Hoogly Blogs / All seasons

Well, I never brew that!

Well, I never brew that!

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you guys, but tea is extremely popular. Our favourite beverage is consumed at a ridiculous rate in the UK—some 165 million daily cups, which equates to over 60 billion a year. Worldwide, tea grows in fifty-two countries—and the oldest Chinese tree is over three thousand years old! Did you know that all teas come from the same plant? The sub-tropical evergreen camellia sinensis is native to Asia and is the origin of green, white, oolong and black tea; the difference being how the leaves are withered, rolled and heated—and which additional steps are taken before packaging. Black tea leaves are left to ferment until they become the required dark colour. Oolong’s process is similar, but each stage is quicker. Green tea is steamed or pan fried rather than fermented. White tea is the least processed, mostly being left to dry briefly in the sun before packaging preparation.

But what about herbal teas like peppermint, I hear you ask?! Herbal drinks are technically called ‘tisanes,’ which describe any tea-like herbal infusion made from seeds, nuts, berries, flowers, roots and leaves. Mint and lavender are amongst the most popular herbs used for tisanes, but they are called ‘tea’ more often than not. Combinations of tisanes and teas are very popular, infusing tea leaves with herbs and spices, like fruit in iced tea or cardamom chai. Many of Hoogly’s delicious recipes are made in this way, as we aim for the best possible combination of comfort, scent and taste!

Do you have a penchant for the finer things in life? The priciest teabag ever was created by Boodles jewellers to celebrate PG Tips 75th birthday. The diamond-encrusted bag was valued at £7000 and sold at a charity auction! In terms of expensive cups, China’s Tieguanyin oolong will set you back a wee bit, coming in at £1,500 per pound. On the plus side, the leaves can be brewed up to seven times before the flavour is lost. The reason for the high price is the leaves’ bright colour, their thick, crisp texture, the unique ‘ringing’ sound when the tea is poured, the nutty aroma and the extremely rich flavour!

Until the Victorian era, the English upper classes pronounced tea ‘tay.’ It was seen as being exclusively for the rich, and wealthy ladies would even resort to hiding the key to the tea caddy, or carrying it around their necks in an attempt to keep it away from the maids. Thankfully, tea nowadays is for everyone—but some of us are still extraordinarily particular about the way it is prepared. It is thought that 7% of people are so fussy about how they take their tea that they wouldn’t let anyone else prepare it. Are you a milk-first or bag-first person? Well, milk wasn’t even a factor for a long time. Early tea drinks only happened upon the famous combination as a result of trying to protect their fine porcelain: milk was added to remove some of the tea’s heat so that the cups wouldn’t crack. 93% of tea drinkers now add milk in the UK. In the Himalayas, it’s traditional to add yak butter to a milky black tea. The salt helps high-altitude inhabitants stay hydrated, and it’s so popular that po cha has become the country’s unofficial national beverage!

Tea has also had some surprising uses outside of brewing. Slightly damp tea leaves are sometimes rubbed on uncovered skin as a mosquito repellent. Tea has also been utilised as a natural dyeing cloth, a floor cleaner, meat marinade and to patch up shaving cuts! As if that wasn’t enough—gardeners can often be found using tea leaves for their roses, which love to absorb the leaves’ nutrients through the soil. Tea can also accelerate the process of decomposition on a compost pile. And you thought a Swiss Army knife was versatile!!

Now allow us to recommend our very own versatile selection of relaxing and cosy brews to carry you through the tail-end of winter and lead you into the promise of sunnier skies and happier times ahead! For those of you still shivering and dressed in sixteen layers, stick the kettle on and settle yourself down with a cup of Around the Fire Oolong tea. This reliable customer favourite is cockle-warming combination of smoky tea leaves and hearty spices, licked by flames of safflower and complemented by the fiery charm of crushed chilli. The unique taste will dazzle your senses and the calming warmth will help alleviate the stresses and strains of everyday life.

For those who like to unwind with a sweet treat, why not indulge in our delicious Blueberry Muffin tea? This gorgeous toasty rooibos, infused with succulent fruity delights, is naturally caffeine-free and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. The perfect companion to a good book or TV show!

And finally, for those who enjoy zen and balance in all things, we invite you to discover our amazing Vanilla Chai black tea. In this tantalising brew, bold and fiery chai spices are tempered by smooth and luxurious vanilla, creating the perfect measure of calm, warmth and relaxation. Once you’ve finished the first cup, you’ll want to experience the thrilling sensation again and again.

Until next time, Hoogly lovers… stay safe, enjoy your teas and tisanes, and remember to create a little hygge in your life!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

A new year, a new you—and the same old restrictions. It’s fair to say that the beginning of 2021 has been especially challenging, compounding the usual dreariness of winter with continued curbs on our social freedoms. A great deal of us continue to adapt to new circumstances and new pressures, one of which is the adjustment to working from home. Although lots of people have already made this change, there will be many who are just starting, thinking about starting, or who wish to improve the way they operate and function within the confines of their homes. With this in mind, we at Hoogly would like to offer a few hints and tips for staying at the top of your professional game in these uncertain and stressful times.

 

For all your working from home needs please also check out www.thewfhzone.co.uk

 

  1. Create a work space: Designate a location where you will be comfortable, uninterrupted (where possible!) and content. Sit and be still in this place for a while, sending a clear signal to your grey matter that it’s time to focus and concentrate. When you’re no longer working, keep away from this area, and resist the urge to ‘check in.’
  2. Get Moving: If you’re not a fan of being restricted to one location, then pick a few other quiet locations and designate them as office space. Allot yourself a certain amount of time in each space and then change location. This will help your muscles and posture, and also provide a neat way to organise and breakdown your tasks, allowing you to manage your time.
  3. Schedule: It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but it’s a great idea to write or type a schedule for the day, giving yourself clear objectives and timeframes for each task based on priorities and importance. This will streamline your working day. Within your schedule, try to factor in what and when you will eat. If you can, stick to the same time each day as routine is as important for your body as it is for your mind.
  4. Break it up! One of the pitfalls of working from home is the tendency to make yourself available at every minute of the day. But in order to maximise the quality and quantity of your output, you must give yourself the opportunity to relax and recharge. Get away from your screen, go somewhere else, have a cup of delicious Hoogly tea—and enforce this break strictly. Even five or ten minutes each hour will be beneficial for your productivity.
  5. Check in: While there are a lot of plus sides to working from home (cheerio, commute!) it can also, for obvious reasons, be more isolating. Ensure you carve out time to get in touch with friends and family via video chat in order to get face-to-face human interaction, and if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to talk about how the experience is affecting you to your colleagues and boss. A lot of people are in the same boat and it’s very helpful to get different perspectives, input and advice! If it suits the others, build your video calls or virtual coffee breaks into your schedule.
  6. Boundaries: As with all areas of life, it’s important to create and curate your boundaries, especially if you share your house with others—including children! Working from home is flexible, but it also has a plethora of distractions, so be sure to discuss your needs with everyone before you get started. Gently remind others that you will need quiet and focus, share your schedule with them so everyone is on board, and remember to enforce your boundaries at work where possible. Once you’ve logged off, stay logged off! You’ve worked hard, now enjoy your freedom!
  7. Be Kind to Yourself: It won’t all be plain sailing. This is an unusual and often disorienting situation, and it’s perfectly normal to find adjustment tricky. It’s important to acknowledge that your productivity might not be the same as before, and that any goals you create must be realistic and achievable. The most important thing is to look after yourself, and everything else may just take care of itself!

 

And if you’re looking for a spectacular way to reward yourself for a completed task, or at the end of a hard day’s work, then look no further than Hoogly’s latest tea creation: Blueberry Muffin Rooibos! This caffeine-free treat combines the unique taste of Rooibos with an infusion of sweet tones, making it the perfect brew for any time of the day or night! Once you inhale the sensational scent and take your first sip, you’ll wonder where muffin tea has been all your life! You’re welcome!!!

 

That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. We hope you all remain safe and well, and we wish you all the best for the new year!

 

Written by Chris Bedford

 

www.hooglytea.com

www.thewfhzone.co.uk

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A Hoogly Year!

A Hoogly Year!

Is it me, or is it cold? Properly, bitterly, unacceptably freezing. The summer heatwave now seems like a bad joke, some distant dream involving t-shirts, Magnums and sleeping without a duvet. This morning it was the sort of temperature where getting out of bed seems like a direct contravention of my basic human rights; the sort of temperature where it wouldn’t be ridiculous to wear every single item of your clothing and ride a huskie sled to work. My greyhound has the right idea: he pokes his long nose out of the back door, assesses the climate, and promptly goes back to bed. His canine senses are telling him to prioritise survival over the comfort of his bladder or the filling of his tummy. If I suggest a walk, he looks at me as if I’ve just ripped up his favourite toy in front of him and binned his box of treats. So, we go back to bed, with a warm mug of Hoogly, of course, and wait for the sun to do its thing.

But this time of year is not all bad: we get to have some spooky fun with Halloween (big shout out to the Netflix series ‘The Haunting of Hill House,’ a brilliant story of families and ghosts to get you in the mood for the dark winter to come) In case you’re wondering, my Halloween costume this year will be a hibernating bear. If someone could kindly bring me some trick-or-treat chocolate to my cave, that would be splendid, thank you.

After Halloween we move to Bonfire Night. This is a truly Hoogly celebration, a way to get friends and family together all dressed up in cosy coats, scarves and fluffy socks. It’s a night for icy breath and wellington boots, of mesmerising orange flames and kaleidoscopic firework displays, of burgers and hotdogs with lashings of sauce. Unless it rains, in which case it’s a bit rubbish. But don’t worry you’ve always got a mug of our delightfully Danish tea to sustain you through the unpredictable weather.

And once we’ve navigated November, we move onto the serious stuff. The word that cannot be mentioned. The all-encompassing stress-monster. The jingling bells and familiar songs. The swathes of shoppers elbowing and bumping each other as they cross items their giraffe’s neck list. The day of gorging and regret, punctuated by the giving and receiving of gifts, and the repeat of a good film.

If you survive the-word-that-cannot-be-mentioned, you’ll then find yourself in January, a month of violent introspection and urgent self-improvement, with military-level supplies of fruit and veg stocked up to compliment our new regime of exercise, which we carry out in a manner that suggests we’re being chased down by a monster. Which is why our regime only really lasts until mid-January, February at best. Plus, we’re a bit hungry. For something other than carrots and quinoa.

And then it’s summer again, possibly another heatwave, beaches rammed with the same people who were brawling for presents in December, but this time with less clothes and more burnt skin and beer. At least you can go to work and come home again in daylight—which does improve the working day by 4-5% (the same percentage as getting a free coffee from the barista or discovering that the boss you dislike is off sick.) This is not quite as big as the 12-13% improvement in a working day when you are allowed to punch out early, especially if it’s a Friday and your extra free time bleeds into a weekend. As Mickey Flanagan says, we’re going out out! The list of things that make a working day worse are too long—and the percentages too big—to mention here, but we all know what they are. We’ll choose to ignore them in a burst of Hoogly mindfulness.

To summarise this rant, I would like to say that every season, every day, every moment is improved incalculably by flipping on the kettle and popping in one of our Hoogly tea bags. Bad moods, bad days, bad luck and bad bananas will fall away as you discover our tantalising variety of finely crafted treats, each designed to bring the cosy comfort of Hygge into your life, allowing you to become the centre of attention, the full focus of your relaxation, stripping away stress and strains as if they never existed. Whether you’re a traditionalist, an experimenter, a sweet-tooth or a smooth operator, there is something in our shop for everyone. You may even find the perfect gift for December, and it’s all just a couple of cosy clicks away!

Written by Chris Bedford, 

www.hooglytea.com

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