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A few months back, we submitted a few of our blends to the Guild of Fine Foods’ Great Taste Awards.  The awards are judged by over 500 of the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, buyers, retailers and producers, as well as a whole host of food writers and journalists.

These folk know their onions – and their teas – so Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers. As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakable black and gold Great Taste label is a signpost to a wonderful tasting product, which has been discovered through hours and hours of blind tasting by hundreds of judges.   

So, in addition to those that won awards last year (check them out here), here are the new blends that have shot to the top of the class.

Lemongrass & Coconut


This caffeine-free blend smells, tastes and looks stunning, and is delicious whether served hot or cold. (Or even when made into a jelly – check out our recipe here).  The judges said “A stunning blue colour, very unusual and novel, very fresh and lively with a hint of fruitiness and a strong lemon which give it a good balance. Intriguing for sure.” Aw, thanks judges!  Order Lemongrass & Coconut here.

Pure Rooibos

Pronounced ‘Roy-Boss’, this rich, nutty brew with a dark copper hue is naturally caffeine-free. According to the Great Taste Judges, it has a “nice bright smell with hints of vanilla and the liquor is a deep copper/amber colour. The aroma is lovely.” And they should know, right? Order Pure Rooibos here

Classic Earl

We’ve taken our popular Earl Great and given it more oomph by increasing the amount of high-grown Sri Lankan tea in each cup. Said the judges, “A bright, brisk and astringent base tea. Not a typical Earl Grey expression, almost jasmine-noted, but the overall feel was pleasing.” Order Classic Earl here

With Great Taste Awards regarded as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, we’re so chuffed to now have awards for 10 of our blends. Ultimately, our teas are all about taste and it’s for this, rather than branding and packaging, that these awards recognise. (The fact that our packaging is so lovely is just an added bonus.)

Winning awards is lovely, no doubt about it. But ultimately. we just create teas that we hope that our customers will love.  That, rather than gongs and medals, is what it’s all about. Chin chin!

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News
Here at Twist HQ – like so many others across the UK and beyond – we were delighted to welcome the arrival of Master Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, Prince Harry and Meghan’s little boy. 
 
And, with the Royal Family back in the spotlight, we thought it would be a good opportunity to launch our delicious Royal Tea’ blend, created at the personal request of HRH Princess Michael of Kent, and share how it came about.
 
It’s a long story, but it starts with us sending some samples of our tea to a number of publishers and broadcasters in London, in the hope that they’d like them and mention them to their readers.  Luckily, they pretty much all did.
 
The editor of one magazine we approached was SO impressed that he went on a bit of a crusade on our behalf. He just happened to be an acquaintance of Princess Michael of Kent – it’s fairly standard to have members of the royal family on speed dial, right? – and said:

“Ooh, I’ll tell you what, that Princess Michael of Kent loves her tea. Can’t get enough of it. How’s about I take her some to try, see if she likes it?”


(Or words to that effect. He’s a top journo so writes much better than this, obvs.)

He does.. and she does.  Next thing we know, we’ve been summonsed to Kensington Palace to give her a proper tea tasting.  We put on our finery, get our hair done, practice our curtsying and bowing and there we are, in a beautiful drawing room, talking through some of our collection.  We were absolutely delighted that she really loved what she tasted – so much so that she decided to serve them at a garden party last summer.
 
During our discussion, we asked her what scents and flavours she liked, and it turns out she’s a big fan of rose and cinnamon.  She asked if we could create a blend that combined the too, and we duly did.  What else could we call it but Royal Tea?
 
Initially, we only created a small batch, and have been sending samples to members of our Tea Club or to a handful of the hotels, cafes and restaurants we supply.  But, feedback has been so good so we’ve ramped up production and added it to our range. It’s a caffeine-free fruity and floral blend that includes pear and apple, orange peel and hibiscus as in addition to the Princess’s favourites, rose and cinnamon. Why not try some and see if you like it; you’ll be moving in lofty circles if you do!
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Tea Geekery
The summer of sports has well and truly begun – bringing with it a renewed interest in everything sports related. How do the best of the best do it? What helps them achieve the perfect physical fitness in training to be victorious? In a recent article in the Telegraph, it would appear the English football team has the answer: drinking tea!


The Telegraph’s Jamie Johnson says: “Eric Dier has revealed that a herb-infused drink called maté has become a staple part of the diet of England’s Tottenham contingent, under the influence of their Argentine coach Mauricio Pochettino. “Eric and I spend our afternoons playing Uno and drinking tea – it’s a good way of spending an hour or two, just gossiping,” Danny Rose said. “That’s our secret.”


The tea in question is yerba maté, a traditional South American drink, made from the leaves and twigs of the IIex paraguariensis plant. Maté provides the energy boost without the jitteriness of coffee and has become very popular with top cyclists like Tim Wiggins.

Naturally, we’re big fans of maté, which is why we’ve added yerba maté to our  Breakfast Boost blend. It compliments the full-bodied blend of Assam and Ceylon, with added ginseng, making it the ideal brew to get you up and going.


Whether you train for the World Cup, a marathon, dance classes or just fancy a cuppa, here are 5 functional health benefits of drinking maté.


Reduces inflammation and boosts the immune system

Maté contains polyphenols and saponins, naturally occurring plant compounds. These have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities, providing help during recovery stage – so you can get back on the playing field sooner!  


Provides a smooth increase in energy

Compared to the other most commonly used sports stimulants – coffee, kola, cocoa, guarana – yerba maté provides the most balanced energy boost. Users have reported a smooth and clean energy boost, experiencing a state of high alertness similar to coffee but without the side effects of jitteriness or a sudden energy crash.  


Can enhance physical performance

Current research has shown that drinking maté before exercising may improve muscle contraction, reduce fatigue and help with burning fat for energy, improving sports performance.  


Improves mental functions

Maté contains the amino acid called L-theanine which helps with focus and attention. It also contains a moderate amount of caffeine. The effects of caffeine as a psychoactive stimulant are widely known, enhancing memory, mood and alertness. In maté, the caffeine combines with theobromine and theophylline – providing an additional level of nutrition to enhance creativity and productivity.  


Provides a wide range of nutrients

It can be said that maté provides practically all micronutrients needed to sustain life:

7 vitamins
10 minerals
4 phytonutrients
15 amino acids
11 polyphenols

To add to the list of benefits it also exhibits more antioxidant power than any other tea-based drink. 

 If you’d also like to take advantage of these and many more health benefits, we have Breakfast Boost on its own or as part of our selection boxes. Or Pick & Mix to create your ultimate tea collection.
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Recipes
Print Recipe
Bananacotta
Simple to make and with a subtle hint of delicious banana, these desserts are great for shaking up a dinner party classic.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat the cream, whole milk, sugar and Banana Shake pyramids (with the paper tags removed) in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, then reduce the heat and simmer until the volume of the liquid has reduced by half. Carefully squeeze the pyramid bag against the side of the pan to help release the flavour.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and remove the Banana Shake pyramid, giving them a final squeeze.
  4. Drain the gelatine leaves, add to the pan and stir until dissolved.
  5. Pour into four ramekins or mini pudding bowls (these, from John Lewis, work perfectly). Set aside in the fridge for at least two hours until set.
  6. To serve, dip the panna cotta into a bowl of hot water briefly or slide a flexible knife around the outside edge carefully. Turn the panna cotta out onto a plate. Serve with shards of dark chocolate for an extra treat
Recipe Notes

We'd love to see how you get on! Do share your photos with us on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

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Events



We’ve recently been putting on our very best wellies and hanging out with the good folk at the swanky Soho Farmhouse in the Cotswolds.  Here’s the story…

One of the Pilates teachers at Soho Farmhouse,  Chloe Hodgson is a massive fan of Twist.  She was running a Pilates course at Soho Farmhouse, and happened to take her stash of Twist with her. Like so many others, she just can’t function without it! She got talking with various members of staff, who quickly became enamoured with it too.  She left some samples of tea with them, and next thing you know, we get an email saying that they LOVED it, and wanted to stock it in their deli:

Refresher Green is incredible, it is the first green tea I have ever been able to drink, let alone enjoy, I absolutely love it, I am addicted.”

With Twist now on the shelves of the Soho Farmhouse Deli, we were asked to go along and showcase our blends at their Farmers Market.  It was absolutely wonderful to meet so many members, and even more wonderful that they couldn’t get enough of our blends. Which went down the best?  Probably our Puds Without Sin range,  they were incredulous that the blends could be so delicious yet not contain any added sugar or sweeteners.  Little wonder caddies of individual blends and the Puds Without Sin Selection Box flew off the shelves rustic farm table, while we got loads of orders for our bespoke Pick & Mix Selection Boxes.

Get free delivery on any of our selection boxes here (UK only).

We loved being there – and Soho Farmhouse clearly loved having us, as shortly afterwards, the events manager asked us to do a tea tasting session for some bloggers who were being hosted by the super health and beauty brand Birchbox. Sure, we said  – so armed with a load of loose leaf tea, our specialist tasting equipment, and lots of bon homie, we set up in a pretty space just by the main barn.

We were delighted that the bloggers really liked the tea and have said plenty of kind things about us on their social media channels.  Hooray! 

They were all lovely; Thank you @livpurvis, @wonderful_u, @alex_cameron, @wishwishwish, @rachelhumphrey82, @meganellaby and @fellaby for joining us!

We’re talking to the Soho Farmhouse events team about doing more member tastings, so we won’t put our wellies back in the cupboard just yet…

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Events

 

It’s been a busy month here at Twist HQ, as our first Christmas approaches.  Our range of Christmas products has gone down a storm, while our core range continues to get more and more fans as word gets out.

Saturday saw us do our bit for the community by supporting our local Primary School’s Christmas Fair. 

We donated loads of tea to the cafe,  which was selling a truly impressive range of homemade cakes, that’s for sure. We will confess to going a little overboard on the cakes ourselves – so it was lucky that the Twist stall  was right next to the lovely Louise Condon from Jump ‘n’ Juice.  She’s a personal trainer with a great online fitness/health/wellness regime that is great value at only a fiver a month and seems to get great results. We’re going to be subscribing to work off the Christmas excesses!

 

It was lovely to meet so many customers at the fair, many we knew by name having seen their orders online but we’d not met. Hearing which teas they liked and why, was super – certainly makes it all worthwhile when a customer says our tea is the best they have ever tasted.  And we met loads of new customers who were not familiar with us, but after a sniff of our lovely blends and a few tasters, they’ve joined the ranks of Twist fans. 

It was interesting that around half of those who bought teas were doing so for themselves, half were buying gifts for friends and family – the Selection Boxes were incredibly popular in this regard.  We’ve got another fair coming up next week, the Harpenden Collective Christmas Pop Up, so here’s hoping to meeting more potential Twist fans there!

The highlight of the day? Without a doubt,  a message on Facebook from one of the elves manning (elving?) the queue to Santa’s grotto:

“Santa enjoyed two cups of Twist Teas today and they kept his spirits up out in the chilly grotto! …  I think it’s now on his Christmas list (if anyone remembers to get Santa a pressie!)”

An A-list celebrity endorsement if ever there was one. Merry Twistmas!
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News


Here at Twist, we don’t like standing still. So, no sooner had we launched our website back in September, preparations were underway to enhance our product range with some new products to help create Christmas with a Twist in the houses of our customers, their friends and families.

And what’s more, many of these products are a direct result of feedback from our customers, which makes them all the more special.

“Your teas look amazing, but I don’t know which to choose” you said. “Leave it with us”, we said.


And lo and behold, our Tasting Menu was born: one caddy, sixteen different teabags, one heck of a great way to try out the whole range.  It’s been super-popular, both as a treat for customers and an innovative gift for their friends.

“Your teas make GREAT presents – do you do any gift sets?” you said.  “On it”, we said.

And thus were born our Selection Boxes,  in which our tea sommelier carefully curates four or six teas that work really well together.  Absolutely Minted brings together (you guessed it) four minty teas, from our black tea, rooibos and herbal ranges. The caffeine-free Digestifs Selection Box is great after dinner, the Puds Without Sin Selection Box is perfect for some self-indulgence without the guilt, and the Fruit & Herbal and Black Tea Selection Boxes do exactly what it says on the tin. (That’s quite a nice turn of phrase. Wonder if anyone’s used it before?)

“I’d love to buy a big box of all my favourite brews” you said.  “We’ve got you”, we said.

Everyone likes something made just for them, and that’s where our Pick & Mix Selection Boxes come into their own. You choose which teas you’d like, whether you’d like loose leaf or teabags, and we create your own bespoke Selection Box with an elegant, personalised label on the caddy. These are flying off the shelves at the moment (not literally, that would make a right old mess of our stock room), as customers look for innovative, high quality, affordable gifts for friends and family, teachers, colleagues, employees and clients.

Finally, we couldn’t let Christmas pass without creating a couple of limited edition blends that are perfect for the festive season.  So, check out Brewdolph and Mulled Wine – and get them while they’re hot!

Thanks so much for all your feedback, as without it we might not have created all these lovely products. Keep it coming, and enjoy!  

 
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Events


We were delighted to support the recent Tyler’s Wonderland Ball, a fundraising event that raises funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The event is held in memory of local boy Tyler Reader, who passed away suddenly in November 2015 after developing Sepsis following what appeared to be a normal chest infection.  Tyler suffered 6 cardiac arrests during his 8 hours in hospital care, passing away shortly before a heart-lung bypass could be performed.


Money raised on the evening contributes towards an initial fundraising total of £79,500, which will help provide Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Children’s Acute Transport Service with some of the vital equipment and training that they require in order to help treat severe cases like that of Tyler.

At Twist, we did our bit by donating a luxury tea hamper containing caddies and selection boxes worth over £150 to the raffle, and giving our micro-caddies to guests as going home gifts.  We hope that our contribution helped and wish the charity all the best for its ongoing fund-raising endeavours.
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News


It’s been a busy few months here at Twist. Much has happened since we last blogged, so here’s a bit of an update.

The feedback from our focus group in February reassured us that we were along the right lines with our product range and our branding. So, the next stage was to roll it out.  Our design agency did a cracking job of designing our packaging, and the identity was rolled out across various formats, from boxes to pouches to caddies. We even had some branded mugs created, just because…

Then, the legwork began. Armed with samples, we took ourselves off to dozens of local delis and cafes…  And, we were delighted that, without fail, they all absolutely loved our teas and were confident their customers would too.  Of course, some were already in long-term deals with other brands, which is fair enough. However,  there many immediately decided we were a great fit with their customers and got us on board. How strange it was to drop in to the local bakery we’ve been visiting for years, to see it serving our tea!



Getting the teas ‘out there’ created a bit of a domino effect.  Within a matter of days, we received an email from the manager of a local gastro-pub:
“I just had a cup of your mint humbug at Simmons and would love to serve it in the Engineer. How do I go about doing so?”
Soon, we were supplying them,  and a number of other pubs too.

“Café Culture” has been a real phenomenon of late, with customers looking to recreate their experiences in cafes etc at home.  So, it was nice but not overly surprising that a number of people who’d had our teas in such establishments got in touch, asking where they could buy it.  Fortunately, some of these cafes were also delis, so they began retailing teabags in boxes for consuming at home too.

The plan has always been for Twist to be available to customers as widely as possible. Our website will be launched later in the year, and all our blends will be available direct from it. And, excitingly, we are in discussions with a number of national retailers and hope to be available on high streets across the UK soon.  Watch this space!
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News
tray of taste cups

Today was an exciting day for Twist, as we gathered a group of target customers and asked them to taste our teas. And – good news! – they really liked them.

Our Tea Sommelier Angela brewed up half a dozen blends from our range:


Our tasters blind-tasted the Classics against some competitor products, and ours were really well received. They liked the rich colour and the strong aroma and said that they would have been more than happy to taste these teas in cafes and restaurants. 

When we mentioned the twists (in this case, the addition of ginseng and yerba mate to Breakfast Boost to help kick-start the day and a slightly smaller cut of leaf to brew TwentyFourSeven a little quicker), they were very impressed. They felt the taste of TwentyFourSeven could be a little stronger, so we’re taking that on board and are going to increase the tea content a touch so we get it spot on. Thanks for the input!

female tester
Next, the Puds without Sin, and the taste of these was a real hit.  The tasters couldn’t believe that there was absolutely no added sugar or sweeteners and loved the playful blend of flavours. Some of our tasters were ready to buy loads of it right there and then (but they’ll have to wait until we’ve gone into full production. Sorry!)

We then moved on to Cold Brews, which they tested comparison to the kinds of soft drinks they might ordinarily drink themselves or serve to their children.  Again, the taste of these a real winner, and with their mum-hats on, the tasters were really excited to have an alternative to sugary drinks and smoothies that their children would absolutely love.  We’re going to create another Cold Brew blend, as we think there are other flavour combinations that would work just as well, whether for adults or children.

twist mug caddy
Finally, we gave them a sneak preview of our brand name, logo and packaging.  Another hit!  They loved how unfussy and clean the packaging was and thought the hidden T-mug in the logo was really clever and worked very well with the concept that our teas have a hidden something that makes them different from other teas on the market. Yay! We’d like to thank all those who took part. We really valued your input… keep your eyes peeled for the finished product coming to a retailer or café near you shortly.
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Try Something New...

We've just launched ten delicious new blends, including our first decaff black tea. Use code NEWBREWS10 to try them and

Save 10%!