Archive for the ‘herbal tea’ Category

Time for Tea – our monthly chat with someone who cares about tea

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

nikibakesThis month our Time for Tea chat is with Niki Behjousiar, Recipe Creator and founder of nikibakes. Niki has been blogging for over 10 years and has recently collaborated with Steenbergs on 4 special blog posts focusing on key Steenbergs ingredients, which we will share in the coming weeks.

  1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?

I love a good Persian tea in the morning; it’s so energising and so invigorating. ORGANIC GINGERBREAD CHAI TEA LOOSE LEAF is also a firm favourite of mine to have in the morning from Steenbergs, especially as the mornings are still quite frosty, it warms you up beautifully and gears me up for my morning commute to work, a true blessing for me!

  1. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?

As the day progresses I love to switch to herbal teas, I really enjoy a good chamomile in the evenings.

  1. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?

I would love to try the ORGANIC CHILLI CHAI TEA LOOSE LEAF as it seems like a unique blend and very warming, I haven’t seen anything like it on the market and I love a bit of chilli in my dishes so why not in a drink too!

  1. What other Steenbergs products do you most enjoy and why?

This is a very tricky question as I love all of the products I’ve had the pleasure to try. I particularly enjoy the happy hippy salt; it’s unique and so soft on the palette, the cardamom pods, the harissa with rose, smoked paprika, chermoula…we could be here for a while.

  1. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?

I would most like to have a cup of tea with Sophie Steenberg as she is inspirational and so creative with the spice mixes. She is a person I look up to as a food blogger for good quality spices.

About Nikibakes

nikiiinikibakes has been blogging for over 10 years and has a passion for gluten free and dairy free recipes. She’s a Persian chef who loves all things spice and particularly enjoys Asian and South American cuisine. She’s always on the lookout for fresh and delicious flavour combinations and uses our spices daily in her cooking and on her blog.

Website: www.nikibakes.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nikibakes

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/niki_beh?lang=en-gb

LinkedIn:  https://uk.linkedin.com/in/niki-beh-99005ab7

Instagram: @nutritiouslynikibakes

Steenbergs Becomes Kosher Certified

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

We’ve been working during the last few years on upping our game in our certifications.  It’s alright saying that Steenbergs is good at this and that, but quite another thing to prove it.

In 2016, we began working on both halal and kosher certification.  So far, we have completed kosher certification with the London Beth Din (Kosher London Beth Din) – finalised on 16 December and confirmed 3 January 2017.

After an audit visit and lot of paper trails to be proved, this has enabled over 250 products to achieve kosher certification.  At the start, we won’t have any logo showing that our products are kosher certified, but as new labels are printed we will be incorporating the KLBD logo for certified lines.  This will begin with a rebranding of the organic extracts range in the first half of 2017.

Now, we’ve started on halal certification with Halal Certification Europe.  Because of a different methodology , it means that only those products we blend can be certified and so it will be a much, much shorter list.

At Steenbergs, the key theme is that we must be able to demonstrate that we both appreciate and are addressing customer’s differing requirements for Steenbergs herb, spice and tea products.  This is not only about environmental (Organic) and social (Fairtrade; SEDEX), but also about religious and other ethical factors.

We will address vegan and/or vegetarian in the near future, but have slightly put that to the back of the queue because Steenbergs’ products are plant-based and we seek (so far as possible) to ensure no animal products are used in fertilisers.

Steenbergs: progress at 11 Hallikeld Close

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

Progress on Steenbergs’ new factory is moving along decently since April.  The joists have been put in for the second floor and most of the flooring.

The building work has created a mass of extra space that can be used to store our tea.  Building control have agreed the structural calculations, standards for fire rating and the shape and positioning of the staircase to the second floor.

We should get delivery this week of a new labelling machine from Norpak in Bradford to help with the growth in demand for our organic spices and seasonings – especially the mini jars that are going well in Abel & Cole’s recipe boxes and for gifts sets.  A new packing machine is also being built for us at Gainsborough Engineering in Lincolnshire which should help underpin interest in Steenbergs loose leaf teas and herbal teas.

A couple of photos are below:

Time for Tea with Food Writer Hattie Ellis

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

Our monthly chat with someone who cares about tea

This month we chat to Hattie Ellis, food writer and prolific cookbook author about the delights of tea.

  1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?

English Breakfast perked up with a spoonful of something fragrant put into the pot: sometimes Darjeeling, sometimes Lapsang

  1.  What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?organic-green-tea-lemon-verbena-and-ginger-loose

An oolong, without milk, drunk from a small-ish cup rather than a mug, which I replenish often from the pot. Something about pouring tea is relaxing.

  1. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?

High quality, an interesting variety and fairly priced. I also like the fact your flavoured teas are so natural e.g. the organic green tea with lemon verbena and ginger.

  1. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?

Any oolong eg the Milky Oolong and Baihao Oolong. I find their various fragrances bewitching and refreshing.

  1. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?

If only I could bring back Tony Benn, inveterate tea drinker, to discuss Brexit, Trump and Corbyn.

About Hattie Ellis

Hattie is a food writer and author of eleven books on food and drink that focus on where food comes from and the people who grow, farm, collect and produce it.

Her books range from independent shops (Trading Places); English food and England (Eating England), the honeybee (Sweetness & Light), the chicken and the chicken industry (Planet Chicken) and fish around the coast of Britain (Best of British Fish).

A passionate exponent of tea, Hattie has also written a book called A Passion for Tea, published by Ryland, Peters & Small, all about discovering, exploring and enjoying this delicious drink.a-passion-for-tea-hattie-ellis

Website: www.hattieellis.com

Facebook: Hattie Ellis

Twitter: @hattieellis

Time for Tea with Henrietta Inman

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Time for Tea – our regular chat with a fellow foodie.

This month we’re delighted to chat to Henrietta Inman, who celebrates the publishing of her fabulous new cookbook Clean Cakes on Thursday 18th February. For some of her delicious recipes try her Chocolate & Hazelnut Torte with Honey Praline Ganache or the Rhubarb & Orange Polenta Cupcakes – all free from gluten, dairy & refined sugar.

  1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?

detox-herbal-tea-loose-leaf-infusionFirst thing in the morning, even before tea, I have a glass of water to rehydrate and mug of hot water with lemon, a little apple cider vinegar, a pinch of cayenne and a little turmeric to cleanse my system and wake me up, I love it. With my breakfast, I love having warm water with some slices of fresh lemon, ginger and turmeric. If I have tea, I love Steenbergs’ Detox tea, a beautiful blend of dandelion leaves, fennel, peppermint, red clover and nettle.

  1.  What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?matcha tea open

I love Matcha green tea in the afternoon. It relaxes me but also gives a great energy boost to push me through to the end of the working day.

  1. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?

I adore Steenbergs teas because you have such an amazing array of them and your herbal infusions are like no other I have ever tasted. In supermarkets, one often finds quite similar blends of herbal teas, but Steenbergs are all so original and always contain those extra special ingredients; take Happiness, for example, you open the packet and you are hit by the most beautiful bright yellow marigold petals, gleaming red pieces of rosehip and shades of green from peppermint, lemon verbena and spearmint… it looks so pretty when it’s being brewed too and it tastes incredible with a delicate and soft floral flavour; it’s very calming and makes me smile as I drink it. One often finds digestive blends with peppermint and liquorice, but Steenbergs add anise seed and orange peel to their Digestive Delight making it so original and very good indeed… they all do what they say on the tin, so to speak, and that’s what I like best about them!

  1. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?

New Herbal Tea selection HRWith my book coming out on Thursday 18th February, I’ve had a lot of work on over the last few months with promoting it and building up a buzz. It’s been great and I’m so excited about its release, but after all this work during the day, as well as regular cake orders, I find it quite hard to switch off in the evenings and sometimes when my head hits the pillow it’s still buzzing with thoughts. So I’d love to try Steenbergs’ Dreamtime to help me sleep. As soon as I read the ingredients out to my mother who knows a lot about plants, she said, ‘That will knock you out!’, with St John’s wort, valerian, skullcap and oatstraw to name just a few of the sleep-inducing ingredients! How lovely!

  1. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?

My granny because she didn’t get to see my book before it was Tortepublished. I’d like to have a cup of tea with her, I’d make her my hazelnut and chocolate torte, she loved chocolate cakes, and we’d sit, drink, eat and read my book together for the most wonderful afternoon tea party a deux.

Contact details

Website: www.henscleancakes.com

Facebook: /henscleancakes

Twitter:  @henscleancakes

Instagram: @hencleancakes

STEENBERGS TEA TASTER PANEL

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Steenbergs organic Happy Hippy Herbal Tea

Steenbergs Rose & Bergamot Black Tea (Persian Style)

This time around our tea tasters had the joy of sampling two very different teas: one of our newly packaged herbal teas, Happy Hippy, to uplift and destress and one of our flavoured black teas Rose & Bergamot, a light brewing floral tea.

STEENBERGS ORGANIC HAPPY HIPPY HERBAL TEA

organic-happy-hippy-herbal-tea-loose-leafSteenbergs organic Happy Hippy Herbal Tea is an uplifting and stress busting blend of rose, chamomile and mint designed to lift flagging spirits and fight those wintry blues or mid-afternoon blues.  The rose petals smell and taste like a cupful of roses, uplifting for your nerves and spirit, the chamomile is light, mildly bitter and herbal (with hints of apples) and is calming, while the mints are soothing and refreshing.

One of Steenbergs’ organic teas, it contains organic chamomile flowers, organic rose petals, organic peppermint and organic spearmint.

Sophie comments: “This is one of my favourite teas. It looks beautiful with the chamomile and rose flowers but is also a delicious relaxing caffeine free herbal tea which we all drink in the evening.”

This tea was also a favourite with our taster panel, with 80% saying that they really liked at and 67% saying that they would drink it again.  One taster described it as ‘all of my favourite teas in one – awesomeness!’ Many commented that they loved the beautiful smell and colourful appearance of the tea, and with the new see-through panel on the packaging, we hope customers will be equally impressed.

The name of the tea was cause for comment with the majority of our panel (70%) really enjoying the uplifting and fun element to it.

Chamomile was one of the strong flavours picked out, along with rose and mint although strong hints of meadows, flowers and hay came though.  This was then reflected in where people imagined themselves to be with eyes closed, as 57% imagined themselves outside in a garden or meadow.

Overall 90% of our tea tasters really enjoyed the tea, with 90% describing it as ‘delicious’ (47%) or ‘pleasant’.  Drinking the tea also made 89% of our panellists feel relaxed and contented – so it seems to be doing its job!

Happy Hippy Tea

 

STEENBERGS ROSE & BERGAMOT BLACK TEA (PERSIAN STYLE)

rose-and-bergamot-black-tea-125g-persian-styleSteenbergs Rose & Bergamot Black Tea is a light brewing beautiful floral tea made with Ceylon and Chinese teas, which is ideal for the afternoon or evening.  Axel’s idea behind this tea was to make something evocative of classical Persia – tea and damask rose with hints of orange blossom.  “I imagine fun walking in gardens with tinkling fountains and peacocks strutting their fancy stuff.  So I have devised this recipe that uses light black teas, plenty of rose petals, cornflower petals and orange blossom, then added some cardamom and bergamot for that orange and sweet cardamom taste.  Relax and enjoy life with pleasant dreams.”

This was a very popular tea with our panel with over 90% really enjoying it, describing it as ‘a lovely afternoon brew’; ‘really very good and pretty’; ‘perfume is amazing’.  Interestingly only 58% of our panel were regular drinkers of flavoured black tea so maybe we have some converts!

It was definitely seen as an afternoon (53%) or evening drink (18%), with only 8% drinking it in the mornings.

When asked to highlight words that they felt best described this Persian style black tea, the favourite description was ‘floral’ (24%), with ‘delicious’ (21%) close behind. ‘Mellow’, ‘exotic’, ‘refreshing’ and ‘light’ all featured highly as well.

Regarding the flavours and aroma, rose and bergamot were predominant tastes and smells but cardamom also ranked high up on everyone’s taste buds.  Some of you did find that a bit strong but the majority could be summed up by this comment: ‘The balance of flavours is spot on. I don’t like Earl Grey but I love this’.

WordItOut-word-cloud-1288233

STEENBERGS TEA TASTER PANEL Morning Brew herbal tea & organic Fairtrade Earl Grey Tea

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Our tea taster panel had a delicious choice of teas this time, with a delicate organic Fairtrade Earl Grey and one of our new herbal tea blends, Morning Brew.  We had some great comments on both teas, although 63% of you did prefer the Earl Grey.  Read on to find out more…

STEENBERGS MORNING BREW HERBAL TEA

About Morning Brew:

morning brewSteenbergs Organic Morning Brew Herbal tea is an organic caffeine-free herbal blend created for Sophie as a decaff morning herbal brew. It is hand crafted and packed by us to Axel’s special recipe from organic redbush, organic oatstraw, organic ginger, organic cardamom, organic cinnamon and organic orange peel. The redbush provides the body, the oatstraw is uplifting and the spices add a zing and a spring to your step.

“I start every day with a mug of this tasty morning brew without milk – it starts my day perfectly,” says Sophie.organic-morning-brew-herbal-tea

Since we sent out the samples to our lovely tea taste panel, we have made a couple of changes to our Morning Brew.  Firstly we have managed to find organic oatstraw so we can make Morning Brew completely organic – hooray!  Secondly, we have relaunched our herbal teas in brand new practical packaging to make it easier to see the delicious blends.  We’d love to know what you think…

What did you think of Morning Brew?

Given the name ‘Morning’ Brew and the blend of uplifting herbs, it was interesting to see that only 29% would drink it just in the morning, with the majority happy to drink it at any time of the day (56%) and 9% in the evening.  Only a tiny minority didn’t like the blend.

morning brew worditout

The vast majority of our tea tasters enjoy herbal tea on a regular basis (88%), with 77% rating it excellent or good. When asked to describe how it made you feel we were delighted to find that ‘refreshed’, ‘invigorating’ and ‘energised’ were frequent words, as though was ‘relaxed’ – how good to feel both at the same time!

morning brew descriptions

Although very positive about the tea, it wouldn’t be the majority of our panel’s first drink of the day, many of you preferring a caffeinated drink such as coffee or black tea to give you that much-needed kick start.  Maybe it doesn’t go well with toast which it what the majority of our panel have for breakfast.  We particularly liked the sound of ‘toast with a savoury topping – goats cheese & honey or peanut butter & black pepper’ – delicious!

STEENBERGS ORGANIC FAIRTRADE EARL GREY

About Steenbergs Earl Grey:

organic-fairtrade-earl-grey-tea-loose-leaf-125g-tiSteenbergs Organic Fairtrade Earl Grey Tea is a deliciously light and fragrant classically scented organic black tea.  It comes from the Greenfield organic Tea Estate which lies between 5000ft and 6000ft above sea level in the Uva Highlands in central Sri Lanka. We pay a premium for the social welfare of the 770 people on this Greenfield Tea Estate. Visit our About FAIRTRADE  page for more information.

Sri Lanka is a jewel of a tropical island, located just above the equator with perfect growing conditions for organic Fairtrade tea, the climate is temperate, but rainy. Uva tea is regarded by the Japanese as the best of all Ceylon teas and we tend to agree. It produces a pale liquor with a slightly astringent taste that works very well with the flowery Bergamot flavour.

We use Greenfield organic Fairtrade Orange Pekoe grade tea leaves as its base, which compliments the sweet, citrus flavour of bergamot oil. We only use 100% organic bergamot oil for flavouring. The story is that in 1830 the second Earl Grey was presented with the recipe for this tea during a diplomatic mission to China.

What did you think of our Earl Grey?

With 78% of our panel rating the tea either Excellent or Good, here were some of the lovely comments you gave us on our Earl Grey:

“Wonderful!”

“Earl grey is a winner in my books, again down to the taste but I loved it!

“Even the last cup from the pot is lovely.” “It hits the spot.”

“Rarely drink Earl Grey – but this is amazing! Love the large tea leaves.”

However some of you were less enamoured and felt that the tea was not as intense or flavoursome as you would have liked.

Here are some of the flavour and aroma descriptions that you came up with.  It’s interesting to see that both ‘strong’ and ‘mild’ featured heavily, although ‘delicate’, ‘light’ and ‘citrus’ were definitely the main adjectives used.

Earl grey worditout

Of our taster panel, 59% were already regular Earl Grey drinkers, enjoying Steenbergs but also several other brands.  Over half of our panel drank the Earl Grey without milk and of those, 26% drank their black tea with lemon, with a small handful added sugar or honey to their tea.  If milk was added is was most likely to be cows milk (76%) although a variety of other milks were drunk including soya, almond & goat’s; although of those who drank both, several preferred cow’s milk in their tea but non dairy on cereal.

It was interesting to see that the vast majority of our panel enjoy their tea from a tea pot, with 72% feeling it is a ‘must’ for an enjoyable tea experience.  A tea bag versus loose leaf tea was another interesting debate and really boiled down to time.  54% definitely prefer loose leaf, with 20% preferring bags and 26% using either depending no how much time they had.

58% of our panel also enjoyed tea as their evening drink of choice, although 76% of those chose a decaffeinated herbal tea to wind down.  14% though felt that a glass of wine or a G&T was a much better way to spend an evening and 12% chose a soothing milky drink.

In conclusion, loose leaf tea in a lovely tea pot at the weekend with friends, or whilst reading or watching TV, was agreed to be a very relaxing way to enjoy a cuppa!

Top 5 tea picks – chosen by Axel Steenberg

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Axel’s top 5 tea picks – loose leaf

We (Sophie and I) both drink a lot of tea – all loose leaf and Steenbergs. We take our current favourites away with us on holiday and when we are away for the weekend. (Although depending where we are going we also may take the odd loose leaf tea infuser). What we drink varies on the day, how the day is going, the time of day and who we are with.

Axel’s top picks for tea at the moment are:

Organic English Breakfast tea – I start the morning early with a large pot of our organic and Fairtrade English Breakfast tea. It sets me up for the day

Organic Gunpowder green tea – a traditional Chinese green tea – whose leaves look like little shots of gunpowder before they are immersed in water. You only need a few grains to make a wonderfully refreshing cup of tea. I drink this for a large part of the day, along with jasmine tea.

Organic Jasmine green tea – another traditional Chinese green tea – this time flavoured with jasmine. Again, you don’t need much of the leaf to create a wonderful infusion. I can drink this all day long, along with the gunpowder tea.

Organic 1st Flush Darjeeling Puttabong tea – It’s one of the most delicious Darjeeling I’ve tasted for a couple of years and is a real treat.

Chillax infusion – a calming herbal tea we designed to dissipate life’s stresses. We developed its unique relaxing herbal blend with oatstraw, St John’s wort, lime flower, skullcap, chamomile, red clover, catnip and lemon balm. Lemon balm, oatstraw and St John’s wort lifts your flagging spirits, while the catnip, chamomile, lime, red clover and skullcap soothe those angsty nerves.

For more views on teas, look at the Steenbergs Time for Tea columns, where we talk to people about what they love most about tea. Alternatively we also have the feedback from the Steenbergs tea panels – where customers are asked for their views on different teas throughout the year.

What’s the carbon footprint of your cuppa?

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

It depends is perhaps the best answer.

It depends on what you drink and also on how you treat changes in land use.

For tea, the carbon footprint is 87 g CO2 for a mug of Steenbergs black tea taken with milk.

This includes the carbon footprint of brewed tea is 48 g CO2 for black tea, plus also probably for white, green and herbal teas.  But to this, we need to add another 39 g CO2 for any milk added, if (as most Brits do) your tea is made with milk.

If you use teabags, an extra 4 g CO2 is added, or 5% to the carbon footprint.

This compares with 129 g CO2 for a coffee.  About 60% of this comes from the coffee itself and the remainder from the milk.  For milkier coffees like a cappuccino or latte, the carbon footprint is much larger at 222 g CO2 and 318 g CO2, because more milk is used.

Hot chocolate have the biggest footprint with its major cost again the milk.  If you include land use changes for the cocoa, this becomes even larger with the cost of the mix doubling to 43 g CO2 per mug from 21 g CO2.

Carbon in hot beverages

Carbon footprint of hot drinks

What does this tell us?

We can all reduce our carbon footprints by drinking less milk.  We can have lighter teas drunk without milk, and cut back on large lattes and hot chocolates. White and green teas, Darjeeling or China teas and herbal infusions are other tasty possibilities.

Then, drink loose leaf infusions rather than teabags as this extra packaging ups your CO2.

Notes

Carbon dioxide is lazily used here to mean carbon dioxide equivalent, i.e. it includes carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide gases.

These are comparable to figures in Mike Berners-Lee’s book “How bad are bananas?: tea with milk 71 g CO2, tea without milk 21 g CO2, milky coffee 71 g CO2, cappuccino 235 g CO2 and a large latte 340 g CO2.  His book did not have figures for hot chocolate, or at least I couldn’t find any.

How much water is needed for a mug of coffee or tea?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

The simple answer is not much – about 225ml.

But look deeper and we need to consider the rainwater needed to grow the coffee beans and tea leaves, plus the water used to process these and make any packaging.

Over the last few years, we have been looking at the environmental costs within Steenbergs products.  We have looked at our carbon footprint, possible pollution from cleaning chemicals and our recycling rates.

Our main finding has been that over the lifecycle of Steenbergs’ products the biggest environmental burden by far is the virtual water (i) to grow Steenbergs’ herbs, spices and teas and which is then transferred when these move from India or Sri Lanka to the UK.

In money terms, the environmental costs of water usage are 2½ times larger than our carbon footprint.  It’s about 138 million litres, roughly 55 Olympic swimming pools.

Furthermore, this virtual water dwarfs the actual water used to make a mug of coffee or tea – the 225ml we glibly used for our initial answer.

The virtual water in a mug of coffee or tea is 635 times and 151 times the actual water used to make your drink.

So 143 litres of virtual water are needed to grow your morning coffee, but only 0.2 litre of water is needed to make it.  In contrast, the virtual water for tea is 34 litres, one quarter of the water consumed in a coffee.

If you include the virtual water in milk, this bumps up the figures to a hefty 169 litres of water needed for a mug of coffee and 60 litres for a mug of tea.

For a hot chocolate, it’s even higher.  415 litres of water, mainly rainwater, are needed for each hot chocolate.  That’s a whopping 2048 times more water than your mug holds.

For cappuccinos and lattes, more coffee is used in making the espresso and quite a lot of milk is then added.  This ups the virtual water content to 340 litres for a cappuccino and 381 litres of your latte.

So next time you have a drink, pause for a moment to think about the massive amounts of rainwater that were needed for your small cuppa.

Graph that shows breakdown of water between blue and virtual water in hot beverages

Breakdown of total water in hot beverages

Notes:

(i) Virtual water is “the volume of water that is required to produce the product.”

(ii) Water footprint calculations:

water table

(iii) In our calculations, we have drawn heavily on the pioneering work of Chapagain and Hoekstra of the University of Twente (Netherlands):

Chapagain, A.K., Hoekstra, A.Y. (2004) Water footprints of nations, Volume 2: appendices, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Research Report Series No. 16, November 2004

Chapagain, A.K., Hoekstra, A.Y. (2007) The water footprint of coffee and tea consumption in the Netherlands, Ecological Economics, 66: 109-118

Jefferies, D., Muñoz, I., Hodges, J., King, V. J., Aldaya, M., Ercin, A. E., Milà i Canals, L., Hoekstra, A. Y. (2012) Water footprint and life cycle assessment as approaches to asses potential impacts of products on water consumption.  Key learning points from pilot studies on tea and margarine, Journal of Cleaner Production, 33: 155-166