Hoogly Blogs / white tea

Kettle Do Nicely

Kettle Do Nicely

Hello everyone. First off, we at Hoogly would like to extend our best wishes to everyone during this challenging period; we hope you are all doing as well as possible under the circumstances. It can seem trivial to talk about tea during such a turbulent time—and yet, throughout history, people have turned to simple pleasures when things are tough, finding comfort in the familiar and the reliable. Flipping on the kettle is a symbol of crisis management; a beacon that draws us together; a plastic click that says sit down and tell me about it and I’m here for you. So, we say: fill the kettle, flip the switch, and make your favourite cuppa. It won’t change the world, but it might bring a small moment or two of calm, solace and tranquillity.

The main topic of this blog was going to be about the great outdoors and the treasures one can find there. But at a time when less and less of us are venturing outside, this topic, at first, seemed a touch counterintuitive. However, the more I thought about it, the more I figured that the wonderful things I’d seen and learned about didn’t get less wonderful just because I wasn’t going to visit them for a while. In fact, thinking about them took my mind off current events, and put a smile on my face. So, in the end, I decided that I would write about them—and hopefully you’ll find something here that will put a smile on your face too.

The first thing I discovered was something extremely contemporary in terms of nature: a phenomenon known colloquially as ‘witches knickers.’ This is where a shred of stray plastic bag gets caught high up in the branches and twigs of trees, bringing to mind, to those who named it, images of old hags flying around on their broomsticks (presumably without much clothing) and swooping low enough to snag their undergarments in a most unfortunate way. Although this is also a reminder of the excesses of human production, it always gives me a chuckle when I see it.

The second thing I learned about was a spheroblast or burr. This is something I’d seen many times without being able to put a name to it: an anomaly in trees causing various sizes of growths to bulge out from the trunk, sometimes as big as footballs. Burr—as in burr walnut—is often used by luxury car manufacturers and makers of pipes, and the fractal grain of these growths appeal greatly to wood carvers. I like to think of it as trees puffing out their chest with pride—or perhaps with hostility—seeing as Spheroblast sounds like something the X-Men might do battle with!

The final part of the natural world that I discovered was the word Dumbledore. Steady on, Potter fans, it’s not what you think! This is actually another name for the bumblebee! In Britain, our gold and black friend has, in fact, gone by many names: ‘foggy bumbler,’ ‘drumbledrane’ and until fairly recently, the ‘humble-bee.’ Beatrix Potter chose ‘bumble’ instead of ‘humble’ in Tale of Mrs Tiittlemouse (1910)—and by the middle of that decade, Beatrix’s choice had become the norm! Our other literary Potter, of course, has a headmaster with the name Dumbledore, but the character is out of sync with the original West Country meaning: a person who is lethargic, slow, and a little dim.

Fun fact: the bee’s buzz doesn’t come from its wings! It’s actually the sound of the bee’s muscles firing up before take-off, much like a plane or helicopter! Take a peek and have a listen next time you spot a bee on a flower!

And to celebrate the natural world, why not try one of our latest creations…Apricot Blossom green tea?! This uniquely elegant brew is a combination of the downy leaves of Chinese Pai Mu Dan white tea and refreshingly crisp green tea, underscored by the ripe, sunny flavours of soft stone fruit. It’s the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon tea, or can be enjoyed on its own as a tasty treat that will help you relax and unwind.

That’s it until next time, Hoogly fans. Take good care of yourselves, do Hygge, and keep filling your kettle!

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Black and White Tea!

Black and White Tea!

Greetings Hoogly lovers! I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year! How are your resolutions coming along? Congratulations to everyone who is attempting Veganuary! This is a truly exciting and virtuous mission, helping the planet and its animals in numerous ways, and we at Hoogly are fully behind you! Don’t forget that all of our tantalising teas are vegan, so you can complement your new menu with our relaxing, eclectic selection of scent-sational brews!

Aside from being tidier and better with money, my resolution for the new year is to indulge in a regular routine of retro movie nights. This is a simple and relaxing pleasure I have drifted away from in recent years, especially since the advent of streaming, and the constant deluge of new content provided by the giants of TV subscription. When I was younger, my parents introduced me to some of their favourite films, and watching them I discovered a whole new world that seemed distinct and separate from the films I was watching at the time. Firstly, the oddity of black and white. It took a while for me to fully understand that this was a limitation of technology and not evidence that previous generations had actually lived in a world without colour! As I grew older, the films my parents raved about so much began to take on new meaning for me. I began to appreciate the craft involved, the style and scale of some of the productions, the beautiful orchestral music, the purity of the dialogue, and the magnetic draw of the shining stars that appeared in them. Humphrey Bogart, Laurence Olivier, John Wayne, Vivien Leigh. Names my parents spoke about with such reverence, such joy, such fond recollection. I began to understand why Mum and Dad had watched these films over and over, endlessly, never tiring of what was being offered. It was an escape—all good movies are, of course—but these films of the forties, fifties and sixties seemed a breed apart. They were reassuring. Comforting. Like an old friend. They reminded people of a different era, and in many ways (although reality almost certainly differed) a better time. A period of respect and understatement. A period where awful things were implied but not shown. A period in which everything felt ordered, safe, aligned. An idea that, for ninety minutes, nothing else mattered, and everything was as it should be.

From the hundreds of films my parents introduced me to, a handful have stayed with me forever, and now make up the hit-list of retro movie night. But before I get into the details of this glorious rollcall of cinematic delight, I must share with you the proper way to enjoy your relaxing retro evening.  First of all, you must wear pyjamas. If you don’t own a pair of PJs, then a t-shirt and lounge pants are acceptable. Secondly, you must have a duvet or sheet: you never know when the movie night may extend beyond reasonable hours—it might be midnight already when Gone With the Wind starts, and you’ve got four hours to get through yet, so it’s wise to make arrangements to sleep where you sit! Thirdly, you need copious snacks, preferably popcorn, but I will allow any reasonable assortment of chocolates, crisps or nuts. Fourthly, you must have an endless supply of Hoogly Tea at your side! As you know, like Hollywood movies, our teas range from the classic to the exotic, from elegant simplicity to flavour fiestas, taking your around the world on a chilled and refreshing journey. So get your kettle and bags ready—lights, camera, action!

And so to my favourite retro films. If you haven’t seen these already, then you’re not living your best life. Sort it out!

 

  1. Brief Encounter. A chance meeting of a married woman and a doctor at a steam-covered train station leads to a romantic affair, and a dramatic exploration of loyalty, regret and the choices we make. Has one of the greatest—and most English —endings in cinema history.
  2. Wuthering Heights (1939) This adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel is a wind-swept and moody saga of love, loss and obsession, with a sweeping and underrated orchestral score, and fine performances by Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. Have a hanky ready!
  3. Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart plays night club owner Rick, who agrees to help his former lover and her husband stay a step ahead of the Nazis—but old feelings are soon rekindled. This masterpiece has some of the greatest lines of dialogue ever written, a beautiful score, high drama, and never fails to delight, no matter how many times you watch it.
  4. Carve Her Name With Pride. The true story of Violette Szabo, an English war-widow who became a secret agent in occupied France during World War 2. A film about courage, love and doing one’s duty, this a fitting tribute to a remarkable heroine—the first woman to be awarded the George Cross. Included in the film is the reading of a love poem Szabo was given to help encrypt messages while she was in France—it is a thing of rare beauty, and the moment the poem appears will stay with you forever.

 

If you fancy a seductive treat to add a little bit of Hollywood glamour to your movie night, why not try one of our Hoogly hot cocoas?! We have three decadent flavours to choose from: Luxury Hot Cocoa, Cocoa & Mint, and Salted Caramel Cocoa! These sweet sensations will knock your cosy socks off, and keep you coming back for more! So give one an audition today!

Until next time, good luck with all your resolutions and enjoy your movie night!

www.hooglytea.com

Written by Chris Bedford.

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Book yourself in for Hygge!

Book yourself in for Hygge!

Greetings Hoogly fans! I hope you’re bearing up well in these unacceptably frigid temperatures; all the steaming breath and numb fingers, the breeze that cuts your ears and the car-ice that makes you late.  Can anyone even remember the heat wave now? And apparently there’s snow on the way: I knew I should have chained myself to the sun-lounger last time I was in Spain. But it is what it is—and we’ll make the most of it, like we always do. Even though we have to take down the Christmas decs, and we’ve nearly run out of chocolate. Oh, the misery!

 

But there is hope! One pastime, in particular, is especially good for overcoming the January blues in true Hoogly style: the simple pleasure of reading! Hygge asks us to be cosy and comfortable, and to do the things we love, with the people we love, in the places we love. And what better way to snuggle up, escape to far-off lands and meet interesting characters than within the pages of a good book?! There is something unfailingly magical about the smell of a new book; the excitement of starting a new adventure, the way a good author taps into your imagination and emotions, allowing you to see and feel things outside of your ordinary experience, to test the boundaries of what is possible, to discover what it means to be human, and to share a connection with a group of people you will never meet, but can hold in your heart forever.

I say all this, of course, because I’m biased: not only do I love books, but I love that fact that you can share a book with a cup of tea! Is there greater happiness to be had than the sip-and-flick? The answer to that is: probably not—but it helps to have the right book and the right cup of tea. The tea of course, is the easy part, which we’ll come to a little later (spoiler alert: it’s Hoogly!) The right book, however, is a little trickier. But help is at hand, as it always is, from our Hoogly book club! For January, we’ve chosen two books we love as a starting point:

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. This best-selling novel is about Anna, a former child psychologist, whose chronic agoraphobia has kept her inside her New York City apartment for ten months, bingeing on old black-and-white movies and watching her neighbours in other apartments. One day Anna hears a frenzied scream and witnesses something she wasn’t meant to see. Can she summon the strength to uncover the truth about what happened? Will anyone trust her? Can she trust herself? This is a wonderfully claustrophobic thriller, reminiscent of Hitchcock’s classic film Rear Window, but full of contemporary issues, destined to be enjoyed and talked about for a long time to come!

Our second choice is The Language of Kindness: a Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson. This memoir recalls Watson’s twenty-year career, including stints at Great Ormond Street hospital and St Mary’s hospital in Paddington. In an easy-to-read style, Watson explores what it means to be a nurse: an indiscriminate act of caring, compassion and empathy, and remembers moving and poignant stories from her career, including the miraculous survival of a premature baby. As the NHS continues to make headlines, this is a beacon of hope in troubled times, reminding us of the best in human nature and the power of love.

And while you’re enjoying those two wonderful books, you can get your feet up and chill with our glorious selection of cleverly crafted and cosy teas! As an accompaniment to The Woman in the Window, we recommend the thrilling indulgence of Danish Pastry Rooibos. This combination of chocolate, cinnamon and a subtle pastry taste will satisfy and seduce you, leaving you wanting more!

To accompany The Language of Kindness, why not try Classic Green tea?! This is a brew with great flavour and depth, and studies have shown it can be good for your health too! This elegant, clear liquor will bring clarity to any situation, and help remind you of what’s important in life.

So, until next time, enjoy your flicks-and-sips, and don’t forget to stay chilled, not chilly! 

Written by Chris Bedford

www.hooglytea.com

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Black and White Tea!

Black and White Tea!

Greetings Hoogly fans! As I was curled up on my sofa the other day, laid low by a nasty little cold, I flicked through the TV channels and came across a lovely old black and white film called Since You Went Away, a 1944 American flick about a family dealing with those they love being sent away to war. As I sipped my Hoogly Tea, I instantly relaxed as the opening credits rolled, with a fireplace framed in shot, the names of the cast members drifting upwards as the orchestral piece swelled and built to crescendo. I felt a comforting veil of tranquillity fall over me as the film began, the characters communicating with such lovely manners, eloquence and naïve enthusiasm. As the plot played out, there were moving sequences of loss and grief, as well as romance, humour and slapstick, all held together by sweeping violins, cellos and trumpets.

The world the film evoked was so pure and perfect—I was struck by a strange sensation of longing or nostalgia for a time gone by, even though I was born nearly forty years after the film was made. Here, in black and white, was somewhere safe. A retreat from the complexities and pace of modern life. A window into a simpler time, when emotions seemed somehow sharper, when love and loss seemed magnified and bigger than life itself. Which, for a wartime film, was almost certainly the case. Those watching Since You Went Away would’ve been experiencing all the same anxieties, insecurities and loss as the characters in the film. Watching it play out on the big screen, however, may have gone some way to dispelling their emotions: knowing that they weren’t alone, that others were going through similar trials and that by pulling together they might just emerge unscathed on the other side….

…See how easy it is to be swept up in the wave of sentiment?! Gotta love the golden oldies!

After the film finished, it dawned on me just how Hoogly the old black and white movies really are. Our ethos is all about feeling calm and cosy, and making a regular habit of filling your life with the things you love. Watching these classics is like slipping on a comfy pair of pyjamas and socks: soft, reassuring and relaxing. You know exactly what you’re going to get. They demand nothing from you, and you have to give nothing in return. This is Hygge in a nutshell. And once the film is over—simply find another one and do it all again!

And if you can’t decide on a film, here are some Hoogly recommendations:

  1. Wuthering Heights (1939) A dark, brooding interpretation of Emily Bronte’s classic novel set in the Yorkshire Moors starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon. Full of passion, obsession, love and tragedy, this beautiful film is complimented by a rousing score that stays with you long after the end credits. Best enjoyed with Around the Fire Oolong Tea, a cosy combination of smoky tea leaves and warming spices, licked by flames of safflower and crushed chilli—sure you get you through any stormy night on the Moors!
  2. Brief Encounter (1945) An atmospheric romance starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, following a married woman’s chance encounter with a doctor at a train station, which leads to an affair. Full of clipped English accents and repressed emotion, this stunning film explores complex moral issues and has one of the most masterfully constructed final scenes of all time. Woven together by Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto number 2, this is definitely best enjoyed with traditional English Breakfast black tea—simple, but full of hidden depths.
  3. Casablanca (1942) Arguably the greatest film of all time, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. An American expatriate runs a bar in Casablanca and comes into possession of documents that allow free travel across German-occupied Europe. When his former love Ilsa arrives with her resistance hero husband, she demands the papers, but Rick and Ilsa have unfinished business. With a timeless score, memorable lines and career-best performances, this is a treasure to be enjoyed time and again. Best served with Chocolate Brownie black tea, a wonderfully rich and unapologetically decadent treat that just gets better with each sip!

So, there we are—from Hygge to Hollywood and back again, all you need for complete tranquillity and cosiness is a black and white film and a mug of Hoogly tea!

 

THE END

Written by Chris Bedford.

www.hooglytea.com

 

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Tea Lions on Our Shirt!

Tea Lions on Our Shirt!

Prepare yourselves, people—this summer, the beautiful game is back in its most beautiful incarnation—the fantastic festival of football that is the World Cup! Yes, Russia 2018 is soon upon us—can you believe it’s been four years already? Four years since England finished bottom of their group after defeats to Italy and Uruguay. Four years since we last huddled in front of the television with a knotted mix of optimism and anxiety in our bellies. And two years since we were knocked out of another major tournament by Iceland…population 334, 252. Urgh, I thought I’d buried that memory…

Still, it’s not good to dwell on the past. Because quite frankly there’s a lot of dwelling to be done. We were last victorious in 1966, of course, and it hasn’t looked much like changing, despite a rousing semi-final appearance in 1990, complete with Lineker’s heroics and Gazza’s tears. This year we approach the tournament with a little less buzz, a little less chest-thumping belief. We’ve been humbled before—oh, how we’ve been humbled—and now England march to Russia not under the banner of potential favourites, but as maverick outsiders, a team of mostly young and upcoming starlets, many of which have never played tournament football. We don’t know what to expect from this squad, but we do know that youth and inexperience can often go hand-in-hand with courageous abandon, burning enthusiasm, and bags and bags of energy and pace! With the likes of Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lindgard, Deli Ali and Harry Kane, we have a core of young players who can compete with and scare any and all opposition. Personally, I’m betting on a semi-final place at least. But, of course, I say that every year…

But what makes a World Cup winning team? Most footy fans will tell you the same thing: it’s about the perfect balance of flair, technical ability, strength in defence and a potent goal threat. Well, and a bit of luck, of course. England’s ’66 team has these qualities in abundance: Gordon Banks in goal, athletic and graceful. Bobby Moore, elegant and solid at the back. Bobby Charlton, a goal machine and driving force from midfield. And Geoff Hurst—hattrick hero in the final—a constant threat to the opposition’s goal. It’s the same for all the great teams. Brazil in 1970, Germany in 1990, Spain in 2010. A blend of silky and smooth with rough and ready, devastating pace with patience and guile, mouth-watering skill with savvy experience. 

And speaking of perfect balances…Hoogly Tea is the ideal accompaniment to your 2018 World Cup matchday, a winning combination of classic and comforting brews, with exotic and undiscovered tastes from around the world!

Here’s a brief rundown of our squad for 2018: For traditionalists, we have delicious English Breakfast and Earl Grey teas—our relaxing riffs on cherished favourites—the perfect beginning, middle or end to any day! For those seeking a little bit of decadence to celebrate a victory or mitigate against defeat, then why not try chocolate brownie black tea, a rich and indulgent brew that caters to your naughty side! For those seeking something to broaden their tea-drinking experience, why not try Danish Pastry Rooibos, which has a seductive warming chocolate and cinnamon aroma with a subtle pastry taste. Or how about Spiced Orange herbal infusion…a zesty summer taste sensation, combining fruit and mulled spices that will thrill your taste buds?!

Whoever you are supporting this summer (Hoogly founder Tina hopes it is Denmark!) make sure you flip the kettle on and calm your nerves with a mug of beautiful Hoogly Tea. If you give us a go in 2018, there is only one winner…and that’s you!

Written by Chris Bedford.

www.hooglytea.com

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