I drink a lot of tea but until recently have stuck to mass-produced tea bags - I don't even have a favourite brand and just buy what's on offer at the supermarket. But lately two companies have sent me some tea to review and I've realised there is a whole world of taste when it comes to tea - and some very different teas for different moods or times of day.
Dragonfly Tea is a family-owned British company run by a father and daughter, Bruce and Georgia, accompanied by the wonderfully named Madame Wanda, a very experienced tea trader. The company offers high quality, rare teas which are categorised on their website by type (black, green, caffeine free etc) but also by characteristic, such as calming or energising.
But there's plenty more on the website - advice on preparing tea, how to really appreciate it and best of all - in my opinion anyway - a recipe section. You can also learn a lot about the history of tea and how it is produced, and regular competitions which are worth checking out.
I was sent a selection of tea - three types in boxes and one in a very attractive tin. I had Indian Spice Chai, Cape Rooibos, and Cape Malay Chai which you can see above.
Indian Spice Chai is an organic black tea which has overtones of the chai I had in India; it's a warm, slightly sultry blend that is good with or without milk.
Cape Rooibos is a redbush tea that only grows in South Africa's Cape mountains. It's caffeine free and low in tannin and has a natural sweetness so you don't really need sugar. I know a few people who have switched from regular tea to rooibos and swear by its healthy properties.
Cape Malay Chai is also a rooibos tea but with Asian spices blended in, but soothing rather than spicy.
Each teabag is individually packaged which gives an added element of luxury - though at £2 for a box of 20 I don't think this is particularly expensive. I also love the sense of humour or fun - each teabag has a label saying things like "Would you like to have an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?"
Finally I tried the Jasmine Dragon Pearls China green leaf tea. This one is a bit more expensive - £6 for 50g - but it comes in a pretty tin and I think this would even make a nice gift for a tea lover. The tea leaves indeed look more like pearls than leaves and they have been infused with the scent of jasmine to make a very delicate tea. The website has tips on how to brew it to perfection.
I really enjoyed all four teas I was sent and particularly like the ease of the tea bags but the fact that they are different to my usual black tea is nice. And for special occasions I would definitely get out the tea strainer and the Dragon Pearls!
Thanks to Dragonfly Tea who sent me these samples to review.