Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Friday, 25 September 2015

The Friday Review....Birchall Tea....Part Two

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends.

Do you remember a little while ago we enjoyed a tea-riffic tea tasting event with Birchall Tea?  Last time we told you about the company itself.....but we didn't tell you much about the teas. Birchall Tea has black teas, green teas as well as fruit and herbal infusions in their range and today we are taking a taste of their Redbush.

Now, I'm not the greatest fan of Rooibos teas and so I decided to ask the lovely Beth to sample this one for me as I know she rather enjoys a cup of Rooibos.

I can honestly say that this is the nicest Redbush tea that I have ever tasted – and I am a real connoisseur, having been a regular drinker of Redbush (or Rooibos as I call it, having been introduced to it by my South African family) for the last 6 years.

Redbush Tea - Birchall Tea

The design of the bag is very sumptuous - from the way it looks to quality of the material used - and already makes you feel like you’re in for a treat. 

The taste of the tea is smooth, incredibly flavoursome and full, which leads to the whole experience being extremely satisfying. 

I will be keeping a close eye on where I can source these teabags as my box is not going to last very long – having devoured 5 cups the first day I had it!

Well it certainly sounds like Beth enjoyed this Redbush! This red rooibos tea is made from the soft needle-like leaves of the South African plant, Aspalathus linearis, it is rich in anti-oxidants and naturally caffeine free.

You can buy this tea directly from Birchall Tea on their website, where you can also find information about the rest of their range.

Thank you for popping by today,

Monday, 21 September 2015

Time for a....Tea Recipe

Hello there,

Happy Monday! Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you had a tea-riffic weekend!

Since last week's tea recipe proved to be quite popular I decided to head back to the kitchen this weekend and try something new. I have to admit that I am new to creating tea recipes and therefore I have stuck to a similar recipe to last week....using up a different fruit from my fruit bowl.

This time I had some fresh raspberries....

 I had a think and decided to pair my raspberries with some green tea. On this occasion I have used a Dragonfly Tea Emerald Mountain Green Tea which is a light, smooth green tea....

Dragonfly Tea - Emerald Mountain Green Tea

So, this is really simple....it takes a little time, but its easy to make and only uses three ingredients (four if you decide to add honey). 

I took a big handful of raspberries and placed them in my teapot before adding 200ml of boiling water. I then left them to infuse for about three minutes.

Now these raspberries were rather ripe....quite soft and squidgy....and I'm not sure if this helped with the flavour. If you have less squidgy raspberries you might need to leave them infusing for a little longer.

In the meantime I brewed one teabag in 100ml of water for two minutes.

I then added the green tea to the raspberry infusion and let it muddle for another couple of minutes before pouring into my teacup. 

The first thing I noted was the bright pink hue of the tea, it made for a really cheerful cup of tea!

Rachel's raspberry green tea

The flavour was fruity and refreshing, though not particularly sweet. If you prefer a sweeter tea you may want to add a little honey (I taste tested this and it was rather lovely). 

I enjoyed one cup hot and a second cold sometime later - mainly because I got distracted and forgot to enjoy the second cup while it was still hot! However, I am pleased that I also tried it cold as the flavours had intensified and it made a really refreshing beverage (I wish I had discovered it at the beginning of the summer!).

Tea With Me and Friends - raspberry green tea

Again, I haven't got a name for this recipe yet (other than raspberry green tea but that's not very imaginative!), so if you can think of any suggestions we'd love to hear them!

If you try this recipe out at home we'd love to hear what you think. 

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Time for Tea.....Manor Farm Tea Room, Seale

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends....we hope you've got your cup of tea and you're ready to see some more scrummy scones!

Last weekend I visited Manor Farm Tea Room in Seale with my lovely friend Alexandra. The tea room is part of craft centre complex, which includes a couple of little shops (including Lyddy-Lou's gift shop and Seale Craft Shop) and is set in the courtyard of former dairy buildings. The village of Seale is situated just south of the A31 Hogs Back in Surrey, with Guildford to the east and Farnham to the west. It's tucked away, but if you are in the area it's well worth a visit.

I believe the tearooms are under new management, the previous owner retiring after running the tearoom for 15 years. It's a pretty tearoom, housed in a building complete with exposed beams and rustic chalk walls.

Manor Farm Tearoom, Seale

As you can see the tearoom is divided into the eating area and an open plan kitchen area - the homemade cakes are displayed along one wall and even the tea looks pretty...

The tea selection - Manor Farm Tearoom

For a small tearoom I was pleased to see a good choice of tea.....and it is loose leaf!

On this visit both Alexandra and I opted to indulge in scones with cream and jam. We could have plain scones or "ones with flies in" as Alexandra calls them! 

I decided a cup of tea was in order, while Alexandra went for coffee (I know!). The service was quick and friendly and the portions good....

Just look at the size of the scones....

I am pleased to report that the scones were fresh and well baked, not at all claggy despite the size of them! The servings of clotted and jam were generous too.

My pot of tea had three cups of tea in it and on this occasion I opted for an English Breakfast blend.

Afternoon tea scones - served the Tea With Me and Friends way!

This little lot cost me £5.00, which I thought was reasonable for the portion size and quality of the food. Alexandra's was slightly more.

All in all this is a great little find - all the staff were friendly and the choice of cake was good - there was something for everyone on their cake table, plus more in a cabinet!

Decisions, decisions!

If you happen to be in the area it's well worth a visit.

Have you visited the Manor Farm Tearoom? We'd love to hear about your experience here.

Thank you for popping by today,

Monday, 14 September 2015

Time for....a Tea Recipe

Hello there,

Happy Monday!

Well I thought we would start this week with a new kind of blog post from Tea With Me and Friends....how about a tea recipe?

Now we all know that tea tastes great and we all have our favourite teas.....but have you ever thought of trying something a little different with your cuppa? I've found that with a couple of extra ingredients and some time (not much I promise) you can create something quite new with your favourite teas.

Creating Tea Recipes at
Tea With Me and Friends

This weekend I decided to try experimenting with a white tea recipe....and I've come up with something you might like to try at home. Now, I haven't named this yet (I'm open to suggestions), but here is what you'll need:

  • White tea of your choice
  • two fresh plums
  • a little vanilla extract (just one or two drops)
  • boiling water 
This makes enough for two cups of tea.

Plum and white tea infusion
Tea With Me and Friends

First off you'll need to slice your plums and add them to a teapot with one or two drops of vanilla extract and 100ml boiling water. You need to leave this to infuse for about 3-4 minutes.

While this is brewing, make your white tea in another teapot (or I used a jug). I used one bag of Dragonfly White Organic Tea, but you can use your favourite white tea. You might remember that we first discovered Dragonfly Tea earlier this year when we tried several different blends.

Let this brew for about three minutes.

Dragonfly Tea - Swirling Mist
Organic White Tea

Next pour your white tea into your plum infusion, give it a stir and leave it to infuse for a couple of minutes (it will be worth the wait I promise!). 

Now your tea is ready to enjoy!

You will end up with a pretty dark amber colour and the tea will smell sweet. The flavour is fruity with a slight vanilla hint. 

It tastes great as a hot beverage, but I also discovered that if you happen to leave this tea (aka forgetting about your cuppa) and come back to it later it tastes great as a cold tea too - very refreshing!

I hope you try this recipe at home - if you do let me know what you think. I'd also love to hear any recipe name suggestions you might have for this....leave us a comment below!

Thank you for popping by today,

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Time for....something to read...How to Make Tea

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends, today we have another book review for you. This time we are featuring How to Make Tea - The Science Behind the Leaf by Brian R Keating and Kim Long. This small green book explores the techniques and tools required to make the perfect cup of tea.

How to Make Tea - The Science Behind the Leaf

The book is broken down into six sections including The Tea Plant, Tea Chemistry, Tea & Taste, Buying & Storing Tea, The Basic Necessities and finally How to Make Tea. Among other things the reader will learn about tea growing regions, tea processing, steeping times and tea equipment.

Section six includes step by step instructions for brewing perfect cups of tea, including "what you will need" and a detailed method accompanied by illustrations. Tea includes Gongfu Cha, Matcha, Spiced Chai, iced tea and English tea. There is also a page dedicated to "tea times" in Great Britain, giving readers a description of when tea is drunk from elevenses to afternoon tea!

How to Make Tea - The Science Behind the Leaf

The book is written by Brian R Keating, a pioneer in tea research for over 30 years and Kim Long a writer, researcher and photographer.

The book is very detailed, full of practical information about brewing tea (including how much tea to use per cup versus how much tea in a teapot). There is also a useful guide to aroma descriptions which I will be studying before our next Friday Review! 

The text is punctuated every so often with illustrations.

The perfect read for anyone interested in learning more about their cup of tea.

We'd like to thank Ivy Press for sending us a copy of this book to review. Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are our own.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Time for Tea.... The Haymarket Hotel

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you've had a tea-riffic week! Today we are joined by the lovely Sheree who is sharing her recent afternoon tea adventure with us....

My hubby and I took his mother for a birthday afternoon tea treat at The Haymarket Hotel. Their Brumus Restaurant is bright, modern and comfortable, and the table was smartly dressed with unique crockery designed by Kit Kemp.

Included in the standard price was a choice of three teas. An extra payment allows you to choose from a selection of speciality and infusion teas, however we were happy to try the English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Second Flush Darjeeling.

The food was presented on a contrasting pink perspex cake stand. Starting with the savouries; these were lovely and varied and included the following:

Smoked salmon, cucumber and chive cream cheese on rye 
Egg mayonnaise and mustard cress on granary
Buffalo mozzarella, sundried tomato and basil on grilled focaccia 
Savoury choux bun with prawn, crab, chilli and coriander 
Chorizo roll, herb de Provence

Upon request, the salmon was replaced with cucumber and cream cheese. We were delighted to be offered more savouries, and were tempted by extra chorizo rolls, and the mozzarella and sundried tomato focaccia. These were a nice alternative to traditional finger sandwiches and were so flavoursome. 

Next came the scones - a plain and fruit scone each, accompanied by clotted cream and strawberry jam. The scones were big and plump and perfect on the inside and out. They were so good that hubby had a third scone!

Finally onto the sweets, which really excited me! They were so pretty, and I'm pleased to say they did not disappoint. 

On the menu were:
Mango posset with passion fruit macaroon 
Chocolate and hazelnut Battenberg 
Lemon and almond financier with summer berries 
Elderflower gateaux fraisier 
White chocolate and violet tart 

I should say that, thankfully, no sharing was necessary as we each had our own selection of sweets.

Overall I would definitely recommend the Haymarket Hotel's afternoon tea and would love to go back. The service was friendly and helpful, and catered for our dietary requirements. Oh, and they surprised my mother-in-law with a lovely birthday treat, which was the perfect touch. Doesn't she look delighted in the photo?! 

Those sweets sound and look so scrummy and the description of the scones is so mouth watering (Graham - I'm impressed that you ate three scones!!). A big thank you to Sheree for sharing her latest afternoon tea with us - we always love to hear where she has enjoyed tea.

For more information about the afternoon tea at The Haymarket Hotel please visit their website.

If you've had an afternoon tea adventure recently we'd love to hear from you - leave us a message or send us a Tweet!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Friday, 11 September 2015

The Friday Review....The Tea Makers

Hello there,

Happy Friday! So, I bet you've been wondering....what has Rachel and Lorna been drinking this week. Ok, well you probably haven't been thinking that...but we're going to tell you anyway!

This week we have sampled two teas from The Tea Makers of London, who are loose leaf tea specialists. Their teas are sourced from tea estates around the world such as China, India, Sri Lanka, Japan and Taiwan. They have a large range of teas, from Green Tea, Black Tea, White Tea, Oolong Tea, Pu-erh Tea, Special Blends and Fruit Infusions - something for everyone!

We were lucky enough to be sent two of their tea range - Supreme Earl Grey Tea and Jasmine Dragon Pearls Tea. The teas can be bought in various ways, including these lovely tea caddys....

Let's start with the Supreme Earl Grey Tea which is a blend of Ceylon teas selected from tea growing estates in the Nuwar Eliya and Dimulla regions of Sri Lanka. The Ceylon leaves are scented with Bergamot oil and infused with the cornflowers....

The Tea Makers give brewing guides on their website for perfect home brewing. For this tea they recommend using 3-4g of tea in a 200ml cup. The water should be 100°C and the leaves should be brewed for 3-5 minutes. 

Once brewed the tea is a beautiful rich amber colour, which is matched with an equally rich but well balanced flavour. It's a very aromatic blend, which you can enjoy with your nose as well as your taste buds.

Next, lets take a look at the Jasmine Dragon Pearls Tea which comes from comes from the Fujian Province in China.

A little tea education for you - Jasmine Dragon Pearls Tea is created by hand rolling specially plucked long silver velvety shoots into little tea balls which are naturally scented multiple times with fresh, aromatic jasmine flowers. Jasmine Dragon Pearls Tea is named after the shape of the tea like pearls. Let's take a look at those little pearls.....

To make the highest quality tea alternative layers of fresh jasmine petals and tea leaves are layered until jasmine scent is fully merged with tea leaves. Then the petals are removed, and the tea carefully dried again. Each pearl will blossom when put into water.

Brewing recommendations for this tea are as follows - you should use 2-3g tea in a 200ml cup. This time the water should be cooler, at 80°C and brewing time is only 1-3 minutes. 

As you can see this brew produces a beautiful champagne coloured tea, but what you can tell from this photo is how fragrant the tea is. The tea is light and delicate - very refreshing. 

To find out more about these teas and the others in the Tea Makers range please visit their website.

We like to thank The Tea Makers for sending us these teas to try. Although we have received these teas to review, please remember that this has not effected our taste buds and all opinions expressed here are our own. 

Have you tried any of the others teas in The Tea Makers range? We'd love to hear what you thought!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Time for some....Tea-riffic Tuesday Tea!

Hello there,

Happy Tuesday! We hope your week has started well!

My week started with a visit to see the lovely Pia who owns Piacha in London. Regular visitors to the blog will remember that we have visited Piacha, the fab London teabar, several times now and we're big fans of their tea range.

Pia was sharing some exciting news with me as they are introducing "tea for two" to their menu! The tea will include tea infused sandwiches, sweet treats and of course plenty of tea from the Piacha range. All very exciting!

On this visit I also indulged in a cup of their "Black and Cherry" - a scrummy Ceylon black tea infused with sweet cherry flavour......

Black and Cherry tea - Piacha

Now I have to tell you - this tea smells amazing! 

Open the packet and you are hit instantly by the mouth watering aroma of cherries, it's a rich, warming aroma which makes me smile every time.

Black and Cherry Tea - Piacha

For this tea you should use two teaspoons of tea per cup, add boiling water and infuse for 3 minutes. You can drink the tea with or without milk (I prefer without).

Once brewed the tea is a lovely amber colour and you can still smell those cherries. The flavour is rich and sweet, but not too overpowering - its a refreshing blend. And as you can see...I think it pairs really well with a bit of chocolate cake!

Black and Cherry tea with some chocolate cake

For more information about this tea and the others in the Piacha range....or to find out about the tea-riffic tea for two pop by the Piacha website

Now, I know we are big fans of Piacha....but please remember that all opinions expressed on the blog are our own.

Thank you for popping by today,