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April tea hero: Discover Tea and Terroir with LaKyrsiew

12 Apr

Stunning (image courtesy of Lakyrsiew Tea Co)

As you may know already we have been looking at how terroir determines a tea’s unique characteristics. This month’s loose leaf tea hero is one of our newest teas and producers but is already an all time favourite with us and our customers: Awakening.

Awakening is from the beautiful LaKyrsiew Indian boutique tea garden. It is an “addictively caramel-chocolatey sweet black loose leaf tea that oozes opulence.” Full of shiny tea tips, an opulent aroma and a smooth, lingering sweetness, this unique tea takes you on a journey of your senses in every way!

I chose Awakening for April’s tea hero because LaKyrsiew make stunning teas that take you on the most beautiful voyage to begin to understand terroir.

The story of the LaKyrsiew tea garden is fascinating! Two hundred years ago, the forest covered hills of Meghalaya, a province that lies between Darjeeling and Assam, were discovered to be perfect for growing beautiful tea. However, growing tea here was deemed too costly due to the remoteness and the high yields that neighboring Assam could reap, and so the land was left wild.

Two centuries later, the old tea garden plans were discovered, virgin scrubland and woodland was cultivated and LaKyrsiew “The Awakening” tea garden was born.

Organic from the start, working with the contours of the land to protect the ancient fertile topsoil from monsoon rains and watered by a spring high on the jungle slopes, the flavours produced by the tea garden are unrivaled.

Geert and Nayan, the owners of LaKyrsiew, are passionate about the beautiful loose leaf teas they produce. Their focus is quality not quantity; in 2009 only 650kg of tea were made. They carefully pluck the top two leaves and a bud then wither, roll and fire the tea themselves. They even have their own bespoke brass rolling table that improves the flavour of the tea!

Although comparable to teas made in neighboring Darjeeling, the slow growth, favourable weather and strict leaf picking, LaKyrsiew tea has its own unique character – opulent and smooth with a lingering sweetness.

Try both Awakening and their stunning white tea, Silver Tips and you’ll see what I mean!

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Tea and terroir: what gives a tea its unique characteristics? Climate.

28 Mar

Last time we looked at what term terroir means. Despite having a broad understanding of terroir and how it affects tea, this series is giving me a whole load of fascinating new information. I have a naturally inquisitive nature and I love learning! So here’s what I have discovered…

So, what factors contribute to terroir? There are various trains of thought on what exactly makes up terroir, but there  is a general consensus that the following elements determine a tea’s unique flavour, aroma, health benefits and even its cost:

Climate: everything about a places’ unique climate – the temperature, how much the sun shines, how much it rains and how windy it is – affect how well and when tea grows.

Take the beautiful tropical island of Sri Lanka, I was lucky enough to visit recently, for example. Despite being small it has a really varied climate. This means that the island can produce an array of different teas in abundance all year round,  making it the fourth largest tea producer in the World!

Sri Lanka tea

In places like Uva in the eastern highlands of Sri Lanka there have very hot and dry Cachan winds from July to September that cause the tea trees’ leaves to curl up to protect them from the draught. This encourages the cells of the leaves to replace lost moisture, so the teas made in Uva at this time of year are really juicy and full fo flavour. Nowhere else in the world experiences this windy climate, it’s unique. Therefore these Uva teas are – understandably – very pricey!

Tomorrow, how topography affects a tea’s unique characteristics.

Garibaldi, the winning biscuit

27 Nov

Despite this horrendous weather we’ve spent a jubilant month of November engrossed in the fascinating subject of dunking. If there’s something we’ve learnt after our Great Dunking Debate and all our social media interaction it’s that there are no rules to dunking. With or without milk, with sweet or savoury biscuits, for breakfast or at five o’clock… every person has their own ritual.

One of the aims of the Great Dunking Debate, held at Lahloo Pantry on the 22nd of November, was to pick a winning tea and biscuit pairing. The most popular one was that of Grandpa’s Anytime Tea, our comforting black tea from Kenya, taken with a dash of milk, and the classic Garibaldi biscuit.

Emily’s Garibaldi recipe has the right texture and consistency to go softer once dunked while still keeping its firmness, key to avoiding any floating biscuit bits in your cuppa. As dunking is a comfort ritual, it’s not surprising that the chosen tea was Grandpa’s Anytime, with its robust flavour that doesn’t dissipate with added milk.

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 110g caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 110g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 55g currants
  • 1 free-range egg, separated
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • good pinch mixed spice

1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk.

2. Fold the flour into the mixture, then stir in the mixed spice and currants. Stir in enough milk to form a stiff dough.

3. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and cut out the biscuits with a fluted cutter. Place onto the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 160ºC.

4. Remove the biscuits from the oven, brush with the reserved egg white, sprinkle with sugar and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until they’re golden brown.

P.S. Also try Garibaldi biscuits with Bristol Brew, our full-bodied Assam.

Remember you can enjoy 20% off all our black teas this November.

Lahloo Pantry: a year in pictures!

8 Oct

On the 7th of October Lahloo Pantry celebrated its first anniversary! We still can’t believe it’s been a whole year since it opened its doors for the first time. Twelve months full of excitement, learning, fun and hard work makes us feel quite proud of what we’ve achieved. Here’s an overview of the Pantry’s first year in images!

Preparing for the grand opening

Hannah learning about infusion times!

Drinking the limited edition Witches Brew just before the Witches Tea Party

Charlotte models the Pantry bags by the advent calendar!

Making mince pies with the Pantry’s own Earl Grey mincemeat!

Cold infused Earl Grey samples on the day in which the Olympic torch passed by Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Hannah and Holly sporting fabulous matcha moustaches! 

Hannah and Joe painting the town green! 

The Lahloo Tea fancy dress party. Smoky, Matsumoto Black, Earl Grey, Rosebud, Sencha, Shou Vintage, Sheng Vintage, Wild Rose, Amber and Bristol Brew! 

Danny replaces Holly as the Pantry manager just before the 1st anniversary. Here’s to another fabulous year!

Lahloo does Abergavenny!

21 Sep

Once again the sleepy Welsh town of Abergavenny illustrated its growing cultural ethos for their love of good foods and appreciation of independent producers at its annual festival. Seen as ‘The Don’ of all food festivals, the place was teaming with celebrities from the culinary world including the likes of Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, the South West’s own Fabulous Baker Brothers, and renowned Michelin starred chef Pierre Koffmann. Visitors flocked from across the country to the event, and with an estimated foot fall of 30,000 over the two days it was all hands on deck for the exhibitors and event organisers. The produce on display included local cheeses, ales, chutneys, wines and sugary treats for those with a sweet tooth. Oh and of course there were some tea stalls there!

We loved the green jasmine and mango bubble tea!

We arrived at the site early on Saturday morning, it was one of the first days this year you could feel that autumn was in the air. As we made our way to the Lahloo pitch the atmosphere was lively, and there were many exuberant exhibitors making sure their stalls were ready for the on-coming stampede of eager foodies!

Neil getting the kettle on!

The festival itself was an excellent way of promoting our beautiful selection of artisan teas to the general public and to prospective retail buyers. We met lots of loose tea fanatics, many were already Lahloo customers (which we were very pleased about!) However, we greeted with open arms those that were new to loose leaf tea, and invited them to join in the ways of Lahloo! Towards the end of the Saturday a young Welsh boy and his mum came running over to the stall, eager to sample “every tea you have please”. He was a very sweet boy with a real passion for tea- he drank loose leaf tea every now and again, but was tired and bored of normal bagged tea with milk. After tasting all the samples, he decided that our Himalayan Oolong was his cup of tea, he absolutely loved it! Turning round to his mum, he asked if he could buy a tin using the rest of his pocket money, his mum was more than happy to oblige! It was really gratifying to see someone so young exploring and developing their tastes through tea.

On the Saturday afternoon Laloo Tea founder Kate took part in one of the infamous Rude Health rants. Taking centre stage at the Market Hall Kate ranted about the common misconceptions of green tea and why they were in fact not true. The main myth Kate tackled was the misconception of green tea being bitter- Kate passionately dispelled this view and explained that it was merely down to quality of the tea leaves, and the method in which it was made that affected its flavour. Let’s hope people took note and are now brewing up the perfect cup of green tea every time. I think the free samples of iced Jade Cloud tea Kate handed out maybe swayed peoples opinions- it is delicious!

On the Saturday evening in the Old Market building team Lahloo relaxed after a busy day with a drink and a good old live food debate. Amongst those on the panel were Tom Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery and The Fabulous Baker Brothers, Carolyn Steele- a TED lecturer and writer of ‘Hungry City: How food shapes our lives’, and investigative food journalist Joanna Blythman. They tackled issues that currently affect independent producers and retailers, looking closely at the effects big corporations have on the success of the small businesses, and debating ideas of quality over convenience. All involved were inspiringly passionate for the cause and had great arguments for and against. We left feeling very motivated and valued by this community, our intentions as a small business were confirmed. We just want to give you good value, ethically and locally sourced goods at a good price!!

Until next year Abergavenny!

Lahloo at Abergavenny!

11 Sep

This weekend Lahloo will be at the fourteenth edition of the Abergavenny Food Festival! With around one hundred and seventy stalls spread through five different venues, this festival is the Cannes of the food world (as journalist Joanna Blythman described it!), with the best food and drinks and events such as masterclasses, tutored tastings or chef dems.

Lahloo will be at the Brewery Yard, stall number 90, so come and say hello if you’re about! And if you want to hear founder Kate ranting for a few minutes, then you can’t miss her at the famous Rude Health Rants: a couple of intense minutes where she’ll aim to dispel green tea myths… 

You can download the full Abergavenny programme here, with information on stalls and events, and maps to guide you through the different venues.

The market hall at Abergavenny via the Abergavenny blog

 

See you there!

Lahloo will be at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2012

23 Aug

We’re very excited to be exhibiting at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2012, the UK’s leading trade event for fine quality food and drink. Lahloo will be officially launching Grandpa’s Anytime Tea for both retail and food service the weekend of the 2nd of September at Olympia, London. If you happen to be there, we’re stand 755!

Grandpa’s Anytime Tea is named after the oldest-known tea farmer in the world, 113-year-old Kenyan Arthur Njuguna Komo. His farm is located on the southern slopes of Mount Kenya. Arthur has been growing tea all his life but has only recently started exporting directly to the UK, thanks to the help of his granddaughter, Joy. His tea is superior to most English Breakfast- style blends, powerful, with a rich aroma and a very satisfying flavour.

This is Arthur, the oldest-known tea farmer in the world! 

After its popularity among retail and online customers and a successful exclusive trial with The Chapter Hotel Group, it’s now time to officially introduce Grandpa’s Anytime Tea to both retail and food service!

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