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Book Reviews
Since we love nothing better than curling up with a book and a brew, we’re going to share a few recommendations. 
Of course, books are super subjective, so they might not be right for you. But, it’s great to get a tip-off from someone, so maybe you’ll give it a go.

So, our first book review is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – it was recommended to me by a friend and what appealed to me most about the story was the relationship between mother and daughter and how it confronts the reality that all of us have flaws, no matter how well we disguise them.  It reflects that really us mums are just making this up as we go along, and raises all sorts of questions about motherhood.

Writes the author: “It came, over and over, down to this: What made someone a mother? Was it biology alone, or was it love?” Whether or not you agree with the choices made by the characters, it’s hard not to empathise with their predicaments – especially, I felt, being both a mother and a daughter. 

And the brew to drink with this tale? It’s got to be TO MOTHER WITH LOVE. Chinese White Tea with Apple Pieces, Rosehip, Hibiscus, Strawberry, Elderflower, Orange Blossom, Rose Petals and Orange Peel. This tea tastes like summer and while it is usually served cold with sparkling water, it is also delicious hot. (We also sell this one as SexyMotherCuppa and Strawberry & Rose, knowing that the more fun names might not be right for everyone. Like books, it’s subjective!)
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Book Reviews
If there’s one thing that unites us here at Twist, it’s a good book. Well, that and a good brew, obviously.
Whether curling up on the sofa, crashing out on a sunlounger or making the commute a touch more bearable, a book and a brew makes for a happy Twister.

So, we thought we’d combine these two loves by sharing some reviews of our favourite books. And, of course, suggesting which of our lovely brews would put a Twist In the Tale. 

If you’re like us, tweet or insta a photo of your book and a Twist tea, and we’ll share it  on our social media.  Use the hashtag #TwistInTheTale, or namecheck us in your post to make sure we see it So, read on while we read on. Enjoy.
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News
Whether it was customised Quality Street tins, made-to-measure kit kats, or bespoke Marmite jars, one of the big trends this Christmas was personalised products. And, crikey was that the case here at Twist, when our new Supercaddybaggytwisted personalised tea caddy absolutely flew off the shelves.

What can be better than Twist Tea? Twist Tea in a caddy with your name on it, that’s what. We thought we were on to a winner here, but were really chuffed when the Mirror listed it as their top Food & Drink Gift for Christmas, and friend of the brand, broadcaster and journalist James Delingpole bigged it up on his vlog.

The result? Loads of orders, and lots more people tucking in to Twist Tea! Customers told us they loved the idea of demonstrating that some thought has gone in to the gifts they’re giving. We had:

• Customers giving them to members of their teams at work, to say thanks
• Parents giving them to their children’s teachers
• Business owners giving them to their most valued clients
• … and Twist fans just giving them to friends and family to say ‘Happy Christmas’

It’s not our first dalliance with personalisation, of course. Our four-pack and six-pack Pick & Mix selection boxes have gone down a treat for a while, and of course our popular Twist Tea Club lets members choose whichever blend they like each month, so no two subscriptions are the same.

The popularity of Supercaddybaggytwisted contributed to a really great Christmas for Twist. Yes, we’re still grafting all hours and yes, it’s blummin’ hard work! But, word is getting out there and we’re really excited for what’s in store for 2020.

We love hearing from Twist Customers about what we’re doing well, and what we could do better. We love seeing your photos on instagram, twitter and facebook. We love when a coffee shop decides to replace the bog-standard brands you can pick up in Tesco – you know, the ones that look all cutesy like they’re handmade but are really owned by global multinational conglomerates – with little old Twist.

Because, like Supercaddybaggytwisted, for us it’s personal.
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Events, News
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.
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, like my mate Paul.
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Tea Geekery
Although widely regarded as the most English of drinks, tea was actually something of a latecomer to these shores. While it’s been drunk in China since 3000BC (give or take a few years), it didn’t arrive here until the middle of the 17th century. About time too! The East India Company really began to capitalise on the growing demand for tea in the mid-18th century.


loose leaves

Until the early 20th century, tea leaves were brewed in a pot, retro-stylee.  That all changed in 1908, when the teabag was accidentally invented (qv. The microwave oven, post-it note and Teflon) by New York-based tea and coffee importer Thomas Sullivan. He would send his customers samples of tea packed in small silk pouches. The loose tea was intended to be removed from the bag, but many of his customers found it easier to brew the leaves within the porous silk bags. Ta da…The teabag!

pouch

For years, teabags were made of silk, then gauze, and remained in the format of an envelope or pouch.  However, in the 1940s, the rectangular, heat-sealed, paper teabag came on the scene, and was introduced to the UK in 1953. It thus became a genuinely convenient alternative to loose leaves, although the compromise was that much of the quality of the leaves themselves were lost as they were processed to the powdery stuff still found in most round or square teabags today.

teabag



Then came the tagged teabag; no need for a spoon to remove the bag from the water, so a bit of a step forward, but still no real advance on the quality of the tea leaves within the bags; great quality tea was still only available loose.

taggedteabag
As customers demanded more from their tea, it became clear that a better solution was needed, and thus the mesh metal tea infuser ball was born. No need for a teapot, just load up the infuser ball with lovely whole leaves, leave them in your mug for a few minutes and there you have it; a lovely brew for one, with no teapot to empty out and wash up. The downside?  There’s now a mesh tea infuser ball to empty out and wash up.

mesh infuser ball

So that wasn’t the solution, and the infuser ball soon faded out with the advent of the pyramid bag in the 1990s. This offered a much cleaner no-mess alternative to brewing whole leaf tea in a teabag. All the flavour, none of the fuss. There’s science behind it too;  the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that pyramid-shaped bags are more effective than the more traditional flat, round tea bags when making a cup of tea.

pyramid shaped teabag

And now, in 2017, comes Twist Tea.  Top quality teas, in a convenient format – but offering so much more.  Of course, they are great as a hot drink. But, they have a range of other functional benefits that give customers even more bang for their buck (or should that be ‘brew for their bag’?) Some are delicious served over ice, others taste great brewed in milk, or served with tonic water… Some have added functional herbs to wake you up in the morning, energise you after lunch, or help you off to sleep at bedtime.

Twist tea blend

Click here to see our Black Teas, Cold Brews and Puds Without Sin ranges.

 

 

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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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Recipes
This delicious dessert will wow your guests, with a delicious tropical flavour and a colour they won’t be used to seeing on the dinner table.  Why not add to the summertime vibe by serving with some fresh mango, pineapple or passionfruit?
Print Recipe
Lemongrass And Coconut Jelly
Refreshing, fragrant and attractive, these jellies will surprise your guests and add a touch of class to an old favourite
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
people
Instructions
  1. Place the teabag (tag removed) and sugar in the boiling water, and simmer until it has dissolved.
  2. Remove the teabag, squeezing it against the side of the pan to release as much flavour as possible.
  3. Remove the gelatine leaves from the water and add them to the pan, stirring until dissolved.
  4. Add the sparkling water and lemon juice, pour in to four jelly molds, glasses or bowls.
  5. Leave to set for a couple of hours.
  6. Turn out of the molds and serve on its own or with ice cream.
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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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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