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tea tester biographies

Who are these mysterious people? Why should you trust their opinions on tea? For tea testing we rounded up a selection of veteran tea-guzzlers, gourmet tea experts, and complete novices as well as our parents. The resulting mad combination of views should give a robust and reliable set of samplers. We present their credentials below...

Adele:

Likes her English Breakfast tea: the colour of burnished mahogany with lashings of cow juice. A workmans tea without the sugar in other words!

Adele is "someone who is easily pleased" (her own words!) and was thrilled to receive her first consignment of tea for tasting. She feels that a fine selection of teas make the day more bearable. She considers tea testing a mysterious voyage she is eagerly embarking upon...

Angela:

Angela is a straight talking science teacher and football fan. Her usual cup is a fair traded tea direct, and she lives in beautiful Calderdale.

Beccie:

Likes her English Breakfast tea: quite milky with two sugars

One of the the tea testing bunch with a sweeter tooth, and the youngest, and is just beginning to develop her tea testers' palette.

Geof:

Likes his English Breakfast tea: bog-standard brown, with milk (or soya milk, if his tongue is going yellow)

Mad scientist and cartoonist. Attempting to describe Geoff would be foolish, he's much better at doing this himself...

To give you some perspective on how you should judge the conclusions I draw from this tea drinking marathon I should perhaps provide a little background: - my daily tea intake typically varies between ten and thirty mugs of tea, so this tea-marathon isn't that much of an increase. This quantity of tea could be thought of as an addiction but I figure it's less harmful than most addictions and at least I get a degree of free will.

- My usual tipple is either bog-standard brown (really, if you brew it right the difference between most of the blends is sod all so I'm not going to specify which I prefer. And if you're a smoker and you like your tea with 3 or more sugars then it really doesn't matter how you brew it either) or jasmine green tea to break the sequence with a brew that isn't milk-necessary. I have even been known to nurse a mug of hot water when I'm craving the hot-tea thrill and am all tea'd out.
- I've had a lock-in at a tea shop.
- I have a tea-making badge from when I was a cub scout.
- I am currently the proud owner of a tea-vomiting dinosaur pot
- It is my firm belief that ownership of a nice hot cup of tea improves almost any human activity, which has in turn lead to the invention of a great many things.
- I currently have a nice hot cup of tea.
- I once made a bucket of tea (in truth I put in too much sugar).
More of Geof's mad science, adult humour and tea-fuelled thoughts can be found online at: www.islandofdoctorgeof.co.uk

Linette:

Likes her English Breakfast tea: strong, unsweetened and with a drop of milk

One half of the tea twins, Linette is engaged in an ongoing quest to find the perfect tea storage solution. She may write an article on this for teaandcake, if she ever finds her storage mecca. Linette has had tea tasting lessons in China, so she was an obvious recruit for tea testing.

Mr & Mrs J:

Mrs J likes her English Breakfast tea: weak, black and with a sweetner
Mr J likes his English Breakfast tea: strong, with a drop of milk or black

Mr and Mrs J are Janine's parents. Yes: we roped in parents for tea testing. Mr and Mrs J are big tea drinkers. Generally make a 'pot of tea' making use of a tea cosy in the process. Mrs J likes a weaker cuppa therefore has the first cup out of the pot, whilest Mr J likes to 'let it mash' before having a cup. They are a great asset to the diversity of the teaandcake team.

Paula:

Paula likes her English Breakfast tea: strong, with milk (but not too much)

Not only did Paula tea test for us, she also nobbled her boyfriend Mark into taking part. That's the kind of behaviour we heartily approve of at teaandcake.

Stephen:

Likes his English Breakfast tea: with milk and sugar, the way all tea should be taken

Stephen is from Belfast, where tea is a cure-all and the kettle is always on. Stephen says...

Tea is of course the foundation of all cultured society, which explains why many Americans drink coffee - as Sting says in "Englishman in New York", I don't drink coffee, I take tea my dear. In Ireland, tea is seen as a cure-all. Had a bad day? Have a cup of tea, or as they say in Norn Irn, "A wee drap uv scold in yer han."

When visiting, it is highly likely that you will be given a good mug of char before your bum has had a chance to hit the sofa, any other treatment of an esteemed guest being the height of poor manners. My Aunt Eileen who you may have met at the wedding was widely agreed by the nuns at the local convent as the best tea maker in Belfast.

Despite their best efforts they couldn't duplicate the flavour she created, no matter the quizzing on brand of leaf, type of milk, number of sugars, thickness of cup. It just couldn't be replicated in the convent. Indeed all went to the great tea shop in the sky not knowing how this great marvel was achieved. Had they thought to ask the good Lord, he may well have divulged that Miss Magee hoofed a not inconsiderable quantity of rum into each cup for the blessed sisters before serving. Brilliant!

Sabrina:

The second tea twin. Sabrina presents guests to her abode with a comprehensive tea menu of over 100 teas. Another obvious recruit for teaandcake.

sabrina's tea menu

Green Teas

Chinese
Dai Mi Than
Green Tea Pearls
Japanese
Japanese Popcorn
Jasmine
Jasmine Twinnings
Jasmine Vietnam
Lotus Flower
Orange & Lotus Flower
Osmanthus
Pear & Apple
Pineapple & Grapefruit
Scented Bilo

White Tea

China White Citrus
White tea

Iced Tea

Cranberry & Orange
Rosehip, Apple & Hibiscus

Others

Tempting Toffee

Tea - Both Bag and Loose

Apple & Almond
Blackberry & Wild Strawberry
Blackcurrant
Blue Fruit
Brazilian Baia (Coconut)
Brunkulla
Cactus ~(Two blends)
caramel
Cardamon
Champagne
Chinese Black
Christmas Tea
Christmas Tea Ikea
Cranberry
Earl Grey
Easter Tea
English Breakfast
Exotic Fruits
Fläder
Flata
Forest Fruit
Ginger
Kaffir leaf
Kooh I noor
Lady Grey
Lemongrass
Lingonberry
Lychee
Mango Indica
Melange de Nympheas
Mystery Black
Old English Fruits
Passion flower
Passion Fruit
Peach
Persian Earl Grey
pickwick apple,pear, peach& apricot
Pickwick berries
Pickwick cactus
Pickwick tropical
Random bags unknown
Raspberry
Rhubarb & Vanilla
Rose petal
Skansen
Skellefte mix
Söder
Spice
Sticky toffee
Strawberry
Strawberry, Vanilla (mint)
Ströms Vattudal
Summer Pudding
Tetley
Tomten's Mix
Tropical mix
Vanilla
Wizard

Tisane

That's French for "ain't got no tea in it" ;)

Apple & Cranberry
Apple & Cranberry crisp
Blackberry & Nettle
Blackberry & Raspberry
blueberry & yoghurt
Camomile
Camomile honey & vanilla
Cherry
Cherry & Cinnamon
cherry charger
Cranberry Raspberry & Elderflower
Jasmine flowers
Melon and Grape
Mormor's mix
Morning reviver
Peach & Passionfruit
Peppermint
Raspberry & Peach
Raspberry & Rose
Raspberry, Strawberry & Loganberry
Red Hibiscus
Refreshing Infusion
Rhubarb & Blackberry
Summer Berry Merry
Tranquillity
Verbana

So: that's the teaandcake team. Members may vary from tea test to tea test as people drop out or in, as teabags get lost in the post, or as people move to Timbuctu.

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