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Aldi balloon with now open sign
The New Aldi Store In Mississippi

Aldi—it’s the newest little grocery store around. Do you have one nearby? (TL:DR version: Aldi’s is a great place to grocery shop with great prices.)

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Hello, again, Dear Readers:

We’re halfway through the first month of 2023. BF corrected me on my earlier statement that he has no resolutions, he does. He’s already got one of them checked off, although the process isn’t complete yet. Long story there. Two others are a little farther off, but reachable.

I didn’t make any “resolutions,” but I would like to start getting up early in the morning again. I’ve been able to do that with BF’s work schedule since he returned to work after vacation, but he’ll be back on his usual day/night alternate rotation soon.  When he goes back to sleep, so do I. So. . .we’ll see how it goes.

The “New” Aldi In Our Area

Sort of.

A few days ago, we received a card in the mail letting us know that there is a new Aldi store that’s actually less than an hour from us—just north in Mississippi. No kidding. Because we’re so close to the state border, it’s closer than Baton Rouge or New Orleans. The announcement included a $5 coupon off a $30 purchase, which I happily accepted. So, I made my plans and drove north.

Aldi bag with "you guac my world"

Cute!

I know this sounds a bit odd, going to another state to grocery shop, but people in the smaller northeastern states do cross-border trips all the time. Remember that in Houston you can drive 100 miles in a day and never leave the city. You can drive for days and never leave the state. So going to Mississippi to visit the newest and closest Aldi store isn’t a big deal. Even if BF thinks it’s a bit bonkers. (Bonus: the sales tax is also 3% less than in Louisiana.)

Aldi on opening day

The place was quite crowded!

HEB is a long drive from here, but I’d happily go as far as Beaumont to get to one. (I’m not sure about the ones in Vidor and Orange, I’ve never been.) But because the Mississippi border is just 30 minutes away, McComb isn’t the hour-drive to get to the Slidell Aldi location. Might as well go to Baton Rouge if I’m going to drive that far, because Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Joann’s, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Cost Plus World Market are also there, too. (Just not all in the same place.)

Aldi balloon with now open sign

I just made it!

Admittedly, I wasn’t impressed with Aldi when I went to the one in Friendswood in 2014. It was on the way home from LK’s place, but I didn’t find it to be a better option. Reminded me of a convenience store, really. Lots of boxed mixes, junk food, and a little fresh food.

A well-known male celebrity from the UK is a big fan of Aldi, too. He lives in Palm Springs with his partner and has many times touted Aldi’s food and its greatness. He even did a video in his local Aldi, and it wasn’t a paid promotion–he was just a fan. That Aldi was nothing like the one I visited. After my original experience in Friendswood, I just never went back. I’m not naming him here because I later found him to be quite foul. Therefore, I don’t want his name in the blog or ranking for his name, either.

However, our friend Beverly loves Aldi and told me that they’ve upped their offerings in the fresh food area. Beverly and her husband drive to an Aldi about once a month or so to stock up on staples. Aunt Ruth loves her local Aldi as well. So, I decided to revisit Aldi’s and see what I might be missing. Beverly was right!

The Trip to McComb

It was a lovely day for a drive. It was cool, and sunny, with no traffic. Until I got there.

I drove myself because BF was working. I guess he was glad because he didn’t want to go anyway. He’d rather watch shows about Bigfoot and that weird guy who lived among the bears and became bear food. (I really need to repossess my little Roku.)

Aldi front doors open

Everyone was anxious to get in and shop

Two things to know about going to Aldi: bring a quarter to unlock your cart and bring your own shopping bags. These are two of the ways Aldi keeps costs down and passes along the savings. (New Orleans readers may remember The Real Superstore from back in the late 80’s introducing the “quarter for the basket” trend from Europe.) Stores are accepting reusable shopping bags again, so wash them and take them with you when you shop, especially at Aldi.

But because I wanted to make the grand opening (and I did!) they were not requiring shoppers to use a quarter to unlock the carts. I made it in time to see the grand opening but not to get a picture. The local newspaper, the McComb Enterprise Journal, was also on hand to record the opening. You can read the nice article here, and the picture of the ribbon cutting is available here.

Aldi shoppers

And when people returned the baskets, they offered them to other shoppers rather than fuss about the quarter. Remember, I was in Mississippi. Everyone was nice and as crowded as the place was, they were all happy to be there.

The first 100 shoppers—designated by numbered cards—received a “swag bag.” That is, an Aldi shopping bag that contained some bagel chips and a quarter holder. They gave me a shopping bag on the way in, but it only had a cute little quarter holder (no complaints from me):

Aldi quarter holder

Neat!

I was going to buy a bag anyway, but it was nice to be gifted one.

Aldi quarter holder says shop differentli

Yup!

On the way out, someone gave me two more, and those will be gifted to others.

Aldi shopping bag

Nice

And if you lose that quarter holder, you can actually buy them on Amazon, no kidding.

While waiting for the opening, I spoke with a lady who said that not much happens in McComb. Nice place to go if you don’t want to be found, am I right? She laughed. We saw the Mayor and a few of his people go in and walk out with a swag bag, but I don’t think he did any shopping.

As it turns out, our friend MY went to college in McComb, no kidding. She’s going to rustle up her gang and pay them a visit.

Once we got inside, it was a madhouse.

Again, everyone was polite and nice, and no one caused any problems.

Another customer asked me a question about something. Suddenly she began telling me about something she makes in the air fryer, “while you make your chicken and biscuits.”  I held back my “keto-mostly” self as I listened to her description. She was also nice, so I just smiled and agreed, then thanked her because I couldn’t follow everything. I still don’t know what she was telling me to make, honestly. I guess I looked like I needed to know.

It probably won’t be crowded like that every day.

Shopping Haul

There’s a deli area right when you walk into the place, on the left:

Aldi fresh case

That’s where they have the cauliflower pizza, on the far left. I thought I got a better picture of it.

I saw the words “cauliflower pizza” and it was all over:

Aldi cauliflower pizza in box

Lunch! No wheat in the crust or anything, so that was first since BF was working late the next day. Then tortillas, including some marked “keto” for our next Taco Tuesday adventure:

Aldi cookies and pastries

BF would love this area

Plus a nice selection of cookies and pastries. Lots of snacks on the right side:

Aldi snacks

And more snacks!

Against the back wall are bacon and other meats:

I’m going to go ahead and admit that we needed a bag of onions:

Right next to them were little roasty potatoes, aka, Triston’s potatoes:

And salsa!

I forgot the tortilla chips, but these didn’t last long:

Sweet potato chips are my kryptonite

This quinoa meal will absolutely horrify BF if he ever finds it because he wants to know what it’s doing in his house:

Aldi quinoa meal

I’m currently hiding this from BF

Aunt Ruth and Aunt Kathy are laughing as they read this because they’ve met BF and they know I’m right. But it was so weird I was compelled to get one. I haven’t tried it just yet.

I’m not going to disclose how much I spent. . .let’s just say I got some things we needed, as well as some extra things, plus something for dinner. This definitely won’t be my last trip to McComb, that’s for sure—especially with a Starbucks, Hobby Lobby and Walmart in the same spot. It’s an enclosed mall called Uptown McComb, but I didn’t realize that until I was leaving. Next time.

How Was The Pizza?

Regular readers know I’m a fan of Caulipower pizzas, and get them occasionally. So far, nothing beats Caulipower, and I’ve tried a couple of them that Walmart has available. (I may try the new Walmart brand one day soon.) So this caught my eye, although they only had Veggie available. That’s OK, too.

The Aldi’s pizza isn’t frozen—remember, it came from the deli section as you walk in the front door.  (There’s only one way in and out, and that’s a thing with Aldi, too.) The crust is rather “floppy,” because it’s a “grab and go” thing. So you want to be extra careful sliding it onto the oven rack.

At $7.99, it rivals Caulipower and is also larger.

All you do is preheat the oven to 400 degrees and put it directly on the oven rack. I had to use the big oven because it’s too big for the countertop oven, but it was chilly so that was fine. In about 16 minutes, you have pizza:

I think I should have left it in the oven a bit longer because the crust wasn’t as crispy as I anticipated.

The toppings were all cooked, of course, and it was quite tasty. Just don’t want to burn the pizza.

Pizza wheel cutting an Aldi cauliflower pizza

Giving Caulipower a run for its money.

No complaints here, it tastes pretty good, and it’s big enough to have a leftover half for the next day.

Slice of Aldi Cauliflower pizza on a white plate

That’s a bit of red onion, not beet, thank heavens.

I like to have both the regular and cauliflower pizzas in the freezer for us, but of course, we tend to go through them quickly. These pizzas from Aldi can be frozen, apparently, because it has directions for cooking from frozen. So, my next Aldi trip may involve getting more of these for the freezer, plus a couple of the non-cauliflower ones for BF.

Sweets For Your Sweet

I did manage to get a few things for BF. He loves chocolate as I do, so:

These were just too cute to pass up:

These cookies from Germany look just like the Krakus cookies from Poland that I used to buy at Phoenicia Foods in Houston in several flavors:

Aldi German cookies

I have tried to straighten out this picture to no avail.

I hope they taste as good, too. If so, BF will love them. And for myself, chocolate and raspberry are together again:

I didn’t eat it all at once, honest. And it was only one. I passed on the chocolate truffles, because, well, I can get into trouble with those.

Aldi has an aisle full of sweet treats and other non-food gifts like candles and pajamas for Valentine’s Day.

So there’s something for nearly everyone, including yourself.

Non-Food Items

Unlike Trader Joe’s, Aldi’s has an entire center aisle of non-food items:

There you’ll find all manner of things, like these cute things for your kitchen or coffee bar:

“May your coffee kick in before reality does.” Oh, yes, seriously!

Coffee pots and cups are also available, as well as their own espresso maker:

Aldi Finds are lots of different things, including rugs and small pieces of furniture. Presumably, you must assemble them just like anything from IKEA. But maybe it was because I was in a hurry that I didn’t see any of those, or maybe the store didn’t have them. I wanted to look at a storage ottoman from the app, but that may be coming next week. Gives me an excuse to go back, doesn’t it?

Well, this was just what I wanted:

And magically, it made its way into the cart. Guess what? It takes a range of vacuum seal bags. Those vacuum freezer bags and replacement gaskets are easily available on Amazon. I’ll check our local Walmart for availability too. I sealed up the pork chops and the ground turkey I bought at Aldi, and they’re already in the big freezer. More vacuum seal freezing and a blog post on this one soon.

We’ve been talking about getting a vacuum food sealer for some time, but they are kind of pricey, so we waited. After reading this article by Jill Nystul on One Good Thing By Jillee, I told BF that we should consider getting one to start making our food last a bit longer.

You can find a huge selection of them on Amazon. In fact, Dash has a brand new model of its own. When I brought up the subject, BF just nodded his head “OK” and that was the end of the discussion, although we have talked about it since. Even though this was a rushed trip during a busy time, I saw it and was glad to see it was $30.

Not Just A. . . .

BF’s favorite comment about Trader Joe’s is, “it’s just a grocery store.” He just doesn’t get excited about that sort of thing. Between TJ’s and Whole Foods, there were too many guys wearing man buns and skinny jeans for his military buzz-cut comfort level. He never lets me forget about “ManBun/SkinnyJeans.” In this store, there were none of those, as MY tells me that it’s mostly country folks. Everyone was happy about the new Aldi, that’s for sure.

In all seriousness, Trader Joe’s is the grocery store, while Aldi’s is groceries and more. Both stores focus primarily on their own private brands with some national brands alongside. Aldi also carries a selection of limited-time goods from small stuff to all manner of things. Most of it is seasonal, and they don’t last long before they’re replaced with something new.

They Didn’t Forget The Furbabies

Aldi also carries pet food and supplies:

This smells like stinky cat food, but the dogs couldn’t get enough.

But the cats were not impressed with these offerings.

Some apparel, kitchen items, and even fitness things:

All in that aisle for Aldi Finds.

Great Stuff In Store

Like Trader Joe’s, Aldi also has devout fans. This article from The Kitchn talks about a bag of frozen vegetables that the author says to get at least one more since they’re “ready to roast.” They have carrot and sweet potato and a Mediterranean blend with yellow and red bell peppers, zucchini, red onion, and cherry tomatoes. Before you ask, no, BF won’t eat this because of the zucchini.

Because Aldi was so busy, I didn’t really get a good look at the freezer section. But what I did recognize immediately was the Texas Tamales!

And they were $2.50 less than Rouses. The bad news is that they only had pork tamales, no beef.

What Aldi’s isn’t is a salvage or overstock place like Dirt Cheap (the top retailer of major brand returns, they say) or Ollie’s Bargain Center (“Good stuff cheap—up to 70% off the fancy stores!”) Aldi sells fresh and first-quality product for less than other grocery stores.

These tea bags are a good example of what that means. Chances are the two different brands are from the same producer with different labeling.

The bag on the left is from Aldi’s, and the one on the right is from Winn-Dixie. Taste about the same.

Aldi’s was $2.19, and Winn-Dixie’s is about $2.69. Sometimes Winn-Dixie puts them on sale, two for $4, or buy two and get one free. Next trip to Aldi’s I might buy a couple of extra boxes.

An Aldi Fan Story From Down Under

Although Aldi is growing in the US, this Germany-based company is not just in the States. This blog by Australian copywriter Pauline Longdon describes her and her partner Rae’s adventure getting themselves a couple of Stand-Up Paddleboards, or SUP. If you’re not familiar with them (and I’m not either), you can get an idea of what they look like from what’s available on Amazon. (There’s a bit of language and self-deprecating humor involved, too.) Note: I’m friends with Pauline and Rae on Facebook but have not yet met them in person like other copywriters I know who have.

Admittedly, I know little to nothing about stand-up paddleboarding, and Pauline’s blog is also written primarily for writers. But the story is interesting enough that I wanted to link to it here, because it involves Aldi, and researching a purchase. If you have a few minutes, click over to Pauline’s website, and read the story in her words. Pauline kindly gave me permission to link to her blog, so she knows why you’re there.

Why Shop At Aldi?

It’s a little like going to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or even the Rouses in Hammond—they have what you want or need. They’re not as big as a Rouses, Winn-Dixie, or HEB, but they’re a good basic grocery store with, well, basics. Eggs are the notable exception since they’re currently as expensive as controlled substances. (Yes, that’s sarcasm.) But Aldi’s prices are good on their store brands, with their store brand offerings being considerably less expensive. So far we’ve noticed no difference in quality, either.

They’re all golden eggs now, aren’t they?

For example, this jar of Aldi’s store brand Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce was $1.95.

By comparison, the one we usually buy, Classico Tomato & Basil, runs $3.79, and sometimes $3.00 on sale at Winn-Dixie.

Used it for dinner and BF gave a thumbs-up. Unlike Winn-Dixie, Aldi doesn’t have a rewards program. Their prices are what they offer, no reward points are needed. So there’s that.

I’d like to go back to Aldi occasionally and stock up on canned and jarred foods, frozen things, and other foods to stash and keep on hand. We’re planning a pantry reboot soon to utilize the wasted space (thank you, Pinterest!) Once we have that completed and the pantry cleared and sorted, it’ll be easier to keep track of what we have and need. Stocking up on basics at Aldi will help keep our pantry full for less.

In a quick chat with Rafael, he says has an Aldi store about two miles away from his home with Carmen. He said they have some nice European products, which he prefers because they “tend to make cleaner stuff.” Agreed—and he has access to more of that kind of thing than we do.

I mentioned to the very harried manager in a red shirt that this new Aldi is an option if we need to travel north again for a supply run. During the two weeks our area was running on generators, we traveled north first to Brookshire and then McComb, Mississippi, to get food, fuel, and other supplies. That Aldi is close but probably would have been filled with people like us getting food and things. It’s an option, and it’s literally right off the freeway. You can see it before you get to the exit because it’s on the furthest corner of the mall. (That’s one of Aldi’s trademarks when they look for real estate.) Even if there was a closer store, it’s good to know Aldi’s is in McComb if we need it one day.

Besides, it’s nice to get away occasionally and do something different, isn’t it?

Third Fastest Growing Grocery In the US

That’s right, they are. And much as I like HEB and Trader Joe’s, Aldi is a nice place to shop, too.

Fast and easy to get out, too.

I did write the company to tell them about the fun grand opening and request a store in Hammond. Someone wrote back and said they were always looking for new sites that fit their criteria. Hopefully, Hammond will fit, and they will build one. Southeastern Louisiana University is there, so there’s bound to be enough interest. I think that’s why Trader Joe’s is so close to LSU.

You can find more on Aldi’s website, and they even have an app you can download. Look for a store near you at their Store Finder, and sign up for their emails too.

More To Come

In addition to the overdue posts on Rafael & Carmen’s wedding and the rest of our Houston trip, I’ve got a few more topics waiting. The vacuum food sealer is going to get its own post, because now I want to seal up everything. I just need more of the bags.

I still have no idea what we’re doing for Valentine’s Day, but hopefully, we’ll find something on the Roku we can both enjoy.

Of course, I hope to have more tasty recipes to cook up in the New Year. Because feeding BF can be, shall we say, challenging, and requires more effort.

Happy Shopping!

 

Teapot with tea in the cup
The Tea Blog, Part 3

In this final installment on tea, I show you a few more teas and the contents of the box LH sent from California.

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Hi, again, Dear Readers:

I promise this is the last blog post on tea, for now. If I find something new I’ll let you know. Besides, there are plenty of other subjects in the pipeline. Missed the previous posts? Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here.

Beverly’s Chanterelle Mushrooms

Our friend Beverly is currently enjoying a plethora of fresh chanterelle mushrooms, which she is fortunate enough to find on her property. There are occasional mushrooms growing here at the Casa de Rurale, but they don’t look like that. I’m afraid of finding the wrong kind of mushroom so I don’t even bother. Beverly says that they smell fruity, like apricots, so that’s a strong indicator.

She and her husband harvest them daily and dry them:

mushrooms drying on a wood block

Look at all the mushrooms!

Beverly will either use these delicious morsels immediately or dry them like this. Chanterelle mushrooms don’t last once they’re picked, so they need to be used that day or dried for longer-term storage. Dried chanterelle mushrooms are available in many grocery stores and online (and at Amazon, of course.) They’re not cheap, so you understand why Beverly is excited about being able to harvest them for free. Same reason I like the wild blackberries that arrive in late April and finish in late June.

Coming Soon: Easy Dirty Keto

I’m now in possession of a review copy of Emilie Bailey’s new Easy Dirty Keto cookbook, (thank you, Emilie!) and it’s looking pretty good so far.

Cover of Easy Dirty Keto Book

Woo hoo!

Spaghetti Squash with chorizo? Oh, YEAH!! (When BF is not home, of course.)

I’ll explain more in a future blog when I’ve had more time to review and of course, try a few recipes. The release date is scheduled for August 23rd, next week. The Kindle version is available now, and you can pre-order the paperback book.

Easy Dirty Keto Cookies and Desserts

Cookies!!!

BF will, of course, be pressed into service as a taste-tester, along with anyone else who shows up at the house when I’m making some of these. Hey–he liked the broccoli cheese soup from Emilie’s Vegetarian Keto book, so there just might be something he likes here, too.

Dirty Keto French Onion Soup

Another great soup recipe?

Most of the ingredients are technically “keto,” or “low carb,” but some are a bit less conventional. Many recipes use ingredients that are technically “low carb,” but not the usual “clean eating” type. Why didn’t anyone tell me that there is now a sugar-free version of Cool Whip?

Emilie made the announcement on Instagram a couple of weeks ago and in her email to her list. This book, she says, is likely to be her last–unfortunately.

Blog post coming. Back to the subject of tea.

Lipton Found

A couple of months ago, I went into the pantry and opened the jar of decaf tea bags that I kept on my desk at Boeing.

jar with variety of decaf tea bags

I kept these on my desk for the afternoons.

It just collected dust. The tea bags are wrapped. The jar has a tight-fitting lid, so the contents were fine.

And then I saw it: three Lipton decaffeinated tea bags, at least ten years old. I remember the original conversation with LH, so I posted this on Facebook and tagged her.

Compendium of tea pictures

The pictures from the original post

She commented, “Omg that Lipton needs to go!!! It wasn’t any good when it was fresh lol!!”

Honestly, I only posted the picture because I thought she’d get a kick out of it, and I was right. Those three tea bags did go out. After trying real British tea, you can’t go back to Lipton. it just doesn’t taste right anymore.

Sorry, Lipton.

The Gift Of Tea And Nibbles

LH said on the post, “send me your address and I’ll send you some good tea.” I did, and a few weeks later, a heavy box arrived. The mail lady, as usual, gave me a funny look.

Box of British tea and sweets

She sent a British grocery!

I wasn’t expecting all this! But LH was very kind and sent me all kinds of delicious British things, some of which I’d never seen before. Obviously, I am very appreciative. I’d like to send her something, but as of yet, I haven’t figured out exactly what.

Understand that LH lives in Southern California, where, like Houston, Dallas, and other big cities, you can buy things like that. (No, not New Orleans, and not Baton Rouge, either, except in Cost Plus World Market–sometimes.) There was the packet of Typhoo (I still can’t find the picture) and Yorkshire tea, LH’s favorite:

Box of Yorkshire tea on stove

A fine tea to have in the morning.

Plus, something I knew about from watching a great Britcom called The Thin Blue Line, but had never tried: Chocolate Hobnobs.

Box of Chocolate Hobnobs

If you’ve never had these before, they’re worth a splurge.

These cookies are the favorite of the show’s protagonist, played by Rowan Atkinson. Oh, my GAWD they are so good!

They are neither sugar-free, gluten-free, nor keto. Save these for an occasional treat, and don’t eat more than two at a time in a 24-hour period. Trust me on this–they are that good, and hard to resist.

There was the shortbread from Scotland which is divine:

Walker's Shortbread

BF loves these and was very appreciative.

We can also get the regular Hobnobs at Cost Plus World Market in Baton Rouge, along with BF’s favorite Jammy Dodgers. I don’t see the chocolate ones there. Yes, Amazon has them too–but if you order them in warm weather the chocolate may melt. I’ll look around next time I’m at Whole Foods or a bigger Rouses to see if maybe they carry them locally.

WF told me later that she likes the regular Hobnobs, but not the Chocolate Hobnobs. Of course, it’s funnier when you hear Rowan Atkinson talk about his Chocolate Hobnobs. They go well with tea or coffee, or in BF’s case, milk.

LH also included a couple of British candy bars, which, thankfully, didn’t melt because it was April and not that hot yet. Cadbury’s Flake is interesting.

Flake candy bar in wrapper

What’s this?

Cadbury Flake bar

It really does flake.

We realized on the second one that it’s crumbly:

Crumbled Flake bar

Eat this carefully.

The other one is also from Cadbury, but called Crunchie:

Cadbury Crunchie Wrapper

Don’t have a picture of the inside of this one, but it’s quite tasty.

The sweets didn’t last long enough for the blog post, although we didn’t have them all at once. We tried to wait. Everything was delicious and appreciated. We enjoyed these with respect.

Earl Grey/Lady Grey Tea

Earl Grey Tea is a specific blend of tea, not a brand. It’s a standard black tea blended with bergamot, a type of citrus fruit. The result is a sweeter type of tea than the usual black teas. This is not to be confused with what’s called “sweet tea” in the south, iced tea with plenty of sugar.

Box of Earl Grey Tea

One of the many Earl Grey brands available

The story goes that this blend of tea was created for Charles Grey, the Earl of Grey, who served as the British Prime Minister from 1830 through 1834. He introduced it to British society, and the tea became well known in the years since. He allegedly saved the life of a Chinese mandarin’s son, and the mandarin sent him a gift of Chinese tea. The Earl requested that a tea vendor re-create it (allegedly teamaker Richard Twinings, according to their website) complete with oil of bergamot, and it’s been Earl Grey Tea ever since.

But the Earl never set foot in China, so there’s that. And it may have been created to cover the taste of hard water in Northumberland.

Lady Grey was created as sort of a counterpoint to Earl Grey by Twinings in 1994, although many brands now have their own version.

Picture of box of Twinings Lady Grey TEa

The counterpoint to Earl Grey

It’s a nice tea that’s permeated with a fresher flavor and distinct orange taste that replaces the stronger bergamot flavor in the Earl Grey variety.

 

Ziplock bag of Lady Grey

So what if they were in a Ziplock bag?

LH didn’t have a box for the tea bags she sent. I just said, “thank you.”

Which One is Better?

If you try them side-by-side as LH suggested, you definitely taste the difference. It’s not that one is necessarily better than the other, although LH’s preference is for Lady Grey tea.

Two Teacups with tea

They’re both delicious!

Comes down to personal preference, as always. As it turned out, I had a box of decaffeinated Twining’s Earl Grey in the pantry from my desk at Boeing.

Four packets of Twinnings decaf Earl Grey Tea

It’s sealed in a plastic-type wrapper.

I have no idea how long I’ve had this tea, but I suspect it was bought between 2010 and 2012. The tea tastes just as good as it did when I first bought it. Twining’s, like a lot of tea manufacturers, puts their tea bags into sealed plastic packets, unlike the porous paper wrappers around Lipton Tea bags.

LH insisted I try them side-by-side, so that’s what I did. They’re both very good but have different and distinctive flavors. Pick the one you like best and enjoy it in your favorite cup.

Green Tea

Then there’s green tea, which is described as having a “vegetal taste.” The first time I tried it (years ago!) my first thought was that it tastes like someone mowed the lawn and brewed the clippings. I know, I know, it has its devotees, and it’s full of antioxidants and the like. It’s the same thing as black tea but not oxidized. Mostly it’s popular in China and Japan, and very caffeinated. If you like green tea, go for it.

But because LH sent me a little box, I decided to try green tea again:

If you sip it without anything in it, that “vegetal taste” comes right through.

Cup of green tea brewing

It’s green.

It’s not like chamomile.

packet of English Tea Store green tea

It’s green.

But if you add cream and a sweetener, it tastes like. . .tea. Your choice. I can’t say that it’s bad, of course, it’s just not as exciting as English Breakfast tea.

Tea Pots

After watching many episodes of multiple British TV series, I eventually bought a few teapots too. Why not? I have some from Cost Plus World Market, and one from IKEA, that I like for the colder months.

picture of IKEA Riklig teapot

A great teapot for any time. (Source: IKEA website)

They also make a smaller version of this teapot, which may be in my next order.

I also started making teapot cozies from a sewing book and I have them for all the teapots. They work well and look good, with obvious American touches like a southwestern print for one of them.

For my birthday last year, I ordered two boxes of Typhoo decaf from The English Tea Store. I also bought myself this little cutie:

Tea for one pot next to measuring ruler

It’s not terribly big. Nor does it hold much tea.

I just didn’t realize it was that small when I ordered.

See, I used to have a “tea for one” set that I bought somewhere in Houston. It held a fair amount with a nice-sized cup. I don’t remember where I got it, and I don’t have it anymore. Decided that I’d get another one because this is what I normally drink tea from these days:

Green tea in a cup with the Texas flag

I have two with a Texas design, bought from Shutterfly with images from Pinterest.

It’s what the British call a “beaker.” With the Texas flag on it, right? So, the little red tea-for-one set, well:

Teapot with tea in the cup

Well, it makes the tea very nicely. Just not very much tea.

Yes, it’s tiny. The price was right, and it’s cute. It will probably go into the china cabinet I’m planning to get from IKEA, one day.

When I sent a picture of it to our friend WF in Turkey she sent back a voice message on Facebook Messenger. Mostly, she was giggling. WF and her husband were very amused at my tiny little red tea-for-one set.

Finding British Tea In America

Well, online, of course, unless you’re lucky enough to live near a place that sells this sort of thing like LH. Two of my favorites are:

 

You can also just do a search to find tea sellers in the US, too. That’s how I found both of those. When Teadog was out of something, The English Tea Store had some.

Remember that import stores that carry multitudes of incredible things from around the globe were just a car ride in Houston. Phoenicia Foods is one of the biggest, and I bought so many things there in addition to tea. Those cookies from Poland were delicious. And they ship, too!

HEB and Central Market, of course, are also repositories of all manner of incredible foods, ingredients, and imported things in the larger stores. Unfortunately, they no longer ship–everything is curbside pickup or delivery if you’re lucky enough to be in the area.

Also, understand that “imported” to a Texan means “from outside of Texas.” 

There’s always Amazon, which is the source of all the affiliate links in the blog. Don’t forget that Amazon is also a great place to research just about anything you’re interested in, even if you don’t buy it there. Be forewarned that sometimes food things sit in an Amazon warehouse for quite a while.

Until Next Time

There’s one person I know who probably won’t try British tea (but maybe the Chocolate Hobnobs if he hasn’t already.) That would be Neighbor E in Houston, bless him, who is a fan of the chai latte, and he makes them at home. Anytime I see this, I think about you, Dude:

Tazo Chai Latte in a box

His drink of choice! (In our local Winn-Dixie.)

Admittedly, when we went to the opening of the big new HEB in Clear Lake, he was right next to me getting free coffee. That’s the only time I ever saw him drink any. Well, it was free, after all.

Tea is a huge world, much like coffee and wine. Finding a new favorite may be as simple as a visit to your local grocery store, or to an online vendor. You can drink a different tea every day and never try every tea available. Once you find one you like, bookmark it and try another one.

Enjoy!

 

 

Red tea for one set next to a box of Typhoo Decaf
The Tea Post, Part 2

Tea is wonderful, as discussed in Part 1 of this topic. But today I’ll tell you how I became a fan of British tea, and why it’s better. Better make a pot for this one.

Follow me on Bloglovin’

Hello, again, Dear Readers:

Another week, another “where did the time go” moment. Last week, BF dragged me out of bed early to run an errand in the Baton Rouge area. We were actually in Prairieville, so there was no visit to Trader Joe’s, Joann Fabrics, or Cost Plus World Market. He went to work at 2:00 pm, so we were under a time constraint. We also needed dog food so we didn’t risk becoming dog food.

While Houston–and most of Texas–is still roasting, we’ve been fortunate with plenty of intermittent rain that keeps the temperatures below 90F degrees. If I could “gift” rain to Texas, I would.

I decided to cut this second blog post of tea into two because it’s just that long. Part three is next. But I have some other news first.

RIP: The Boy

On a few occasions, I’ve mentioned a friend of ours I affectionately nicknamed “The Boy.”

Head shot of Triston Pennington

The Boy, aka Triston Pennington

I called him that because, well, we’re old enough to be his parents, but we didn’t mind. His real name is Triston Pennington. A nice guy, well-liked, and had a lot going on with a sense of humor that sneaks up on you. We enjoyed having him over, and he was a favorite dinner guest. He and BF were coworkers and were also occasionally working on something car-related outside of work.

BF and The Boy in a truck

They loved hanging out doing car-guy stuff.

Unfortunately, on Saturday night, it ended. Everyone is stunned. We got the call from their manager just after 3:00 am Sunday morning.

Triston was involved in an accident on the east side of town, and he didn’t make it. He was driving by himself at about 11:00 pm, and we know for certain is that he wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The Louisiana State Police’s investigation is ongoing. The funeral is Friday. Triston’s Dad is dealing with so much, and BF has offered to help. He’ll be picking up Triston’s vehicle this week from the impound yard once the LSP finishes its investigation.

Little Roasty Potatoes

On one occasion, BF notified me that Triston would be joining us for dinner while I was in Hammond. Think fast, Amy! I bought a bag of fingerling potatoes at Rouse’s to roast with whatever else I was making. All it took was a light drizzle of olive oil, a shake of salt, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning on a parchment-lined pan. Mix them to coat, then roast at 425F for an hour in the countertop oven.

The next day, BF came home and told me that Triston really enjoyed the “little roasty potatoes.” When he came back for dinner another time, I cut some larger potatoes down to bite size and did the same thing so he could enjoy them again. Maybe I should call them “Triston’s Potatoes.”

If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for his Dad and everyone who worked with him. We miss him already.

Hatch Chile Days Return

I got a text from Neighbor E this morning. He visited the lovely HEB on Clear Lake City Boulevard and saw the Hatch Chiles on display.

Boxes of Hatch Chiles in HEB

They’re here!!

HEB is supposed to have some Hatch Chile dark chocolate tomorrow. E will be all over that, as I would if I were there.

Rouse’s also has Hatch Chiles, but I haven’t made it to Hammond to get some. BF will definitely be unhappy when I do. They’re only available for a little while, so if you’re a fan, don’t wait to buy yours.

Neighbor E also had a visitor this morning:

Egret on stairway railing

Parked himself on the stair railing.

Egrets are one of the many birds native to the Gulf Coast, as are Great Blue Herons. They’re also weird birds. They just show up anywhere they like. Makes you wonder if they’re related to cats in some way.

Anyway. . .let’s talk tea.

Discovering British Tea

Let me just say that although I love coffee, I also love tea. But now, as I say, I’m picky. Years of watching Britcoms taught me how to make a proper cup of British tea. Except I don’t put lemon in mine.

Many years ago, I was at AWAI’s Copywriting Bootcamp in Delray Beach, FL, where I met many people that I still keep in touch with today. (Thank you, Facebook.) One of them is a British lady, LH, who married an American, and now lives in California.

We were talking one morning over breakfast with another AWAI member from Houston. I happened to mention that they had “real British tea” in the hotel rooms with the coffee supplies. LH replied that she normally just brings her own tea because it usually isn’t. (LH doesn’t like coffee.)

After breakfast, we took a walk down to the closest Publix in Delray Beach, to get some supplies for ourselves and our companion. When we passed that spot in Publix, LH pointed out, “this is real British tea.”

PG Tips

I saw PG Tips in HEB many times, but never paid attention or even bought a box. Turns out, real British tea was right there all along. I said, “Oh, I can buy that at H-E-B when I get home to Houston.”

Picture of Box of original PGTips tea

You may have seen this in your own grocery store. (Source: Amazon)

I did, and it’s delicious! I boiled the water, put the distinctive triangular tea bag in the cup, poured the hot water in, and walked away for a few minutes. Just like you would with Lipton, right? Well. . . .

This must be what Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force pilots drink before they hop into the cockpit of their planes. MAN, that tea is strong!

I worked on the third floor of the Bay Area Building. I felt like I could fly right off that back balcony, singing, I Believe I Can Fly. You get away with that ONE TIME.

I ended up giving the rest of the box to a lady upstairs in ISS who was not only British but drank PG Tips from the time she was small.

It even comes in an extra strong version. Yes, I’ve tried that one time–never again. Avoid anything that makes your teeth wiggle.

Fortunately, PG Tips does come in decaf,

Picture of box of PG Tips Decaf

All of the taste without the jolt.

This decaf tastes exactly like the regular version without staying awake for 36 hours. Maybe next order I’ll get a couple of extra boxes, it’s that good.

I’ve seen small boxes of regular PG Tips available in a few places here; Whole Foods is one. I got the extra strong from Vitacost once.  I keep the real thing around for emergencies where I need to be awake.

I’m out of decaf right now but will be ordering more soon since it’s not available locally. In fact, I only saw small boxes of decaf in The Fresh Market in Houston, once upon a time.

You Only Get The OOOOH! with Typhoo!

Typhoo is another brand of Britain’s finest tea that comes in a very good decaf version. I have some round bags of Typhoo decaf, but LH kindly sent me a packet of the real thing. More on that in the next post.

Picture of Typhoo Tea box

Another delicious tea (source: Amazon)

I can’t find the picture of this one, but the round tea bags come in foil sleeves to keep them fresh. And the decaf Typhoo is also flavorful.

Red tea for one set next to a box of Typhoo Decaf

With a beautiful red tea-for-one set.

Typhoo doesn’t have the heart-racing, mind-altering strength of PG Tips, but it’s still an excellent British tea. TV cooking show host Nigella Lawson made cute commercials for the brand a few years ago. On the company’s website, a quote from her mentions that she never leaves the country without a box of Typhoo in her suitcase. Understandable.

Typhoo Tea has graced Britain’s teapots since 1903. Both regular and decaf are available at Cost Plus World Market, Amazon, TeaDog, and The English Tea Store, as well as some grocery stores. I’ve bought it at the Cost Plus stores in Baton Rouge and New Orleans a few times. I bought it frequently in Houston at the Cost Plus on Bay Area Boulevard.

More Favorites

Our British expat friend WF reminds me that “British Tea” isn’t actually grown in Britain. India, Sri Lanka, and a few other places, yes, but not anywhere in the UK.

The “real British tea” that was in our hotel rooms at the Delray Beach Marriott so many years ago was this:

Box of Scottish Breakfast Tea

This distinguished tea is also delicious.

Scottish Breakfast Tea from Taylors of Harrogate, the company that also makes the delicious Yorkshire tea we also like. (Yorkshire happens to be LH’s favorite.)  After my return to Houston, I found more of this wonderful Scottish Breakfast tea in Central Market. I was so happy I bought a box.

But life went on and I never bought it again, until recently. Amazon carries this amazing tea, in 20 individually wrapped bags, boxes of 50 un-wrapped tea bags like the one in the picture, boxes of 100, and the loose leaf version. However, I can’t drink that every day, it’s too strong, and there’s no decaf.

I bought two 50-count boxes a few months ago from TeaDog.com (more on them in the next blog post.) The Post Office sent one of those great big vans to deliver the tiny little boxes in a small shipping box. I’m stocked for a while.

Scottish Breakfast Tea Is A Type

There are multiple brands of “Scottish Breakfast Tea.” Turns out it’s a blend that goes well with Scotland’s soft waters. It’s made from a blend of Indian Assam and African teas. Taylors of Harrogate just so happens to be the one I’m familiar with, but I’ll happily try another brand one day.

In addition to Yorkshire and Yorkshire Gold teas, the company also makes decaf. It’s equally good, just like the original. Yorkshire Gold tea is an orange pekoe. They even make a Yorkshire tea for hard water, which someone from Houston reviewed on Amazon.

Twinings

This brand of British tea has been around for more than 300 years and is enjoyed worldwide. It’s still run by the same family and has a royal crest. It’s considered the preeminent British tea. Readily available in grocery stores and online, the company produces hundreds of different teas. Many come in K-cups.

Picture of box of Twinings English Breakfast tea, 100 count box

You can find this everywhere.

As far as their English Breakfast Tea, it’s. . .OK, both regular and decaf. Their Irish Breakfast tea is about the same, OK, not great, regular and decaf.

Picture of Twinings Irish Breakfast tea

This one is pretty available, too.

It’s just plain tea. Compared to the other British teas, Twinings doesn’t have the thing that makes you go oooohhh.

Twinings also has Earl Grey, Lady Grey, and just about any other kind of tea blend you can think of. But no Scottish Breakfast. (More on the Grey teas in the next blog.)

The company has a USA site as well as a UK site. The UK site has more gifting and accessories than the US store has, including a nice range of tea ware. Well, maybe I can order this lovely set from that site.

Twinnings Tea For One

Wouldn’t this be nice?

If the currency exchange rate isn’t too bad one day.

Other Brands Of Tea

There are quite a few British teas available in the US, somewhere. Way too many Americans have tried British tea, either on a visit or some other way like me, and do not want the American cuppa anymore. British brands just seem to taste better, and are made for anyone who is serious about their tea.

Admittedly, I keep several brands around, and BF has no idea what they are.  He drinks milk, Coke, and water occasionally, and sometimes orders sweetened iced tea in a restaurant. He wouldn’t know what to do with a cup of hot tea, though I’ve offered him a taste many times. The tea in the pantry is, in his opinion, simply taking up space.

Ahmad’s Tea

I’ve bought their decaffeinated Afternoon Tea many times at Phoenicia Foods in Houston.

Box of Ahmad Evening Decaf Tea

Very tasty.

It’s also available online (Phoenicia ships!), as are their other teas, including English Breakfast. Nobody’s ever heard of it here that I’ve found. Ahmad’s is also good tea, regular or decaf, such as their Evening Tea, which I bought occasionally in Houston.

Fortunately, it’s readily available online, and not terribly expensive, either.

Builder’s Tea

There are several brands of tea that are called “builder’s tea”, but there is an actual brand called Builder’s Tea. The term is colloquial for very strong (and inexpensive) tea that builders enjoy.

Truly teas for the workers:

Side of box of Builder's Tea

They’re not kidding, are they?

Neither was the US, mate.

I have not personally tried this tea myself. But our friend Beverly recently tried some. She received a box of it in a gift basket some time ago. She posted: “I have a box of Builder’s I’m afraid to try. It has caution markings around the top for heaven’s sake.”

But recently, Beverly decided to make a pitcher of iced tea with Builder’s Tea. Beverly and her family live in rural Georgia, where they have roughly the same weather we have, and iced tea is normal during summer.

Until you make it with real British Builder’s Tea.

Beverly said that after drinking a glass, “I didn’t blink for four hours.”

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, OK?

Tazo’s Awake English Breakfast Tea

I mentioned this in the previous blog post.

PIcture of box of Tazo Tea

My “regular” afternoon tea.

Tazo is a readily available American brand. Their Awake stands up to the British teas, but not with nearly the punch of PG Tips.

It has just the right amount of heart racing I need in the afternoon. Not too strong, but a tasty tea that’s close to British. Thankfully, Winn-Dixie carries it locally.

Stash

Another American brand that LH introduced me to is Stash, which is a bit stronger than Tazo.

Equally good, and I do buy it occasionally when I find it. Both Stash and Tazo have a wide range of tea flavors, available in most grocery stores and online.

Newman’s Own and Store Brands

Newman’s Own also has an English Breakfast Tea, which, in my opinion, is decaf. It tastes all right, but it won’t give you a boost, a jolt, or even a nudge when you need it. It’s not bad, though.

And then just a few weeks ago, I discovered that Winn-Dixie now has its own brand of teas, including English Breakfast tea.

Box of English breakfast tea on shelf in store

Who knew?

We were in the Hammond store, and I found some, two boxes for $4, although it’s now $2.69. It’s a good tea, but it’s not nearly as tasty as, well, real English Breakfast Tea.

I don’t see this tea on their app or website anymore, so I wonder if it’s already been discontinued. Still, it’s not bad for $2.69.

Our local Winn-Dixie is being renovated, and it’s almost finished. I’ll have pictures of that in an upcoming blog. More room, more stuff, self-checkouts, and it’s fabulous. BF is not amused.

HEB has its own brand of English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey, as well as many others. (There’s also a Central Market Organics brand.) HEB has more tea than they had when I shopped there regularly. I remember their store-brand tea being the same high quality as many others I’ve bought. But it’s been a while.

More Coming Soon

The third part of the tea post is next, complete with pictures, including the wonderful box of things LH kindly sent me from California.

I’m working on a couple of other food-related topics, and as promised, will show you the recipe for the blackberry galette. We’re due to make another one for BF soon.

Enjoy!

 

 

The Tea Post, Part 2

Tea is wonderful, as discussed in Part 1 of this topic. But today I’ll tell you how I became a fan of British tea, and why it’s better. Better make a pot for this one.

Follow me on Bloglovin’

Hello, again, Dear Readers:

Another week, another “where did the time go” moment. Last week, BF dragged me out of bed early to run an errand in the Baton Rouge area. We were actually in Prairieville, so there was no visit to Trader Joe’s, Joann Fabrics, or Cost Plus World Market. He went to work at 2:00 pm, so we were under a time constraint. We also needed dog food so we didn’t risk becoming dog food.

While Houston–and most of Texas–is still roasting, we’ve been fortunate with plenty of intermittent rain that keeps the temperatures below 90F degrees. If I could “gift” rain to Texas, I would.

I decided to cut this second blog post of tea into two because it’s just that long. Part three is next. But I have some other news first.

RIP: The Boy

On a few occasions, I’ve mentioned a friend of ours I affectionately nicknamed “The Boy.”

Head shot of Triston Pennington

The Boy, aka Triston Pennington

I called him that because, well, we’re old enough to be his parents, but we didn’t mind. His real name is Triston Pennington. A nice guy, well-liked, and had a lot going on with a sense of humor that sneaks up on you. We enjoyed having him over, and he was a favorite dinner guest. He and BF were coworkers and were also occasionally working on something car-related outside of work.

BF and The Boy in a truck

They loved hanging out doing car-guy stuff.

Unfortunately, on Saturday night, it ended. Everyone is stunned. We got the call from their manager just after 3:00 am Sunday morning.

Triston was involved in an accident on the east side of town, and he didn’t make it. He was driving by himself at about 11:00 pm, and we know for certain is that he wasn’t wearing a seat belt. The Louisiana State Police’s investigation is ongoing. The funeral is Friday. Triston’s Dad is dealing with so much, and BF has offered to help. He’ll be picking up Triston’s vehicle this week from the impound yard once the LSP finishes its investigation.

Little Roasty Potatoes

On one occasion, BF notified me that Triston would be joining us for dinner while I was in Hammond. Think fast, Amy! I bought a bag of fingerling potatoes at Rouse’s to roast with whatever else I was making. All it took was a light drizzle of olive oil, a shake of salt, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning on a parchment-lined pan. Mix them to coat, then roast at 425F for an hour in the countertop oven.

The next day, BF came home and told me that Triston really enjoyed the “little roasty potatoes.” When he came back for dinner another time, I cut some larger potatoes down to bite size and did the same thing so he could enjoy them again. Maybe I should call them “Triston’s Potatoes.”

If you are so inclined, please say a prayer for his Dad and everyone who worked with him. We miss him already.

Hatch Chile Days Return

I got a text from Neighbor E this morning. He visited the lovely HEB on Clear Lake City Boulevard and saw the Hatch Chiles on display.

Boxes of Hatch Chiles in HEB

They’re here!!

HEB is supposed to have some Hatch Chile dark chocolate tomorrow. E will be all over that, as I would if I were there.

Rouse’s also has Hatch Chiles, but I haven’t made it to Hammond to get some. BF will definitely be unhappy when I do. They’re only available for a little while, so if you’re a fan, don’t wait to buy yours.

Neighbor E also had a visitor this morning:

Egret on stairway railing

Parked himself on the stair railing.

Egrets are one of the many birds native to the Gulf Coast, as are Great Blue Herons. They’re also weird birds. They just show up anywhere they like. Makes you wonder if they’re related to cats in some way.

Anyway. . .let’s talk tea.

Discovering British Tea

Let me just say that although I love coffee, I also love tea. But now, as I say, I’m picky. Years of watching Britcoms taught me how to make a proper cup of British tea. Except I don’t put lemon in mine.

Many years ago, I was at AWAI’s Copywriting Bootcamp in Delray Beach, FL, where I met many people that I still keep in touch with today. (Thank you, Facebook.) One of them is a British lady, LH, who married an American, and now lives in California.

We were talking one morning over breakfast with another AWAI member from Houston. I happened to mention that they had “real British tea” in the hotel rooms with the coffee supplies. LH replied that she normally just brings her own tea because it usually isn’t. (LH doesn’t like coffee.)

After breakfast, we took a walk down to the closest Publix in Delray Beach, to get some supplies for ourselves and our companion. When we passed that spot in Publix, LH pointed out, “this is real British tea.”

PG Tips

I saw PG Tips in HEB many times, but never paid attention or even bought a box. Turns out, real British tea was right there all along. I said, “Oh, I can buy that at H-E-B when I get home to Houston.”

Picture of Box of original PGTips tea

You may have seen this in your own grocery store. (Source: Amazon)

I did, and it’s delicious! I boiled the water, put the distinctive triangular tea bag in the cup, poured the hot water in, and walked away for a few minutes. Just like you would with Lipton, right? Well. . . .

This must be what Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force pilots drink before they hop into the cockpit of their planes. MAN, that tea is strong!

I worked on the third floor of the Bay Area Building. I felt like I could fly right off that back balcony, singing, I Believe I Can Fly. You get away with that ONE TIME.

I ended up giving the rest of the box to a lady upstairs in ISS who was not only British but drank PG Tips from the time she was small.

It even comes in an extra strong version. Yes, I’ve tried that one time–never again. Avoid anything that makes your teeth wiggle.

Fortunately, PG Tips does come in decaf,

Picture of box of PG Tips Decaf

All of the taste without the jolt.

This decaf tastes exactly like the regular version without staying awake for 36 hours. Maybe next order I’ll get a couple of extra boxes, it’s that good.

I’ve seen small boxes of regular PG Tips available in a few places here; Whole Foods is one. I got the extra strong from Vitacost once.  I keep the real thing around for emergencies where I need to be awake.

I’m out of decaf right now but will be ordering more soon since it’s not available locally. In fact, I only saw small boxes of decaf in The Fresh Market in Houston, once upon a time.

You Only Get The OOOOH! with Typhoo!

Typhoo is another brand of Britain’s finest tea that comes in a very good decaf version. I have some round bags of Typhoo decaf, but LH kindly sent me a packet of the real thing. More on that in the next post.

Picture of Typhoo Tea box

Another delicious tea (source: Amazon)

I can’t find the picture of this one, but the round tea bags come in foil sleeves to keep them fresh. And the decaf Typhoo is also flavorful.

Red tea for one set next to a box of Typhoo Decaf

With a beautiful red tea-for-one set.

Typhoo doesn’t have the heart-racing, mind-altering strength of PG Tips, but it’s still an excellent British tea. TV cooking show host Nigella Lawson made cute commercials for the brand a few years ago. On the company’s website, a quote from her mentions that she never leaves the country without a box of Typhoo in her suitcase. Understandable.

Typhoo Tea has graced Britain’s teapots since 1903. Both regular and decaf are available at Cost Plus World Market, Amazon, TeaDog, and The English Tea Store, as well as some grocery stores. I’ve bought it at the Cost Plus stores in Baton Rouge and New Orleans a few times. I bought it frequently in Houston at the Cost Plus on Bay Area Boulevard.

More Favorites

Our British expat friend WF reminds me that “British Tea” isn’t actually grown in Britain. India, Sri Lanka, and a few other places, yes, but not anywhere in the UK.

The “real British tea” that was in our hotel rooms at the Delray Beach Marriott so many years ago was this:

Box of Scottish Breakfast Tea

This distinguished tea is also delicious.

Scottish Breakfast Tea from Taylors of Harrogate, the company that also makes the delicious Yorkshire tea we also like. (Yorkshire happens to be LH’s favorite.)  After my return to Houston, I found more of this wonderful Scottish Breakfast tea in Central Market. I was so happy I bought a box.

But life went on and I never bought it again, until recently. Amazon carries this amazing tea, in 20 individually wrapped bags, boxes of 50 un-wrapped tea bags like the one in the picture, boxes of 100, and the loose leaf version. However, I can’t drink that every day, it’s too strong, and there’s no decaf.

I bought two 50-count boxes a few months ago from TeaDog.com (more on them in the next blog post.) The Post Office sent one of those great big vans to deliver the tiny little boxes in a small shipping box. I’m stocked for a while.

Scottish Breakfast Tea Is A Type

There are multiple brands of “Scottish Breakfast Tea.” Turns out it’s a blend that goes well with Scotland’s soft waters. It’s made from a blend of Indian Assam and African teas. Taylors of Harrogate just so happens to be the one I’m familiar with, but I’ll happily try another brand one day.

In addition to Yorkshire and Yorkshire Gold teas, the company also makes decaf. It’s equally good, just like the original. Yorkshire Gold tea is an orange pekoe. They even make a Yorkshire tea for hard water, which someone from Houston reviewed on Amazon.

Twinings

This brand of British tea has been around for more than 300 years and is enjoyed worldwide. It’s still run by the same family and has a royal crest. It’s considered the preeminent British tea. Readily available in grocery stores and online, the company produces hundreds of different teas. Many come in K-cups.

Picture of box of Twinings English Breakfast tea, 100 count box

You can find this everywhere.

As far as their English Breakfast Tea, it’s. . .OK, both regular and decaf. Their Irish Breakfast tea is about the same, OK, not great, regular and decaf.

Picture of Twinings Irish Breakfast tea

This one is pretty available, too.

It’s just plain tea. Compared to the other British teas, Twinings doesn’t have the thing that makes you go oooohhh.

Twinings also has Earl Grey, Lady Grey, and just about any other kind of tea blend you can think of. But no Scottish Breakfast. (More on the Grey teas in the next blog.)

The company has a USA site as well as a UK site. The UK site has more gifting and accessories than the US store has, including a nice range of tea ware. Well, maybe I can order this lovely set from that site.

Twinnings Tea For One

Wouldn’t this be nice?

If the currency exchange rate isn’t too bad one day.

Other Brands Of Tea

There are quite a few British teas available in the US, somewhere. Way too many Americans have tried British tea, either on a visit or some other way like me, and do not want the American cuppa anymore. British brands just seem to taste better, and are made for anyone who is serious about their tea.

Admittedly, I keep several brands around, and BF has no idea what they are.  He drinks milk, Coke, and water occasionally, and sometimes orders sweetened iced tea in a restaurant. He wouldn’t know what to do with a cup of hot tea, though I’ve offered him a taste many times. The tea in the pantry is, in his opinion, simply taking up space.

Ahmad’s Tea

I’ve bought their decaffeinated Afternoon Tea many times at Phoenicia Foods in Houston.

Box of Ahmad Evening Decaf Tea

Very tasty.

It’s also available online (Phoenicia ships!), as are their other teas, including English Breakfast. Nobody’s ever heard of it here that I’ve found. Ahmad’s is also good tea, regular or decaf, such as their Evening Tea, which I bought occasionally in Houston.

Fortunately, it’s readily available online, and not terribly expensive, either.

Builder’s Tea

There are several brands of tea that are called “builder’s tea”, but there is an actual brand called Builder’s Tea. The term is colloquial for very strong (and inexpensive) tea that builders enjoy.

Truly teas for the workers:

Side of box of Builder's Tea

They’re not kidding, are they?

Neither was the US, mate.

I have not personally tried this tea myself. But our friend Beverly recently tried some. She received a box of it in a gift basket some time ago. She posted: “I have a box of Builder’s I’m afraid to try. It has caution markings around the top for heaven’s sake.”

But recently, Beverly decided to make a pitcher of iced tea with Builder’s Tea. Beverly and her family live in rural Georgia, where they have roughly the same weather we have, and iced tea is normal during summer.

Until you make it with real British Builder’s Tea.

Beverly said that after drinking a glass, “I didn’t blink for four hours.”

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, OK?

Tazo’s Awake English Breakfast Tea

I mentioned this in the previous blog post.

PIcture of box of Tazo Tea

My “regular” afternoon tea.

Tazo is a readily available American brand. Their Awake stands up to the British teas, but not with nearly the punch of PG Tips.

It has just the right amount of heart racing I need in the afternoon. Not too strong, but a tasty tea that’s close to British. Thankfully, Winn-Dixie carries it locally.

Stash

Another American brand that LH introduced me to is Stash, which is a bit stronger than Tazo.

Equally good, and I do buy it occasionally when I find it. Both Stash and Tazo have a wide range of tea flavors, available in most grocery stores and online.

Newman’s Own and Store Brands

Newman’s Own also has an English Breakfast Tea, which, in my opinion, is decaf. It tastes all right, but it won’t give you a boost, a jolt, or even a nudge when you need it. It’s not bad, though.

And then just a few weeks ago, I discovered that Winn-Dixie now has its own brand of teas, including English Breakfast tea.

Box of English breakfast tea on shelf in store

Who knew?

We were in the Hammond store, and I found some, two boxes for $4, although it’s now $2.69. It’s a good tea, but it’s not nearly as tasty as, well, real English Breakfast Tea.

I don’t see this tea on their app or website anymore, so I wonder if it’s already been discontinued. Still, it’s not bad for $2.69.

Our local Winn-Dixie is being renovated, and it’s almost finished. I’ll have pictures of that in an upcoming blog. More room, more stuff, self-checkouts, and it’s fabulous. BF is not amused.

HEB has its own brand of English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey, as well as many others. (There’s also a Central Market Organics brand.) HEB has more tea than they had when I shopped there regularly. I remember their store-brand tea being the same high quality as many others I’ve bought. But it’s been a while.

More Coming Soon

The third part of the tea post is next, complete with pictures, including the wonderful box of things LH kindly sent me from California.

I’m working on a couple of other food-related topics, and as promised, will show you the recipe for the blackberry galette. We’re due to make another one for BF soon.

Enjoy!

 

 

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