Brew News - the Yorkshire Tea blog

Meet Lisa

Our new Yorkshire Gold campaign features six people who love our luxury brew as much as we do. One of them is Lisa, a chef – and we thought you might like to find out a bit more about her…

“To me, drinking tea is all about family and friendship. Most of my first, fondest memories revolve around tea: I was brought up in a village near Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, and when I was a child I was allowed to drink the last couple of inches of my mother’s mug of tea in the morning.

“It was very sweet – not how I drink it at all! – and even now the smell of sweet tea in the bottom of a cup takes me back there.

“Those memories of Yorkshire are so precious to me and nothing brings them back like Yorkshire Gold – it’s proper, tasty, rich tea, like my mother used to make.

“I just won’t even consider drinking anything else. To this day, tea is still a lovely social thing for me, a way of being warm and welcoming to both new friends and old.”

You can meet the other five on our new Yorkshire Gold website.

An ad as good as Gold

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When we were brewing up our new Yorkshire Gold advertising campaign, we had one big question to answer: who should be the face of our luxury brew?

We wanted it to be somebody who loves it as much as we do – so we put out the call to Yorkshire Gold drinkers.

Hundreds of people responded, and we invited a big bunch of them to a casting day.

From that, we whittled it down to six very lovely people – Barbara, Sarah, Carole, Lisa, Martin and Michael.

They all then headed to our ad shoot for a day in front of the lens of top fashion photographer Douglas Friedman.

You can see the results here on our brand spanking new Yorkshire Gold website.

On your bike!

TdF

There’s quite a buzz in Yorkshire this year. It’s because the Tour de France – the biggest cycling event in the world – is setting off from our doorstep.

In fact, the race will be passing right by Yorkshire Tea HQ in Harrogate. There’s going to be plenty of competition for the upstairs window with the best view.

With all this excitement, we felt it was only proper for us to get involved. That’s why we’re the Official Tea Partner of The Grand Départ.

The Grand Départ of the Tour de France takes place in Yorkshire on the weekend of July 5 and 6.

The first stage races from Leeds to Harrogate via the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the second stage races from York to Sheffield via Pennine Yorkshire and the Peak District National Park.

A third stage takes place on July 7, racing from Cambridge to London before it returns to northern France.

You can find out more about it here – and if you’re going to be watching, look out for us on the route!

Ooh, pretty!

NEW 80s YG L 2014 CMYKH

 

What is this handsome lavander-hued box we see before us? Could it be a new look for our luxury brew, Yorkshire Gold?

Yes, yes it could.

You see, our beloved Yorkshire Gold has traditionally looked a lot like (our equally beloved) Yorkshire Tea.

Sure, there’s the pretty gold bit running down the middle to make it look a bit different, but they share the same pack illustration.

A rather fetching pack illustration, certainly (you can find out more about it here) but when we sat down and had a proper think about it, we started to feel that Yorkshire Gold deserved its own.

And once we got going, we thought it’d be nice to sign the praises of Gold on the front of the box, too. After all, when you’re crafting a blend with teas the top ten tea gardens in the world, it’s probably a good idea to shout about it.

You can see the result above – and if you go into a shop, you should be able to see it on the shelves too.

We hope you approve. Please do let us know what you think of the new pack by getting in touch on Twitter or Facebook.

Messages from our friends

A lot of people like Yorkshire Tea – and we’re happy to say that quite a few of them send us pictures of our brews out and about in the world. Here’s a selection of what we’ve been sent lately via Facebook and Twitter.

YT friends Georgia

Baby Brew

“Think we’ve got the ratio of baby to tea about right!” says Yorkshire Tea drinker and mum Georgia. We’re inclined to agree – and we’re also delighted to have photographic evidence that the 480 Face (the spontaneous delight experienced when you’re near a pack of 480 Yorkshire Tea tea bags) happens at all ages.

 

YT friends zorro

Brew-per Furry Animal

Zorro the rabbit here might not actually drink tea – but this box of brews still exerts the same magnetic powers upon him as it does on our human customers (though we suspect he may just want to chew it). Thanks to Katherine for the picture.

 

YT friends Michael

Eyes Tea

A slight variant on the 480 Face we mentioned above, from our friend Michael. Most people look happy when they touch a 480 pack, but Michael looks intense. Sorry, we mean MICHAEL LOOKS INTENSE.

 

YT friends Rich

Proper Tea Values

“My tea bags bring all the boys to the yard and they’re like: ‘That tastes better than ours’.” A lovely bit of wordplay by our friend Rich, and a delightful accompanying image. They’re a skilled bunch, those Yorkshire Tea fans.

If you’d like to send us a picture of your and your brew, or your box of brews, or indeed your big bag of 480 brews, then please just drop us a line via Twitter or Facebook.

 

Seeing clearly

YT blog eye camp

What, exactly, is an “eye camp”? And what does it have to do with tea?

Well, it’s a small part of a big plan to check the eyesight of every person in Rwanda over the age of eight – and provide glasses to those who need them.

It’s the goal of a charity called Vision for a Nation Foundation, and these temporary eye camps are one of the ways it’s achieving its aim.

And with some funding from Yorkshire Tea, a two-day eye camp was held at the Gisovu Tea Estate.

It was led by two of the charity’s ophthalmic technicians, who trained a nurse in the Gisovu Health Centre in primary eye care – enough to conduct basic vision assessments and give glasses to patients, now and in the future.

Mutiganda Theophile, who plucks tea on the Gisovu Tea Estate, was one of those eye camp patients.

He’s had problems with his vision for 13 years, which gave him headaches when he tried to read and stopped him from writing.

He said he was “very happy” to receive a pair of adjustable glasses, that have enabled him to read and write properly.

In fact, 157 people who work on the estate headed in to the health centre for an assessment over those two days. It emerged that 63 of them needed – and were given – glasses.

It goes to show just how crucial the Vision for a Nation programme is. You can find out more about it here.

An Education

YT blog Becky 2

Back in December we introduced you to our 2013 supplier grant scheme, which supports our long term suppliers to carry out social and environmental projects within their communities. Here’s an update, from trainee Commodities Buyer Becky Mundy:

We had a fantastic response from our suppliers this year, and we’re keen to share with you the stories of the projects that we’ve helped to support as they progress over the next few months. In fact, we’ve just had an update from our largest tea suppliers, the Kenya Tea Development Agency, about some of the education projects we are helping to make possible.

KTDA is the leading management agency for over 570,000 small scale farmers in Kenya. They collectively produce over 60% of Kenya’s tea. Not only does the KTDA make the most tea in Kenya, but also the very best and it’s that commitment to quality that’s helped us build a strong and close relationship over many years.

In 2010 the KTDA set up the KTDA Foundation, a charity which aims to improve the welfare of small-holder tea farmers in Kenya and their communities. The foundation focuses on education, the environment, and empowering growers and their communities, and as such, they were our perfect partner when it came to supporting social and environmental projects in our producer communities.

As well as supporting tree planting initiatives, the completion of a medical facility, and the completion of an irrigation water project, to describe just a few, this year we’re partnering with the KTDA Foundation to sponsor 21 secondary school students from tea producing communities through four years of secondary education. In Kenya, the government now supports all schoolchildren through primary school education, but secondary school fees are still prohibitively high for many students.

15 year old Harrison Kiprotich Mutai, who grew up near Tirgaga Tea Factory, received excellent results in his primary school exams. However his mother, who has brought Harrison and his eight siblings up on her own and relies on casual labour to make a living, wasn’t able to support him through secondary school. Working with the KTDA Foundation, we have been able to help provide a scholarship to support Harrison through the next four years at secondary school. On 5th February Harrison joined the Kaplong Boys Secondary school, where he’s excited to be studying for the next four years.

Maureen Chelimo, who is 14 year old, grew up near Chebut Tea Factory in Nandi, Kenya. Maureen received exceptional results in her primary school exams and was accepted into Make Limuru Girls School, the best girls school in Kenya, which boasts of alumni of high profile and very successful women including lawyers, doctors, and journalists.

Maureen’s parents didn’t have the funds to support her to attend the school, so Maureen applied for a scholarship through the KTDA Foundation, which we’re helping to support. Maureen enrolled at Limuru on 6th February, and our scholarship will support her for the next four years. 21 students like Harrison and Maureen from across Kenya will have the opportunity to pursue their secondary school education thanks to this initiative.

According to the KTDA, education has been proven by far to be the best tool for improving the socio-economic livelihood of communities in which they work. At Yorkshire Tea we’re proud to work with suppliers like the KTDA, who care about the communities they work in and want to help improve them.

Our 2013 grant scheme will help their work to go further, building our relationship with the communities we source from for years to come.

Messages from our friends

Yorkshire Tea drinkers are always sending us pictures on Twitter and Facebook – and, quite frankly, few things make us feel more proud than seeing our brews out in the world making people happy. Here are some of the things we’ve been sent lately…

friends Kevin

Tea since three
“I’ve been drinking Yorkshire tea since I was 3,” says Kevin, who created this lovely photo montage as a tribute to his lifelong fondness for a proper brew. He uses a different cup these days.

friends pug

A pug of tea
Pug – check. Over 1,000 tea bags – check. This may just be the greatest photo of all time. Thanks to our friend Joanna for sending it to us.

friends sarajane

I spy… something beginning with T
“Does a child with tea bags beat the pug with tea bags?” asks Sarajane. Don’t you go trying to make us choose, Sarajane! You’re both our favourites.

friends keith

Yorkshire Cold
Our friend Keith found a little relief from the icy weather of Toronto the other week with a supply of warming brews and a big Union Jack mug. You could say he’s been making… iced tea! But you shouldn’t, because we need that pun for the picture below.

friends ben

Iced Tea
Keith wasn’t the only Torontonian… Torontan… person from Toronto feeling the cold. Here Ben shows his special tactic for keeping his tea bags nice and cold (which isn’t necessary) and pre-chilling his crockery (which isn’t a good idea). Thanks Ben!

Do you have any tea-related pictures that you’d like to send us? Then please do – we love hearing from you. You can get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.

The great milk debate

Taylors Loc 10347

Milk in first or milk in last?

It’s a debate which has raged for centuries and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. But unlike that special list of personal tea preferences (how strong you like it, what colour it should be, whether you take sugar, and so on) this is a question with an answer. A real, objective answer.

So – should you add the milk to the mug first or the tea to the mug first? To use the correct terms, should you be a Miffy or a Tiffy?

When you’re brewing in a mug, it’s Tiffy all the way. When you add cold milk, the temperature of the water lowers and the tea doesn’t brew so well. So that warning people sometimes quote, about how you should never let milk and tea bag touch, is actually good advice.

This is how our tea buyer, Suzy, sees it: “To get the best infusion possible, black tea really needs freshly boiled water (as close to 100°C as possible). When you put milk into infusing tea you lower the temperature of the water so a proper infusion can’t take place. To get the best of your brew in a mug, always make the tea first to your taste and strength and the milk after.”

But what if you’re brewing in a teapot? Well, it’s said that folk in the olden days liked to add the tea first to prove that their china was good quality – the sort of china that didn’t crack when you filled it with piping hot tea.

If you bucked this trend by inviting some friends round, filling up a teapot and then pouring milk into the bottom of everybody’s cups, it was assumed you were protecting your cups from damage. Cue gasps of derision, nasty gossip about the low calibre of your crockery and people pointing and muttering whenever you walked down the street.

These days our mugs are made of sterner stuff, so whether you’re a teapot Miffy or a teapot Tiffy is totally up to you. But there is a reason you might want to add the tea first.

Suzy said: “When using a teapot it’s really up to you as you’re not adding the milk to the infusion- but I think it’s best to pour tea first to judge the strength and add milk last.”

“One of the things I love about tea is how everyone has their own way of making it, which they often feel quite passionate about! But here at Yorkshire Tea HQ it’s our job to make sure that only the best quality tea goes into our blends, so you get the same great brew every time.

“So when people ask me how to make the perfect cup of tea my answer is always simple; use freshly boiled water, brew to preferred strength (we recommend up to 4 minutes for optimum infusion)and add your milk or sugar (if you must) to your taste.

“But ultimately, it’s what’s inside (the bag) that counts…”

The Tea Song – behind the scenes

There are few problems in the world that can’t be solved by a proper brew.

That’s precisely why we wrote our Tea Song – a handy guide to how tea can help with crises as varied as zombies, debris wounds and dirty windows. It’s entertainment and education in one.

It’s now reached a (frankly staggering) 250,000 views. That means a quarter of a million people are now completely clued up on the many varied uses of a brew.

But you might not know that we’ve made a little Behind the Scenes video too. If you’d like to find out a bit more about how we filmed it (all in one take, no less) then just hit play on the video above!

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