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Saturday, November 29, 2008

THE RARE TEA COMPANY: A RARE TREAT ON FRIDAY












It's a wonderfully restorative drink, your cup of tea, which made my e-mail invitation to join Henrietta Lovell, owner of The Rare Tea Company on Friday all the more welcome. I had spent the previous night (and a good chunk of the morning) drinking my own body weight in well made cocktails at Hawksmoor and Lounge Bohemia (where we saw Miranda Sawyer getting asked to leave for putting her size 10’s on the lovely furniture. Quite right too) and was feeling a little the worse for wear.

Henrietta started the company in 2004 after a lucrative but unfulfilling career in printing and used her many contacts in Asia to begin importing, as the name of her company suggests, small production teas from unusual farms in China, India and Africa.

After a relatively slow start, focussing mainly on online sales, her teas are now used in quite a few of London's restaurants, including Chez Bruce and soon are to be carried by Waitrose. All of this is worthy enough, but there are lots of companies importing lots of interesting teas into the U.K these days. It’s Henrietta's extraordinary enthusiasm, bordering on the obsessive as well as the quality of her teas, which marks her out for special comment.

The invitation came after she saw my post about making chocolate with Paul. A Young, who also uses her tea and I turned up at her smart North London flat, from where she still runs her business, looking forward to something warming to settle my stomach and take away the chill from the rain sodden morning. She did not let me or my companion down and we were soon working our way through her range from white silver tips from Malawi to hand made black leaf tea from Meghalaya, India finishing with Bai Mudan a whole leaf China tea to cleanse the palate.

For Henrietta though tea is not just for drinking and, after we had finished the tasting, we spent a good hour talking about other food uses for tea including the smoking meat or fish and making of green tea ice cream. Particularly, however, being a woman after my own heart, she enthused how her teas could be used in cocktails and yesterday afternoon, she e-mailed me the splendid recipe for an Oolong Mojito below.

Definitely worth a try as indeed are her splendid teas

OOLONG MOJITO
(Makes two)

Ingredients:
. 2 measures of your favourite rum
. Juice of 1/2 lime
. 2 tsp unrefined sugar
. 2-4 sprigs of fresh mint- (just the tips not the bigger leaves.)
. 1 cup of Oolong left to cool (very important so the mint leaves don't "cook")

First "wash the leaves" by pouring hot water over them and then quickly
discarding the water. This will soften the leaves and allow them to infuse
better.

Use 1 dessert spoon of oolong to 1 tea cup of hot water and infused for one
minute (not a small pinch of tea left to infuse for several minutes). Leave
to cool.

MIXING INSTRUCTIONS:
Muddle the sugar and mint leaves together in a cocktail shaker. Add the tea
and stir until the sugar dissolves. Squeeze in the lime, add the rum and
shake with ice. Strain into a cocktails glass.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Loving Annie said...

Ther is nothing like a good cup of steaming hot tea, especially so beautifully presented as that ! My favorite is jasmine...

What is yours ?

It might be quite a silly question to ask - but could you make the oolong mojito recipe of hers that you shared - and then freeze it, and make a granita of sorts from it ?

Saturday, November 29, 2008 3:48:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

I am old fashioned. Second flush darjeeling with milk (oh the horror)

I think that is a great idea, a tea mojito granita. report back if you try it

S

Saturday, November 29, 2008 4:04:00 pm  
Blogger Josordoni said...

I love Rare Tea teas - I have the Jasmine Silver Tips (lovely and fresh) and Oolong - more flavoursome and deep.

Great HUGE leaves unfurl from the Oolong, Henrietta says they make three infusions, which makes them come out very reasonably priced.

And just think how good these green and white teas are for you, all those flavonoids.

Saturday, November 29, 2008 5:17:00 pm  
Blogger Josordoni said...

p.s. your Darjeeling is too good to waste - now it is coming up to Christmas, you MUST soak your raisins for your Dundee cake in the left over tea in the teapot.

Saturday, November 29, 2008 5:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Sterling said...

Love the idea of an Oolong Mojito. I've been looking around for tea cocktail recipes for awhile. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Love the photos from the tasting. Definitely need to get my hands on some from Rare Tea Company.

Sunday, November 30, 2008 7:58:00 pm  
Anonymous vivi said...

Love chinese tea.
and oolong mojito sounds very intresting. Myabe i could introduce your recipe to the rest of my family this xmas.....lol.
im same as loving annie, bet is jasmine, love love the smell, but prents always order oolong wen at restaurants...=_=
Can u make the oolong mojito with other types of tea? or will it nt taste as nice?

Sunday, November 30, 2008 8:07:00 pm  
Blogger henrietta.lovell said...

Vivi, the mojito is great with a good green leaf tea too. Never tried it with Jasmine tea but would be very interested to know the results if you try it.
Josordoni and Sterling thanks so much for the kind words. Really appreciated.

Monday, December 01, 2008 9:59:00 am  
Blogger henrietta.lovell said...

Love the Illy tin in the photo. Shows what an amateur tea-lady I am. It was full of Malawi white tea, promise.

Monday, December 01, 2008 10:04:00 am  
Anonymous SamanthaF said...

My favourite is the Silver Tip Jasmin.

I'm glad friday wasn't a total wash out for you Henry - as mine was.

Simon, I do hope you were lovely to Henry. She's one of my favourite people.

S.

Monday, December 01, 2008 1:29:00 pm  

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