There are few things in life more simple and pleasurable (and rare, if you’re a parent) than a hot cup of tea. In my opinion tea warms the soul, eases the mind, and heals almost any trouble with each sip. Of course it is super-charged when served with an assortment of biscuits (chocolate hob-nobs, yes please).
So I didn’t need all that much persuading when the lovely people at Tea India got in touch to ask if I might like to put some of their finest Indian tea blends, now available in the UK, to the test. Especially when they came with the invitation to “take 30 minutes out of your day to relax and discover the lovely taste of India” – how could I refuse? – I must confess, I had to opt for taking less than 30 minutes out of my day, but they did force me to relax in the name of “work”, so it was all good.
I was kindly sent two different blends to review: Black Tea – “a unique blend of the finest teas with a deliciously rich, smooth flavour” to be enjoyed every day; and Masala Chai – “a unique blend of the finest teas combined with rich, warming spices for a real authentic flavour”. Both come packaged in rather attractive, prettily designed boxes (I’m a sucker for nice packaging) that would look good in any kitchen cupboard.
Straight away I popped the kettle on to sample the Black Tea. Now, as someone who is pretty much devoted to Yorkshire Tea, I would need some convincing, but as I stood waiting for the kettle to boil, reading about how the high Assam content makes this 100% black tea Tea India blend really special and seeing how it promised to comfort and revive me, I was almost persuaded before I’d even sampled.
And, I’m pleased to say, I wasn’t disappointed. I’m no Jilly Goolden, but this cuppa was rich and full bodied, and tasted like a great everyday tea, which at the same time, managed to also deliver something a bit special. I’m a fan of builders tea day-to-day, none of your Earl Grey perfumy-ness for me ta, and this I would say was like posh builders: think Nick Knowles and his crew clad in Prada overalls!
Later that week, on a cold and frosty evening, Richmond Daddy had stoked up the fire and I decided it was time to try out the Masala Chai, which with its spicy and warming promise sounded like just the ticket for a November evening.
Mmmmmmmm… it was like a hug in a mug. Deeelicious. A blend of black tea, ginger root, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, and star anise, it got me feeling distinctly Christmasy and I almost felt transported into the M&S Christmas advert of 2008 – dreaming of opening presents around a big open fire with Gary, Jason, and the crew presenting me with expertly wrapped gifts as the snow fell softly outside. A girl can dream…
There are a further two blends in the Tea India range that I’ve not yet tasted, but which sound equally intriguing and tasty: Vanilla Chai and the exotic, Cardamom Chai. Available at selected Tesco and Booths stores now, you can go online here to find your nearest stockists.
Right, must dash, the kettle’s just boiled and Howard and Mark are calling me to play a festive game of charades…