Posted by: dan | June 1, 2009

gingertea afternoon (tea appreciation society)

GTHeader(title with many apologies to The Flaming Lips)

Dan: So Ben’s been off to Glasgow, and produced some insight in to teahouses, and what makes them special. It’s all very fascinating, but ol’ muggins here has to use up all his tea reserves to keep up his half of the reviews in the meantime. Fortunately for me, Ben brought back a Brewhaha Ginger and Lemon tea for me, so stock won’t run dry just yet.

As if that wasn’t enough, of course, he and his fiance generously enrolled me in the Tea Appreciation Society for my birthday. With their welcome pack, they sent a teabag, which I will review in the latter half of this post. Without any further waffling, let’s begin.

Brewhaha – Ginger and Lemon Tea

The packet the teabag comes in is a bright yellow, fifties-style affair, which is much better than the usual stuffy, black affairs some tea companies provide. This has some finesse, some flair, some thought. Style isn’t everything, though, so I opened the packet and boiled the kettle. A quick look at the back of the pack shows that the tea is a Ceylon, so the thought that this was just another tisane-style affair went out the window. There are plenty of ‘black tea with x’ variations, but few of them seem to mention what the black tea is. Usually, the focus is on the added ingredients, which makes me assume that in most cases, good old Earl Grey is de rigeur (see Lady Grey).

The fifties styled packet in all its glory

The fifties styled packet in all its glory

Anyway, the smell of Ginger and Lemon while the tea is brewing is very noticeable, and instantly reminded me of Lemsip, and I wondered if I should have waited until I had a sore throat or something before trying it. The taste doesn’t do much to convince me otherwise, unfortunately. The Ceylon is overpowered entirely by the flavourings, which begs the question ‘why isn’t this just a tisane?’ It’s a shame, because Ceylons are damned lovely. There’s little point in adding anything to a tea unless it complements or enhances it, and this does neither. Not to say that it doesn’t taste nice, of course, because it actually does. The Ginger and Lemon work well together, and it’s an enjoyable tea, especially if you like those kind of flavours in your tea that I find odd or unnecessary. So I’m sorry Brewhaha, but it’s just not me.


Tea Appreciation Society

Certified Tea Appreciator

Certified Tea Appreciator

As I said, I’ve been initiated to the Tea Appreciation Society. I’m member number 678, which is the title of a King Creosote song, which pleases my ridiculously nerdy side no end. I’ve got my certificate on my wall, and my badge on my blazer. The certificate proclaims I will ‘henceforth seek to persuade all who’ll listen of the wonder and beauty of tea’. Of course, I was doing that before I joined the TAS, but who’s counting? Anyway, I’d best do my duty and tell you my thoughts on the introductory tea they’ve provided.

The teabag that comes in the pack is helpfully labelled ‘Fine Quality Tea Bag’, which means it’s an Earl Ceylon or a Darjassam or something. It also says “Tasted and Blended in the West Country”, which presumably explains the lack of description. As such, I had no idea how long to brew it, or what to expect, so I was taking no chances: this was going to have milk and sugar added.

The mug was a housewarming present

The mug was a housewarming present

Before I go any further, I should mention that this is a tea from D. J. Miles, and not one of the TAS’ branded teas from their shop. Nevertheless, TAS sent it, and must therefore approve of it. The smell of the tea while brewing didn’t help identify the leaves, as it didn’t smell like any kind of tea I’ve had before. It was no surprise that the taste was as unidentifiable. It’s a fairly decent taste nonetheless, though I can’t help but feel that maybe I shouldn’t have added the milk. The sugar gave it a little pep, but the milk seemed to detract something. Overall, it’s a fairly odd tasting tea, and not one I can push myself to recommend.


Well, this didn’t turn out so well. Two teas, one from a lauded teahouse, another from a society created to shout about how great tea is. I’ve just claimed that neither of their offerings are worth investigating. Oops. I’ve not been to Brewhaha’s teahouse, and the Tea Appreciation Society sent another company’s tea, so I’ve still not a great indication of their services and offerings; but my interest is not piqued enough to investigate further yet.


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