Scottish Breakfast Tea

Scottish Breakfast Tea

Scottish Breakfast Tea

Scottish Breakfast Tea (CTC)

Scottish Breakfast tea is blended to suit the soft water of Scotland. As a result, it is a stronger tea than English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast teas.

I live in Earby, Lancashire where the water is soft and this combined with having a Scottish wife makes Scottish Breakfast tea a good choice first thing in the morning.

I bought the tea in the photograph in Castle Douglas, Scotland. This particular example is made made by the CTC tea processing method producing a rich golden brown coloured tea which is strong in flavour.

Breakfast teas are black tea blends intended to compliment a rich, hearty breakfast and tend to be stronger than afternoon tea blends.

There is no standard formula for the Scottish Breakfast tea blend (or, indeed, English and Irish Breakfast teas), it may include teas from China, Assam, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Africa and/or Indonesia.

Taylors of Harrogate (Bettys) sell a Scottish Breakfast leaf tea which is produced in the traditional ‘orthodox’ way where the leaves are rolled to release the colour and flavour (this is different to the CTC tea processing method).

Taylors of Harrogate Scottish Breakfast Leaf Tea Caddy

Taylors of Harrogate Scottish Breakfast Leaf Tea Carton

If you are in Scotland or other soft water area, give a cup of Scottish Breakfast a try. Indeed, you could combine it with eating a traditional hearty full Scottish breakfast complete with square sausage and tattie scones!

CTC

CTC Tea Processing

CTC tea processing

Rwandan Single Estate Gisovu Tea from Betty’s processed using the CTC method

CTC tea processing is a method of producing black tea. It is most common with producers in Africa, parts of Southern India and most of the state of Assam, Indonesia and other pockets around the world.

CTC stands for ‘crush tear curl’ which is a tea production method invented during 1930 and 1931 by William McKercher.

This processing method is used to produce strong, full-bodied teas that brew quickly and are well suited to tea bags.

In the production, the leaf is withered and passed through a series of rollers with sharpened teeth that crush, tear and curl the tea into small hard pellets.

More than 80% of the domestic Indian market is for CTC teas and in the export market, the UK and Ireland, Commonwealth Independent States and the Middle East have the most high demand.

Examples of teas produced using the CTC tea processing method are:

Single Estate Rwandan Gisovu from Africa supplied by Betty’s of Harrogate.

Kenya Kambaa from Africa supplied by Bari Tea Brewery.

 

 

 

 

non-alcoholic white muscat

Non-alcoholic White Muscat from the Coop

 

non-alcoholic white muscat

Non-alcoholic White Muscat bubbly from the Coop

The Coop has introduced a non-alcoholic White Muscat bubbly to its offering for us non-drinkers.

What a surprise I got when I bumped into it on the soft drinks shelves of my local Coop in Earby.

This ‘Sparkling Wine’ type substitute for those not drinking is delicate and crisp. It is made in Spain using sweet Italian muscat grape juice and lightly sparkling for a gentle fizz.

My wife and I took a bottle to our hotel on our anniversary weekend away and when chilled, it is a very refreshing drink and we could taste the muscat grape flavour without the acidity of alcohol.

At only 42 calories per 100ml, it is less fattening than normal wine and better for the waistline.

The price level of £2.00 a bottle makes it one of the best value non-alcoholic ‘adult’ drinks on the market.

Well done Coop, a super drink and I hope you develop your alcohol free wine and beer range further.

Bari Tea Brewery Alnwick

Bari Tea

A Selection of Tea from the Bari Tea Brewery

Bari Tea Brewery is a café in the Castle Quarter of Alnwick, Northumberland that was established by Caroline A Stewart in 2011.

My wife and I first discovered this delightfully relaxing café the year after it opened during our last weekend break in the area in October, 2012.

It was a delight to return last weekend after nearly 5 years and sample a number of teas during our weekend break in the Alnwick area.

Bari (pronounced baa-ree) is Northumbrian for ‘lovely’ and the Bari Tea Brewery offers a selection of over 30 loose leaf teas to enjoy in the café or to buy and enjoy at home.

Whilst chatting to Caroline, the owner, manager and Maître t’, I discovered that she follows the three ‘T’s – Tea, Temperature and Time.  She sources quality loose leaf teas, she uses fresh, filtered water at the right temperature for the type of tea and she steep’s (brews) each pot for the right amount of time.

Since our previous visit just over 4 years ago, Caroline has introduced the use of American tea filters for some of the teas offered.

The tea is placed in one of the American tea filters, which are large enough to allow the tea to move within it’s pocket. After brewing for the desired time, they are removed from the tea pot to prevent the tea from stewing.

American Tea Filters

American unbleached paper filters are made from sustainably harvested American and Canadian wood pulp. As they are 100% natural, they can be put in the compost pile along with the used tea leaves as it is all bio-degradable and good for the garden!

Teas We Tasted at Bari Tea Brewery or Bought to Bring Home

Glendale (Classic South Indian Black tea)

Lover’s Leap (A lively, dry Ceylon Black tea)

Margaret’s Hope (Classic Darjeeling Black Tea from India)

Kenya Kambaa (Strong, smooth CTC Black Tea from Kenya)

Quangzhou Milk Oolong (A premium Oolong tea from China)

Ti Kuan Yin (A delicate Oolong tea from China)

Next time you are in or around Alnwick, try a proper cup of tea served and brewed in the correct way at the Bari Tea Brewery.

Belvoir without the hangover

Belvoir Without the Hangover Grape Drinks

Belvoir without the hangover range of wine-like drinks first caught my attention before Christmas last year.

Belvoir without the hangover

Belvoir without the hangover Grape Drinks are totally non-alcoholic

Produced in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir in Leicestershire by Belvoir Fruit Farms these wine-like drinks tasted wonderful when I first tried them.

According to Belvoir, the Belvoir without the hangover range are made with fresh grapes bursting with Shiraz and Chardonnay notes – but they won’t give you a sore head in the morning!

The Belvoir Without the Hangover Range

The range comes in Red Shiraz, White Chardonnay and Rosé.

Belvoir Shiraz is my personal favourite to drink with a meal. Made from Shiraz grape, it has rich, intense flavours with notes of elderberry and blackcurrant and a hint of spice.

Belvoir Chardonnay is the one I’m looking forward to enjoying on a warm summer’s day. Made from Chardonnay grape juice, it is a crisp drink with peach notes and a hint of jasmine.

Belvoir Rosé is my wife’s favourite.Made from red and white grape juices it has raspberry notes and a hint of orange blossom. It is crisp and floral and slightly sparkling making it perfect to enjoy as an apéritif.

All the Belvoir without the hangover range are 100% non-alcoholic and have no preservatives, flavourings or anything artificial.

I am always on the lookout for adult type drinks that I can enjoy at home or when out socialising. Belvoir have produced a good affordable non-alcoholic wine-like range that I can drink and still feel part of the party.

With the UK leaving the EU over the next couple of years, it is good to have the option of a UK producer of wine-like drinks to select from.

I hope you try the Belvoir range yourself, they are a good option for non drinkers and drivers.

I am on a ‘365 day Booze Free Challenge’in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, please click the ‘Sponsor me’ button below to see my JustGiving page.

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Russell Brand From Addiction to Recovery

My eyes were opened after watching the documentary ‘Russell Brand From Addiction to Recovery’.

Russell Brand’s documentary on drug addiction and recovery from drug abuse. Interesting full length documentary about heroin drug abuse that looks at the difference treating addicts with recovery and medically sound programs verses throwing the addict into prison and punishing them.

The 5th November, 2016 was the first day of my ‘365 Day Booze Free Challenge’ in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Macmillans will receive donations on a regular basis during the challenge through JustGiving and will not have to wait until the end of 365 days.

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Tesco Alcohol Free Offering

Tesco alcohol free offering has been a bit sparse in the past, however, I was surprised and delighted to discover a couple of surprises as we lead up to the festive season.

Tesco Finest Alcohol Free Sparkling Chenin Blanc

tesco alcohol free sparkling chenin blanc

Tesco Finest Sparkling Alcohol Free Chenin Blanc

This sparking wine is a good de-alcoholised substitute for Champagne, Cava or Prosecco if you don’t or can’t drink over the festive season. You will look like your enjoying an alcoholic bubbly and shouldn’t be nagged to have someting stronger.

I only discovered this wine today and have not yet sampled it.

Here are it’s key statistics:

Grape: Chenin Blanc

Colour: white

ABV: not more than 0.5% (classed as de-alcolised in the UK as it is not above 0.5% abv – need to drink 24 glasses to be equivalent to drinking one glass of 12% strength wine);

Taste: Light & fuity, a deliciously light and refreshing wine bursting with summer flavours to complement even the most exotic salads (Tesco’s description).

Wine maker: Hermias Hugo

Country/Region: South Africa

Price: £2.75 for 75cl bottle

Tesco Finest Alcohol Free Sparkling Pinotage Blush

tesco alcohol free sparkling Pinotage Blush

Tesco Finest Sparkling Alcohol Free Pinotage Blush

Another de-alcoholised bubbly from Tesco’s that I only discovered today and I have not yet sampled it.

Here are it’s key statistics:

Grape: Pinotage

Colour: rosé

ABV: not more than 0.5% (classed as de-alcolised in the UK as it is not above 0.5% abv – need to drink 24 glasses to be equivalent to drinking one glass of 12% strength wine);

Taste: A deliciously light and refreshing rosé bursting with berry flavours to complement even the most exotic summer salads. (Tesco’s description).

Wine maker: Hermias Hugo

Country/Region: South Africa Western Cape

Price: £2.75 for 75cl bottle

Other Alcohol Free Wines from Tesco

Tesco’s also offer the Eisburg range of alcohol free wines which a very drinkable and as these wines are readily available in a number of supermarkets I will do a separate post on them.

The 5th November, 2016 was the first day of my ‘365 Day Booze Free Challenge’ in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Macmillans will receive donations on a regular basis during the challenge through JustGiving and will not have to wait until the end of 365 days.

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What Makes a Drink Alcohol Free

What Makes a Drink Alcohol Free

Alcohol Free Eisberg Cabernet Sauvignon from Germany

Two questions I am often asked are “What makes a drink alcohol free” and “Are non-alcoholic wines and beers totally free of alcohol?”

It is physically impossible to remove 100% of the alcohol from fermented wines and beers but all non alcohol or low alcohol drinks must meet one of the UK’s legal definitions of a non-alcoholic beverage:

  • ‘non-alcoholic’ – no alcohol at all;
  • ‘alcohol free’ – is for drinks not above 0.05% abv (need to drink 100 bottles to beer equivalent to drinking one bottle of 5% abv lager);
  • ‘de-alcoholised’ – is not above 0.5% abv (need to drink 24 glasses to be equivalent to drinking one glass of 12% strength wine);
  • ‘low alcohol’ – is not above 1.2% abv (need to drink four bottles to be equivelant to drinking one bottle of 5% abv lager or ten glasses to be equivalent to drinking one glass of 12% abv wine).

For a non-drinker or booze free challenge (other than on religious or medical grounds), the first three categories could be drunk as they contain only the same alcohol as an overripe banana and orange juice left out for a while.

For my ‘365 Day Booze Free Challenge’ I cannot have the ‘low Alcohol’ drinks.

The taste of de-alcoholised wine is lighter and less robust than wines with alcohol, so they will not satisfy all palates, however, I find them lighter and smoother and very easy to drink. I particularly like the fact that there is no acidic after taste or a burning feeling in the back of my throat caused by Ethanol (alcohol).

The 5th November, 2016 was the first day of my ‘365 Day Booze Free Challenge’ in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Macmillans will receive donations on a regular basis during the challenge through JustGiving and will not have to wait until the end of 365 days.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

The 80 Per Cent Statistic

80 Per Cent

80 per cent

Are you one of the 80 per cent?

More than eighty per cent of the adult population in the western world drink alcohol

More than eighty per cent of those have a drink problem

More than eighty per cent of them will never admit they have a problem

Am I one of those eight per cents?

Are you one of those eight per cents?

An interesting thought, starting today (the 5th November, 2016), I’ve taken on a 365 day challenge to be one of the twenty per cent that do not drink alcohol. It might be hard but I’m going to give it a go at being alcohol free for an entire year.

You never know, I may like it so much I may choose not to drink again!
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