COFFEE - We don't want to deliver a science lesson nor a geeky guide to coffee but there are a couple of things worth considering when it comes to your coffee. Preserving the optimum flavour of your coffee. Key to this would be to buy premium , freshly roasted beans and ideally to grind them yourself. Beans hold their flavour much longer than ground coffee so a grinder is a worthwhile investment and won't necessarily break the bank. We stock a couple of a good quality manual grinders for less than £40.
Whether you decide to grind or not to grind the following tips will help maximise and maintain the freshness and consequently the flavour & aroma of your coffee:
TEA - Tea is Good, Tea is Healthy , Tea makes you Happy AND tea has an excellent shelf life , well as long as it is correctly stored so as with coffee keep it in the bag , place in an airtight container and store in a cool cupboard away from heat, light and moisture.
Brewing techniques differ for all teas and again are important. Brewing guides for each of our teas are given with their descriptions to help.
MORE ABOUT TEA : (work in progress) now we get a little bit wordy
Teas are all made from the same shrub, Camellia sinensis, of which two varieties of the species are used, Camellia sinensis subsp.sinensis and Camellia sinensis subsp.assamica.
BLACK TEA is the most oxidised, therefore generally stronger in flavour with higher caffeine content than green or white tea. It is graded for quality by the size of the leaf. Whole or large leaves are generally considered to be the most valuable and produce liquors that are smoother, lighter and less strong than broken leaves. Broken leaves are generally sold as medium grade loose teas whilst fannings and dusts, left over from the production of larger leaf varieties, are generally used for tea bags.
BLACK TEA GRADES
OOLONG TEA is semi-oxidised meaning it is neither black nor green. Once plucked, the leaves are gently rolled allowing the essential oils to oxidize for a short period producing a unique leaf and a distinctive fragrance. The leaf is then rolled into its final shape. This process results in a fragrant tea with medium caffeine content.
GREEN TEA leaves once plucked, are dried immediately then steamed or fired in an oven. This prevents any chemical change in the leaf and therefore stops the leaf from being allowed to ferment. This process results in a tea that is minimally oxidized, has high levels of polyphenols known for their antioxidant activity and has less caffeine than Black or Oolong teas.
WHITE TEA is the least processed out of all types of tea and is the rarest and most delicate. The leaves are plucked after the first buds become fully mature but before the buds open. The buds are allowed to wither naturally and release there moisture before being dried in the open air. White Tea contains the least amount of caffeine and is considered to have the most health benefits.
ROOIBOS also known as ‘Redbush’, comes from the sensitive Aspalanthus Linearis plant and is grown only in South Africa’s Cedarburg district where the soil and growing conditions are unique to that area. Generally the leaves are processed in a similar way to the tea bush giving Rooibos its distinctive reddish-brown colour and enhanced flavour. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free and possesses high levels of antioxidants, flavanoids and minerals. ‘GREEN’ Rooibos is un-oxidized and unfermented and is higher in antioxidants that traditional Rooibos. It carries a malty somewhat grassy flavour.