Friday 21 March 2014

Taking Tea: Afternoon Tea Tips

When it comes to afternoon tea, we like to think of ourselves as experts - From its invention date (1840 by the way) to the optimum tea-bag brewing time (3 minutes) we have it covered. 

However, that's not to say you can't always learn something new, so when we heard about this lovely infographic from the Landmark Hotel London, we couldn't resist taking a look. 

Detailing everything from afternoon tea etiquette to that age old question of when exactly to add your milk, this handy little guide will get you up to speed in no time.

Have a look and let us know what you think! (To zoom, simply click on the image)

Click to enlarge!

Unsurprisingly, 98% of Brits love a drop of milk in their tea - are you one of them? Or do you prefer your brew au natural?

Let us know in the comments below or at @TeacupReview!

In collaboration with the Landmark Hotel, London

Monday 17 March 2014

The Afternoon Tea Club Reviews: The Rosewater Bakery

For The Afternoon Tea Club, cakes and tea appearing in our mail is a bit of a regular occurrence  - and makes us incredibly popular amongst friends! However, the novelty has by no means worn off, especially when it’s as beautiful as the packages we received last week from the Rosewater Bakery.

Now, we don’t know about you, but there’s little more exciting than a huge pink box filled with cake - it's just a fact. Wrapped in luxury gold gift paper, the Rosewater Bakery’s delivered Afternoon Tea hamper is a winner from the get go and girly girls will absolutely love the array of rosy accents and ribbons. 
All care has been taken to make sure these hampers arrive in top condition and they are packaged thoroughly in an insulated hamper which keeps every section perfectly fresh.
Time for Tea
The presentation from the Bakery is enough to make these hampers a must try alone. From the Rosewater Bakery seal, to the gold foil lining the box, they haven’t missed a single trick.

On to the important stuff, the food! Inside is a selection of sandwiches, scones, mini cakes and tea time treats to give you the full experience of Afternoon Tea at home.

All of our favourite sandwiches were there including; salmon, ham and tomato, beef and horseradish and egg and cress – with plenty to go around too (To quote Laura’s dad during our test: How are you going to review this properly if you don’t share some with your dad? – nice try, nice try.)
There are four scones in each hamper, two sultana and two of the Bakery's signature Rosewater and passionfruit flavour. We always love when bakers have their own unique scone recipes so these were a real treat. Pop these in the oven for 10 mins and you’re ready to go. These are accompanied by portions of tangy blackcurrant jam and clotted cream. Just delicious!

Next, the mini cakes. There’s a perfect balance of tea time favourites and the Bakery’s own concoctions including peach cupcakes, red velvet, chocolate with mixed berries and cherry bakewell tarts. The peach cupcakes were our faves, an unusual flavour and the buttercream was delicious. But of course you can't beat a good red velvet cake too!

There’s even more cake to follow as the hamper comes with a bag of brownie miniatures and fruit cake. These are great for sharing a little later on when everyone’s had a bit of a cake overload.

If you're searching for a great gift idea that's a little bit quirky or perhaps just fancy Afternoon Tea in your pajamas then a Rosewater Bakery hamper might just be the thing. 

For more information and to order from the Rosewater Bakery you can visit their website here.

DISCLAIMER: As is common in the catering and leisure industry, we were provided with complimentary services for review purposes. However, all views and opinions are our own!

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Friends for Tea: Science Tea at the Ampersand Hotel, London

Ampersand Hotel

The Ampersand Hotel is a quirky, boutique Hotel located practically opposite South Kensington tube station in London. It's known for its wonderful interior design and its superb location, so I was excited to experience their equally wacky Afternoon Tea!

Running for a limited time only, (until the 21st March) I was lucky to get in quick and experience the magic of Science! My friend and I had a lovely table by the window and the service began promptly with a glass of champagne and the taking of our tea order.

Science Tea

I opted for the Jasmine blend whilst my companion had a fresh mint tea at the recommendation of the server, who also managed to delay the tea service until we'd finished our glass of bubbly.

And so to the main event! The three tired stand arrived and stood proudly on our table, with dry ice flowing freely from the top, adding to the anticipation and to the magic. The sandwiches were unusually created using choux pastry buns, which were delicious and a nice change from the normal finger variety. My favourite fillings were the coronation chicken and the smoke salmon that also included a little salmon roe on the top - delicious.

The scones were equally as tasty, consisting of one plain and one white chocolate scone each, served with jam and clotted cream. There actually wasn't enough jam served with these, but this was probably a good thing as it meant that I didn't finish the whole portion!


On the top tier was the sciency part, featuring chocolate dinosaurs, a brightly coloured drink in a test tube and a pistachio macaroon with raspberry coulis served in a pipette. It was visually very stunning and the taste was actually pretty good too. Unfortunately I was far too full to finish everything off completely, but I did get to try all that was on offer and I came out feeling satisfied.

All in all, The Ampersand has had a good go at a themed afternoon tea and have managed to combine something that looks good with something that tastes good, which can sometimes be difficult! I'd like to return to taste their traditional afternoon tea as I'm sure that this is also delightful, but it's also worth just popping by for a coffee and sampling one of the many fresh cakes, pastries and biscuits that they have temptingly on display!

For more information and prices, please visit the Ampersand website here.

Written by Amy Sefton of 'Never Fully Booked': Never Fully Booked started out as a place to review and document the books I’d read, but soon ended up being more of a place to post about travel and Afternoon Tea! The blog now seems to refer to the places that I visit and my hope that they are indeed, never fully booked! 

Monday 10 March 2014

#TopSecretCoffee Event, Manchester

Last week we were lucky enough to join #TopSecretCoffee for a very special coffee tasting event at the Great John Street Hotel. Here's how we got on:

Who could it be?

So, who are #TopSecretCoffee

#TopSecretCoffee are a well known high street retailer, who have gone under cover to promote their coffee through a series of blind tasting opportunities. Along with their trusty burgundy van, the TSC team have travelled the length and breadth of the country, challenging the public to guess their identity - handing out gallons of free coffee along the way!

All the bloggers

Now, at The Afternoon Tea Club, it's fair to say that coffee isn't top of our caffine agenda. However, from time to time, we do like to indulge in the odd latte or two (we've even been known to drink coffee at afternoon tea before now, but shh don't tell anyone, that's our #TopSecret) so when we had the opportunity to watch a coffee expert in action, we jumped at the chance!

Shh it's a secret!

Led by #TopSecretCoffee's resident bean aficionado Will, the session started with a cupping demonstration, which had us slurping a selection of black coffees to analyse their taste. Whilst this was super fun, we have to say that Will's accompanying discussion was the highlight of this session, giving us lots of interesting facts about coffee. For example, did you know that coffee is a cherry? or that Vietnam is the main producer of coffee? No, us neither!

After the tasting, everyone then had the opportunity to try a full cup of whichever  type they preferred. On this occasion, we went for a latte, which was wonderfully smooth and creamy - exactly what the doctor ordered. 

Then came the afternoon's piece de la resistance. Afternoon Tea. Now, it's no secret that the Great John Street Hotel is one of our all time favourite afternoon tea venues, so we were delighted that we had the opportunity to sample their lovely products again. As usual, the presentation and food was immaculate, making for a superb afternoon!

So that's enough about the event as I'm sure you're dying to know who was behind this fantastic event and #TopSecretCoffee?

Drum roll please...

The brand behind #TopSecretCoffee is Greggs the Bakers - would you believe it? We'll definitely be heading to over there soon for another caffeine pick-me-up. Check them out on your local high street today!

Have you seen the #TopSecretCoffee Van in your local area? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @TeacupReview!

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