Posts Tagged ‘yorkshire tea’

The health benefits of Tea – just what you need when feeling under the weather

There have been many, many articles on the health benefits of tea.

However, there have been a few articles also that point in the other way. A notable recent study was in prostate cancer in men. Quite honestly even its authors could not mitigate that this finding could be due to the fact these men had lived to an older age where the incidence and likely risk of prostate cancer is increasing. So what is the truth? Is tea doing anything at all?

A true test of tea

The prostate cancer data was from a collaborative study, but it got me to thinking that there can never ever be a truly double blind randomised controlled trial that is regarded as totally de rigour. For one, there could never be an absolute “double blind”, as quite honestly, it would be a bit tricky to disguise whether you were being given tea or not. In other words, all the participants would know, even if the “prescribers” were “blind” to who was getting what. There is undoubtably something in the anecdotal evidence that exists though, and the antioxidant argument  for one can be supported through other means. I would argue it is more than the tea per se.

There is another more essential Tea element

And it is this. Beyond the qualities of  the quite wonderful flavours of tea, there is the act of brewing that brings a moment of peace, a glimpse of mindfulness. More importantly though, there is an innate sense of belonging and feeling of care that is bestowed when one is making, or being made tea. It is that communion as well as the heady warmth of that first sip that I think gives an intangible health benefit of tea.

When unwell, what has perked me up is the prospect of a warm fragrant cup that will wake me, brewed under instruction by my darling whose pinnacle of tea brewing sophistication is Yorkshire Rwandan bag as he so eloquently has described it. Please don’t mistake me here, I am a huge fan of Yorkshire tea, and this seasons Rwandan is lovely, but  I do believe there is so much more to the health benefits of tea than its taste alone.

P.S. My thanks to the lovely friends who sent this card with their very kind and wise words that accompanied it.

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Can you tell your orthodox from broken Pekoe? Are “first flush” and “single estate” familiar terms? 

If not, then with the huge interest in tea, and a few moments to spare, the opportunity on 28th June for a spot of tea tasting at Fortnum and Masons sounds just the ticket.

On a separate venture, Tea with Mary Kate was lucky enough to experience a spot of tea tasting with the generous time and tea knowledge of James Pogson, of Northern Tea Merchants.

Tea tasting with James was a hugely enjoyable experience, from learning how to assess the quality of tea to timing the brewing….and quite the best bit – the art of  slurping tea! Quite a marvellous enterprise, this allows you to learn how to really properly taste tea – there is even  a whole language around describing the leaves, the liquor colour, and all importantly, the taste.

Yorkshire Tea have also created a splendid video on How to master the art of slurping tea – really quite splendid stuff  – Tea with Mary Kate was enchanted!

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Little Moreton Hall is an iconic building. Owned by the National Trust, with its beams that have shaped and settled over 500 years, it is an Elizabethan treasure.

Afternoon Tea at the Little Tea Room - Little Moreton Hall

Now there is even more reason to pay a visit with the arrival of the Little tea room. As we watch the rain pour through the ancient windows outside – inside, the atmosphere is cosy – quite frankly the space does match up to its name – but it is the perfect place to nurture your spirit. Serving gorgeous Yorkshire tea, with you will be pleased to hear, extra boiling water supplied as standard – how splendid I thought. The cream and jam Victoria sponge was too delightful to resist. Tea with Mary Kate’s advice is to visit this gorgeous little tea room soon.

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Now your first thought on slurping may legitimately be why master this slurping business at all?

Quite honestly, isn’t it just a very impolite, uncouth, & rather noisy method of drinking tea, especially when it is too hot to drink? Well, you might well be right on all those counts but  read on as there is an exception…………

It takes 5 years to become a tea tasting expert – and all the tea tasters in the world are expert slurpers.

Slurping is key to being able to really taste tea. By rolling the tea around your mouth, it gets to all those taste buds. The method basically allows development of a very sophisticated palette absolutely critical  for that all important task of evaluating the essence & flavour of various batches of tea.

As you can imagine, it’s a bit of a challenge to get these folks on film showing their craft

Which is why I absolutely loved this short video from Yorkshire Tea. Glorious sound effects & a really amusing commentary from one of their tea buyers offers unique insight into the final stages of quality control at Yorkshire Tea. My favourite quote is Suzy extolling the virtues of a job where you can spit on your boss & still remain employed, how marvelous!

Guess how many teas Suzy slurped and you could be in with a chance of winning a year's supply of Yorkshire Tea!

Master the art of Tea Slurping - Yorkshire Tea buyer demonstrates how to be a tea taster

The next must have item for all your tea loving friends – a proper Tea tasting spoon

The other rather charming element is the special piece of equipment required – a larger than average spoon. Frankly  a teaspoon is just not big enough to hold sufficient liquid to slurp. I adored the beautiful spoon that Northern Tea merchant’s James Pogson had especially commissioned, made from Sheffield steel, the home of quality British steel manufacturing, it has a uniquely angled handle that allows tea to be scooped from a cup for slurping.


James Pogsons specially designed tea tasting spoon

Mary Kate has decided that slurping is the way forward for Tea tasting

It is a method that really allows you to properly taste tea, and one that also helps to develop your palette, aiding in that all important decision on what tea you really like. My one caveat though my dears is in consideration of the potential social impact,  perhaps practise & conduct this newly found slurping activity in the privacy of your own homes.

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