Archive for the ‘Tea’ Category

Matcha Chai Smoothie – A Morning Pick-Me-Up

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

I was feeling a bit jaded this morning, so I needed a pick-me-up to kick start the morning.

Rather than making myself a strong black tea, I reckoned on tweaking my Cacao Smoothie Recipe and came up with this Matcha Chai Smoothie.  It could easily have been called a M+M smoothie for Matcha and Maca but it might have disappointed those hoping for a really sweet candy drink.

Matcha Green Tea Smoothie, great for a healthy morning pick-me-up

Matcha Green Tea Smoothie, great for a healthy morning pick-me-up

This is an adult smoothie, and not something that everyone will go for; but it did the trick for me.

I used the same core of almond and coconut milk for a dairy-free base, with banana, almond butter and flax seeds for the carbohydrate and protein body.

To these, I flavoured with some maca root powder and 1 teaspoon of organic matcha tea.  You can double or halve the matcha, depending on how much you like its slightly marine-like flavour.

I used a bit more maple syrup than usual.  This toned down the matcha flavour.  You’re welcome to reduce that, or switch to a honey sweetener.  You could use agave, but I am not so keen on agave – it’s very sweet and more processed than I like.

For a sugar free version, I removed the maple syrup/honey and replaced it with half a teaspoon of vanilla powder.  This was really tasty and a good alternative if you’re trying to cut out sugar from your diet.

Matcha chai smoothie

100ml almond milk
100ml coconut milk
1 chopped banana
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp flax seeds
½ tsp chai masala spices
1 tsp maca powder
1½ tsp matcha tea
2 tsp maple syrup or honey

Simple combine all the ingredients into a blender.  Whizz until smooth, then enjoy.

Sugar-free matcha chai smoothie

100ml almond milk
100ml coconut milk
1 chopped banana
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp flax seeds
½ tsp chai masala spices
1 tsp maca powder
1½ tsp matcha tea
½-1 tsp vanilla powder

Simple combine all the ingredients into a blender.  Whizz until smooth, then enjoy.

 

TEA TASTER PANEL Steenbergs English Breakfast Tea & Steenbergs Jasmine Green Tea

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Many thanks to our tea taster panel who this month had the delights of tasting Steenbergs English Breakfast Tea: a strong, aromatic blend of organic Fairtrade teas from Sri Lanka and Assam, Kerala and Darjeeling in India; and Steenbergs Green Tea with Jasmine: a delicately flavoured green flower tea from China.  Two very different teas with unique flavours and we loved hearing how, when and why you enjoy drinking them.

Steenbergs organic Jasmine Green Tea 

organic-jasmine-green-tea-loose-leaf-tea-caddy

We asked you to describe the flavour and aroma of the tea and the predominant descriptions were floral, sweet, light, fresh, delicate and (luckily!) jasmine. Interestingly one of you who wasn’t keen on the flavour of scented teas still loved the aroma! We did love the fact that one of our panel likened the tea to ‘coming home – similar to a pair of cashmere bedsocks!’

We were also fascinated to find out how it made you feel, with many of you saying relaxed, refreshed and healthy – what more could you want from a tea!  Other notable quote included: ‘both myself and my 2 year old give a big thumbs up to the Jasmine Green Tea'; ‘much nicer than jasmine flowers which I find too heady or sickly’; ‘warm climes with jasmine abundant on every corner’; ‘evokes holiday & summer memories’; and ‘floral with perfect level of bitterness’.

Around half of our tea panel were already green tea drinkers with a wide scope of brands and varieties regularly enjoyed, including long jing and gunpowder. Brewing of the tea averaged 4-5 minutes but again it was often down to personal preference.

When assessing the overall preference for teas, the Jasmine was more popular than the English Breakfast. However, other interesting teas were mentioned such as Silver Needles, Gingerbread Chai, Redbush, Rose & Bergamot & Happy Hippy, all making it into your top tea choice.  It shows the great range and variety of teas available to us now, with green, white and herbal teas vying for position with our traditional black teas to be your favourite.  We certainly had an expert panel though, with 76% of you championing tea as your favourite daytime drink.

 Jasmine Green Tea

Steenbergs organic Fairtrade English Breakfast Tea

english-breakfast-tea-in-caddy-organic-fairtrade

With comments such as: ‘good balance of high & low tones’, ‘good subtle flavour’ and the ultimate accolade of being ‘better than PG’, many of you enjoyed the flavoursome qualities of this black tea, although a few of you did feel that it could be more intense and fuller in flavour.

Our tea tasters were evenly split in their desire to try it with or without milk, with 63% preferring to drink it in the morning than any other time of day.

Half of our tea tasters use a pot to brew their tea, with 27% preferring a mug and the rest going with the flow.  The majority of our panel do have a favourite mug from which to drink their tea with all sorts of shapes and sizes to choose from.  Porcelain was popular as were some personal favourites: an Emma Bridgewater mug saying ‘Best Friend’; a tall thin Disney Princess mug or a big wide green stoneware mug.  On average the tea was brewed for 3-4 minutes, although anywhere between 1 and 8 minutes was noted.

For that first drink of the morning, many of you always go for tea (60%) with hot or cold water (24%) being increasingly popular than coffee (12%).  A luxury for some, a newspaper is only standard with your cuppa for 40% of you, with The Times and The Guardian featuring as the most popular reads.

Have a look at some of the words used to describe Steenbergs English Breakfast Tea – the larger the word the more times it was mentioned.  Do you agree?

English Breakfast

Although a rather unfair comparison with two distinct teas, 70% of you did prefer the Green Jasmine to the English Breakfast.  Are we becoming more international with our flavours? More health conscious? Or, as with many things, is it just down to our own personal preference.

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.

Time for tea with Ximena Del Castro, from the Fairtrade Living blog

Monday, April 20th, 2015

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

Ximena del Castillo, from Fairtradeliving

Ximena del Castillo, from Fairtradeliving

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

I have 2 young children and way too much packed into most days so I need my first tea to pack a punch… so I usually go for a strong Fairtrade Breakfast or Assam. I don’t worry too much about how long I leave my bag to brew, but I do pay a lot of attention to the colour once I’ve added a splash of milk and friends will always tease me because I need it to be a deep caramel… not cream!

2. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?
Either a Fairtrade Spiced Chai or an Earl Grey. I always save up my Earl Greys for special occasions, a bit like champagne.

3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?
Well of course the wide range of Ethical, Organic and Fairtrade teas, but I also love the uniqueness their gorgeous packaging, which makes them excellent presents.

4. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?
I love the sound of the Green Tea with Peppermint!

Steenbergs organic green tea with peppermint loose leaf tea

5. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?
My favourite author at the moment is Brene Brown (Daring Greatly) who writes beautifully about vulnerability, love, happiness and parenting – I think I would love to have a big pot of tea with her and pick her brains about so many of her fascinating ideas.

Your contact details
Website: http://fairtradeliving.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fairtradeliving
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fairtradeliving
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=127415733
Instagram: https://instagram.com/fairtradeliving/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/fairtradeliving/
Google+:https://plus.google.com/+XimenaDelCastillofairtradeliving/posts

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

Time for Tea with @JasmineTrinity

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Time for Tea – our regular chat with someone who cares about tea. This time it’s with Jasmine Trinity owner of the Self-Sufficient Cafe – a virtual cafe which showcases tasty vegan recipes .

Jasmine Trinity of the Self Sufficient Cafe Blog talks to us about tea

1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?
At the moment it’s Lady Grey, I really enjoy a cup first thing and it gets me going, ready for the day ahead. I just love the delicate flavours and the perfume it gives.

2. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?
Green Tea with Jasmine, it keeps me calm especially if I’m having a manic day at work!

3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?
The extensive range of teas, I would love to try all of them! I’m a massive fan of tea!

Steenbergs loose leaf white tea with lemongrass and orange blossom is a beautiful tea.

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

I think I’d have to go for the white tea with lemon grass and orange blossom. I haven’t tried many white teas and this one sounds just perfect for a Spring morning, which hopefully is just around the corner.

5. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?
Now there’s a question! Who would it be? Decisions decisions……at this moment in time I think it would have to be Tobey Maguire, fellow vegan and spiderman, perhaps he could help me overcome my phobia with spiders!

Your contact details
Website: http://selfsufficientcafe.blogspot.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SelfSufficientCafe
Twitter: @JasmineTrinity
LinkedIn: Jasmine Trinity
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jasminetrinity/

a virtual cafe which showcases tasty vegan recipes

Time For Tea with Helen WIlson of www.lotsofnicethings.com

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Time for Tea – our monthly chat with someone who cares about tea. This time from Helen Wilson whose blog is www.lotsofnicethings.com

Helen Wilson from www.lotsofnicethings.com.

Helen Wilson from www.lotsofnicethings.com.

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

2. What is your favourite tea to relax you in the afternoon?
Chamomile
3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?
All the unusual varieties and the fact they are fairtrade and organic
4. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?
Redbush Chai – because I love chai flavours but am trying to cut down on the caffeine.

Steenbergs Organic Red Chai tea is a caffeine free, herbal, loose leaf chai made from redbush tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Jamie Oliver. I’d like to talk to him about food and convince him to go vegan!

Your contact details
Website: www.lotsofnicethings.com

Time for Tea from John Gregory-Smith

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Time for Tea – our monthly chat with someone who cares about tea – this month we hear from chef and blogger John Gregory-Smith –

whose blog is eat.travel.live.

EatTravelLive_Email2 copy

John Gregory Smith , chef and blogger of Eat.Travel.Live

John Gregory Smith , chef and blogger of Eat.Travel.Live

1. What is your favourite tea to set you up for the day first thing in the morning?
I am addicted to Green tea with lemon and I knock it back all day when I am at work.

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

3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?
A great selection of loose teas
4. Which Steenbergs tea would you most like to try and why?
I love black tea with a slice of lemon, it reminds me of india. I would love the Black Tea Loose Leaf so you get the full theatre of brewing in a tea pot (Note from Axel – the classic Chinese Keemun tea is delicious with lemon)

5. Who would you most like to have a cup of tea with and why?
Kate Moss, she’s cool. Although we might have to irish up our tea!

Your contact details
Website: http://www.eattravellive.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eattravellivemag
Twitter: @eatravelivemag
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/eattravellive/

Time for Tea with Helen @FussFreeFlavours

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

The lovely Helen Best Shaw from Fuss Free Flavours imparts her tea habits and desires in this month’s Time for Tea blog spot.

 

HBS Profile Phoho

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

I am an afternoon tea type of person – I drink coffee in the morning – but occasionally I’ll have a coconut, banana and matcha smoothie for breakfast.

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

It depends – I always drink my tea without milk and usually choose something light – Japanese, Chinese greens and whites.  I always use my Emma Bridgewater teapot, silver tea strainer and use a china mug.

3. What do you like best about Steenbergs teas?

The variety and quality! And that I know that they are organic and FairTrade, or traded fairly

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

Steenbergs white tea stars – part of the Steenbergs flowering tea.

The white tea stars – they look adorable – or any of the flowering teas.

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

Skye Gyngell – who is my favourite chef and writer by far.  I had the most amazing meal at Petersham Nurseries about 6 years ago and can still clearly remember her amazing salt cod.  Her flavour combinations are wonderful, I want to cook everything from her cookbooks.

For more of Helen foodie news, you can contact her via:

Website:  fussfreeflavours.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fussfreeflavours

Twitter:   @fussfreehelen

Instagram:  fussfreeflavours

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/fussfreeflavour/

Steenbergs Tea Taster Panel

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

SPICE – SEASON – SAVOUR

 

Welcome back to our tea taster panel, where this time our resident testers have been trying out some interesting teas: Gunpowder and Green Earl Grey.   We’ve had a great response and thought we’d share some of their thoughts and ideas with you. 

Steenbergs organic Gunpowder Tea

A new tea for many of our tasters, who seem to prefer it medium strength with only a couple of you needing to add a little sweetness with honey or a slice of lemon.  This versatile tea was drunk at all times of the day and interestingly, a good few of you chose to drink this after dinner in the evening.  Reminiscent of folk or classical music for many, but with some Chinese opera thrown in!

 

Steenbergs organic gunpowder tea – loose leaf Chinese Green tea

 

Key Phrases for Gunpowder: light, refreshing, easy to drink

 

Steenbergs organic gunpowder Chinese green tea.

Steenbergs organic gunpowder Chinese green tea.

2. Steenbergs organic Green Earl Grey

Steenbergs organic Green Earl Grey Tea – loose leaf

The majority of our tasters really enjoyed this alternative take on a classic earl grey and enjoyed it for its fresh, floral and aromatic flavours.  No milk, lemon or honey was needed at all but more of you ate it with food – albeit a biscuit or some cake! The strength varied considerably as people brewed it according to their liking, with variations from high to low.  Many of you enjoyed this during the morning and found it a cosy homely drink to be enjoyed with family and friends.  Maybe a more upbeat kind of tea than the gunpowder though, as a few of you instinctively chose Reggae music, along with the classical and folk genres.

Key Phrases for Green Earl Grey: fresh, floral, aromatic, delicate, lovely smell

Steenbergs has a wide range of loose leaf speciality teas, a whole range of green teas, blends, single estate teas, chais and herbal teas. Have a browse and let us know your favourites.