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Family, News

The stars have aligned for another record haul for Twist in this year’s Great Taste Awards, winning SIX awards and bringing the total number of awards won to date to 21!!

Recognised as a reliable stamp of excellence among consumers, retailers and major food buyers alike, Great Taste is the largest and most trusted food & drink accreditation scheme. 

Since 1994, more than 150,000 products have been put through the robust judging process by the Guild of Fine Food. Each product is fastidiously blind-tasted by selected chefs, cooks, buyers, retailers, restaurateurs, food critics and writers.

The judges look for truly great taste, regardless of branding or packaging, taking into account texture, appearance and of course the quality of the ingredients; they will note a good aroma, a decent bite, or a particularly smooth or crunchy texture. But above all else the question remains – does the product taste truly great?

 


2021 Award Winning Blends from Twist


Restore
🌟🌟
Awarded two stars, the judges had the following to say about our fiery mix of ginger and spices…

“A really interesting blend of flavours, giving a refreshing, creamy aromatic heat. Is a nice alternative to the many lemon and ginger blends on the market. It is great to see ginger being used in another way, working surprisingly well with both lavender and rooibos.”

“A lively blend which combines well. The heat of the ginger is balanced against the aniseed flavour; it is warming, smooth and has good length.”

“A racy blend, lively in the cup. Ginger has immediate impact and works well with the evident, but not overblown lavender. Aniseed comes through more once milk is added – but the infusion works well black, too. Certainly fiery, but with a soothing smoothness once milk is added. A clever and successful blend.”

Chocolate Cake 🌟🌟
Our two star winning blend of Rooibos and cocoa was a real hit with the judges who commented…

“Smooth and gentle with an indulgent-tasting cocoa finish. Rooibos is a complementary partner for cocoa, the naturally sweet characters working well together.”

“The rooibos combines well with the cocoa; the sweetness of the rooibos and the cocoa chocolate notes marry to make a pleasant drink. A simple but excellent blend.”

“A delightful, creamy, soothing blend. The use of both nibs and shells has ensured sound and rounded cacao flavours, well balanced with the intrinsic sweetness of the rooibos. Fine taken black but particularly smooth with milk – a lovely finish either way.”

 

Boost 🌟
Our full-bodied blend of Assam and Ceylon teas with added ginseng really packed a punch with the judging panel who awarded it one star.  Here’s what they had to say:

“A brisk, strong and lively cup. Tasting lovely and fresh with an interesting ‘energising’ concept. Works best with milk, with great redness and colour.”

“An attractive black leaf with a rich and robust character. The North Indian component is the most dominant flavour so the blend lacks balance.”

“Coloury, bright and brisk – this does need milk to round out the flavour profile but it’s an invigorating infusion, and pleasingly full-bodied.”

 

Refresh 🌟
One of our best-sellers, we’re delighted the judges awarded this popular blend of green tea with a star, commenting
“A grapefruit-noted infusion, with citrus perhaps masking the bitterness of the functional herbs. There is an authentic flavour here, and the overall balance is sound.”


Sweet Chai of Mine 🌟

This week we’ve been celebrating National Chai Day and what better way to round off the celebrations than by winning awards for two of our Chai teas!
The judges said that Sweet Chai of Mine was “Well-balanced and a great blend of interesting flavours. The turmeric notes are just right, giving a depth of flavour and rich earthiness. The tea works really well both with and without milk. It’s everything you would want from a chai!”

“A great combination of flavours; the black tea has body and the ginger a discernable heat. The blend is balanced with sweetness and heat. An enjoyable chai drink.”


Chocolate Chai 🌟
Chai has been the drink of choice in India for centuries – but not quite like this! We’ve added cocoa to give it a delicious chocolate hit which was also a hit with the judges!

“The addition of cocoa gives an additional depth and richness to the blend, and adds interest. Well balanced blend of flavours. A bright attractive blend which works well with and without milk.”

“A pleasant chai character but the chocolate notes are lost in this busy spice blend.”

“A bright, light, chai blend with both chilli and cacao rather restrained, but working well in tandem. We found it better with milk, which enhances a sense of milk chocolate on the finish, and softens the chilli prickle – and a little sweetness again helps knit everything together.”

What do the stars mean?

🌟🌟 2 stars: Outstanding – Above and beyond delicious – less than 10% of entries will achieve this rating.
🌟 1-star: Simply delicious – A food that delivers fantastic flavour – approximately 25% of entries will achieve this rating each year.

At Twist, we’re all about taste and as with all our blends, our six award winning blends offer flavour combinations that are innovative, delicious and entirely free from any artificial ingredients or sugar so we are delighted that our blends continue to be recognised as delicious by the Guild of Fine Food.  Try them for yourself and let us know what you think!



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Family, News

On Friday 25 June 2021 (also National Cream Tea Day) Twist Teas Founder Claire Ayres invited MP for Hitchin & Harpenden Bim Afolami to visit the Twist Teas offices, to mark the company’s employment of six young people as part of the government Kickstart Scheme. 

“Bim actively champions local business and supports young people so we thought he would be the perfect guest to mark this milestone for our business. It was also a great opportunity for our new employees to give their feedback to Bim on the scheme so far,” said Claire.

Support for independent British businesses

Talking to Bim, who is championing business recovery across his constituency, Claire praised shoppers for wholeheartedly backing independent British businesses during the pandemic. “The nationwide support was a key factor in getting many independent British businesses through lockdowns. We are very grateful to our tea lovers who chose to buy their premium whole leaf tea from us online and, because Twist Teas are leaders in taste, they’ve kept on buying,” said Claire.


Kickstart win win

Twist Teas are pleased to be in a position to give back in a small way by contributing to the post pandemic recovery. The government grant means Twist can employ young people, teach them work life skills for their future, and grow our business.

Twist Teas created six roles especially for local young people at risk of long-term unemployment to provide them with valuable on the job experience and training opportunities, for example a CV bootcamp run by Foodchain Recruitment, so they can develop the skills necessary to progress into fulfilling careers.

As a Living Wage Accredited employer Twist Teas top up the government grant for all Kickstart employees to ensure that they’re paid the Real Living Wage during their placements with us.



High calibre recruits

Claire has been impressed by the exceptional calibre of the applicants. “Our new trainees have various career ambitions, but all of them are keen to gain invaluable sales and marketing experience which they know is vital to secure longer term work in their chosen industries.  We hope that new business generated by the Kickstarters will grow turnover enough to create new permanent roles for staff.”


Improving the Kickstart Scheme

Bim had the opportunity to meet some of Twist Teas’ new sales and marketing staff and talked to them about their experiences. He was particularly interested in ways to help improve the scheme. “I’m working with the Chancellor to make the Kickstart Scheme easier for both businesses and young people to access so welcome any feedback. I was told today by the Twist Teas team that Kickstart candidates often struggle to get to interviews as transport can be expensive, and daily travel costs can also be prohibitive. This sounds like an opportunity for the government to step in and help – it was a very useful discussion.”


Working at Twist Teas

24 year old Jess Gray told Bim how much she loves the opportunity to get sales experience in such a friendly environment. “I’m learning about researching and contacting suitable leads, telephone technique and establishing rapport with the people I speak to. We also have a weekly office challenge to see how many sales leads and conversions we can generate, so there is healthy competition, helping us to learn from each other,” she said. 


Tea for the environment

Bim also has a priority to protect the environment and he was very pleased to note how Twist Teas is minimising their business impact on the planet, without compromising on delivering the best possible tasting tea to tea lovers. As his visit coincided with National Cream Tea Day, Bim was invited to taste a range of fresh, whole leaf teas – served with strawberries and scones (of course!) – announcing his favourite was Twenty-Four-Seven and taking home a surprise caddy to his wife Hettie.

You can read more about Bim’s visit to Twist Teas in the Herts Advertiser

 

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Family, News

Our ambition at Twist Teas is to continually reduce our impact on the environment, and we are pleased to be taking another step forward by changing our tissue paper and ribbon – used for gift wrapping – to compostable materials.


Our gift-wrapped Twist Teas are popular with socially responsible shoppers: either personalised presents for loved ones; corporate gifts for employees and customers; or delightful surprises nestled in luxury gift hampers.

Gift wrapping is a central tenet of gift giving, creating a special and very personal experience for the recipient. At Twist Teas we put a lot of care into our gift wrapping because we know how much our customers enjoy receiving a handwritten note, pulling the bow of their ribbon and hearing the rustle of tissue paper as they reveal their favourite tea…and now they can do it in the knowledge that there is no harm to our planet.

recyclable packagingThe lovely tissue paper and ribbon – once reused – can be put into your council food waste for composting. An improvement by us to make your gift giving and receiving an even more pleasurable experience.

We’ve reduced our carbon footprint so far by making all our packaging recyclable and compostable.

 

We’re planning to be on Santa’s ‘environmental’  list next year as we further reduce our packaging waste and use paper tape instead of sellotape for gift wrapping during 2021. 

compostable wrapping

Did you know that in ancient China, 2,000 years ago, tea leaves and other precious materials were wrapped in paper to protect them? In fact, we used paper for wrapping before we used it for writing!

 

If you’d like to find some wonderfully innovative and eco-friendly ways of wrapping your gifts by reusing unexpected household items, visit the campaign page for Mind the Wrap

 

And, speaking of gifts, we’ve given our gift section a makeover – just in time for Valentine’s Day…get shopping.

 

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Charity, Family, 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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Family, News

Many of you will have met William, the youngest member of Team Twist. At the effervescent age of 7, William is the life, soul and energy at Twist HQ.


On Remembrance Day, we pay special tribute to his Great Grandad William who was awarded with the Arctic Star. The Arctic Star is awarded to members of the British Armed Forces and Merchant Navy for services in World War II. Young William will proudly tell anyone, who has a minute, about the brave and selfless endeavours of those who served on Arctic convoys north of the Arctic circle, and of the severity of the conditions they faced. Thank you to all the brave men and women from near and far who sacrificed so much for our freedom.

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Family, News

A big thank you to our generous Twist Teas customers for supporting the Royal British Legion poppy appeal through their purchase of our Remembrance caddies. With poppy collectors unable to sell poppies locally and many fundraising events cancelled, the Royal British Legion relied on local businesses and the public for donations, because every poppy counts.


Rosemary Crofts, Poppy Appeal Organiser, and her team at the Harpenden Royal British Legion office, spent this week counting donations and were pleased to receive the cheque for £100 from Twist Teas. Co-Founder Claire Ayres said that like so many things this year, the Poppy Appeal has had to adapt to the lockdown and it was wonderful to see all the innovative ideas the people had come up with to make a difference to the Armed Forces Community.

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Family, News, Trade

Our website is always open for business.  We will continue to fulfil all your tea related needs while working within the strictest safety standards. Whether you’re enjoying your Twist Tea alone or in your bubble there’ll be no charge for delivery on any order before the end of the Lockdown on 2 December 2020.


Like everyone else we’re trying our best to give back with our Brew For A Hero caddies.  All profits going to the relevant charity including The Royal British Legion, the NHS and Children In Need. And remember, every time you order Twist Teas you’re supporting an independent, British tea brand. You should feel great about that!  Thank you for your support.

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Family, News, Trade

Twist Teas submitted some 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 experts know their tea and the Great Taste Awards are widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and specialty 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. 

Twist Teas is delighted to share the news that we have added 5 Great Taste Awards to the 10 we already hold giving a total of 15.

Our award winning blends not only sound interesting (see list below) but all are plastic-free, ethically sourced and contain added functional health benefits.

Award winners are: Twenty Four Seven, All Day Decaff, Passionfruit and Rose, Pure Matcha, Crème Brewlée, Minty Allsorts, Chamomile Yawn, Summer Berries, Mint Humbug, Mint Choc Chip, After Eat; Banana Shake; Classic Earl; Pure Rooibos and Lemongrass & Coconut they also taste great.

Twenty Four Seven and All Day Decaff both won two star with the judges commenting that:

‘Good colour and a strong liquor. Very bright with nice briskness and quality. Good with milk, very bright.’  [TwentyFourSeven]

Light, bright and with a little briskness.’ ‘If you need a decaf, this is for you. [All Day Decaff.]

Minty Allsorts is described as:  ‘A great contribution to the market.’ ‘One for liquorice aficionados: its sweetness running as a baseline throughout. Mint plays its part, albeit softly. The overall effect is lifted and refreshing, while providing a soft, rounded, gentle mouthfeel. A pleasing blend.’

With Great Taste Awards regarded as a stamp of excellence by Twist Teas’ consumers and retailers alike, we are delighted that we continue to add to our line-up of stellar blends – proof that, ultimately, Twist Teas are all about taste. The fact that our packaging is so lovely and all recyclable or compostable is just an added bonus.

Pure Matcha is described as brewing: ‘Powder-soft, nicely verdant matcha powder, pleasantly zesty on the nose.’ ‘Brews to a deep green, with a nice consistency. Vegetal, mineral aroma is present as expected from a Japanese matcha.’ ‘Well-rounded and smooth on first taste with some sweetness followed by a clear umami aftertaste. Delivers on the foundations of a good matcha, including depth of flavour and astringency, without being overpowering or bitter.’

The Judges describe Crème Brewlée as ‘an award-worthy infusion.’  ‘The aroma is of turmeric and rooibos but nicely balanced. There is coconut, turmeric, rooibos and ginger on the palate, all balanced nicely with a pleasing sweetness.’  ‘With the aromas of creamy coconut combined with woody rooibos and earthy turmeric the dry ingredients were imaginatively combined. The amber brewed liquor had coconut allied with ginger as the main aromatics. The infusion was creamy smooth coconut and had the subtle flavours of rooibos, turmeric and the gentle heat of ginger. Overall a pleasing infusion which delivered on all aspects, and worthy of star rating.’

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Family, News

But hold on! What’s the difference? 

Well, all our teas taste great hot or cold but when it comes to Iced Tea, slower really is better.   Thanks to the gentler extraction process of cold water rather than hot, cold brewed tea has sweeter notes and better clarity of taste.

So, this summer there’s no need to wait for the kettle to boil, simply do what it says on the caddy – add one of Twist’s infusions to your glass or bottle of water and you’re good to go. We think they taste perfect after a couple of minutes, but you can brew them for as long as you like – and you can keep topping up throughout the day. If you’re trying to give up sugar, our Cold Brews are the perfect solution with no added sugar or artificial ingredients.  They’re also a great way to drink more water.


That isn’t all!  Because here at Twist we’re all about innovation, our latest Cold Brew – Creme Brewlee, a rooibos blends with turmeric, desiccated coconut and ginger – won us a headline in The Grocer [26 June 2020].
If you are after a real Twist, this blend tastes fantastic brewed in cold milk.


The Grocer article also features our Cold Brew Tasting Menu containing our six best selling cold brew blends,  each one is full of little surprises that make them different be it an ingredient with a functional benefit or an unconventional flavour pairing.  These innovative blends taste as good hot as they do cold.


What are you waiting for?

 

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Family, News
Like most small businesses, we’ve been hit hard by Coronavirus.


Most of our sales come from coffee shops, restaurants and bars that are currently closed.  These commercial customers will be suffering enormously; despite the measures put in place to support businesses through this crisis, many won’t survive, and that’s tragic for the people that have put blood, sweat and tears into growing their passion into businesses. Or in our case, blood, sweat and tea.


We have loads of loyal customers who buy our tea for themselves, or for their friends and family.  Like pretty much everyone else, they are having a tough time now.  They’ll be worrying about their own health and finances, and those of their friends and family.  Many have responded by buying even more tea – there aren’t many pleasures left right now, really, so why wouldn’t they? –  and we’re super grateful to them for doing so.


But above and beyond our customer-base, our hearts go out to the millions of people who have been affected by this virus.  Indeed, we too have had some Coronavirus health scares, and scary they most certainly were.  It hammered home, first-hand, the stark reality for people working in the NHS, putting themselves and their families at risk to help those in need, without the protection they deserve, underfunded and stretched to the limits.  And it’s not just doctors and nurses; it’s the delivery drivers, the cleaners, the pharmacists, the retail staff and supply chain, the teachers, the police…  Essential workers, many formerly regarded as ‘unskilled workers’ of course and made to feel unwelcome on our shores until the penny (or the virus) dropped.


So, what are we doing about it?  There’s only so much a little business like ours can do.  Some of the major tea brands have donated millions of teabags to the NHS, and that is terrific.  Their profits will no doubt take a bit of a hit, it’s a lovely gesture they didn’t need to make, and their contribution will be gratefully received by those on the front line, so a big thumbs up from us.  Many other businesses and members of the public are doing their bit too, from redirecting their production lines to make PPE and ventilators, to donating their cash to the support the NHS. It’s all very admirable and shows the high esteem in which the nation holds the NHS (although not everyone. Real high esteem would be equipping them appropriately, paying them what they’re worth, not merrily voting down payrises and leaving it to 99 year old veterans walking around their garden to top up the coffers. But that’s for another time…)


So, what we’re doing is a) trying to avoid going under and b) giving our customers the chance to say thanks, with our personalised ‘Brew for a Hero’ gift and c) donating the profits from this product to the NHS. It’s not going to make much difference, frankly, but it’s a gesture, and if having a special cup of tea from a loved one makes people feel a bit better, then we’ll drink to that. And we’re dropping off a few caddies to some of the Essential Workers in our area, to give them our personal thanks too.


Some day, this will be over and we’ll be in a new norm. No-one knows what that will look like, but whatever it is, we very much plan to be around to help everyone rebuild it.  Until then, stay safe and well and thanks for buying Twist.
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