I recently had a stall at one of the Buffalo Boutique events and I was not expecting to come across anything to do with tea… but I did. You can find tea everywhere!
When I first arrived I was given some free samples of teapigs tea bags. Teapigs gave Buffalo Boutique the samples to go in the goodie bags for those coming to the event and I was given a few too. I thought this was really kind and assumed this would be all the tea I would encounter.
A bit later on I decided to go for a look around the other stalls and came across the Tea Club stall…
I chatted with the man running the stall and he told me a bit about the Tea Club. There is no fixed price for the tea or cake. The tea is bought with donations made to the club and the cakes on the stall are baked by those who run it. The Tea Club arrange and host events regularly around Cardiff.
I decided to have a cup of Vanilla Chai tea and some cake and I made a donation as I was really intrigued by the concept. I drink loose leaf tea at home and measure the temperature of the water I use, therefore, it was not my ideal cup of tea. If you drink tea bags at home using a normal kettle you would have appreciated it more than me. There was plenty of teas to pick from too! I did like how the cup I was given was suited the tea I chose. Sadly I couldn’t get a good photo of my tea because of the lighting.
When I got home I had a good rummage through the teapigs samples. There was a good mix of different teas. As I said above, I do not usually drink tea bags so I would not normally drink Teapigs tea.
I decided to give the Chocolate Flake tea a go. The base tea is Assam which is generally a strong and malty black tea so I can see why this was picked. When I opened the packet I had a little look at the tea bag. It is made from a silky material and is a pyramid. It is a good size for a teabag as I have seen tea cup infuser balls with less room. On the packet it says to brew for 3 minutes with freshly boiled water. I never pour boiling water onto tea as it burns the leaves and makes the tea bitter so I used 95C water. Whilst it was brewing I could smell the chocolate.
When brewed, I found the tea was a bit oily on top which must be down to the chocolate. I found that it tasted more of chocolate than tea which I found strange with Assam.
Although the only tea I ever add milk (or sugar) to is chai, I did add a dash of milk because it was recommended on the packet. I still found the flavour of the Assam a bit weak. I think it would be a tea to have before bed or with a slice of cake.
I also decided to give the Mao Feng a go. It is a Chinese green tea and the packet even tells you which province it is from which is really good to see. The leaf size is very good considering they are in a tea bag!
The packet says to brew the tea with water just off the boil. Depending on the green tea I usually brew them between 70-80C. I brewed the tea at 80C as this was the highest I was willing to go!
When brewed the tea has a grassy smell which is common of Chinese green teas. This grassy smell also has a sweet fruity note.
Even though I brewed it at a much lower temperature than advised I still think it could have been done with the water being cooler. Green tea is not bitter but it becomes bitter if the water used is too hot. It is a lot more delicate than black tea, as it is not oxidised, and this is why green tea needs to be brewed at a lower temperature. If you want to drink green tea at home, but do not want to use loose leaf, teapigs is a reasonable option. It has a lot more flavour than other green tea bags. To lower the water temperature without a special kettle you could add 1-2 tablespoons of water of cold water to your mug before adding the water from the kettle.
[Neither Buffalo, Buffalo Boutique, the Tea Club or teapigs were aware I was going to write this post]