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Health & Nutrition, News

Matcha Green Tea has become hugely popular in recent times. Its prevalence might seem to have sprung from nowhere, but Matcha is a type of Green Tea that has its roots spanning back nearly 1000 years. You’ve probably seen Matcha lattes, Matcha smoothies and Matcha desserts of all kinds popping up in cafes everywhere as well as images of Matcha on your social media feed. So, what is the big deal about Matcha? What does Matcha do for you? Is it really the superfood it is reputed to be?


While we have enjoyed drinking matcha at Twist for some time now, we thought it was time that we explored some of your most pressing Matcha questions:



What is matcha?

Matcha, otherwise known as Matcha Green Tea, or Matcha powder, is the finely ground powder of the Japanese Tencha Green Tea leaf. Farmers grow matcha by covering their Tea plants for approximately twenty to thirty days before harvest to avoid direct sunlight. This increases chlorophyll production, boosts the amino acid content, and gives the plant a darker green hue. Once the Tea leaves are harvested, the stems and veins are removed, and the leaves are dried before being ground into a fine powder known as Matcha.


Matcha is historically tied to the Japanese tea ceremony and zen practices including meditation. It is thought that tea was first introduced from China to Japan in early in the 9th century. But it was not until a Buddhist monk named Esai brought Chinese methods of meditation and of preparing tea to Japan in 1187 that the tea ceremony took root. Having studied with Chinese Buddhists, Eisai had learned that tea was used to promote health and to stay alert during meditation.



How is Matcha different from Green Tea?

Matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, as does Green Tea. Therefore, Green Tea and Matcha share many nutritional qualities. However, this is where the similarities end. The distinctive way in which Matcha Green Tea is cultivated and then processed results in Matcha having a unique chemical composition. The period of shade-growth increases the plant’s levels of chlorophyll and antioxidant substances, resulting in nutrient-dense leaves. One serving of matcha provides approximately 10 times the nutrients that a serving of Green Tea does.

 

The difference in preparation of Green Tea versus Matcha also sets these brews apart. With Green Tea you remove the leaves after they have infused in hot water, before you drink it. With Matcha you ingest the entire leaf, meaning none of the health benefits of the Green Tea are lost. Matcha, therefore, packs in a more concentrated number of antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds.

 

What does Matcha taste like?

You might have heard the word umami being bandied about when people describe the taste of Matcha. Umami simply means a ‘pleasant savoury taste’. A good quality Matcha, such as our Pure Matcha, has a slightly sweet, yet earthy/umami flavour. Because we use premium matcha powder there should be no bitterness, and therefore no need to add sugar. But if you prefer your matcha with milk this will sweeten it slightly. Pure Matcha has a vibrant green colour and will provide you with an energy boost minus the jitteriness of coffee.

 

Why does some Matcha taste so bad?

There are different grades of Matcha. Some less premium tea brands may offer culinary grade Matcha, rather than premium or ceremonial grade, meaning there will be a bitterness present in your brew. This is because older, tougher tea leaves are selected for culinary grade Matcha, whereas younger, sweeter tea leaves are used to make ceremonial and premium grade Matcha. As the name suggests culinary grade Matcha is best for cooking with, while premium and ceremonial grade Matcha are best for drinking.

 

In addition, the temperature and quality of the water used can affect the flavour of your Matcha. If you pour boiling water directly onto your Matcha powder you can burn it. Instead, use slightly cooled water (approximately 80 degrees Celsius). Filtered water, such as with a Brita filter as used by the UK Tea Association, will give the best result, but plain tap water is fine too.

 

If you have chosen a top grade Matcha and prepared it using the correct temperature of water and it still doesn’t taste right, you need to check your storage. Once you have opened your Matcha tin we recommend that you store it in the fridge so as not to lose flavour and colour. Twists’ Matcha Tea Sticks solve this problem, offering you an easy single serve per sachet, thereby limiting waste.


What does Matcha do for you?

Make no bones about it, Matcha is a nutrient-dense superfood. Full of health-promoting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, we don’t call Matcha a wonder brew for nothing!


Health benefits of Matcha

 

  • Because of the unique way in which Japanese Tencha tea (the tea used for Matcha production) is grown, Matcha is generally high in antioxidants, which help stabilise harmful free radicals and prevent or slow damage to cells. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and studies have shown that Matcha contains double the amount of Vitamin C than that of other Green Teas.

  • Another group of antioxidants found in Matcha, catechins, also provide several health benefits. Of these catechins, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), is highest in quantity. It seems that EGCG can help reduce inflammation, particularly after heart surgery. EGCG has also been shown to have an ‘anti-cancer effect’ on particular cancer types by slowing tumour growth.

  • Studies have shown that Green Tea in general can promote heart health development as it can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, allowing easier transport of blood flow.

  • Growing Tencha tea in the shade also leads to increased levels of chlorophyll in Matcha, which can reduce inflammation within the body. This can help ease aches and pains, and problems such as acne and swelling. Chlorophyll is also responsible for Matcha’s bright green colour. To ensure that your Matcha contains the highest amount of chlorophyll possible, always choose the greenest Matcha.

  • Matcha can help improve brain function due to the high levels of L-theanine present in the leaves. L-theanine and caffeine work together to reduce stress and improve concentration. As experienced by Japanese Buddhist monks several centuries ago, Matcha can provide a clear, alert mind with better focus for getting on with the task at hand. The higher levels of l-theanine appear to be another effect of shade-growing and are the reason premium Matcha does not taste bitter.

  • Green Tea has been shown to enhance weight loss as it has the potential to increase fat burn during exercise. As there are approximately 2 calories per 1 gram of matcha powder and zero sugar content, we can’t think of any reason not to include Matcha as part of a well-balanced diet.

  • The antibacterial properties present in green tea can help to protect the health of your teeth and gums, as well as preventing skin blemishes. Some people swear by exfoliating regularly with Matcha masks, but we prefer to drink our Matcha!

  • In recent times the anti-viral properties of Green Tea have become of great interest, particularly with regards to COVID-19. It goes without saying that Green Tea alone is not a cure for Coronavirus, but with its high levels of Vitamin C and other essential nutrients, Green Tea has the potential to greatly boost our immune systems at a time at which we all need it.



While the health benefits of Green Tea have been researched at length, there is scope for further study of Matcha so that we can better understand the benefits offered by this superfood.



Are there any side effects of Matcha?

You might ask, is it safe to drink Matcha every day? The period of growth in the shade increases the production of caffeine by the Camellia sinensis plant. Therefore, Matcha has a higher concentration of caffeine than Green Tea. Possible side effects of caffeine include headaches, insomnia, heart palpitations and an upset stomach. If you think you may be sensitive to caffeine, or if you are pregnant, we recommend that you consult your healthcare professional prior to consuming Matcha.

 

Caffeine content of Matcha

This is how the average caffeine content of Matcha stacks up against Green Tea and coffee:

Average cup of Green Tea

33mg

1 teaspoon Matcha powder

70mg

1 shot of espresso coffee

63mg









As shown in the table Matcha and coffee can contain similar levels of caffeine (depending on how they are made of course). However, the caffeine in Matcha affects the drinker differently from the way that the caffeine in coffee does. There is a synergy between caffeine and L-theanine (an amino acid present in matcha) which allows for a slow-release of energy. This contrasts with the quick boost of energy followed by a sharp drop in energy often experienced following a strong coffee.

What is the best Matcha?

When it comes to selecting a good quality Matcha, the proof is in the colour. The best Matcha will be bright green in colour and very fine in texture. If the Matcha powder looks dull, it is likely to be of a lesser quality and to taste bitter.

 

At Twist we are passionate about creating top quality premium Teas that offer something different than our competitors. Every Twist Tea blend is created from the finest, ethically sourced ingredients. Our plastic free Matcha sachets contain Matcha that is hand blended in the UK and hand packed in plastic free packaging. Clearly, we believe our Matcha is the best available, but which Matcha blend is the right one for you?

 

There are 7 Twist Teas’ Matcha blends to choose from and each offers its own distinct flavour and health benefits.


Pure Matcha
Matcha Green Tea

Pure Matcha is 100% unadulterated premium powdered Japanese Tencha Green Tea. It is a great introduction to matcha as it allows the drinker to enjoy the flavour of Matcha in its traditional form. As it is a premium grade Matcha, Pure Matcha is not bitter and has, in fact, an almost sweet flavour. Perfect for drinking with or without milk, added to smoothies, or included in many recipes, Pure Matcha is as versatile as it is delicious.






Beetroot Acai Matcha

Beetroot Acai Matcha Tea
To create this matcha blend, beetroot and acai berries have been added to premium Japanese Matcha powder for additional sweetness. Beetroot Acai Matcha, with its pretty pink hue, will not only satisfy your sweet tooth, but it will also provide you with the health benefits of both beetroot and matcha. We think Beetroot Acai Matcha is divine when prepared as a latte or, for something totally different, as a base for a salad dressing.







Cocoa Matcha

Cocoa Matcha
If you like your matcha with a hint of chocolatey sweetness, look no further than our Cocoa Matcha. Pure Matcha, raw cocoa and cocoa powder are combined to produce this delicious blend, and to keep things healthy we have omitted all the sugars you find in chocolate bars. While Cocoa Matcha doesn’t taste like a hot chocolate it will satisfy your sweet tooth and can provide the many benefits of cocoa.







Peppermint Matcha

Peppermint Matcha
For the perfect post-lunch matcha blend, try our Peppermint Matcha. This emerald green mix of premium matcha, peppermint and maca will help to revive and invigorate you, as well as to freshen your breath. Find out more about the health benefits of peppermint here. Peppermint Matcha is amazing when prepared cold with a generous amount of ice and a sprig of fresh mint.








Turmeric Cocoa Matcha
Turmeric Cocoa Matcha
Focus and energise with our Turmeric Cocoa Matcha, a blend of raw cocoa, turmeric, ginger and our premium matcha powder. Peppery with hints of chocolate, this blend strikes a balance between sweetness and spice and lends itself perfectly to our chocolate chia pudding and homemade granola recipes. Discover the many benefits to including turmeric and cocoa in your diet.







Turmeric Matcha

Turmeric Matcha
Here is a blend for those who like their Matcha spicy. Turmeric Matcha is a fiery mix of turmeric, liquorice, cinnamon, ginger and premium Matcha powder. This punchy combo will offer you a double dose of antioxidants, which will bolster your immune system and may help to ward off chronic illness. Perfect for making a golden turmeric latte, Turmeric Matcha also works well in savoury dishes such as soup. Discover the many health benefits to be had by including turmeric in your diet.







Raspberry Matcha
Raspberry Matcha
Ta dah! Introducing our newest Macha blend, Raspberry Matcha. A fabulous pairing of earthy premium matcha powder with tart raspberries and goji berries, this blend is delicious as a latte, on ice, or added to a smoothie. Raspberries are high in fibre, great for promoting eye health and are a source of antioxidants.








If you think there are too many to choose from, why not try our
Matcha Tasting Menu. These offer a great opportunity to try all matcha blends and they make fabulous gifts for lovers of premium matcha.

Twist Teas Matcha Range

How to prepare Matcha

Hot

Preparing matcha is not as difficult as you think. As with any tea we believe it is best to start with premium Matcha. Measure your Matcha into your cup or bowl, one Twist sachet, or approximately 1 teaspoon per serving. Sift the powder to break up any lumps.


Next, fill your kettle with fresh (filtered, if possible) water to boil. Once boiled, allow the water to cool to approximately 80 degrees Celsius.


Pour a small amount of the hot water onto the Matcha powder and whisk it carefully, making sure to dissolve all of the Matcha powder and to create a foamy layer on the top. To finish, top up your drink with more hot water, or with frothy milk for a bright green matcha latte, whisking as you pour.


One thing to keep in mind is that if you are drinking Matcha for its health benefits you might want to avoid adding dairy milk. Studies have shown that proteins present in cows’ milk can limit the protection Green Tea gives against cardiovascular disease. At Twist we really like Sproud, a pea-based milk alternative.


Cold

An iced Matcha latte can be made as per the instructions above, with a generous handful of ice cubes added at the end. Peppermint Matcha is particularly delicious with ice. Or, if you are looking to wow some guests, how about serving them a party trick layered iced matcha latte?



Matcha recipes

Matcha is so versatile as a cooking ingredient and we love to experiment with new ways to include Matcha in our diet. You can try sprinkling matcha powder into your morning porridge or smoothie for an energy boost or try some of our recipes.


Matcha pancakes

Fabulous for Pancake Day, or whenever a pancake craving seizes you, Matcha pancakes are a super quick way to include matcha in your cooking. Our pancakes were made using Cocoa Matcha, but you could easily substitute this for a different Matcha blend.


Chocolate chia Matcha pudding

Delicious served for breakfast or dessert, our chocolate chia matcha pudding recipe has been adapted from Heat Free and Healthy by Katharine Tate. Cocoa Matcha or Turmeric Cocoa Matcha are recommended for this recipe.


Homemade granola

Packed full of nutritious oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and, of course, Matcha, our homemade granola makes for a wholesome cereal, or as a yogurt topping.

Carrot, ginger and turmeric matcha soup

A warming and flavoursome soup, perfect for a cold winter’s day. Carrot, ginger and turmeric matcha soup is packed full of anti-inflammatory properties and will provide you with a good dose of antioxidants, including Vitamin C. Turmeric Matcha is our choice for this immune boosting soup.


Chocolate Matcha strawberries

A wonderful way to make the most of strawberry season. Pick your own juicy strawberries at your local farm or grab a punnet from the green grocers and whip up a batch of chocolate Matcha strawbs for a summer treat.

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News

What comes to mind when you think of quintessential British meals? Many would agree that fish and chips, bangers and mash, roast dinners, and of course, cream teas would top that list.  Cream teas are perfect for sharing with friends and family on warm summer afternoons.  As today is National Cream Tea Day, we thought we should address the question of what exactly is in a cream tea?  You might also like to know; how do I make a cream tea? Should the cream be spread first, or the jam? And most importantly, what is the best tea to serve with a cream tea? Please read on to discover the answer to these pressing questions, and more.

 

The history of cream tea 

It is thought that the earliest form of cream tea was enjoyed at Tavistock Abbey, Devon, in the eleventh century[i].  The abbey had been damaged during a Viking attack and, according to Devon historians, the labourers were offered bread with cream and jam to sustain them while they worked.  Of course, tea was not introduced into Britain until the seventeenth century so the Abbey builders may well have been drinking ale with their meal, which is not how we picture a cream tea today!

 

So, what is in a cream tea?

Cream tea as we know it today is made up of freshly made scones, warm from the oven, broken open by hand and layered with a fruity jam and thick clotted cream.  There is debate amongst cream tea purists as to whether the jam should be applied first, or the cream.  Whichever way you prefer, the scones must be accompanied with a pot of piping hot tea. Traditionally, that tea might be a blend such as Twenty Four Seven or Afternoon Perks.  At Twist we have been hard at work in our blending room and have come up with a new taste sensation: the aptly named Cream Tea. A mix of Sri Lankan black tea, apple pieces, hibiscus, elderberries, rosehip and freeze-dried strawberries, this blend is the perfect accompaniment to a cream tea.

 

Is it afternoon tea or cream tea?

One of the eight times of the day to enjoy tea, cream tea refers to scones with jam and clotted cream, served with tea.  Although a cream tea is traditionally enjoyed in the afternoon, it differs from afternoon tea in that it does not include finger sandwiches or pastries.  Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that are the best!

 

How do I make cream tea?

During the first lockdown in 2020, there was a surge in Google searches for cream teas and afternoon teas available for delivery, as people sought ways to cheer themselves and loved ones up[ii]. In 2021 our options have broadened, and we can now choose to go out for our cream tea treats if we wish.  We can also have our friends and family over, which means we can make a cream tea to share in our own homes.

In celebration of National Cream Tea Day, we have whipped up a batch of scones in the Twist kitchen.  We’ve added our own Twist to the recipe by infusing the butter with our new tea blend, Cream Tea. The result is a light and fluffy scone with a subtle tea flavour that is delicious topped with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Don’t forget to brew yourself a pot of Cream Tea to enjoy with your scones!

 

For a stronger tea flavour, try adding a handful of tea-soaked sultanas to your scone dough.



Cream Tea infused scones

Makes approximately 10 medium sized scones.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 10-15 minutes

 

Ingredients
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 60g butter
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • approximately 100ml buttermilk
  • 3 tea bags Twist’s Cream Tea

 

Method

1. Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C fan forced.

2. Line one baking tray with baking paper.

3. In a saucepan, heat the butter until just liquid, before adding the Cream Tea leaves and keeping on a low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the butter from the heat and allow to sit for another 5 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger flavour.  Sieve the tea leaves from the butter (try to get as much of the butter out, but don’t worry too much as some butter loss is inevitable) and allow to cool until the butter is back to room temperature.

4. In a mixing bowl, add the flour and baking powder. Set a small amount of butter to the side for brushing the scones before baking. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

5. Pour in the buttermilk and combine to form a dough.

6. Scoop out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Use a rolling pin to roll it out until approximately 1-2cm thick.  Cut your scones with a fluted 5cm diameter cutter (try not to twist the cutter as you do this) to create medium-sized scones and place on the baking trays.  Brush the tops with the left-over butter/tea mix.

7. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden in colour.

8. Enjoy with friends or family straight from the oven with clotted cream, fruity jam and of course, a piping hot pot of tea.


 

For the all-important pot of tea, ensure you have a caddy of Twist’s premium hand blended tea at the ready.  We suggest our new blend, Cream Tea, but you may prefer one of our other teas.  Black teas, Green teas and Rooibos teas are all recommended for enjoyment with a cream tea.

 

Devon cream tea vs Cornish cream tea

While cream teas can be found in many tearooms across the UK, there is a long-standing argument between the counties of Cornwall and Devon as to the correct method of assembling your scone.  If you order a cream tea in Cornwall, they will insist that the jam goes first, with cream on top.  But venture over the border to Devon, and it’s a different story.  The Devon cream tea method is for cream to go first, then jam.

 

Phew.  It might just sound like a storm in a teacup to many, but this issue causes much debate amongst scone afficionados.  If you are still not sure, why not follow the Queen’s example.  According to a former Royal Family chef, the Queen prefers her scones with jam applied first and cream on top[iii].  Whether you decide to apply jam first to your scone, or cream, whatever you do, etiquette dictates that you must never use whipped cream!

 

So, there you have it, the low down on the humble cream tea.  How will you enjoy yours on National Cream Tea Day? 



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cream_tea

[ii] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52771095

[iii] https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/queen-scones-jam-cream-what-goes-first-debate-cream-tea-outrage-a8260686.html

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Health & Nutrition, News, Recipes

Did you know that after water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world? According to the UK Tea and Infusions Association there are over 100 million cups of tea consumed in the UK per day[i]. There is a really cool counter on their website showing the number of cups continually being devoured – the counter leaps about 1200 per second. This accounts for all types of tea: black, green, white, yellow, herbal.

 

First drink of the day? A cup of tea. Approaching a state of hypothermia? Reach for that thermos of tea. Feeling hot? I know people who swear a cup of tea will cool them down. Going into shock due to a traumatic event? You will be encouraged to drink hot, sweet tea. In need of comfort? You guessed it, have a cup of tea. Catching up with friends, yep, tea is the drink of choice. Unless it’s night-time and you are in a pub, but that’s another story…

 

Out of all the available types of tea, black tea is one of the most popular in the UK. What is the big deal about black tea? Why is it so popular? I do happen to know people (well, two to be exact) who do not like black tea, never have, probably never will. But they are in the minority in the UK. It is almost socially unacceptable to say you don’t want a cuppa, especially if you are British. Tea is our go-to drink in so many situations we don’t often give it much thought.

 

We might not all agree on what is the best time of day to enjoy tea but it is likely that we take the humble cuppa for granted. At Twist we decided it was high time that we addressed this by sharing our collective knowledge on all things black tea:

 



What is black tea?

Many people ask, is black tea the same as regular tea? Black tea goes by many names: a cuppa, a brew, builders tea, to name a few. In the UK, when we talk about a ‘cup of tea’ we usually mean a breakfast tea blend, whether it be English, Scottish, or Irish.

 

After water, black tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world[ii]. Black tea is a drink made from the oxidised leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. This modest plant is responsible not only for black tea, but also green, white and yellow teas. To make black tea, the leaves are picked and withered before being rolled, oxidised (exposed to air), and finally, dried. The dried leaves are sorted and graded by size (whole leaf through to dust) and prepared for packaging. At Twist we select only the finest whole leaf tea and our tea is hand blended to ensure it reaches the consumer in pristine condition. The term ‘black tea’ comes from the colour of the leaves once oxidised. It is called black tea whether we add milk or not. In China black tea is called ‘red tea’, due to the colour of the drink that is brewed from these leaves.


History and evolution of black tea

First discovered in China, tea is now grown in several tropical regions across the world. It is no big deal to buy tea from your local supermarket or café. But it wasn’t always this simple. For hundreds of years China held the monopoly on tea growth and production and kept the entire process shrouded in secrecy[iii]. Following the Opium Wars and ceding of Hong Kong to Victorian Britain, Britain took stock of their rocky relationship with China and became concerned about potentially losing their precious tea supply. A plot was hatched to steal premium quality seeds from the best Chinese tea plantations and grow them in British India, to ensure an ongoing supply of tea.

 

Fortunately for Britain, the plot worked, and Victorians were able to continue their love affair with tea. Of course, the story of the evolution of tea doesn’t end here but we will move on to look at the various types of black tea available.



How many types of black tea are there?

Tea is now grown in many regions across the world and each region produces tea that has its own distinct colour, aroma, and flavour. Currently the largest producers of black tea are India, Sri Lanka, and Africa. The most well-known teas produced in these countries include Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling and Kenyan teas.

 

The two types of black tea used most often in Twist Tea blends are Assam and Ceylon.






What is Assam tea?

Assam tea is tea grown in the Assam region of India. Bordered by Bangladesh and Bhutan, the region has a climate ideal for tea production: cool, dry winters, and a warm, humid rainy season. Widely considered to be of a very high quality, Assam tea is often used in popular ‘everyday’ tea blends as it has a rich, full-bodied taste.

 

Assam tea is used in several Twist Teas blends including Twenty Four Seven, Double Black, Breakfast Boost, Orange Chai and Sweet Chai of Mine.

 

What is Ceylon tea?

Ceylon tea is tea cultivated on the island of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon. Offering a variety of flavour and colour due to the range of altitudes that it is grown on, Ceylon tea is known for its versatility. Ceylon tea is traditionally used in English breakfast tea blends as it has the strength desired to accompany a full English breakfast.

 

Ceylon tea is a favourite at Twist Teas and is used in many blends including Afternoon Perks, Breakfast Boost, Classic Earl, Earl Great, Chocolate Chai, Orange Chai, Vanilla Chai, and All Day Decaf.



At Twist we are passionate about creating top quality premium teas that offer something different than our competitors. Every Twist Tea blend is created from the finest, ethically sourced whole-leaf ingredients, not the dusty dregs you often find in less premium tea brands. Our plastic free tea bags are hand blended in the UK and hand packed in plastic free packaging. Clearly, we believe our black tea is the best available, but which black tea blend is the right one for you?



At Twist Teas we have close to 20 black tea blends to choose from and even we sometimes struggle to decide. Here is a selection of our favourites:

 

Best English breakfast tea

English breakfast tea (or Scottish or Irish) is often a blend of full-bodied teas such as Assam, Ceylon and Kenyan. Usually taken with milk, English breakfast tea is believed to be the perfect accompaniment to a full English breakfast.

At Twist Teas we have raised the bar with our Breakfast Boost by hand blending Assam and Ceylon black teas, with yerba mate for enhanced mental performance and Siberian ginseng for an additional caffeine hit. The ideal luxury black tea brew to get you up and running in the morning, Breakfast Boost will provide you with an energy lift minus the energy crash that inevitably follows a strong coffee.




Best all-day black tea

Looking for a black tea blend to give you an energizing boost at any time of the day? Twist’s Twenty Four Seven is a blend of the finest, organic Assam and Kenyan black teas carefully cut to produce a strong and delicious tea in just two minutes. One of our most popular black teas, award-winning Twenty Four Seven has been designed for all-day enjoyment. Think of it as your new go-to black tea blend! Not only is Twenty Four Seven the ideal brew to turn to for a hot cuppa, it also makes the perfect Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail.

 

Best Earl Grey tea

Earl Grey tea is a black tea, traditionally a Chinese tea such as Keemun, that is flavoured with bergamot. Thought to be named after Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey, and British Prime Minister during the 1830s[iv], Earl Grey tea is reputed to have been created to disguise the flavour of the water at the Earl’s home.

Classic Earl is Twist’s take on this all-time great tea. Our award-winning brew combines high-grown Sri Lankan tea with smoky Chinese Keemun black tea and natural Bergamot flavouring. Infuse in boiling water for 3-5 minutes and enjoy with or without milk.

If you love Classic Earl, you will also want to try Earl Great to see how Twist takes this elegant tea to the next level.





Best Chai tea
Chai, or spiced tea, became popular in South Asia in the early twentieth century. It is made from boiling black tea, ideally a full-bodied type such as Assam, in milk and water with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and peppercorns.

 

To create our aromatic Sweet Chai of Mine we hand-blend Assam tea with traditional spices as well as turmeric, for a modern Twist. Simply immerse a Sweet Chai of Mine tea bag in boiling water for 3 minutes and serve with milk and sugar or honey. Alternatively, you can make a chai latte by brewing the tea in a third of a cup of boiling water and topping with frothy milk. Delicious!

If you love Sweet Chai of Mine, you will want to try our other chai teas.



Best smoked black tea

Lapsang Souchong is black tea that has been smoke dried over a fire. Believed to have been created in China during the Qing Dynasty as early as the mid-1600s, Lapsang Souchong has a distinctive aroma and flavour and can be served with or without milk.

 

At Twist we describe our Wholly Smoke as the Marmite of our teas: people either love it or they hate it. If you fancy drinking a bonfire, this is the perfect smoky blend for you! Add some cold Wholly Smoke to a measure of whisky, a touch of maple syrup and a splash of bitters, for a fiery, smoky Old Fashioned.

 

Best black tea with a Twist

Sometimes a special occasion arises that calls for an exceptional tea blend. At Twist Teas we pride ourselves on our innovative approach to pairing flavours that some may consider unusual. Many of our tea blends feature a Twist, but we think this particular blend is something really special. Raspberry Choc Kiss is a heady combination of Ceylon and Chinese black tea, with the tartness of raspberry, the fragrance of rose petals and a subtle hint of hot chocolate. And just when you think it can’t get any better, there is also a touch of Damiana in this blend, a herb believed to be an aphrodisiac by some indigenous Central and South American cultures.

 

Best de-caffeinated black tea

While caffeine is certainly helpful in giving us an energy boost when we most need it, sometimes we need to reduce the amount of caffeine we consume for health reasons, such as during pregnancy, or if we are finding it difficult to sleep. Decaffeinated tea makes it possible to reduce our caffeine intake without abandoning black tea altogether.


Twist’s All Day Decaf, another award-winning tea comprises premium, organic Sri Lankan Black Tea treated with liquid carbon dioxide to remove caffeine. This harmless process does not diminish the flavour. Other decaf teas are rinsed in Methylene Chloride, primarily used as an industrial solvent and paint stripper. Fancy a cup? No, us neither…

 

If you think there are too many to choose from, why not try our pick and mix tasting menu. These offer a great opportunity to try six delicious teas of your choice and they make fabulous gifts for lovers of premium teas.

 

How good is black tea for you?

You may ask is it healthy to drink black tea every day? Of course, it is important to stay hydrated by drinking 8+ glasses of water per day, but did you know that tea in moderation (maximum of 3 cups of caffeinated tea) can count towards this requirement? Black tea doesn’t hydrate as well as water, but it does help us to increase our liquid intake, which can only be a good thing.

 

Aside from quenching our thirst, a simple cup of black tea can also have some amazing health benefits[v]:

 




Health benefits of black tea
  • Heart health – animal studies have shown that an antioxidant present in black tea called theaflavin can help reduce cholesterol, thereby supporting your heart health.

  • Blood sugar – theaflavin also helps to lower blood sugar levels, good news for those at risk of diabetes.

  • Gut health – black tea has antimicrobial properties that can help improve your gut health, thereby strengthening your immune system.

  • Anti-cancer properties – the polyphenols contained in black tea are thought to reduce the risk of developing cancer as they can have an inhibiting effect on cancerous cells.

  • Energy boosting – black tea also contains an amino acid called L-theanine. L-theanine has been proven to help focus as it facilitates alpha activity within the brain. It is one of the main reasons as to why it is often reported that tea gives a more stable boost of energy in comparison to coffee.

 

Are there any side effects of black tea?

Black tea naturally contains the stimulant caffeine. Excessive consumption (more than 4-5 cups per day) may result in symptoms including jitteriness, headache, difficulty in sleeping or an irregular heartbeat. If you think you may be sensitive to caffeine, or if you are pregnant, we recommend that you consult your healthcare professional about the quantity of black tea you should consume.

 

How to make the perfect brew

Hot

There is much debate around how to make a good black tea. Is loose leaf best, or are bags just as good? Milk first, or water? What type of milk? Is it ok to sweeten your tea, or completely sacrilegious? We try not to be too judgmental at Twist Teas, but we believe the best way to make the perfect brew is to start with premium tea. After that, all bets are off, but this is how we think the perfect brew is made:

 

First, fill your kettle with fresh water to boil. Filtered water, such as with a Brita filter as used by the UK Tea Association[vi], will give the best result, but plain tap water is fine too. Fresh water is better than re-boiled water as boiling removes the oxygen from the water and affects the flavour of the tea. Once boiled, pour the water into your tea ware (teapot, cup/mug or travel cup) to warm it up.

 

Once your tea ware is warmed (within 1 minute), tip this water out and measure your tea carefully (1 tea bag, or 1 teaspoon of loose-leaf tea per cup). Pour the hot water onto the tea and infuse for the recommended brewing time. Some people may be concerned that putting hot water directly onto tea will burn it, but if you have waited the 1 minute after the water has stopped boiling, the temperature should just about be perfect (approximately 95°).

 

Once brewed, remove the tea, and add milk if you prefer. If you have brewed your tea according to our recommended time, there won’t be any bitterness, but if you do like to sweeten your tea that is up to you!

 

Tea Lattes

Twist has several teas that work well as tea lattes, particularly our Chai blends.  Tea lattes are made by brewing the tea in frothy milk and can be enjoyed both hot, or cold over ice.  Recently we converted our Mint Choc Chip into a latte with Sproud, a plant-based milk It was delicious!











Cold

Black tea can also taste great cold, especially during the warmer summer months. It can be made easily enough into an iced tea, and with a little extra effort, can be transformed into a Long Island Iced Tea.

 

Kombucha is another option that uses cold black tea. A fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a culture of bacteria and yeast called a ‘scoby’, kombucha is known to contain probiotics and thought to improve gut health.

 

Cooking/baking with tea


When we think of biscuits or cake and a cuppa, usually we think of these as being the perfect high tea partnership. But what about using tea in the biscuit? Our Earl Great shortbread biscuits use tea as the hero ingredient and the result is gorgeous.














[i] https://www.tea.co.uk/

[ii] http://www.fao.org/economic/est/est-commodities/tea/en/#:~:text=Tea%20is%20the%20world’s%20most,first%20grew%20is%20not%20known.

[iii] For all the tea in China, Sarah Rose, Arrow Books, 2009, p. 29

[iv] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earl_Grey_tea

[v] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6512146/

[vi] https://www.ukteaacademy.co.uk/images/UKTAwhitepaper.pdf

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Gifts, News

Easter 2021 is just around the corner and it provides the perfect opportunity to look back upon the origins of Easter and some Easter holiday traditions that have developed throughout time.

The Christian holiday, celebrated since the 2nd century, is an event to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. A holiday celebrated for nearly 2000 years has naturally developed a variety traditions that have organically changed over time.

 

Food & Drink

As with most festivities, food and drink plays an integral part of the Easter Holidays. At the forefront of these Easter holiday traditions is the Easter Egg. From coloured eggs to chocolate ones they have become an intrinsic part of Easter. The first chocolate eggs are reported to have originated in France and Germany in the 19th Century*. The chocolate doesn’t stop at just eggs though, with chocolate bunnies also being prominent.

 

However, these tasty chocolate treats are not for everyone. When you want all the delicious flavours of chocolate but without the sugar or calories it can be hard to find an alternative. This is where we come in, with our limited edition Chocolate Bunny tea. All the Easter Egg flavours you could want in a tea, and presented in a delightful Easter themed caddy.


Chocolate easter Bunny Tea Caddy

 

Simnel cake and Hot Cross Buns have also been staples of Easter. These fruity delights pair perfectly with our new limited edition Easter Tea. A smooth and sweet tea that does in fact go perfectly with all of your Easter favourites, including Roast Lamb… trust us!

 

Decorations

Easter Eggs aren’t limited to the chocolate variety. Collecting, dyeing and decorating eggs has been a long standing tradition. Whilst it has evolved, this decorating of eggs is something that has been around for centuries. According to Martha Zimmerman in her book, Celebrating the Christian Year, this is a tradition that can be dated back to many ancient cultures including Greeks and Egyptians. They saw eggs as symbols of fertility and new life that were used in religious rituals. This symbolism seems aptly appropriate alongside the story of resurrection and perhaps goes some way to explaining why Easter Eggs exist.

 

End of Lent

Our Easter indulgence is largely due to it signalling the end of lent. Originally a 40 day fast, lent is now more commonly observed by giving up some of your favourite indulgences such as chocolate, sweets or puds. Then by time Easter arrives people are excited to indulge. However, Lent is not easy and we are more than aware of this. So we have a few ways in which you can solve your sweet tooth fix without breaking any rules. Our Puds Without Sin and Chocolate Tasting Menus provide the perfect opportunity to get the flavours of all your favourites without any of the guilt. The Chocolate Tasting Menu also doubles as the perfect gift this Easter.




*https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/17597617#:~:text=A%20lot%20of%20us%20may,given%20to%20children%20as%20gifts.

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Gifts, News

Our Mother’s Day gift ideas at a glance:

 

Mother’s Day 2021 is just around the corner, March 14th for those of you that need a gentle reminder… but when it comes to gift ideas there’s need to stress because we’ve got you covered with this Mother’s Day Gift Guide.

 

We all know mum’s are pretty great and we also know that we haven’t been able to see them as much as we’d like over the last year. So why not utilise the opportunity to spend some time together and host a Mother’s Day Virtual Tea Party . With everything you need to replicate a nice afternoon tea including some very special blends and a mystery tea, this is the ultimate Mother’s Day gift idea. 

Included in this Virtual Tea Party pack is our Limited Edition Mother’s Day Blend. A sweet and floral blend, To Mother With Love is the perfect alternative to flowers for any tea lover.

 


As always, we have a fantastic range of personalisable gifts. A specially designed Mother’s Day Tea Caddy, simply choose the favourite tea of your mum, nan, wife or whoever else you are celebrating this year and get their name put on this beautiful love heart caddy. Or increase your chances of sneaking yourself some tea with a Personalised Mother’s Day Tasting Menu. Choose 6 blends from our wide range, some classic earl greys or mint teas, or maybe one of our more exotic fruit and herbal blends. We’re sure she’ll love them all (but those that she doesn’t you can keep to yourself). Or go the extra mile with the Pyramid Tasting Menu, 16 delicious blends beautifully presented in individual pyramids each with a different teabag inside. You’re bound to find a new favourite.


Mother's Day Tea Caddy GiftMother's Day Tea Bags Inside Tasting Menu













Our Pick & Mix: Four Pack and Pick & Mix: Six Pack are more perfect personalisable gifts for that special woman in your life. Choose 4 or 6 blends and receive 8 teabags of each or the loose-leaf equivalent, making this a truly long lasting gift. Once again, personalisable with the recipient’s name, all presented in a lovely and reusable selection box.

 

 
Four Section Tea Caddy
 

Six Section Tea Caddy 

Our Tea Club Membership is the gift that keeps on giving. Gift someone a monthly subscription of tea. They’ll receive a monthly supply of tea straight through their letterbox along with exclusive discounts and monthly offers. With 6 month or 12 month memberships available become the favourite, son, daughter or grandchild every month.

 

Browse our full Mother’s Day range.

 

 

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News

The history of Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday. It has traditionally been a day when families unite to show love, thanks and appreciation to Mums, Nans and Wives everywhere. However, it has morphed into something much more. Not everyone has a mum and of those that do, not everyone is lucky enough to have them still with us. Mother’s Day has become a celebration of the significant women in everyone’s life, whoever that may be, whether they are your mother or not. It provides the opportunity for those who have unfortunately lost influential women to celebrate their memory. It is a day for you and your loved ones.

 

Origins of Mother’s Day

As with many traditions and festivities, Mother’s Day has some religious history and can also be traced back to Ancient Greeks and Romans. Both would have celebrations of Mother Goddesses in Spring.


In the UK, Mother’s Day has traditionally been held on the fourth Sunday in Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, it was a originally a day to honour and give thanks to the Virgin Mary, also known as Mother Mary. This has been the case since the 16th / 17th Century, interestingly around the same time that tea started to become prominent in the UK.


Traditionally everyone would return home and attend their ‘mother’ church along with their family. These gatherings reunited families who may not have many opportunities to spend time together throughout the year. This included domestic servants receiving the day off so that they could likewise return to their ‘mother’ church*. In the USA, Mother’s Day developed as a way to celebrate all mothers, even after their passing.

 

Mother’s Day Gifting

Like other seasonal celebrations, Mother’s Day has developed into a gift giving occasion. With Mother’s Day gift sets rising in prominence. Traditionally Mother’s Day gifts were a combination of flowers and cake. Why not replicate this with a selection of floral and cake based teas in our Mother’s Day Tasting Menu. Give a gift To Mother With Love this year.

Mother's Day Tea Tasting Menu

We think the best way to do this is to say it with tea & flowers.

 

Mother’s Day Food & Drink

Food seems to take centre stage on most festive occasions and Mother’s Day is no different. Mother’s Day was traditionally a break in the lent fast. This allowed people to indulge for one day during the long slog of lent.


From here, the concept of Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea developed. Any good afternoon tea is accompanied by the most exquisite of teas which is where we come in. With Mother’s Day 2021 being a bit different, we have put together a Mother’s Day Virtual Tea Party for you and your loved ones to enjoy. With everything you need to keep up that tradition virtually, be sure to take a look.

 

*https://www.fromyoutome.com/blog/the-story-behind-mothering-sunday-and-mothers-day/

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Charity, News

2020 was a challenging year for everyone. From individuals to small businesses, such as ourselves, and even some very large, multinational corporations. However, one sector that has been significantly hit, and perhaps overlooked, is charities.

Many charities have seen a great impact on their ability to fundraise with almost all events being cancelled. From large scale events such as the London Marathon, which raised £66.4 million for numerous charities in 2019, to smaller local events organised in support of individual charities, fundraising has been a struggle.

And it’s not just about raising money. Thousands of people really do enjoy all kinds of fundraising events throughout the year. 

We all want to help where we can and at Twist we have tried to do just that, recently aligning ourselves with an amazing charity called Peterson’s Fund For Children.

Whilst we acknowledge that we are a small, family run business, and do not have the financial might of a multinational corporation, we are still committed to doing our bit. We have been involved in various charitable campaigns in the past, from our Brew For A Hero (which is back by the way!!!) to our Remembrance Caddies. However, this year we have committed to doing even more.

Many large businesses are able to donate millions to deserving causes, which we applaud them for, so we wanted to make a similarly significant impact relative to our size. So we are pleased to announce that 10% of all gross profits from Twist will be donated directly to Peterson’s Fund For Children.

 

Introducing Peterson’s Fund For Children

Based in Surrey, Peterson’s Fund For Children is dedicated to improving and enhancing the lives of children with severe mental and physical disabilities.

For the last 10 years, and thanks to extensive fundraising efforts, they have been able to provide funding for a variety of therapies, specialised equipment and much needed respite care not available on the NHS. Their aim is to help as many young people in need as possible by improving the children’s quality of life enabling them to maximise their potential.

You can learn more about the work Peterson’s Fund For Children does, as well as reading some of the individual stories of the children, by visiting their website.

 

The Impact of COVID-19

As with many charities, the lack of fundraising events throughout the last year has had a notable impact. However, unlike some other charities, there is a further impact for Peterson’s Fund for Children, through the loss of business in Suite 109. Suite 109 is the Fund’s charity shop. This unique charity shop specialises in new and pre-loved fancy dress and accessories plus dance costumes, theatre and vintage wear for all ages, sizes, genders and needs. The enforced closure of the shop for the majority of 2020 has resulted in a significant reduction in revenue, greatly impacting the charity.

This has led to reliance on grants and support from donations for funding their vital work. The application process for grants is time-consuming and each will have a large number of deserving charities applying, meaning there is no guarantee of success. This has led to a reduction in avenues for funding.

As well as the affects on funding, COVID-19 has meant that the charity has been required to adapt the services it provides for the children. Where previously there has been a focus on face-to-face therapy and hands-on help for the children, from bespoke yoga or physiotherapy sessions to horse-riding lessons, social distancing measures have made this impractical. Therefore, the charity needed to rethink and change tack.. The current focus is on the health and nutrition of the children, with funds going towards supporting these efforts.


Ways in which you can support

There are ways in which you can support Peterson’s Fund For Children. As well as one-off donations, there are other ways you can provide regular support for the fund. You can ‘Become A Friend’ of the charity; this sets up a monthly donation and there are varying levels of donation you can sign up to, with indications of what each donation provides. Visit their website to learn more about what you can add if you Become A Friend’.

You, your company or a company you know can also become corporate sponsors for Peterson’s Fund For Children. Through mutually-beneficial association, you can forge a significant relationship with an exciting charity which is brimming with potential. 

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Gifts, News

Christmas is fast approaching. In a year when many of us haven’t been able to share special moments with loved ones, you may be thinking of adding a little personal touch with a Twistmas gift. We’ve got you covered with 5 simple, yet effective, personalised gifts for your family and friends.

 

Pick & Mix: Tasting Menu

This is the perfect inexpensive but thoughtful gift. A personalised tasting menu with a selection of 6 different blends, chosen specifically by you. This is the ideal gift for that person you just don’t know what to get, but want to be certain it’ll make them smile.

Caddy of 50 Teabags

Twistmas is a time for sharing… but we all know someone who finds it hard to share the love when it comes to their favourite tea. We have the solution with this personalised caddy . Make sure there is no confusion over who this tea belongs to by putting the recipient’s name right there on the front of the caddy. The best thing about this gift is that they can use it all year, easily buying refills. Choose their favourite blend, add their name and we’ll take care of the rest – you can even get the loose leaf equivalent instead. All you have to do is make sure they’re not looking when you steal one! (We won’t tell if you don’t.)

Personalised Tea Gifts

Oh Christmas Tea Pyramid Tasting Menu
 
No one will be left unsatisfied with this Pyramid Tasting Menu Caddy. Bring Christmas cheer to all by sharing this caddy full of sixteen of our favourite blends, each beautifully presented in an individual pyramid box.

Oh Christmas Tea Pyramid Tasting Menu
Pick & Mix: The Six Pack

Personally curate a selection of six delicious teas, perfectly suited to the tastes of that special someone in your life. With over 50 different Great Taste Awards-winning, hand blended teas to choose from, you’re bound to find the perfect combination. Just to add to the thoughtfulness, make sure they think of you with every brew by adding your own personal message to the caddy.

 
Oh Christmas Tea Stocking Filler


This thoughtful stocking filler contains 3 attractive pyramid boxes  of our Christmas blends. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been naughty or nice, everyone deserves this adorable gift. Perfect to fill up a stocking or as a little Christmas favour waiting for your guests at the dinner table, this makes a lovely well thought-out gift.
Oh Christmas Tea Stocking Filler

Turn your Christmas into a Twistmas this year. Hop over to the shop and place your orders in by December 21st to ensure delivery in time for Christmas.

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