In the UK we drink 2.3kg of tea per person per year (source: Euromonitor), with homeworkers drinking twice that (source: totally made up, but quite possibly true).
The UK Tea Council‘s website has, along with loads of brilliant tea facts and stats, a cupometer showing how many cups of tea have been drunk that day. The numbers spin fast. So far today it’s just past 116,400,000 and it’s only, well, tea time.
As for most people, the majority of my daily cups are straight ‘builders’ – teabag (Yorkshire Tea for Hard Water), strong, milk, one sugar – but there are times that gets a bit monotonous and I seek something a little more exotic.
So I was very excited to learn about the latest food box subscription – the tea taster box – and immediately blagged one from the nice people at Tea Horse.
The idea is that each month they send you a selection of four teas – one black, one oolong, one green and one white – along with tasting notes, a bag of tea filters and full instructions as to brewing times and the exact temperature of the water.
Being tea, it all comes beautifully packaged, with each tea in a brown resealable packet.
This month’s selection was: 2nd flush Assam; Monkey Picked Oolong; Keemun Mao Feng; and White Peony.
For my mid-morning brew I went for the Assam. The ‘second flush’ bit means it was picked in the second harvest so is sweeter and bolder in flavour (it says here). The accompanying notes also fill in the history and give food pairing suggestions (apparently Assam’s good with Mexican food), plus strict instructions as to the amount of tea to use, optimum water temperature and brewing time. Interestingly, it says that if you want your tea stronger, you should just use more tea, not leave it to mash longer as that just makes it bitter.
For my post-lunch brew, I thought something a little lighter might be in order. I don’t normally drink non-milk teas outside a restaurant, but the White Peony was really refreshing. Plus I thought the leaves were really pretty.
The verdict: I’m really charmed by this idea, and a three-month subscription would make a nice birthday present. It’s really refreshing to try some different brews, though the accompanying notes are so thorough I feel I could sit a Tea GCSE.
To do the teas justice, I should probably have used filtered water. But I didn’t.
The details: Find out more or sign up for a Tea Horse box here Three months costs £35; a year costs £120.