Purchased at the National Tea Day event in Woking, East London earlier this year, Roqberry’s Coco & Joe is a fascinating blend of 3 of the world’s favourite hot beverages – Tea, Coco and Coffee. Usually, when I hear the mere mention of coffee, I run a mile. I maintain that coffee is the drink of the devil and should be cast aside in all instances in flavour of the elegance of a good cuppa. But apparently not everyone feels the same way as I do, so I reluctantly sampled this blend.
Perhaps I’m edging towards the dark side, but I found this tea to be delicious, enjoyable to drink and as it turned out, provides a great winter warming cuppa.
The tea is flavourful, the cocoa combining well with the black tea to provide a sweet, chocolatey taste. The coffee, is there, but in a supporting role boosting the cocoa flavour notes. It can be drunk with out milk, but I think it is best with, and I believe almond milk helps to bring out the nutty notes of the tea and coffee and compliments the cocoa.
I also found that when I was feeling very cold and low during the cold Autumn months, the tea helped to boost my spirits. If you are thinking about cutting out sugar in your tea, I suggest rather than going cold turkey, to switch to this blend, as you can enjoy the sweet flavours, without all the calories.
Retailing at £6 for a box of 18 pyramid bags, represents good value for money. It is recommend to use 1 bag per cup but you can get easily get away with 1 bag per 2 servings. The bags are also easy to dispose onto the compost heap.
I paired this tea with my Ultimate Banana and Chocolate Bread, recipe to be published soon, but this tea would go well with any tea, coffee. nut, fruit or chocolate based dessert. It is a tea that can be enjoyed on its own, and makes an ideal gift for tea lovers.
I don’t usually give full marks, but I can’t fault this tea at all. Even if it does contain coffee!
Today, I’m moving away from black based teas and tying out a more fruity and floral number. Twist Teas Strawberry and Rose tea is today’s subject tea for review.
Strawberry and Rose contains a list of delicious sounding ingredients – Chinese White tea, apple pieces, rose hip, hibiscus, freeze dried strawberry, elderflower, orange blossom, rose petals and orange peel.
This is a tea to be served without milk, but can be cold brewed as well as make a hot beverage.
Out the pack, the tea has a lovely aroma, and when hot brewed develops into a beautiful pink hue. I would serve this at an afternoon tea as an alternative to black tea.
Cold brewed ‘Strawberry and Rose’ makes a light and refreshing drink, ideal for a summer time soiree. I reckon made with sparkling water, with sliced fresh strawberries and a slice of lemon, it would make a great non-alcoholic drink.
With all the wonderful ingredients, I was surprised that I couldn’t detect any rose or strawberry during the taste test. It was more of a general fruity flavour, pleasant as it was, rather than a strawberry or floral blast.
Yesterday, I tested the first of the Twist Teas tasting menu, ‘Afternoon Perks’. Today, it’s the turn of ‘Breakfast Boost’.
Like ‘Afternoon Perks’, ‘Breakfast Boost’ includes Sri Lankan black tea, as well as Indian Assam Black tea, Yerba Mate (1) and Siberian Ginseng (2). The tea can be enjoyed with or without milk.
(1) Yerba mate is used to make a beverage known as mate. When served cold, the drink is called tereré in Guaraní. It is traditionally consumed in central and southern regions of South America, primarily in Paraguay, as well as in Argentina, Uruguay, southern and central-western Brazil, the Chaco region of Bolivia and southern Chile. It is also popular in the Druze community in Syria and Lebanon, where it is imported from Argentina. Yerba mate was first cultivated and used by the indigenous Guaraní people and in some Tupí communities in southern Brazil, prior to European colonization. Yerba mate can be found in various energy drinks on the market, as well as being sold as a bottled or canned iced tea.
Yerba mate has been claimed to have various effects on human health and these effects have been attributed to the high quantity of polyphenols found in mate tea. Research has found that yerba mate may improve allergy symptoms and reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus and high blood sugar in mice.
Mate also contains compounds that act as an appetite suppressant and possible weight loss tool, increases mental energy and focus, improves mood, and promotes deeper sleep; however, sleep may be negatively affected in people who are sensitive to caffeine.
Before 2011, there were no double-blind, randomized prospective clinical trials of yerba mate consumption with respect to chronic disease. However, many studies have been conducted since then, pointing to at least some probable benefits from some claims, such as reduction of fat cells, inflammation and cholesterol, although more research is needed. Some non-blinded studies have found mate consumption to be effective in lipid lowering. Another study determined that mate reduces progression of artheriosclerosis in rabbits but did not decrease serum cholesterol or aorticTBARS and antioxidantenzymes.
(2) Some people use Siberian ginseng to improve athletic performance and the ability to do work. They also use it to treat sleep problems (insomnia) and the symptoms of infections caused by herpes simplex type 2. It is also used to boost the immune system, prevent colds, and increase appetite.
Perhaps it’s the high caffeine content, that this tea reminds me of a builder’s tea, only posher. In terms of flavour it packs a punch. The black teas provide a strong, yet pleasant taste, and is ideal, I imagine, served with a wide range of breakfast styles, from traditional full English to Swiss muesli to pancakes with fresh fruit and yogurt, or on its own to set you up for the day ahead.
Personally, I would drink this tea with milk, although if you like strong black teas, or require it for baking, the Breakfast Boost should work well.
I really enjoyed ‘Breakfast Boost’, and would be keen to conduct cooking experiments with it. I think it could add a unique flavour profile to, for instance, tea breads or cakes.
Yesterday (Sunday 21st April 2019) was Easter Sunday and National Tea Day. A double celebration for those who, like me, love tea.
Today, I kick off a new blog series, called The Tea Twist Taste Test, where I taste and review a number of teas from new and established brands. Most of the brands I will feature, I discovered, or in some cases rediscovered, at the recent FesTeaVal event run by National Tea Day. The first brand in this series is Twist Teas (love the brand name already!), which has been producing a wide range of teas for 3 years. The first tea I’m taste testing is ‘Afternoon Perks’, from their Whole Leaf Tasting Menu.
Made with Indian Darjeeling and Sri Lankan black teas and Gotu Kola, ‘Afternoon Perks’ can be drunk with for without milk.
Gotu Kola is used for fatigue, anxiety, depression, psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, and improving memory and intelligence. Other uses include wound healing, trauma, and circulation problems (venous insufficiency) including varicose veins, and blood clots in the legs.
I found the tea refreshing in both formats, although I slightly prefer the tea black, with maybe a lemon slice. Just as the ‘twisting notes’ on the tasting menu pack claimed, the tea was energy boosting, after a busy morning in the garden.
I like the idea of including Gotu Kola in the blend, as I feel it helped with my fatigue. I wonder, with prolonged use, if it would prove to be a good memory boosting aid. Regardless, the tea tastes lovely, and is ideal as a post- noon pick me up. I will certainly be adding this to my collection.
Can you believe it’s that time of year already? Yes, National Tea Day is coming up this Saturday and as, for me at least, it’s one of the most important days of the year, I collated a tea quotes video for your enjoyment.
More tea-related treats coming up this week, but for now, grab yourself a cup of your favourite brew and indulge in some tea wisdom. Enjoy!
Hope you are all well this on March chilly day. Spring is around the corner, so I thought it would be a good time to post a video about some of the culinary treats to look forward to when the weather finally warms up.
When we think of Afternoon Tea, our minds often turn to the lovely cakes, pastries and of course tea. However, we rarely think about where the tea actually comes from, how it’s manufactured and the people who produce it.
Following are a number of YouTube videos which examines the tea industry. As I come across more videos, I will add them below. If you have any recommendations for this list, comment below.
The History of Tea – TED Talks
Assam’s modern slaves : The real price of a cup of Tetley Tea
With just 2 ingredients, you can make these extra special meringues, which can be used for a wide number of puddings, desserts, tea time treats, or enjoyed on their own.
The distinctive colour and flavour of the meringues comes from the golden caster sugar used in this recipe.
The following recipe is enough for 1 large meringue nest which could be shared between 5-6 people as a pavlova, or about 6 mini sized individual nests. You could also create 2-3 medium sized meringues with this recipe.
Golden Meringues – recipe
by Champagne Twist
3 large egg whites
150g golden caster sugar
Preheat the oven to gas mark 1.
Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper, and set aside.
Separate the egg whites, and keep the egg yolks for another recipe.
With an electric mixer, using the balloon whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until firm.
Slowly add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
Dab a little bit of the meringue on the underside of the greaseproof paper and stick on to the baking sheets. This will prevent the greaseproof paper from slipping.
For a large meringue, use all the mixture to create 1 nest.. For medium sized meringues use 3 heaped tablespoons of the mixture for each meringue. There should be enough for about 2 or 3 nests. For smaller meringues use 2 heaped tablespoons. If you’re making medium or small meringue, make sure they are equally spaced apart. You can use the back of the spoons to help shape the meringues. Alternatively, you can pipe the meringues for a more uniform or decorative look.
Place the baking sheets on the top and middle shelves of the oven, and bake for 45-60 minutes. Half way through baking, swap the trays around to ensure even baking.
When finished, remove from the oven and set aside. The meringues should be allowed to completely cool on the baking sheets.
You can freeze the meringues until ready for use. The meringue can be used in a number of different recipes, such as Berry Meringue Nests.
Pour the cream into a large bowl of a food mixer and whisk on medium speed for about 4 minutes until thickened.
Increase the mixer speed to high and continue to whist until the cream separates into curds (solids) and whey (liquid). This will take about 5 more minutes.
Place a sieve, lined with muslin over a large bowl.
Pour the contents of the food mixer bowl into the lined sieve.
After about 1 minute, gather up the corners of the muslin over the curds and twist so that you can squeeze out as much of the whey as possible.
Set the whey aside – this is now otherwise known as buttermilk.
In medium bowl half filled with chilled water, add the solids and stir fairly vigorously with a wooden spoon. This action ‘washes’ the curds in order to help remove as much of the remaining whey/buttermilk as possible.
Place the curds back into the muslin, gathering up the corners and then squeeze as much whey out as possible. You now have butter.
Shape and wrap the butter in greaseproof paper and store and use as you would shop purchased butter. I ended up with over a pound of butter and 2 cups of buttermilk, which can be used in all sorts of recipes, including scones, bread and soups.
You can flavour your butter with salt, herbs, pepper, spices, even alcohol to make say brandy butter. Making your own butter can open up a wide range of culinary avenues. All you need to do is experiment and have fun.