3 ways with…Cosy Earl Grey

As tea lovers we all have a favourite way of brewing our favourite drink. There’s certainly no shame in being fussy when it comes to making your morning cuppa but sometimes it pays to be adventurous. If like me you’ll never say no to a novel way to drink tea then this is new series is for you. I’ll be picking out some of my favourite Cosy flavours and showing you a few different ways to enjoy them. Starting with an old classic: Earl Grey.

Readers, meet Charles. An aristocrat and former British Prime Minister, you may know him better as the second Earl Grey. I tried to find a funny anecdote about Charles but was sadly unsuccessful. This isn’t too surprising because it turns out Charles was a busy guy – he was elected to Parliament at the tender age of 22 and went on to have no less than 16 children. There are several stories surrounding how Earl Grey tea came to be named after…Earl Grey..but the mostly widely circulated theory involves a Chinese visitor who didn’t like the taste of the Earl’s water so brewed the tea with bergamot. Kind of like a Brita filter for the 19th century. The tea proved so popular among the Greys and their friends that it wasn’t long before everyone was drinking it and the rest is, quite literally, history.

If you’ve never tried it before, Earl Grey’s delicate and citrusy flavour is really special (we’re talking the tea now, not the man). To get you started, here are 3 ways to drink it…

With Lemon

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It seems only right that we should start off with the old school method. Classic, refreshing and refined, just how Lord and Lady Grey would’ve liked it. Simply brew for 3-4 minutes, pour, and top with a slice of lemon to complement those lovely citrusy flavours. China cup optional.

In a London Fog

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Don’t be fooled by this one because behind those plain and unassuming looks is a delicious treat of a drink. For those not in the know, the London Fog is Earl Grey with steamed milk and vanilla. A heavenly combination and perfect for when you can’t decide between a cup of tea and something a little sweeter. Brew yourself some Earl Grey, top up with warm milk, add a drop of vanilla extract and sweeten to taste with sugar. Mmmmm.

With Gin

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We’ll end with this criminally simple-to-make cocktail hour special. Brew your tea and leave to cool. Pour a shot of gin into a glass, top up with the cold tea and stir in a teaspoon of honey. A squeeze of lemon juice finishes it off nicely. Drink slowly – you’ll want another one.

Now over to you readers, how do you like to drink your Earl Grey?

National Watermelon Day

Watermelon is having a bit of a style moment at the..er…moment. It makes perfect sense really, who doesn’t want adorable bright pink and green fruit printed all over everything? I know I do! So you can bet I was excited when I found out that August 3rd was National Watermelon Day. Luckily for you readers you won’t need to go anywhere to get your fix because I’ve rounded up my top 5 watermelon-themed things to celebrate.

1. Watermelon Iced Tea
If you prefer to drink your 5-a-day then this Watermelon-Mint Iced Tea recipe is the tipple for you. And best of all? You’ll get to use Cosy Breakfast teabags to make it. For those weekend nights, this watermelon mojito recipe is the perfect Summer cocktail.

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2. Watermelon Tea Cosy
It wouldn’t be Cosy if we didn’t include one of these bad boys and this lovely Watermelon tea cosy from FarmFreshKnits fits the bill nicely. Of course, you’ll need something to pour your tea into so it’s only right that you pick up one of these to drink out of.

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3. Watermelon Tea Pot
In 3rd place we’ve got the ultimate in Watermelon-Tea combos. Why not go all out and carve yourself a giant watermelon tea pot of your very own? The guys over at Watermelon.org have put together these step by step instructions and they make it look so easy…

Be sure to let us know how you get on if you try it!

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4. Watermelon Sorbet
It turns out watermelon actually tastes pretty great too! This watermelon sorbet recipe is super simple and super refreshing. Plus fruit is healthy right? Bonus points for serving it in these cute watermelon bowls. 

5. Watermelon Duvet Set

How many times have you wished you could sleep in a bed of watermelons? The real thing might give you a bit of a bad back but now you can make all your watermelon dreams come true (literally) with this duvet set.

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Sweet dreams!

Take a punt on some Summer bunting!

With the weather sticking to a pleasant shade of grey recently, you’d be forgiven for thinking we are in the depths of Winter rather than the height of Summer. Keeping a stiff upper lip can be tough when you’re forced to hold a brolly in your tea-hand. Ever the optimist, I’m daydreaming of afternoon Cosy Tea parties in the garden…think fine bone china and teeny tiny sandwiches. Oh and cake, of course.

I found this fab free pattern for knitted bunting from those lovely folk over at Buttons and Beeswax to cheer things up. It’s simple, colourful and perfect for decorating those tea parties…or just hanging in your living room and admiring with a cuppa while you wait for the rain to stop.

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Photo by Jesse Wild

To make this super simple design you’ll need to use several colours of yarn heavy enough that your bunting hangs properly, such as Aran. Oh and don’t forget some lengths of ribbon to string it up with. You’ll need a tapestry needle for threading the ribbon, so be sure to get that at the ready too. You could stick to solid colours but this is a great way to use up any odds and ends of yarn you’ve got lying around, and if you wanted to really go to town why not sew on some buttons or other decorations? You could even go all out with the tea theme and take inspiration from the Cosy range…Rooibos bunting anyone?

Photo by Jesse Wild

Photo by Jesse Wild

Psst! All the patterns we post here on the blog are free at the time of posting. Unfortunately we can’t be held responsible if the original poster decides to charge for it at a later date.

A slice of Summer

Summer is finally upon us and with it comes the promise of sunshine, smiles, the prospect of frolicking through a floral meadow wearing a white floaty dress and a wide brimmed hat. Perhaps you’ll be accompanied by an adorable puppy and a smattering of freckles. Maybe you’ll head home fairly quickly because you really fancy making a cake. We may be in the middle of a heatwave here in changeable old Blighty but who knows how long it’ll last? There’s only one thing you can rely on in life and that’s cake. Two things if you count tea. And hey, you know what goes really well together? Tea and cake. Well would you look at that.

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In light of this, I paired refreshing Cosy Lemon Green with a sweet lemon icing to create something that tastes like the evergreen optimism of a British Summertime. No one wants to slave away in the kitchen in a heatwave, especially when you don’t know how long it’ll last so luckily for you this recipe is quick and basically fool proof. I made it by hand the good old fashioned way but if you’ve got an electric mixer then you’ll have something fresh and zesty and worthy of eating in a country garden full of flowers in under an hour.

You’ll need:

  • 4 x Cosy Lemon Green teabags
  • 125g butter
  • 130g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 210g self-raising flour
  • 112ml milk

For the icing:

  • 70g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Lemon zest to decorate
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease a small loaf tin with butter. Steep two of the teabags in 50ml boiling water and set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in eggs, flour, and milk then empty the contents of the remaining two teabags into the mix for good measure.
  3. Your tea should now be nice and brewed, so pour that in and mix well.
  4. Pour the cake mix into your loaf tin and pop in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean in the middle. Take out and leave to cool completely.
  5. For your icing, mix together the icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth and shiny. Have a little taste and add a little more lemon juice if needed. Then have another taste, and probably another, just to be on the safe side. This was my favourite part.
  6. Remove the cake from the tin and using a teaspoon, drizzle the icing over the cake in a zig zag pattern until it has all gone and the cake is nicely covered. Sprinkle with lemon zest to finish.
  7. Put the kettle on, slice, eat outside and pray the sun stays out.

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It’s made with what?

Psst! Do you know what Sunday is? That’s right, it’s Father’s Day. I know, I know, dads are really tricky to buy presents for. They wouldn’t appreciate knick-knacks, jewellery or hand-knits like your mum would (actually, they might – I’ll let you decide on that one) and they seem to always buy whatever they want for themselves! It’s just plain rude. But if there’s one thing you can always have more of, it’s food, and lovely home-cooked meals. So here are a few suggestions for gastronomical delights this Sunday, and – you guessed it – they all include tea!

trout

Hot tea-smoked trout with new potato and rocket salad

This particular recipe has the added bonus of being cooked on a barbecue. Dad’s love a barbecue. The only problem is he might end up taking over – men and hot coals are magnetically drawn to one-another. It’s scientific fact (actually, it’s not). But if he does let you at the ol’ BBQ, all you need to do is mix tea leaves (from one of our Breakfast Tea bags) with sugar and rice and pop it on the grill to start smoking. Once it’s hot, pop your fish on top, cover them up and let the flavour sensation do its thing!

duck

Smoked tea duck with bigarade sauce

The same approach is put to delicious use in this recipe, but with the more floral element of Earl Grey tea leaves – it’s the perfect partner to the delicate yet rich taste of duck. This is a great choice if your dad isn’t a particular fan of fish, or if you want to impress with more unusual ingredients. As soon as anyone mentions ‘duck’ or ‘Earl Grey’ it becomes instantly fancy. Trust me…

salmon

Tea-smoked salmon with herb mayonnaise

For a lighter meal (perhaps you’ve started the day with an all-out fry up, for which we do not blame you) this salmon and salad combo is special without being too much. The smoking technique is exactly the same again, so you can wow your dad without bustling about the kitchen for hours on end. Which leaves you more time for bonding and playing board games – or watching shoot-em-ups, if your dad prefers.

So there you have it. High impact, low effort recipes that incorporate your favourite thing in your dinner. After all, dads always love a cuppa.

Colour fantastic

As we speed towards summer it’s time to get some more colour and fun into our tea time habits. This felted cosy is the perfect balance of bonkers and practical and we just love it. Who wouldn’t want this combination of stripes, polka dots and brightness on their teapot? And you get to try a new technique along the way – bonus!

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(Image courtesy of Knitty.com)

Kristin Nicholas has created possibly the most perfect tea cosy. The knitting itself is very simple. Worked in the round, you just keep going, using only the knit stitch, and changing colours every now and then. In fact, the pattern is so easy, it doesn’t even have spout or handle slots to worry about – which will also prevent any heat escaping, meaning your tea will be even warmer for even longer.

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(Image courtesy of Knitty.com)

Once you’ve knitted the cosy, it’s time to get felting. It’s worth mentioning that at this stage your cosy will look huge. Do not panic. When you felt knitted items they shrink. This is why your yarn choice is important. You must use natural fibres for this pattern. Anything artificial or superwash will not felt, so you will be left with an oversized cosy that will flop and sag over your pot and, let’s face it, nobody wants that. Felting is really easy but it feels totally wrong: you put your knitting in the washing machine. Trust me. This time you want the tiny, fuzzy result.

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(Image courtesy of Knitty.com)

A little bit of embroidery (with very clear instructions, thanks to the pattern) is the finishing touch, et voila! You have a quirky bit of fun to liven up tea time and your beverages will stay hotter for so much longer. If you aren’t already addicted to felting your knitting, you sure will be after this.

This free pattern can be found on Ravelry and Knitty.

For the love of tea

Recently we’ve had a lot of posts about the ways you can use tea to be more than just a drink. I’d like to think it’s been interesting, and you’ve all enjoyed thinking about your favourite cuppa in a slightly different way, but I think it’s time we slow it down a bit, take a step back, and take the opportunity to show tea itself a little bit of love.

Care to join me?

Good.

There’s something truly magical about a good cup of tea. No matter what mood you are in, no matter what’s going on around you, tea will always make it better. Sometimes it has to be a classic cup of English Breakfast because, as we all know, it’s the beverage equivalent of a hug from your mum (best way to start the day). But what about all the other kinds of tea out there? Here’s my suggestions for just when and where each tea will enrich your life and lighten up your day.

I want to go on a health kick, but I’m not quite ready for kale…

Green tea. Green tea all the way and back again! This little beauty of a drink has all kinds of health benefits attributed to it but without a whole lot of evidence to back it up, let’s just stick to this simple fact: Green tea is yummy, it’s a genius way to drink more water and in Cosy Tea’s Lemon and Jasmine blends it’s something a little bit different. Ease yourself into that healthy lifestyle with buckets and buckets of Green tea.

I’m exhausted, but my mind just won’t stop whizzing!

First things first, I’ve been there. I feel your pain. It’s like your body is made of lead, but your brain is an excited puppy that heard ‘walkies’ out of nowhere. There are lots of tricks you can try here. Switch off the tele at least 20 minutes before you go to sleep. Read a book for a while. Picture yourself in the most calming location you can imagine. These aren’t exactly scientific, but they’ve worked for me in the past, and all of them can be even more effective with a good mug of Chamomile tea. It’s very floral and light, so you won’t feel bloated in bed and it’s got all kinds of herbal goodness too. James Wong, the ethnobotanist, waxes lyrical about the antihistamine properties to Chamomile in his book Homegrown Revolution – just inhale the steam from your cup as you drink. Two for one goodness there!

I want to reduce my caffeine but I don’t like fruity teas.

We are just going to ignore the disdain for fruit teas there, because woah. But fair enough, some people aren’t a fan. In which case get your chops around Rooibos. This South African tea is naturally low in caffeine but it has a real flavour of its own. I personally think it tastes like cake, but most people look at me as though I’m bonkers when I say that, so I might be on my on there. Either way, it is unequivocally less caffeinated than the ol’ English Breakfast, so sup away merrily dear drinker.

When I’ve eaten a big meal, I don’t really fancy coffee. 

You and me both sister! Or brother. Or whatever. The last thing I want to chug after a fancy pants dinner is something as strong and rich as coffee. In these cases it’s all about the mint tea. Supposedly, there’s something about mint that helps us digest food, so it’s actually a very sensible postprandial beverage choice. It’s also a lovely fresh drink that will clear your palette, and reduce the risk of garlic repeats later in the night. Because nobody wants that.

What’s your favourite tea?

Oh I thought you’d never ask! When it comes to quantity, thirst quenching and mood lifting it has to be English Breakfast – I’m a classic bird with simply ways. But, for a bit of a treat, a mid-afternoon bit of luxury, I’m always going to go for Earl Grey. It’s light and refreshing with slight floral tones that make it feel much more fancy pants (it is named for an Earl, after all) and extravagant, but it’s still just tea! You can’t tell me that’s not genius, now can you?

So anyway, there’s a bit of tea love for all of you fans. What’s your favourite cuppa?