The Handbook
The Handbook

If there’s anything us Brits do better than anyone else, it’s drink tea. Those little leaves, brewed in hot water, solve a myriad of problems.

Stressed? Drink tea. On the verge of a Lockdown-induced meltdown? Drink tea. Run out of ideas for what to do on the sofa? Drink tea. This is why we’re turning to our favourite blends to spruce up this traditional past-time with some fruity flavours and some seriously scientific brews.

Like with everything that Britain seems to claim is theirs, tea originally came from further afield. Samuel Pepys first mentions it in his diary on 25 September 1660. After talking to friends about foreign affairs, he writes that he “did send for a Cupp of Tee (a China drink) of which I never drank before”.

Around this time, and the rise of the British Empire, tea became a sought-after good commodity. And Princess Catherine of Braganza from Portugal, Charles II’s wife, made the drink very popular. Her addiction to the stuff made sure that the brew was at the centre of the royal court and wealthy circles.

Since then, its popularity has waxed and waned along with tea-related fads: biscuit dunking, lemon and Earl Grey, black tea without milk (whoever does this should be really questioning their sanity), tea and scones… the list goes on. Through thick and thin, our nation has taken tea very seriously, but no more seriously than now.

From teabags that are better for the environment to how to get your flavour infusion just right, it’s time to get better acquainted with your daily dose of caffeine.

1. Buy A Tea-iere

Forget the cafetiere, it’s all about the tea-iere now. Jing has designed this one-cup tea infuser, to make preparing loose tea that bit easier. Pick the Phoenix Honey Orchid variety for a golden cup of fragrant peach tea. If you think that’s taking tea to a new level, think again. Jing also offers personal video consultations to answer all your burning questions, give you gift inspiration and expand your tastes.

Price: £20.00
Website: www.jingtea.com

Jing also offers personal video consultations to answer all your burning questions, give you gift inspiration and expand your tastes.

2. Pour Some Sparkling Tea

Yes, you read that right. Sparkling tea: it’s a thing. The king of all tea makers, Fortnum & Mason stumbled on a unique fizzy formula of eight blends that contain zero alcohol but look just as beautiful as a glass of champagne. Hover your nose over a full flute and you’ll be hit with notes of lemongrass, mint and Darjeeling. A perfect accompaniment to an a more decadent version of afternoon tea. 

Price: £14.95
Website: www.fortnumandmason.com

3. Go For Cold

Apparently, we should all be drinking at least six to eight glasses of liquid a day. Let’s be honest, though, water is too boring to drink all day. Add a little flavour with a Whittard Strawberry Mint Loose Tea and store it in this fancy cold brew tea filter bottle from Hario. It gently releases the flavour, so you can savour a more refined infusion throughout the day.

Price: £30.00
Website: www.whittard.co.uk

A leather tea case is the sort of thing that you’ll never actually buy, but you’ll hope that some rich, great aunt will have lost the plot enough to buy it for you.

4. Fancy Storage You Don’t Really Need

A leather tea case is the sort of thing that you’ll never actually buy, but you’ll add to a wedding or Christmas list in the hope that some rich, great aunt will have lost the plot enough to buy it for you. Twinings do some cheaper versions, like the tea boxes you find in hotels next to the miniature kettle, but this one really takes the biscuit (how apt).

While it costs over £100 and doesn’t include any tea, it does have the cutest glass jars for storage and pretty little hourglasses with coloured sand so you can perfect your timing.

Price: £160
Website: www.twinings.co.uk

5. Green Tea As A Health Solution

A few studies (such as from Annals of Internal Medicine and Diabetes Care) show that drinking caffeinated green tea might help lower your risk of type-2 diabetes. If we didn’t have an excuse already to drink more, this one will do. When you shop, don’t just be good to yourself, be good to the world, too, with these Fairtrade, non-bleached teabags.

Price: £2.99
Website: www.hollandandbarrett.com

6. An Eco-friendly Secret Santa Gift

It’s been rumoured that British tea drinkers consume more than 160 million cups a day. With all this tea drinking comes great responsibility. A lot of the teabags we use contain miniature bits of plastic. However, Teapigs have always insisted that their tea temples are completely plastic free. Not sure which ones to get? Try an Adventurous Teas Pic’n’Mix selection of six. Flavours include: popcorn, chilli chai and crème caramel.

Price: £22.99
Website: www.teapigs.co.uk

7. Organic Tea With A Little Bit Of Seaweed

Voya – yes, the very same people who also sell seaweed facials – have a lovely line of organic seaweed teas. You get the same flavours of your normal cupboard favourites, such as camomile, fennel and peppermint, but this time with a splash of the Atlantic Ocean. A bright reminder of the healthy benefits of the beach, if only we were allowed to go.

Price: £24.00
Website: www.voya.ie

8. Bold Caddy Designs By British Designer Matthew Williamson

Dainty tea sets, silver spoons and cake stands might be your thing, but we’ve moved onto more exotic takes on the traditional afternoon cuppa. British designer Matthew Williamson has added a touch of flair to Newby’s tea collection. Their tea caddy packs a punch with vivid pinks, oranges and purring tigers. Our favourite is the Exotic Earl Grey.

Price: £30.00
Website: www.newbyteas.co.uk

9. Buy An Unnecessary House For Your Tea

Okay, so this is a bit ridiculous. But if you have a spare £15,000 knocking around in your back pocket, why not purchase a tea humidor? ‘What does it do?’, I hear you cry. Well, after some research it appears to keep your tea at the right temperature and humidity.

But if £15k is a bit of a stretch, then Lotusier have released a cheaper version that essentially looks like a normal tin. However, apparently its double wall and airtight, double-lipped silicone gasket in the outer lid ensure the ultimate tea protection.

Price: £79.00
Website: www.lotusier.com

If £15k is a bit of a stretch, then Lotusier have released a cheaper version that essentially looks like a normal tin.

10. Set Up A Subscription

Can’t get enough? Then sign yourself up to a subscription box of hand-blended teas from Bird & Blend Tea. Receive three new blends every month and get about 30 cups out of it. Plus, each box comes with a snazzy new illustration by an artist and you get a spoon with your first box (just in case you didn’t already have one at home).

Price: £7.00
Website: www.birdandblendtea.com


Want to receive more great articles like this every day: sign up here