiment more with pastry and attempt a pasty or éclair but having not yet embarked on that challenge I thought I would share with you another one of Mary’s fantastic recipes I tried and tested. It was a technical challenge in a previous series.

    Chocolate Roulade!

    This incredibly light yet rich tasting sponge proved extremely popular and I was impressed with how it turned out. I also think it would look great on the Christmas Table with some added decoration so I may be re-creating it then too!


    • 175g dark chocolate (39% cocoa solids), finely chopped
    • 6 large free-range eggs at room temperature
    • 175g caster sugar
    • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • For the filling and finishing:
    • 300ml pourable double cream
    • Icing sugar, for dusting
    • 1 x 23x33cm swiss roll tin, greased with butter; non-stick baking paper



    • Line the base and sides of the buttered tin with non-stick baking paper. If you make a small diagonal snip in each corner of the paper, it will help fit the paper snugly into the corners of the tin
    • Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of steaming hot but not boiling water. Leave to melt, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the pan of water and stir until the chocolate is smooth, then leave to cool for about 15 minutes or until just warm. Preheat the oven to 180ºC
    • Separate the eggs, putting the whites in one large mixing bowl and the yolks in another; set the yolks aside. Whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until they stand in stiff peaks. If you turn the bowl upside down, the whites should be stiff enough not to fall out
    • Put the sugar into the bowl with the egg yolks and whisk using the electric mixer on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes or until very thick and pale in colour, and the mixture leaves a ribbon-like trail on itself when the whisk is lifted out
    • Pour the cooled chocolate into the yolk and sugar mixture and gently fold in with a wooden spoon to blend evenly. Add 2 large spoonfuls of the whisked egg whites to the chocolate mixture and stir in gently to loosen the mix, then fold in the remaining egg whites using a large metal spoon. Take care not to knock out the air you have just whisked in
    • Sift the cocoa powder over the top and lightly but thoroughly fold it in with the metal spoon. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and gently move the tin around on the worktop so the mixture finds its own level. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until risen and the top feels firm and slightly crisp when pressed gently with a finger. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin; the sponge will fall and crack a little as it cools.
    • Lay a large piece of non-stick baking paper on the worktop and dust it lightly with icing sugar. Turn the sponge out onto the paper then carefully peel off the lining paper. Whip the cream for the filing until it just holds its shape
    • Spread the whipped cream over the sponge, leaving a clear edge of about 2cm on all sides. Using a sharp knife, make a shallow cut along one of the short edges.
    • Roll this cut edge over tightly to start. Use the sugar-dusted paper to help continue the tight rolling by pulling it away from you as you roll. Finish with the join underneath, the lift the roulade onto a serving plate or board using a large wide spatula or 2 fish slices

    Tip – As you roll the sponge don’t worry if it cracks – it is normal and mine certainly did!

    Melissa, September 2014

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