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News, Uncategorized

No cameras please!  Speak to our agent!  Have your people speak to our people!

Pretty sure that’s how it works now we’re big time celebrities after our prime-time interview on the radio last week, on the BBC 3 Counties Radio lunchtime show. 

Okay, that’s a little tongue in cheek, but forgive us for feeling quite excited as we were invited onto the Nick Coffer show to have a tea tasting and tell the story of good ole Twist.  It’s funny how things pan out…  Nick and his producer Jonny found themselves at a colleague’s leaving party at a pub in Flamstead, Herts, pretty much halfway between the studio in Dunstable and Twist HQ in Harpenden.  This pub (The Spotted Dog, highly recommended) serves Twist, and our blends were really well received.  The show likes to talk to local brands, so we got the invite to do a tea tasting, live on the radio. Cool.

So, two of the three founders, Claire and Fraser (someone had to mind the shop back at base so Nicky got that particular short straw) headed off to studios armed with loads of blends and a kettle (which we left there – d’oh).  We were feeling fairly relaxed until a chat with producer Jonny just before we went on air, when he mentioned that the show gets about 100,000 listeners. So, no pressure there then.

So, how did it go?  Find out for yourself, here . We’re on from about 1hr 18mins, just after the Beach Boys. (A Beach Boys record, not them actually live in the studio, obvs.)
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Recipes
With Halloween imminent, we thought we’d stick some Twist Tea into our cauldron, throw in some windfall apples from here at the farm, add some spices from the back of the cupboard and see what we could come up with. Spicy Hallowapple Cookies are the result, and crikey are they good.  Give them a go!
Print Recipe
Spicey Hallowapple Cookies
A deliciously fiery treat for Halloween, with a Twist
Course Snacks
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
cookies
Course Snacks
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
cookies
Instructions
  1. Sift flour and spices together. Cream butter, sugar and honey.
  2. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in cold Mustn’t Crumble tea.
  3. Mix flour into the creamed mixture, adding the tea to make into a soft pastry dough. Add a little more tea if necessary.
  4. Roll out and use your shape cutter to finish, filling the depressions with stewed apple.
  5. Place on a greased baking tray and bake 10-12 minutes at 150’C until golden. Cool on a rack
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News
You may have seen some unpleasant reports in the media about hidden plastic in teabags. Nasty stuff.
If you missed it, have a read on the BBCMetro and the Guardian

Rest assured, our teabags don’t contain any plastic at all, and haven’t, from day one. None. Nadda. 

The survey – or, at least, the way its findings were reported, were rather misleading. It was conducted using  pyramid teabags made from nylon. Twist teabags however, and the string attached, are made from cornsilk, the little threads that come from the top of an ear of corn. Perfectly natural, no badness involved. The tags are paper, and these get heat-sealed onto the string, so no glue required. And the teabags are sealed using ultrasound, which causes vibration and fusion as a result. Clever huh?

This means that it’s all biodegradable – although this can take quite a while. Sam, who is husband/dad to Nicky and Claire, our mother/daughter founder combo, put some on his compost pile and it took three months to biodegrade. (And, when he went outside to show Nicky that they had nearly gone, she went off on one about the weeds elsewhere in the garden so he’s not tried it since in case it happens again.) Instead, it’s best just to put them in your food waste and let your council deal with it, as their industrial waste systems have the right micro-organisms to help the process along.

Our inner bags are made of Natureflex, which is compostable, so that can just be put in your compost bin. Our boxes and labels are made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper, and our caddies are made from tinplate and aluminium. So, if ever you decide to stop filling them with Twist Tea refills (which would be madness, why would you do that?!), they can be reused for storing buttons, pens, sweets, shoes*, or failing that put out with your recycling.

Another way in which the media coverage was misleading was by suggesting that traditional tea bags are composed only of paper.  #FakeNews (although in this case it actually is fake news, rather than the type of fake news that is actually not fake but an orange buffoon with a shredded wheat on his head says it’s fake): traditional tea bags contain around 25% plastic, which is needed to fuse the material together, as this is done by heating the plastic so it melts and sticks together.

So, the bottom line. Our tea tastes great, but doesn’t harm the environment either, so you can enjoy it absolutely guilt-free.

*not shoes. Unless you have really small feet.
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News, Uncategorized
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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