Did you, yes you, know that all types of tea came from the same plant: Camellia Sinensis. It's the treatment of the leaves and the variety of plant, where it is grown, how it is picked etc... which determine the differences.
Now pay attention: there are at least six types of tea: Black, White, Green, Yellow, Oolong and Puerh. If you want to know more, read on....
My new found knowledge comes from a company called Tea Horse. In February, the owner contacted me with an irresistible press release explaining that we were ready to pay a premium and ask a lot of questions about our food and its provenance, "Yet for some reason, our tea drinking is still typified by the equivalent of a cup of instant coffee; ‘builders’ tea bags accounted for 71% of all the tea we drank in 2011. The tea bag accounts for 96% of all sales which denies us the most delicious teas on the market, many of which are only available in loose leaf form."
I was sold. There was, out there, a world I knew nothing about and that had to stop. So I accessed Tea Horse web site and learnt about the types of tea. Once you are there you can't help going from one gorgeous and informative page to another.
But as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, in this case tea-drinking. I was offered a month subscription and on a glorious morning a loud "plouak" dragged me away from the computer. A plain white box had dropped in. Inside four sealed Manila pockets, four types of tea which focused on health benefits, including two bespoke Tea Horse blends and quality leaflet full of interesting explanations.
By the way, April’s teas feature the best from the original tea-growing nations; a First Flush Darjeeling from the world renowned Castleton Estate in India, known as the ‘Champagne of teas’, Lapsang Souchong from China, a black tea from Sri Lanka and a traditional green Japanese Sencha.
Out of the four: 2n Flush Assam, Mondkey Picked Oolong, Keemon Mao Feng and White Peony, I gave the Green and Oolong to friends for a bit of help with this review and I am drinking the black Assam as I type this post.
Our verdict: Friends and I thought that the quality of tea was faultless. Oolong with its fragrance was a real surprise to the most experience tea-drinker among us. The filters to brew your own tea are practical, economical and fun. It is a great way to discover teas from around the world. At £11.95 a month, none of us would have been able to subscribe for a year but we all agreed that as a gift, the one month option was a brilliant idea.
To get more information on Tea-Horse and how to subscribe click here
Disclaimer: Thank you to Ali Silk for the complementary month samples.