English Tea

Four days into the TEA ADVENT, and now I realise there’s just not enough enthusiasm in me to be an influencer…

Sure, I can do the pictures and make things look cool and interesting but honestly, I’m never going to like ROSE TEA. It brings back disturbing childhood memories of Turkish Delight and my Great Grandma, who I think died when she was having a leg amputated… or something, it’s all a bit hazy. Needless to say, this is not the stuff of lovely Instagram layouts. I’m too honest to be an Influencer. I’m not lying for cash, sorry.

This form of bloggin also brings into sharp relief what exactly people will believe and/or swallow in the name of ‘paid promotion’. It is, in essence, the same as the Avon lady who’d come round our house once a week when I was a kid wearing all the products my mum would then purchase, which I’d have a slight interest in. It’s only pyramid selling in a different guise, and that seems to be back.

In the end, however, I am a creature of habit. Give me tea I genuinely like (Earl Grey above) and the World is a better place and there’s no need for dishonesty. The bigger issue, ultimately, is that consumerism will destroy us all unless it is seriously curtailed in the next forty years and all some people seem to be interested in is buying useless crap they don’t need. Tea is a staple for me, I don’t need 30000000 flavours. Just tea works.

The problem then arises that the World isn’t like me, again. They do want Rose Tea and little strings to hang their Air Pods on so they don’t get lost and all the Funko Pops in the world… no, this is not the future. I’ll keep posting the tea reviews, but it’s time to drop the hashtags and the @ to the company who make this stuff. Sorry people, there’s better people to throw money at.

I’ll be over here, just drinking.

Tea For One

This could have gone one of two ways, let’s be honest. It was either gonna be woeful and would be quietly forgotten within a week or so or else I’d enjoy it so much I’d want to go and buy some Christmas Tea, which is exactly what is going to happen after this blog’s been written. Yesterday’s starting brew was enough to really make me think long and hard about what I might be missing out on. Amazingly, it is Christmas spices.

As an exercise in objective criticism it is really useful. ‘It tastes okay’ is not enough of a descriptor to get through the next twenty-four days: I can understand what floral notes are, how you find warmth when something is hot… it all makes sense. Even having to factor MAJOR DENTISTRY into the equation has not been a significant detraction: sitting here, the Mango and Bergamot I just drank effectively warm will be attractive when hot.

We’ll be brief today because there’s other stuff to do but on Wednesday there’ll be time to talk at greater length, mostly about how this kind of technical project’s exactly what is needed to keep me on top of the other things in my life. For now, I need some painkillers and something to eat… plus, this Christmas Tea will not order itself…

Right Said Fred

Those of you who regularly frequent this space will know I quite enjoy a cuppa. For the last few years I’ve seen other people expounding the joys of a TEA ADVENT CALENDAR: considering my dietary restrictions at present, this is an idea I was really ready to get behind. Therefore, starting tomorrow, I’ll be using Instagram to record my experiences, and this blog for some reflection.

It’s also going to be an obviously blatant exercise in brand awareness.

This presentation box was not cheap, and was bought using the last of my birthday cash. However, it has the potential to be recycled after use on my bookshelf as storage as part of one of the New Year Endeavours (more on that in the week) so in that regard, it is already paying for itself. There’s already been a sneaky peek into Drawer One and the surprise I didn’t realise existed is that there are other gifts than just the teabags.

We’ll be employing an ACTUAL MARKS SYSTEM too for this exercise: these are Whittard’s teas (in the interests of full disclosure and use of their Twitter tag on Social media) and will be considered on a number of Laughing Geek criteria:

Drinking the Tea Advent

LOOKS: To be fair to the experiment, and as there’s two teabags per day to work through, we’ll brew one the way the experts do (nice white cup so you can see what the stuff looks like) and drink it without milk. However, as a rule, I’m a milk gal (with the obvious exception of herbals and greens) so if I can stick the second bag into my daily routine with some semi skimmed and honey, I will.

SMELL: I have sniffed a fair few teabags in my time, and this for me is a decent indicator of whether any enjoyment will actually follow via drinking. Smell will be important. I’ll have to see if I can work out exactly what’s in a blend… and then whether that smell translates into something I would actually consider drinking.

FLAVOUR: Some of these teas are gonna be stuff I’d never normally consider quaffing, and that is where I suspect flavour will really come into play. There will be lots of open-mindedness too: just because I’ve never considered a blend should not exclude it from fair and objective consideration. Most importantly, as I’m not doing this for advertising or promotional purposes, there will be honesty. If it’s awful for me, I’ll say so.

RESULT: Would I drink this again? Is it worth buying a whole packet? Those are the two questions to be asked first, after which I suspect there’ll be some thoughts on mood, productivity and satisfaction. All these thoughts will, unsurprisingly, be recorded on PostIt notes for your perusal on Instagram, and I’ll do a slightly longer write-up here. If anything, it could work as decent feedback to Whittard on their current range.

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We’ll start on Monday, with posts Wednesday and Friday. It grants some much needed regular content into my month that isn’t exercise (more on that later) and is a nice side project away from writing.

You never know, I might even enjoy it.