Hoogly Blogs / natural flavouring

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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COME DINE WITH ME

COME DINE WITH ME

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope everyone is doing well. It’s great to see the country creeping back into some sort of normality after such a long and difficult few months. While there still seems a fair way to go in this surreal and unprecedented journey, we can at least begin to do some of the things that have been denied to us during lockdown, including eating out! This is a favourite pastime of mine; I love everything about the experience of dining away from home. I especially enjoy the simple pleasure of not having to cook my meal: this is an underestimated joy, and is matched only by the delight of avoiding the washing up. These factors most easily explain why I spend far too much time (and money) in restaurants and pubs—but I can’t help it. There’s something magical about it.

Another huge part of the pleasure of eating out, of course, is the sociability. I think this was one of the things I found hardest about lockdown; the inability to meet regularly with friends and family over a table of good food and catch up on gossip, or put the world to rights with far-reaching debates and conversations. The love of cuisine is something that binds us together; and the experience of the restaurant is something that is best when shared. It starts with the perusal of the menu; the giddy anticipation that comes with the wealth of choice; the slight disappointment that your decision must be boiled down to only one selection, and the promise of something sweet to end the meal.

Then comes the wait. The mouth-watering pause between waiter/waitress visitations, and the smell of the kitchen wafting through the room. And then the plate arrives, placed in front of you like a dream, artfully presented or piled high; a glorious, indulgent reason to be cheerful. The first bite is everything: perhaps you go quiet for a moment. Block everything else out. Spend some alone-time with your main course; taking in the flavour, the texture, the delicate acrobatics of your taste-buds as they are caressed by the food. Once you’ve got to grips with the treat in front of you, the conversations can begin again; declaring how delicious your meal is to others as they confirm the quality of their own dish; swapping stories of where inferior or superior versions of the same meal have been experienced in the past, or perhaps tales of cooking the same dish at home with good or bad results. Sometimes things are left unsaid, however. Jealous glances followed by rueful thoughts. I wish I’d chosen what she’s having. I knew I should have ordered chips. Would it be wrong to ask for seconds?

But food aside, as I mentioned earlier, the loveliest part of dining out is being in the company of those you love and cherish, experiencing a joint adventure that keeps us connected and in touch, creating memories that sustain us through the working week, and through the hardships that inevitably arrive at our door. And the most recent global hardship has made the art of eating into a quite different experience, but one that I think will gradually help us move away from the darker months that preceded these. It will take time, of course. There is naturally, and rightly, an undercurrent of caution to getting back into our old habits, but I think a shared love of quality grub, conversation and lack of kitchen chores will eventually become second-nature once again.

And, of course, there is no better way to round off an evening—whether you’ve been at work, out for a meal, or spending the day at home—than flipping on the kettle and settling down with one of our amazingly relaxing Hoogly teas! We have a huge range of brews that represent our cosy, mindful ethos, helping you find that perfect moment of calm in the storm of modern life. The Hoogly range have scents that are as enticing and delicious as their flavours, and will soon find a special place in your daily routine—and maybe even your heart! We’re all about treating yourself to something special, which is why we love having a meal out, and which is why we design all our teas to put you, the customer, first, helping you focus on the simple things in life that bring you joy and calmness.

Our recommendation today is: Baked Apple Chai black tea. This versatile delight is an excellent accompaniment to any occasion and climate, working from a base of mellow Sri Lankan black tea, which overlaps with the dazzling flavour combination of apple, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla pieces. Throw some blackberry and lime leaves into the equation, and you’ve got yourself a luxurious mug of happiness that will put a smile on your face time and again.

So until next time, stay safe, go at your own pace, and love tea!

Written by Chris Bedford, 

www.hooglytea.com

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Summer Sensations!

Summer Sensations!

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope you are all safe and well. The summer is here and the sun is (mostly) shining, and the world is creeping back to something like ‘normal.’ Now is the time to discover all the ways in which you can make the most of the warmer weather with our spectacular selection of luxury brews, which are the perfect accompaniment to a hot day, whatever your plans!

As you know, Hoogly is all about relaxation, mindfulness and being kind to yourself, and what better way to chill and unwind than sitting outside and enjoying the sunshine, fresh air and all the scents of summer. To make the most of your sunny experience, we heartily recommend one of our latest and greatest brews: Apricot Blossom. This is an elegant combination of Chinese Pai Mu Dan white tea and Sencha green tea, underscored by a refreshing drench of fruity flavours. It’s perfect for an afternoon tea, a picnic, a sunbed sidekick, or even as a cheery reminder of good weather on a classic English rainy day. This charming tea comes in pyramid bags or loose leaf, and makes an ideal gift, putting a smile on the faces of your friends and loved ones, and giving them a treat they can return to time and again.

Another newcomer is the tantalising and tempting Tiramisu black tea, a rich and indulgent pick-me-up that combines coffee beans and cocoa within a body of Sri Lankan black tea and roasted dandelion root. This creamy indulgence is an exhilarating new way to enjoy a classic cup of tea, and absolutely perfect to share with family and friends. Give your taste buds something to exciting to work on this summer, whether you’re serving with a picnic, enjoying at breakfast, or capping off a delicious meal!

Our next newbie is also incredibly versatile, ideal for any occasion or season! Introducing Ginger Biscuit rooibos tea! This is Hoogly’s take on the classic snack: a light, warm and subtly spicy blend of rooibos and ginger that will hit the spot no matter what. This winning blend is a great way to relax at the end of a long day, and equally good as a treat, or an accompaniment to any kind of meal. And, yes, we’ve even tried it as a cheeky caffeine-free midnight cuppa, and it does the trick! Just don’t tell anyone your secret!

Summer is not summer, of course, without a lolly—and our brews are perfect for frozen family fun! We recommend Sweet Orange Rooibos for your icy delight—it’s bursting with South Africa’s unique rooibos taste, and alive with juicy, zesty citrus flavours and a playful hint of strawberry! Simply brew the bags for twice as long as usual, pour the contents into a mould of your preference, and leave in the freezer overnight. When you wake up, you’ll have a sensationally sweet summer treat for all the family!

If lollies aren’t your thing, then give a Hoogly ice tea a go! Place two teabags of your choice in a heat-proof pitcher, pour in four cups of boiling water, and leave for around five minutes. Then remove the teabags, sweeten, add slices of fruit for a lush twist, and pour in five or six cups of ice until they melt. Allow everything to settle and then whack it in the fridge until the sun gets too hot to handle, and you’re good to go! For an ice tea that’s full of glamour and inner balance, why not try our Rhubarb and Vanilla green tea, which carefully caresses tart and sweet flavours, creating a note-perfect accoutrement for a chill day in the sun.

So that’s it for this time, Hoogly lovers. Stay safe, enjoy the weather and keep flipping the kettle on!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com 

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A walk on the wild side!

A walk on the wild side!

Greetings Hoogly fans! As the lockdown is gradually eased, many of us are taking the opportunity to step outside and cautiously enjoy exercise in the wider world once again. Spending such a long time indoors has been truly testing (even with our endlessly varied and delicious Hoogly brews to enjoy!) and now that we are starting to stretch our legs, the surroundings that we’ve barely seen in weeks take centre stage once more. But it’s not just the beautiful woods, forests and parks, replete with plump trees, radiant flowers and vast swathes of glistening grassland that demand attention; it’s also the amazing creatures that dwell within. Personally, I love nothing better than to watch wildlife busily going about its business: squirrels scurrying and pestering nuts; ducks with fluffy chicklets drifting across glinting ponds; geese sculling overhead in military formation; foxes on a dusk prowl, flitting into hedge furrows with a flash of orange. And, of course, there are the hundreds of varieties of dogs, hauling their humans around, blissfully unaware of the world’s problems, tongues lapping out like slabs of bacon as they urge yet another lap of the park. Don’t forget, too, the insects, arachnids and reptiles that dart about, burrowing, hiding, marching, flying and hunting beneath and around our feet—a whole other world of stunning intricacy, complexity and imperious design…if only we look close enough.

Watching animals go about their lives has always given me a sense of calm, an escape from whatever else I’m thinking about. It’s oddly comforting knowing the simple, binary prerogatives of these creatures: safety, warmth, food, sex. But it’s not always simply about survival; there are secrets and magic to be found in the wild; chase and play, fun and games, mating rituals, elaborate communication, tender acts, and lifelong relationships. There is so much to admire—and envy—In the animal world that I thought I list a few amazing facts for your enjoyment—nuggets of information that will dazzle, surprise and give you fresh perspective on our wild neighbours!

    

  • In 1945, a Colorado farmer decided chicken was on the menu, and chopped one of his rooster’s head off with an axe; unfortunately, his aim was slightly off, and despite removing the head, the rooster’s brainstem remained mostly intact, and a clot saved it from death by blood loss. When ‘Mike’ continued to run around, the farmer knew he had something incredible on his hands, and soon the rooster became famous, delighting and shocking visitors for eighteen months, before he eventually succumbed to the inevitable!
  • The bombardier beetle, when threatened, cooks up a chemistry set of destruction in its belly: hydroquinone, hydrogen peroxide, catalysing enzymes and water, a jet of which shoots out of its rear end with a loud pop, scaring and stinking predators away! Thankfully, the beetle also has an inner valve which closes so that the beetle doesn’t explode!
  • Some lizards and salamanders can ‘drop’ their tails when a predator grabs it; this process of autotomy happens when the lizard contracts certain muscles, cleaving a vertebra and causing the tail to fall (and sometimes wiggle independently to further befuddle an attacker) Often, a new tail tip made from cartilage may grow back, but the bones are gone forever.
  • It may not surprise you to know this, but cats have adapted to skilfully manipulate their owners. A study showed that cats that want something from their humans emit a unique, high-frequency purr, which is of a similar pitch to the impossible-to-ignore wails and cries of a human baby, ensuring we soon top up the bowl and put a smile on moggy’s whiskers.
  • In 1986, a five-year-old boy fell into the gorilla enclosure at Jersey Zoo, knocking himself unconscious. Jambo, the head of the gorilla group, took the situation into his own hands, guarding the boy, and stroking his back, keeping his curious fellow gorillas back. When the boy came round and started to cry, Jambo stepped back, allowing keepers to rescue the boy unharmed!
  • An African Grey Parrot called Alex, according to his handler, had the ability to understand concepts, recognise colours and shapes and knew around 100 words, including some the parrot had made up himself! When Alex saw his first apple, he christened it ‘banerry,’ a portmanteau of ‘banana’ and ‘cherry,’ two fruits he already enjoyed!

 

To celebrate the outside world, and all the majestic creatures that inhabit it, why not indulge in one of our finest summery brews: Spiced Orange herbal tea! This fresh, zesty delight has a generous dose of mulled spices, and is infused with a fruity centre that will quench your thirst and thrill your taste buds at any time of day!

Until next time, stay safe, be Hoogly, and don’t let the cat twist your arm!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hoolgytea.com

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