3 Aug 2016

Fancy Teas


Whilst it’s not nice to generalise, it may be safe to say that the majority of Lolitas love their tea. However, although you certainly can’t beat old classics like English Breakfast, Earl Grey or green, sometimes you need something a bit more fancy, whether for a Lolita get together or as a treat for yourself. So I thought I’d introduce a couple of my favourites.







Before I start, I’d like to state that this post is not sponsored and all opinions here are my own. Moreover, while Whittard of Chelsea do offer shipping outside of the UK, there are most likely plenty of delicious tea shops in your countries – I only know of Lupicia, which has stores in Japan, the US and France, but they have some real gems there. Those shops may even have similar flavours, so check out what’s available near you first. I wouldn’t want you to spend loads on postage or because of the exchange rate (even if it is still a bit better now after Brexit).



Vanilla Shortbread


This black tea by Whittard is my absolute favourite. Whenever I need a tea-treat, this is what I go for, and I’m so glad that I stocked up on this beauty because I can’t see it on their website anymore. I’ll probably cry in despair once I do run out, but hopefully that’s not for a while to come – should leave me enough time to find a good enough substitute.

You can brew it however strong you like, but I find that medium strength works best for me. That’s when you get the lovely black tea background through which the vanilla-ey sweet bliss shines through. I have no idea how they’ve done it, but it really does taste like butter-and-vanilla shortbread – but in tea form. I never put any sugar or milk in my tea anyway, but with this one you definitely don’t need any milk and the tea is sweet enough in itself that you shouldn’t need any sugar either. You can still get some extra shortbread or another biscuit treat to go with it though!



Apple Crumble


I love apples and some of my favourite teas are apple flavoured as well (Lipton’s Apple Ice Tea, available only in Japan, and Twinings Apple and Pear green tea), so when I was placing an order one time, I simply couldn’t resist trying this one.

Whilst I’ve been slightly disappointed with this one, that’s not to say that it isn’t lovely. I was expecting this to be sweeter, sort of like the Vanilla Shortbread one, and I thought the apple flavour would be stronger, but it hardly comes through as well. What it does taste and smell like is very similar to chai, spiced and warming, which makes it wonderful on a cold, dark autumn afternoon. It probably needs some very careful timing when brewing: too long and it can end up a bit bitter, although in the past I have balanced that out with cinnamon and vanilla sugar, which has worked a treat; too little and you probably won’t get the full depth of flavour. Maybe try it during your comm’s Halloween party or if you’re feeling that autumn evening nostalgia whilst wearing your warmer dresses and cute knitwear… Yes, that sounds lovely and cosy…


Petit Macaron


There isn’t a more typically Lolita kind of confectionery than macarons, dainty, light and elegant, just like us. I nabbed this one when I stumbled upon Whittard having a special offer (buy one get one half price, which is also when I got the next one) because I was intrigued by what this would taste like, as well as reassured by my experiences with their Vanilla Shortbread tea. As you can tell, they since changed the design of their packaging – these are now meant to be refills for tea caddies, which I think is a wonderful idea. Such a shame that I haven’t moved out of my parents’ yet and that we are already very tight for space, but once I do get my own place I intend on starting a proper collection of these (although for financial reasons I might DIY my tea caddies, as these ones are a bit pricey for what they are).

Although macarons are made primarily out of ground almonds, they don’t usually taste of them, as they’re flavoured with other things or the taste of the filling overpowers that of the macaron itself. However, I did expect this tea to be a bit more almond than it really is. This tastes predominantly of toffee-caramel type thing, and there are indeed little toffee cubes in the tea leaf mix. It’s a naturally sweet tea, probably thanks to the amalgamation of different sweet flavours, so it certainly doesn’t need any additions. I’d even refrain from having sweets on the side, it is that sweet, at least for me (however, maybe something tangy, like a lemon tart or lemon macarons, would complement it nicely?). Nonetheless, it tastes absolutely gorgeous and with its soothing sweet flavour it evokes a true Marie Antoinette-esque feeling of luxury and elegance, which befits any and every Lolita. This feels like something which should be drunk strictly out of cute porcelain cups, yet at the same time it’s so delicious that you do want more than a tiny tea cup of it and indulgence is the only way forward here.



Coconut Truffle


I bought this together with the Petit Macaron one (how could I pass by on such a generous offer from Whittard?) because, again, I was intrigued, but also because it seemed like the second most unusual flavour I could find on their website – if I’m spending money on tea, then I prefer it to be something I can’t get by Twinings from a supermarket, and this ticked that box. Besides, I don’t usually go for white teas, so this one made for even more of a change.

It feels as if I say this every time, but it wasn’t quite what I expected, although it is a lot closer to what it promises to be than the other ones. There’s definitely richness to it, quite unexpected from a white tea, but it packs a lot of flavour into something which seems like it will never brew strong. Whilst the coconut flavour mostly disappears, the cocoa certainly comes to the fore. It reminds me a lot of velvet in texture, as much as a liquid can have texture: it does bring to mind the cocoa powder coated truffles when you drink it, and that flavour wraps itself around you like a soft, comforting blanket. And when you smell it, although it takes a few tries, there is a tiny hint of berry-like zing, just at the edge of your sense of smell, which must be from those blackberry leaves. Again, no extra sugar is needed, and because of how rich and velvety it is I’d be inclined to treat it almost as dessert or maybe even drink it instead of hot chocolate before going to bed (white teas differ greatly in their caffeine content, but generally speaking it should not be enough to affect your ability to go to sleep – check the nutritions label if in doubt). Having said that, maybe a coconut or a tart berry dessert would really bring balance to all those flavours, making for a truly splendid and well-rounded dessert experience. 



These are just a few of my favourite teas. I regularly indulge in the Apple and Pear one I mentioned earlier, but also in all kinds of mint teas (nothing beats those brewed out of fresh mint leaves), jasmine ones, Earl and Lady Grey… And almost every chance I have, when going out and discovering that a place has a selection of various teas, I make sure to try something new (random insert: Thirsty Meeples, the board game café in Oxford, has a really good variety).



Are you a tea person? What’s your favourite flavour? Please, recommend me things in the comments as well, I’m always on a lookout for something new to indulge in.
 

4 comments:

  1. I definitely need to expand my tea collection! I only drink tea once in a blue moon and it's always Earl Grey. I think it's a case of me finding a tea I like and just sticking to it because it's the easiest thing to do!

    Thanks for writing this post and explaining the tastes in such a clear way. The vanilla shortbread one sounds the most appealing to me so I do hope I'm able to find it, or at least something similar! Thankfully there's a Whittard in my town that I can have a browse in :)

    I get my tea tins from eBay as the branded ones are usually way too expensive for what they are. I like hunting down the most loliable designs to make the whole tea experience more enjoyable!

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    1. To be fair, you can't really beat a good cup of Earl Grey, it's a classic. I'm always worried when I buy a tea I haven't tried because I have had a few that I really didn't like (a lot of them from the Twinings flavoured green tea range) and it makes me sad that I spent money on something that won't get drunk now.

      Oooh, if you do, ask the, about the vanilla shortbread, maybe they're hiding a secret stash somewhere. Or at least they could recommend something similar. I love shopping at Whittard in person, they always have some tea or hot chocolate samples to try.

      eBay and AliExpress are my two main go-to places for everyday kind of stuff. Very likely means that I'm not always buying ethical products, which I'd like to do, but sometimes you just can't justify the price of train branded tea caddies etc. Although charity shops can be good for that kind of bargain hunting too. :)

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  2. I prefer buying tea in store(but not supermarket, unless they have the old fashioned way to fill your own bag).
    I prefer tea without exstra flavours, however I always can drink Earl Grey.

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    Replies
    1. If I could, I would buy it in store too, but most specialist tea shops are in the next big city over - which even though it's only 20mins on the train, it feels like a lot to go there just for that. I might have to make more effort and start planing my shopping trips so that they always end up there, rather than getting my bits in my city.
      You can't beat good old regular tea, certainly not for every day. But sometimes something different is nice, be it Earl Grey, mint, jasmin or something more fancy like the ones I mentioned here. Heck, for people who put sugar in their tea even adding flavoured sugar to regular tea can make a big difference. :)

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