Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Tea Review - TweeTea for Children

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're well today.

Recently we were introduced to Treena from TweeTea - a collection of children's fruit tea. Treena came up with the idea of developing teas for children with her friend....over a cup of tea! They realised that when they met up for a good old fashioned catch up over a cuppa and a slice of cake that their children were quite limited in what they could enjoy, and a lot of the options were full of sugar. Treena wanted a healthier option for children which was tasty and also easy to prepare.

Twee Teas source all of their ingredients from reputable suppliers. They hand blend the fruit teas and sell them in pyramid teabags. The teas can be enjoyed both hot or cold, they are all natural with no added sugar or additives and contain no tannin or caffeine.

Currently there are three teas in the range - mixed berry, strawberry and vanilla and orange and pineapple. Treena kindly sent us the mixed berry and the strawberry and vanilla varieties to try......

Tweetea - mixed berry and strawberry and vanilla

The packaging is very cute - each has a sweet tea bird! Meet Berry-Boubou and Sunny Swift! 

The mixed berry tea contains Blackberry, Elderberries, Grapes and  Hibiscus, while the Strawberry and Vanilla contains Strawberry, Vanilla, Rosehips and Hibiscus. Each should be brewed for 3-5 minutes, developing really pretty colours in your cup.....

The strawberry tea has a really sweet aroma once brewed, it reminded me of the strawberry and cream sweets I enjoyed when I was little. However, the taste was much more mellow as the hibiscus came through. As the tea cooled it was interesting to see the vanilla flavour develop again - making the hot and cold versions of the drink quite different!

The berry tea is very subtle in both aroma and flavour, its not overly sweet but its sweeter than the strawberry tea. 

The teas are available in packs of 15 pyramids, which retail at just under £4 each. For more information pop by the Tweetea website.

We'd like to thank Treena for sending us these teas to try!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Time for Tea....Millennium Hotel, Mayfair

Afternoon tea - Millennium Hotel Mayfair

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're tea-riffic today!

Recently Becca and I visited the Millennium Hotel Mayfair for a spot of afternoon tea. We'd booked a special offer online, giving us 2 for 1 on their celebration afternoon tea, which included a glass of bubbles.

On first impressions, Avista Restaurant (where tea is served) is light, bright and the staff are friendly. We arrived 30 minutes early for our reservation (due to the cold), but we were seated quickly, given a spacious booth on one side of the restaurant.

Once seated, Becca's dietary requirements were reconfirmed (no butter in the sandwiches and no strawberries), we picked our tea and the champagne was brought out to us. So far, so good!

Next our afternoon tea stand was brought out to us....

The celebration tea costs £49.50 per person, so its not the cheapest of experiences and we were surprised that there were no mention of additional servings. In fact although there were two servings of sandwiches and scones, apart from the cake there was only one serving of each sweet. 

Afternoon tea - Millennium Hotel Mayfair

Becca and I had separate sandwich plates, one with butter one without. 
The sandwiches were fresh and there were no crusts to report. The fillings were very traditional - egg mayonnaise, cucumber, salmon and chicken.  We both would have enjoyed a second chicken sandwich!

Afternoon tea - Millennium Hotel Mayfair

Next we moved onto the scones, which were served warm and smelt wonderful!
We had mixed berry preserve, lemon curd and clotted cream to dress our scones. As you can see the scones were a good size....

Afternoon tea - Millennium Hotel Mayfair

The scones were a good texture and made a good base for the cream and jam. I didn't really like the mixed berry preserve - it was a tad bit sour. The lemon curd was delicious though.

Finally we moved onto the sweet plate, which was very chocolate based...

Afternoon tea - Millennium Hotel Mayfair

Now although this plate looks pretty enough, it was rather disappointing. We started on the chocolate and orange cake first (as there were two slices), the flavour was lovely but the texture was incredibly dry - I'm glad the slices were small!

All the other diners had a small fruit tart on their plate....on ours this seemed to have been replaced by a small pile of berries - which our waitress called a "fruit salad". I'm not sure why we weren't given the tart, the others didn't appear to have strawberries on. Even if this was the reason, I'm not sure why I wasn't given a tart and Becca given the "fruit salad" - we were very explicit that the dietary requirements only applied to one person. The other weird item on our plate was the "eton mess", which was essentially cream and meringue. We mixed lemon curd into this to give it some flavour. Again, the strawberries had been removed....but I'm not sure why raspberries weren't used instead!

The other two items were chocolate mouse of one kind or another. Neither were particularly nice and we were left feeling very disappointed.  

Afternoon tea - Millennium Hotel Mayfair

We were only given the opportunity to refill our teapots once during the whole experience - something I regretted declining later in the meal! And at no point did anyone ask us whether we were enjoying the food or if we wanted anything else.

As we had a 2 for 1 offer, we paid just under £30 each for this, which included a glass of champagne. I would suggest that this was even a little pricey for the afternoon tea we were served - but it definitely wasn't worth the £50 price tag it had on the menu.

The restaurant was a nice space, the staff were all professional and friendly and the food we ate was OK - but it wasn't a 5 star afternoon tea experience. 

If you'd like to know more about the Millennium Hotel Mayfair, please pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Tea Review - Cupsmith

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of discovering a new coffee and tea company which is based in Farnham, Surrey. I met George from Cupsmith at the Farnham Maltings monthly market where he was selling both coffee and tea.

Cupsmith have been selling coffee for about a year and I discovered that they even roast their own beans weekly, in their lovely roastery. They added tea to their range shortly after and now sell online, at markets and directly from the roastery. Their range is deliberately simple and their Instagram feed is just gorgeous!

I chatted to George for a while about the range of teas on offer and opted to try Mr Crawford's Afternoon Tea (their product names and packaging are all super cute!). This afternoon tea blend includes black and green Chinese teas with jasmine petals, rose petals & bergamot oil. 

Mr Crawford Afternoon Tea - Cupsmith

The tea once brewed is delightful - its got a full flavour, but its not overpowering. It makes a perfect blend to enjoy in the afternoon with a slice of cake.....or anytime really! I've made my way through my initial bag fairly quickly!

The tea is sold in leaf form in pyramids, making it easier to enjoy a quality cup of tea at home. You can buy the pyramids in boxes of 15, 50 or 100 bags.

The other teas in the range include a robust breakfast tea, an earl grey, a peppermint tea, a "calm days" herbal tea and even a Christmas blend. Take a peek at the Cupsmith's website to read more.

I'm looking forward to discovering more of the range for myself - if you already have a favourite blend from Cupsmith let us know!

Thank you for popping by today,

Monday, 13 February 2017

Afternoon Tea News - Valentine' Special 2017

Hello there,

We are just days from Valentine's day 2017 and we thought it was perfect time to take a peek at some of the sweet treats being served in hotels this year....prepare to drool!

The Love Knot's Valentine's afternoon tea from Conrad St James....

The sweet treats include a Chocolate & red velvet cake, a Frosted rose & vanilla viennese, a Strawberry & yoghurt marble mousse and Sweet vegetable cake with a "love letter", meringue kisses & petals.

Valentine's at The Langham....

Diners can indulge their sweet tooth with:
White chocolate mousse, mango and passion fruit jelly and dark chocolate sable
Strawberry and white balsamic
Victoria sponge
Heart shape cinnamon shortbread cookie
English rose and lychee log
64% dark chocolate, raspberry and almond

How about the Valentine's Wyld Tea at the Mondrain....

This feast includes a glass of Perrier Jouet Rose on arrival and a Gin and raspberry macaroon to take away with a Valentines note.

Valentine's at the Hilton Bath City....

This sweet afternoon tea adventure is accompanied by a glass of Sparkling Rose.

I love the afternoon tea stand!

Fancy something a little bit different, how about afternoon tea at the Daawat Indian Restaurant...

The savouries here include: 
Beetroot gravlax in malted bloomer
Tomato wrap filled with chicken tikka and mint chutney
Paneer pakora on potato-stuffed flatbread
Cucumber and cream cheese on white bloomer

I love how colourful this afternoon tea is!

Finally we have the Valentine's afternoon tea at Amba Hotel, Marble Arch...

The sweet treats here include heart-shaped chocolate sponge, raspberry mousse cake, strawberry shortbread and macaroons.

We hope you've enjoyed our round up of some of the Valentine afternoon teas on offer this February. If you enjoy a Valentine's afternoon tea anywhere this year we'd love to hear all about it!

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Monday, 6 February 2017

Teatourist January Box - closer look part 1

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends!

Our last post about Teatourist talked about the January box that we had received, which included six different teas for us to try. We were very excited to receive a diverse selection of teas from six different tea companies. Today we're taking a closer look at the teas in the box from Morgan's Brew Tea Company and Exclusivitea.

Teatourist January Box 2017

Let's start with Morgan's Brew Tea Company and their Gunpowder Tea, which is a Chinese Green Tea from the province of Zhejiang.

Gunpowder Tea - Morgan's Brew Tea Company

Morgan's Brew Tea Company is an independent, family run company which operates out of a 19th century stone townhouse in Welshpool, mid-wales.  I just love how  this tea company began....

 In 2006 Geoff and Anne Meredith took over Poppy's Tudor Tearooms in Shrewsbury Shropshire and their regular customers enquired about tea they could enjoy at home. So, a plan was born where the regulars would taste 50 or so different teas and chose an overall winner. The tea they chose was a black tea from Kenya and Rwanda... and that was the beginning of Morgan's Brew Tea.

Gunpowder Tea - Morgan's Brew Tea Company

Gunpowder tea leaves are rolled into small pellets and the tea is believed to taken its English name from the fact it looks like black shot power grains.

Morgan's Brew Tea Company has a top tip when buying this tea - look for shinny leaves and the smaller the pellet the higher quality the tea which gives you a more fragrant delicate tea.

I followed the instructions found in my Teatourist box and brewed myself a wonderful cup of green tea...

Gunpowder Tea - Morgan's Brew Tea Company

People often say they don't like green tea because they find it bitter, this is usually because the tea has been brewed with water that is too hot. The brewing guide suggests pouring the water into your cup first and then adding the leaves as this avoids scorching the leaves.

I found this tea to be well rounded and easy to drink. A nice, refreshing cup of tea!

Exclusivitea is a small boutique tea company, which specialises in sourcing teas from Sri Lanka. The tea company, which is based in Kent, works directly with the growers and suppliers bringing regional teas to tea lovers across the UK and Europe.

Pure Ceylon Tea - Exclusivitea

The tea included in the January Teatourist box from Exclusivitea is a Pure Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka. It's a Broken Orange Pekoe Fannings (BOPF) grade, which is the most common grade, from a single estate.

Pure Ceylon Tea - Exclusivitea

As you can see these are intensely rich black tea leaves, so I was looking forward to a good punchy cup of tea - perfect for first thing in the morning! 

Again, I followed the instructions on my brewing card, using just one teaspoon of the leaves and allowing them to steep and develop for three minutes.

Pure Ceylon Tea - Exclusivitea

I was not disappointed by this cup of tea - it was rich in colour and bold in taste. If you love your back tea, then I would suggest this is perfect for you. 

I really enjoyed discovering the teas from these two companies and look forward to sharing with you the rest of the teas in upcoming posts - watch this space!

Thank you for popping by today,

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Time for Tea.... Jumeirah Carlton Tower

Hello there,

Welcome back to Tea With Me and Friends - we hope you're having an excellent day.

Last week Lorna and I decided to treat ourselves to our first afternoon tea of 2017 - we decided we wanted to visit somewhere we hadn't been before.....and we wanted some champagne with our tea! We have featured the Jumeirah Carlton Tower afternoon tea on the blog before, but only as a news article, their afternoon tea offerings always look enticing so we decided to pay them a visit.

Afternoon tea is served in Chinoiserie, an informal dining space in the lobby of the hotel. It's an elegant space, but it gets busy so make sure you book ahead if you want to experience afternoon tea here. We opted to enjoy their champagne afternoon tea.....which I think you'll agree looks rather lovely....

Afternoon tea - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

There is a good selection of teas to pick from and the servers are happy to help you with your selection. Our champagne was served with a small bowl of strawberries, which all arrived before the tea stand.

Every item on the tea stand was explained to us, with the waiter enthusiastically talking about each treat. We were informed that we could have  second helpings if we wanted.

So far so good! Now let's take a closer look at the savoury items....

Afternoon tea - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

The selection included:

Roast rib of Aberdeen Angus in a brioche bun with watercress and creamed horseradish
Loch Fyne smoked salmon bridge roll with citrus and chive cream cheese
Keens cheddar on wholemeal bread with spiced tomato chutney

Although the rolls were a little larger than standard finger sandwiches they were so light in texture they didn't leave you feeling too full. All the bread was fresh and the fillings in proportion. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the cheese sandwich (I had more than one!) - testament to simple things being great! I also loved that they had rounded the corners of the bread...

Afternoon tea savouries - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

After the savoury items we moved onto the scones....which were huge....

Afternoon tea scones - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

We had two plain and two fruit each, served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Despite their size, these scones had such a lovely, light texture - not even a hint of clagginess!

The scones didn't crumble as you cut them and had a good flavour.

Can you see Lorna in the background dressing her scone?

Finally we made it to my favourite bit of afternoon tea....the sweet treats, which were nestled in the middle of this cake stand at perfect eye level.

The cakes were all attractive in appearance, I liked the variety of shapes and colours and couldn't wait to tuck in! The selection included:

Jaffa chocolate delice with caramelised hazelnuts and kumquat confit
Mini mango and lime dome, coconut macaroon
White chocolate and passion fruit ├ęclair
Blackberry and apple meringue tart

(is your mouth watering yet??)

Afternoon tea - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

We decided to work our way across the stand from left to right, saving the mango and line dome until last as it sounded amazing!

Each sweet treat was well made and tasted fresh. The flavours were well balanced both within each item and across the cake stand, I love the fruit theme.

I loved the lightness of the eclair, the white chocolate worked so well with the passion fruit. Again the pastry was light and non-intrusive, and I loved the appearance of the eclair....

Afternoon tea - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

My least favourite item was the Blackberry and apple meringue tart as I couldn't really taste the apple, but I loved the pastry which was light and buttery and it looked so pretty with glitter on the blackberries.....

Afternoon tea - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

The Jaffa chocolate delice was scrummy, I love chocolate and orange as a flavour combo! The flavours were light and not at all artificial and despite being quite large this sweet treat was incredibly light in texture....

Afternoon tea - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

Finally we had the mango and lime dome, which was definitely my favourite. 

w on reflection I thought the flavours were passion fruit and lime rather than mango (not sure what that says about my taste bud!), but that still doesn't alter my opinion of this sweet treat. It was light in texture and full of  flavours that weren't over powering. The coconut macaroon on the bottom complimented the dome well and there was the cutest mini macaroon on the top.... 

Afternoon tea - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

The service in Chinoiserie left us a little confused - it took a while to get someones attention, but when you did everything happened really quickly. So, I can't really say that the service was slow, it was just a little disjointed. All the waiting staff were really friendly and made us feel very welcome. 

We would definitely visit Jumeirah Carlton Tower for afternoon tea again, the whole experience was relaxing and the food was wonderful.

Afternoon tea - Jumeirah Carlton Tower

For more information about the afternoon tea at Jumeirah Carlton Tower pop by their website.

Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna