Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Blends

It's rare and exciting to discover two great blends in one week. Our Darjeeling/Yunnan blend with a touch of Lapsang is a rare tea, full of taste and complexity. The other wonderful blend is an Afternoon Tea, a combination of Ceylon OP1 and Orange Blossom Oolong. This will definitely be a week to remember, and ideal for Christmas 2010. Give them a try, you won't be disappointed. Find under Blends.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bee House Teapots - new colours arrive

Wonderful new colours for our range of Bee House teapots. The Tomato and Sencha Green have already made an impact. Apparently, I'm very odd and old-fashioned liking the white. Whatever colour it's second to none for a good brew.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Sister Site at www.teasofceylon.co.uk

We've just set up a new website specialising in the wonderful and underrated teas of Ceylon. The very best quality with the very best prices. I look forwrd to your visit.

Bee House Teapots-8 colours in stock

We're now stocking the fabulous Bee House teapots All Bee House Pots are made in Japan, and have two things in common – they’re beautifully made and very practical. In the past, the convenience and ‘mess free’ aspect of tea bags have led to their popularity. With a Bee House Teapot, you have the same convenience, with no need to compromise on the quality of the tea that you drink.

Simply spoon the leaves into your infuser, add water to the brim of your pot , and allow to steep. When you have an infusion of the desired strength, simply pour your tea and enjoy. When it’s time to clean up, just remove the infuser from the pot (nested in the rim), empty into a bin, and rinse out. No tea leaves in your drink, no mess in your sink, just wonderful fresh tea. Bee House teapots are designed to be filled to the brim, and emptied when the 1st serving round is completed, so we suggest that you consider a smaller pot than you might normally use, to ensure that your leaves are not left in water to stew in your infuser.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

New list - fabulous ceramic teapots

Nearly finished new list, no reductions I'm afraid but great quality teas and superb ceramic teapots. See you soon. Tony

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Super Ceylon Afternoon Tea

Just tasted an impressive Afternoon Tea from Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Apparently it's an Uva Pekoe with a touch of Orange Blossom. A refreshing change from Earl Grey. We'll work with our blenders on reproducing it. Watch our site.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Of interest to tea rooms and caterers

We set up this site to cater for individual tea enthusiasts, without a thought at the time, of supplying like-minded colleagues serving delicious tea and cakes to those needy people out shopping on the High Street. But news of our passion for great and interesting teas at sensible prices has leaked out to the owners of these wonderful establishments, and I'm pleased to say that we're already working with several.

At the suggestion of our new friends we've tweaked our list a little. There's a new sliding price structure that takes into account quantities purchased. And we've added two Super Traditional Tea Bags for convenience. Although in the past I've held forth about revolting tea bags, and many are, it is possible to match the blend to the bag and to the occasion. We reckon we've got it just right for our Breakfast Choice and Earl Grey Choice teas. We've used good quality teas, no rubbish, sweepings or bitter cheap teas.

For other selections for your shop we recommend the loose teas brewed in a traditional pot. One with a tea strainer in the spout is ideal, and there is no reason why one of our Super tea bags cannot also be brewed in this pot.

At the top end of our catering rage are Fine & Noble pyramid tea bag. The range is specially selected by tea experts using only the finest teas from the “old” tea-growing world. They are manufactured using the more traditional “orthodox” method rather than on the CTC machines more commonly used on today’s tea bags. The quality of these teas, combined with the free-flow nylon pyramid bag, result in a slow release of flavour and character . Many imitations now on the market. These are the real thing, filled with the finest teas.

I urge you to try these extraordinary products.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Launch of new Blends

I can report on the successful launch last evening of two new blends. Our High Teas Breakfast and Afternoon Teas have been reformulated for the better. An average vote of 32 participants arrived at94% for the Breakfast Tea and 89% for the Afternoon Tea. This represents a substantial improvement on our previous offerings. We'll happily send a free sample of both on request.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Flavoured Green Teas

It's odd how these things happen, but our range of flavoured (scented) green teas has taken off (from a very low base), and we're watching trends here with interest. We'd be delighted to learn of other green teas not yet listed. I'm told that our prices are very reasonable, not too cheap, I hope.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Christmas has arrived

Frightening isn't it, but I'm already getting enquiries about my Christmas teas. As it so happens I tasted a batch yesterday and have made my decision. I've chosen a delightful spicy black tea, not at all over the top, and a great spicy green tea. Here I've been encouraged by the success of our Green Earl Grey. Am I becoming a trendsetter in my old age? I've even ordered the labels. Can't decide though whether to offer a festive tin? What do you think?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wholesale for Retail

I've just added a new collection of generic teas to the list aimed at the retail trade. Excellent quality and sold in lots of 5 pouches of 100g. We can even personalize the labelling for your store. Prices are really low, but quality good. A lot of 5 pouches of Darjeeling costs only £10.00, whilst a similar lot of Ceylon pekoe is £8.00. At the moment we have 5 items in the range but if all goes well we'll add 3/4 more items.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

An unusal breakfast drink

Never thought of Blackcurrant and Bramble infusion as a breakfast drink, but it really hits the spot, and I start the day pleasantly relaxed. It must be the lack of caffeine. Any other suggestions to accompany my porridge?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Unbeatable "Value Range"

We've just created a "Value Range" of teas, for the Foodservice Market. Quality and Price are hard to beat. We expect to make many new friends.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Great Spin Off!

Fine & Noble Pyramid tea bags - Large orders for Restaurant trade, mean we can now offer 20 bag consumer packs for the price of 15. Wow!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tea Bags - What a waste of time

Odd isn't it that people make their choice of tea on the basis of convenience.The vast majority of tea bags are filled with low quality CTC, dust or fannings, and from whichever tea area they come from, they all taste uncannily similar. They infuse quickly and yield a tannic dark coloured brew desperately needing milk and sugar to make them palatable. Why be put off by the real thing, whole leaf tea, just because you have to make a slight effort. In fact, it's simpler, less expensive and opens up a whole new world with centuries of history. You can buy infusers, strainers, and empty tea bags, but you don't have to bother. Lots of quite cheap teapots have built-in strainers at the spout. Don't be lazy or bloody minded, or you'll lose the opportunity of discovering this wonderful world of tea. There are, it has to be said, some tea bags specially manufactured to accommodate whole leaf teas, and preserve their subtlety of flavour. It's easier , however, to be lazy and drink real tea the traditional way from so many growers.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Restaurants and Tea Rooms - Great Deals

If you have a Restaurant or Tea Room, we highly recommend the use of Fine & Noble luxury pyramid tea bags. For sheer quality and convenience they are unbeatable. No traditional paper tea bag comes close. We've just negotiated with our suppliers a special price for caterers. To achieve a really competitive deal, we're offering each type of tea in lots of 100 bags without the posh packaging. They'll come, however, in practical re-sealable polybags. Come see details on our site at www.highteas.co.uk

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Funky Tea Infuser

A special infuser, not just a spoon to stir, but also to filter. Just fill the spoon with tea leaves, pour in boiling water into the cup and relax as the tea aroma dilutes through the specially designed pores. Made of fine grade silicone rubber, the infuser can stand up to 250°C. No tea lover should be without one.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Limerick Competition

Post an original tea Limerick here before 20th August 2009, and whichever we judge to be the most amusing will be rewarded with 250g of tea of your choice and an infuser. Results will be announced on www.highteas.co.uk

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Restaurants and Tea Rooms - Great Deals

If you have a Restaurant or Tea Room, we highly recommend the use of Fine & Noble luxury pyramid tea bags. For sheer quality and convenience they are unbeatable. No traditional paper tea bag comes close. . We are currently negotiating with our suppliers for a special price for caterers. To achieve a really competitive deal, we intend to offer each type of tea in lots of 50 bags without the posh packaging. We can, of course, offer you an unbeatable deal on our loose teas, and suggestion on how best to brew and serve them up. In the meantime we would like to visit with you to discuss your requirements, and agree the best possible deal in the meantime. Be in touch to set the ball rolling. Watch the space below for the range and prices.

Trying to replicate two fabulous Oolongs

Trying to replicate two fabulous Oolong teas sent to me from Paris. One is a Dark Chocolate Orange Oolong, the other a Dark Chocolate Mint. If I succeed they will be listed shortly.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

New Chinese Breakfast Tea - a great pick-me-up

Just launched our new Chinese Breakfast tea. I feel that this will go down as the tea that changed my life. It's strong, complex, rich, tasty and totally satisfying. It's amazing what a blend of good quality black and golden Yunnan teas can create. I think it might be a fabulous pick-me-up.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Darjeeling the Champagne of Teas

Just like Champagne nothing is worse than a poor Darjeeling. This is the reason we tend to follow a few reliable and exceptional estates. Obviously, we do make the odd exception if we find a remarkable tea elsewhere.
Our current favourite Estates, in alphabetical order are Badamtan, Castleton, Gopaldhra, Makaibari, Margaret's Hope, Okayti, Puttabong, Rohini, Tumsong. These are to be found over all the flushes, including Mid-Season and Autumnal.
Our choice for the First Flush 2009, is Giddapahar, a super greenish tea with lots of grassy flavour.
The Flushes (Harvests)
1st Flush is harvested in mid-March following spring rains, and has a gentle, very light colour, aroma, and mild astringency.
2nd Flush: The production of the world renowned “summer tea” is produced from the month of May. The Second Flush results from the luscious, moist and juicy leaves characterized by very enticing facade with a turquoise, purplish bloom and a touch of shimmering shiny apex (buds). The infused leaves are more vivid in its colour and appearance than that of spring. It is characterized by mature and a mellow brew. It is during this period that the famous "Muscatel" flavour becomes pronounced. This period expresses a full bodied aroma with its infused leaves of bright copper or purplish tinge.
Mid Flush: Harvested between 2nd Flush and the Autumnal tea, the leaves are less withered thus more oxidised. If well-chosen (ours are) they represent excellent value for money.
Autumnal Flush: In the months of October and November the “Autumnal quality” makes its prominence felt. The liquor imparts a delicate, yet a silvery and glimmering character and the appearance lends a light brownish tinge or gentle copper glow. This tea has a delightfully distinct feature and taste completely differs from that of Spring and the Summer Flush. The infused tea has a golden coppery hue with an aromatic and fresh fragrance.
I look forward to your early visit.

Life is too short to....

"Life is too short to drink bad tea or dance with ugly men" We can't offer you any handsome men but our teas are fabulous!

We're taking over the world - well France

Plus de 100 thés choisis avec soin et passion. Un grand merci à nos nouveaux clients et amis en France.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Flavoured Green and Oolong Teas

Our collection of naturally flavoured green and oolong teas has become really popular. It's a small collection of just 6 teas. The extraordinary feature of this range is that it attracts more repeat orders than any of our other teas. Some 70% of customers come back for more or try another flavoured tea. They are all well-priced between £2.50-£3.00per 100g. I'm hoping to add a lavender flavoured oolong as soon as I've approved the sample. Please let me know whether you'd like me to seek out other flavours.

"Tea is a remedy for the ills of a distracted life"

You have only to sip one of our delightful Chinese green teas to verify this statement. Visit soon.

Fabulous Ceylon Teas

The Fabulous Teas of Ceylon – A great collection to be found at www.highteas.co.uk Ceylon tea is tea that is grown in Sri Lanka (which was known as Ceylon before 1972). The black tea has a crisp aroma reminiscent of citrus, and is used both unmixed and in blends. It is grown on numerous estates, which vary in altitude and taste. Ceylon is renowned for its high-quality teas and as Sri Lanka is the 3rd biggest tea producing country. Ceylon tea is divided into three groups: High or Upcountry (Adawatte), Mid country (Medawatte), and Low country (Yatawatte) tea, based on the geography of the land on which it is grown. The plantations started by the British were initially taken over by the government in the 1960s but have since been privatized and are now run by 'plantation companies' which own a few 'estates' or tea plantations. The two top grades of whole leaf teas are OP (Orange Pekoe) and Pekoe with shorter leaves and a darker liquor. We’ve just upgraded our list.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Decaffeinated Teas

Tasting some decaff leaf teas this afternoon - English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Ceylon OP. If they're any good they'll be on the list soon.

Tea the New Wine

Tea is the new wine – website tells how to select the right one “Sturdy enough, yet elegant with a good colour and above all tasty” It’s the kind of description you would expect to see on the back of a wine bottle. But this is not a robust red or even a wine at all. It’s a breakfast tea, No. 1 Breakfast Blend to be precise - and the best cuppa you can get of a morning, according to the connoisseurs at www.highteas.co.uk. High Teas’ passion for and knowledge of their products is helping to elevate the good old British cuppa into a rather more gourmet affair. Its founder, Tony Marks, was previously a director of a successful wine company and in retirement is now pursuing his love of tea, bringing unique and unusual gourmet teas direct to the door of tea lovers. To help shoppers decide which of the fine teas to purchase Tony’s helpful ‘tea blog’ offers personal recommendations and insights into the fascinating world of tea. Try Moroccan Mint Tea, Earl Grey Fume, or Imperial White Peony with Rose Petals. Some of the teas available even boast health and weight loss benefits. There is a very wide range of teas available on the site including teas from Fine & Noble that come in special pyramid shaped free-flow nylon bags for improved infusion and flavour. As with all of the teas on the site, Fine & Noble teas are made in the traditional ‘orthodox’ method and therefore take longer to brew, creating a flavour that simply cannot be matched by an everyday teabag. High Teas is passionate to the point of being obsessed when it comes to finding the best quality, most interesting teas from around the world from breakfast teas to Chinese green teas, Oolong teas and White teas. The selection includes loose teas, speciality teas and many useful and stylish tea products such as infusers, tea glasses and brewing baskets. With so many unusual and delicious teas available from the site there is something for every tea drinker. Visit High Teas to start exploring the fascinating world of tea or to find the perfect unique gift for the tea lover in your life. Tony Marks – 14 July 09 – www.highteas.co.uk For further information email me at leflaneur@talktalk.net

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chinese Yunnan Black Teas, and Japanese Green Sencha Teas

Black teas of Yunnan Province

This week I'm extolling the virtues of the black teas of Yunnan Province in Southwest China. We stock three delicious varieties – they're all complex, rich and malty. Our newest listing is the Black Needle tea. It has a wonderful gold liquor and an intriguing buttery character. Don't miss out on these three teas.

Sencha Fukuya and a legendary Gyokuru Asahi

I've also been persuaded by two Japanese sisters, who buy Darjeeling teas from us, to list two of their favourite teas from back home. Guided and converted by them, we now stock a Sencha Fukuya and a legendary Gyokuru Asahi. A new experience for me, but that pronounced vegetal taste is now becoming essential, at least once a day in my life. I think you'll like them.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fine and Noble – Pyramid tea bags

Fine and Noble – Pyramid tea bags

Dear Friends, I'm really surprised at myself speaking so enthusiastically about teabags, but Fine and Noble Pyramid bags are something special. Not only do they contain whole leaf teas of the highest quality and the construction of the bags allows the best infusion of the leaves.Fine & Noble pyramid bags really satisfy the gourmet palate. They deliver elegance, flavour, tradition and enjoyment whilst containing all the goodness for which tea is becoming well known – flavournoids, polyphenols, tannis, vitamins and minerals. The range is specially selected by tea experts using only the finest teas from the “old” tea growing world – China, India and Sri-Lanka. They are manufactured using the more traditional “orthodox(1)” method rather than on the CTC(2) machines more commonly used on today’s tea bags. The quality of these teas, combined with the free-flow nylon pyramid bag, result in a slow release of flavour and character that is impossible to match with an every day tea bag. To appreciate the full flavour and quality of these teas, it is advisable to allow at least three/four minutes for brewing.

High Teas now stock the entire range of Fine and Noble teas, which includes some caffeine-free infusions.

Give them a go – you won't be disappointed. Best wishes Tony Marks


(1) Orthodox Manufacture

After selectively picking (often by hand) tea leaves. The leaves are allowed to wither, reducing their water content and making them soft and pliable. Once withered, the leaves are gently rolled to break down the cellular structure, beginning the oxidation process. This method is used for fine whole leaf teas.

(2) CTC Manufacture

In the Crush-Tear-Curl process, tea leaves are plucked and withered. After they are withered the tea leaves are passed through a series of cylindrical rollers that crush, tear and roll the tea leaves into tiny, irregular balls. CTC tea is used primarily in mass-market teabags. Given the small particle size, CTC tea has a greater surface area ratio than whole leaf tea, causing it to brew quickly and generally have a thicker body with more astringency.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pu-erh Teas: How to brew pu-erh tea

What is Pu-erh Tea?

Pu-erh tea has become really popular in the West, in all its forms. It is a tea lovers favourite and is often described with terms such as rich and earthy or ripe and mellow, some would even say old tasting in, a complimentary sense.

The fast growing interest in this wonderful product has persuaded us to put together a few really good examples for you to try. In time we will expand the representation of Pu-erh teas on the list.

Pu-erh is a tea that is purposely left to age, and like a fine wine the older it gets the more prized it becomes. It's not uncommon for Pu-erhs to be many years old, usually between 1 and 5 but much older is possible, and each year that passes will only fortify its character and further mellow its flavour.

The journey from unfermented leaf to Pu-erh Tea is a remarkable one as it bears no resemblance to the methods used for making Green Tea. The leaves are withered in a similar way to Green Tea, but before all the moisture has gone they are piled into heaps to allow bacterium to react. A thin layer of mould will often develop and this is wholeheartedly encouraged as it benefits the overall character and flavour of the tea.
Pu-erh is then formed into bricks or cakes, gently wrapped in paper, and stored outside on racks to age. The final stage ensures the Pu-erh bricks mature to the full as they are then stored underground, and this is where they can lay for many years to mellow and evolve.

The medicinal benefits of Pu-erh are not without substance either, as according to scientific research it helps reduce cholesterol, increase metabolism and aids in digestion, especially that of fatty foods. Pu-erh has been highly regarded in Traditional Chinese Medicine for many years, maybe the health benefits are in the abundant microbial activity, in which case it's similar to other living foods we hold in high regard, such as live yoghurt for example.

Pu-erh gets its name from its birthplace, therefore the small county of Pu-erh in China's Yunnan Province can be thought of as its true home, and to this day Yunnan Province is still a major producer of these exceptional teas.

Today Pu-erh teas can be purchased as loose tea, and as small and larger cakes and larger cakes of compressed teas.

Brewing pu-erh tea:

  1. When the bricks are extremely tightly pressed it is best to use a strong knife to carefully pry out some leaves. The technique that works best is to insert the knife into the edge of the brick and then gently work it up and down until the tea loosens and falls off.
  2. Add about 3-4 grams per serving of tea (the amount depends upon type of pu-erh) to your teapot.
  3. Add hot boiling water at a full rolling boil.
  4. Steep for 2-3 minutes. Once the tea seems ready, give it a stir and then pour and taste. If necessary, adjust the steeping time for a stronger taste.
New Pu-erh teas page You can find the best quality Pu-erh teas, selected for you by High Teas with the same passion for high quality teas, on our new Pu-erh teas page.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tisanes and herbal teas on Highteas.co.uk

Our Tisanes

Following its enormous surge in popularity thanks to positive publicity surrounding the numerous health benefits of herbal and fruit tisanes, we just had to investigate.

The first indisputable fact that we soon established is that there is a vast array of delectable flavours available to consumers. Apart from the suggested health benefits, they are just plain delicious.

what are tisanes?

Tisanes look like tea and are brewed in boiling water like tea – yet they do not come from the Camellia Sinensis bush, the plant from which all teas are made.

Instead, tisanes are made from mixtures of dried leaves, seeds, grasses, nuts, barks, fruits, flowers or other botanicals that give them their taste and contribute to an array of folk and researched-based herbal tea benefits.

Here are some of the suggested herbal tea benefits when consumed on a daily basis.

  • Achieve a more calm, relaxed state of mind
  • Support heart health
  • Aid with stomach and digestive problems
  • Provide cleansing properties for the body
  • Promote energy and wellness

We were principally looking for delightful, sometimes complex beverages, that give real pleasure. They certainly do not contain the dreaded caffeine.

We have sourced our tisanes from two celebrated sources of the finest tisanes available. The herbal teas tend to come from one supplier and the fruit infusions from another specialist.

From conservative "only the real thing will do" tea drinkers, we're now convinced that there is an important place for tisanes in our range, and hope you will share our pleasure.

Please let us have your feedback.