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Book Reviews

We all know that small changes for the better can make a big difference. That first cup of tea in the morning? Game changer!  The millions of tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year are killing seabirds and marine mammals.  And David Attenborough is right when he says that ‘We have a responsibility, every one of us’.  But knowing how we can make a difference isn’t as straightforward as it seems. 

Our teabags don’t contain any plastic and we do our upmost to use the most environmentally friendly packaging available.

As a team we promote reusable cups – we even sell them on our website.  We help clean up on the Common outside Pollards Farm and frequently share tips on giving up plastic include washing clothes in a wash bag to catch plastic microfibres (the cause of 30% of plastic pollution in the ocean) and using bar shampoo.  But plastic’s not going away without fight, so what else can we do to help?

So we bought this accessible guide, written by the campaigner at the forefront of the anti-plastic movement, for some practical tips.  And it doesn’t disappoint.  Martin Dorey, anti-plastics expert, has been working to save our beaches from plastic for the past 10 years. His Beach Clean Foundation and global call to arms #2minutebeachclean has been taken up by people all over the world, and has proven that collective small actions can add up to a big difference.

If you’re interested in finding out more about what you can do to save the planet from plastic – this book’s definitely worth a read.

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News
I won’t lie. I’ve always loved John Lewis.

As a child, Mum and I spent pretty much every Saturday afternoon in John Lewis Brent Cross, browsing fabric in the haberdashery department, meandering through the rails of children’s clothing and treating ourselves to tea and cake in the cafe (invariably Victoria sponge for mum, something chocolatey for me).
When I got my first flat, it was basically filled from top to bottom (well, it was only one storey, so it was top and bottom) with John Lewis furniture, crockery, glassware and everything else. And now, with a busy lifestyle, three kids and a business to run, it’s my go-to for presents, cookware and clothing.

So, you can imagine how excited I was to get a call at the start of the year inviting us to set up a Twist pop up shop at our local John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City. They’re looking for local, independent, high quality brands with products a little different to the norm, so obviously we fitted the bill to a tee (no pun intended.)

Fast forward six weeks, and there we were, in the gift section for a whole week, with literally hundreds of John Lewis customers dropping by to sample some of our blends. Our Twist ‘candy cart’ looked great and created a focal point for shoppers. And, most importantly, the customers loved it. We sold caddy after caddy of pretty much each and every blend; Refresher Green and Lemon Drizzle were the most popular, with Twentfourseven a close third. We also sold loads of our personalised caddies as shoppers jumped at the chance to get an innovative, top-quality, personalised Valentine’s Day present for their other halves.  

What was also great was that seemingly every John Lewis Partner came for a brew during their tea breaks, and the feedback was incredible. “Best tea I’ve ever tasted” said one, “You should be in the John Lewis cafe” said another. (We’ll drink to that…) Our teas went down such a storm that they’ve asked us to go back over Easter. If you’re in the area, do drop by and say hello!





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Recipes
You’ve met your matcha…now show your Valentine how matcha you love them with this mouthwateringly good, quick and easy recipe.
Print Recipe
Chocolate Matcha Strawbs
You’ve met your matcha…now show your Valentine how matcha you love them with this mouthwateringly good, quick and easy recipe.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes to chill
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Passive Time 30 minutes to chill
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash and dry 20 strawberries and put them in the fridge.
  2. Melt 6oz white or milk chocolate - easiest in the microwave for 1 minute and then in 20 second increments until melted. Alternatively melt in a heat proof bowl over boiling water on the hob. Stir in our Pure Matcha (or Peppermint/Beetroot Acai/Tumeric Matcha). Hold the leaves of the strawberries and dip into the chocolate until 2/3 evenly covered, then place on greaseproof paper and put in the fridge for 10 minutes until firm.
  3. Then melt 2oz milk or dark chocolate in the same way and add our Cocoa Matcha (or Tumeric Cocoa Matcha). Use a fork and drizzle this chocolate matcha mix over the strawberries using your creativity to decorate them to impress!
  4. Cool for 10 minutes in the fridge, dim the lights and serve!
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Health & Wellbeing
Twist fans will know that we’re not averse to adding a special ingredient or two to give our blends an extra functional ingredient.  Caffeine-rich yerba mate in Breakfast Boost has made it one of our best sellers since we started our journey in the tea-biz, for example.

But for Valentine’s Day, we wanted to find something really special to add that bit of magic and sparkle.  We had a yet-to-launch black tea with raspberry and chocolate waiting in the wings, so set our Master Tea Blender to work and after a few days of genius alchemy, we had a solution.

Damiana.

Damiana? What’s that, we hear you ask? It might be pretty much unknown here in the UK, but ask the indigenous cultures of Central and South America what it’s all about and they’d have a smirk on their face, a twinkle in the eye and, well, who knows what else happening below the belt. 

Because, for centuries, they’ve sworn by it as an aphrodisiac (as well as a general health tonic).   So, among the delicious ingredients of our Raspberry Choc Kiss is a touch of damiana.  What’s not to like about that?  And, new for 2020,  you can create a personalised caddy of this or any other blend,with the name of the love of your life and our special heart-shaped logo, with our new With Love From Me To Brew gift. 

Of course, like so many claims for natural remedies, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to support such claims, but little in the way of actual scientific evidence.  You know, from proper doctors with letters after their names and everything. So, we’re making no guarantees. However, what we do know that this blend is absolutely delicious and if it turns out to be the perfect cup of tea for Valentine’s Day, that’s even better! At the very least, it will show the person receiving it that you fancy more than just a sit down and nice cup of tea… (wink wink)
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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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Health & Wellbeing
Hello. I’m Danny, and when I’m not working in the customer account team at Twist, helping to share the brand with suitable cafes, corporates and social media followers, I’m studying for a degree in nutrition.
This of course links well to our blends and the functional benefits of tea, and one aspect of the brand that really excites me is our ‘Blends With Benefits’. In fact I’ve talked to Claire, Nicky and Fraser so often about how great they are for you that they’ve asked me to use my expertise to write a blog.

In this blog – it’s my first so be gentle! – I’m going to share some thoughts on the importance of hydration.

Considering humans are 60% water, it seems obvious hydration is important, yet around 60-75% of people do not take in the required fluids (between two and three-and-a-half litres a day) to perform at their best. However, many people find water boring so can’t motivate themselves to drink it. Fortunately, Twist can contribute to that fluid goal. There’s absolutely no down side to our caffeine-free cold brews, herbals and rooibos blends, and while our black teas don’t hydrate quite as well as plain old water, if it helps you increase your liquid intake, that can only be a good thing.

So, what are the benefits of being properly hydrated?

Firstly, increased focus. As blood is 90% water, the more hydrated you are the easier the body will find it to transport it with oxygen-rich nutrients to the brain. This also adversely helps maintain blood pressure as without water the blood will become thicker, meaning it’s harder to transport. People often drink coffee to get a boost of energy and focus, yet, due to its high caffeine content it is a slight diuretic if drunk a lot. So, I tend to have a cup of our Choffee Mint tea instead, for a hit of coffee flavour with far less caffeine and more hydrating effects.

Secondly, reduction in joint pain. The role of a joint is to connect two or more bones together. Water helps lubricate the joints as the cartilage between is made up of around 80 percent water. Therefore, the more hydrated you are, the more flexible your joints are when moving. Arthritis is often the result of cartilage wearing away over a long period of time due to poor lubrication. This causes rubbing between the bones the joint, showing the importance of hydration. Although, if you’re like me and find drinking water really dull, to help I will often chuck in one of our cold brews – usually Strawberry & Rose, or as I prefer to call it, Strawberry and Danny Rose – to liven it up a bit.

Thirdly, weight loss. Water improves the effectiveness of the digestive system seeing fats being eliminated from the body more efficiently. It also boosts your metabolism and acts as an appetite suppressant. Maybe try switching out that fizzy drink, for a nice glass of water, or even better, a delicious herbal tea like Ginger Snap that has the flavour to match!

Finally, it helps exercise. During exercise we produce the energy needed through cellular respiration more specifically through Krebs Cycle. This is essentially the series of chemical reactions in the body to generate energy, and if you are dehydrated, Krebs cycle cannot work as efficiently, meaning you will have less energy to perform, leaving you tired and fatigued. This is why before I play football or go to the gym, I make sure I drink lots of water during the day so that I can perform at the top of my game! After workouts, water helps flush out toxins such as lactic acid which is often what gives you aches within your muscles, meaning hydration will help speed up your recovery time.

Right. That was exhausting. Time for a brew…
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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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