An Afternoon of Tea

I love tea, and I’m not entirely sure I could make it through the day without a cup.  First thing in the morning I pop the kettle on, and then my day is punctuated with many a stop for a brew.  My usual choice is a nice strong breakfast tea (with milk and sweeteners!) for most of the morning and a lighter Darjeeling (taken black) in the afternoon, but recently, fancying a caffeine free cuppa, I’ve been adventuring into the world of the herbal and fruit teas.   I’m finding herbal tea a bit hit and miss as some are rich and full of flavour. Others seems to smell wonderful but taste insipid, and certain teas just taste artificial.  So far, as I’m reluctant to buy a whole box of 40 bags only to find I don’t like a particular tea,  my tasting has been restricted to the those available in hotel and meeting rooms I’ve been in.Cosy Tea boxes and individual wrappers

I was offered the opportunity to try some new teas in the Cosy Tea range by Beyond the Bean and thought this would be a great chance to try some new flavours and possibly find one I really like. So I sat down and tried them all in an afternoon.  Cosy is an ethical brand, all the teas in the range are organic, and the two black teas are fair-trade as well.  Each tea has its own  knitting stitch (in keeping with the cosy theme) and Cosy encourages people to learn to knit as well as drink their tea  There are currently eight teas in the range, and I was sent six to try.

Six cups of cosy tea, left to right: Top - peppermint, jasmine green and chamomile. Bottom - rooibos with Vanilla, blueberry, Earl Grey

First up I tried the Peppermint tea, the box for this tea is Wave Cable!

peppermint

As soon as I opened the box of tea the air was filled with the strong scent of mint which continued while this tea was brewing. I was surprised by the strength of this.  I was also quite surprised by the dark colour of this tea when it was made as I thought peppermint would have a light colour, but hey ho.  By the time I went to drink the tea the mint smell had subsided and was more subtle which matched the more subtle flavour of the tea.  There was plenty of mint in there, but it didn’t taste like toothpaste (one of my fears).  In fact it was really nice to drink, slipping down easily and cleansing the mouth on the way.  One I shall try again.

Next up was the Jasmin green tea, whose stitch is Rib.

jasmin green

This is made from Chunmee green tea, it was very delicate and pale with no real scent of jasmine unless you stuck your nose in very close while it brewed.  When drinking this, there was a subtle floral note to the tea but nothing over powering.  It was an exceptionally easy tea to drink, and I think it would be lovely to have just after a meal, especially a rich one.

Next I moved onto the Chamomile tea (stitch: Honeycomb cable)

chamomile

This was a bright sunshine yellow and was called an infusion rather than a tea, although I have no idea what the difference is!  According to the box there is some liquorice in the mix, however I thought it had more of a hint of vanilla and lemon.  I wasn’t overly keen on this one, it seemed to be confused as to what it was trying to taste like, as I couldn’t really get a chamomile flavour either.  Not unpleasant, just confused!

I then moved onto the Rooibos with vanilla which has an Achernar cable stich on the box.

rooibos with vanilla

You could definitely tell that this has vanilla in it, it smelt and tasted like a candle!  The colour of this was wonderful, a beautiful deep ruby red. However that’s the only nice thing I can say about this tea.  It may be to some peoples taste, but it wasn’t to mine as it was far too sweet and artificial.  The box also suggested serving this with milk, however to my mind this made it worse not better!

Next up, Blueberry with Echinacea (and rosehip, hibiscus, apple, lemongrass and limeflower) – stitch, checks and eyelets.

blueberry

Another infusion, this seemed to have a lot more flavours listed in the ingredients than on the front of the box.  It smelt sweet and fruity and was a really rich deep purple colour.  I actually found the taste to be quite sour though despite being so fruity.  Once I added a little sugar, which brought out even more of the fruit flavour, it was much better.  I would drink this one again so long as I have some sugar to hand!

Finally I tried the Earl Grey (open cable stich)

earl grey

This is made from a blend of Assam and Nilgiri teas with bergamot.  It had a heady floral flavour but a fairly mild taste.  It was lovely both with and without milk and a very nice “normal” tea!

Overall I was impressed with the quality of the tea, but less impressed with the quality of the tea bags.  The bags are made from unbleached material which, while it may be ethical, is not overly appetizing.

A cosy tea bag

In addition to being rather dirty colour, I found them to be quite fragile.  When making the teas one bag split open and the string in all of them was not particularly well attached.  This meant than if a small amount of force was used, say, holding the bag up and using the other hand to squeeze it with a spoon to prevent drips, invariably the string would detach itself from the bag.  Nothing major, but frustrating all the same.

Finally the paper sachets in which the tea bags came were very thin (for ethical reasons again I’m sure) and the information on them was not always printed straight.  These slight issues gave the tea a slightly bargain basement feel, but  I think with a little bit of work they could be corrected and brought up to the standard of the outer packaging.

I think this a really solid new range of tea, currently they don’t seem to be very widely available, however I hope they do well as the knitting one and the packets will make a lovely bright addition to a coffee shop or shop shelf!

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10 Responses to “An Afternoon of Tea”

  1. Ian Says:

    Great blog

  2. Babygirl Says:

    Ahhh.. the pictures of the tea made me warm inside. I love tea over coffee.. great post

  3. Lauren Says:

    Great, great Blog. Thanks for sharing your love of tea. I, too, love tea. BUT only in tea leaf form! However, I do begin the morning with a mug of Green Tea which comes in a teabag (which is not to pristine looking!), and in the afternoon I then have three cups of Barry’s Classic Tea served from a very pretty cobalt blue tea pot!

    • rhiannong Says:

      I have a gorgeous little blue tea pot for two that I got from Whittards that I love to use when I have to time to sit down and enjoy a proper cup of tea. It always tastes beter out of a pot somehow!

  4. A look at the side effects of green tea | Super Foods and Super Fruits Says:

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  6. honeybeeluvsjackfruit Says:

    Thanks for the post and insight about the tea. I think I would love the jasmin green. And I also like that the teabag isnt bleached.

    I had a couple questions… does the peppermint tea contain real mint leaves or mint “flavor”? How does the earl grey compare to twinnings brand (I know I like that one)?

    • rhiannong Says:

      Hi Honey Bee, glad you liked the post. According to the side of the box the peppermint tea is made entirly of mint leaves. With the earl grey, I would say that its a little less fragrent than the twinnings, a more subtle scent. Im personally not keen on the Twinnings version, I find it a bit soapy, but this one was much nicer. It’s all personal taste of course, everyone likes something different!

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