UK Tea Academy’s Tea Foundation Online

UK Tea Academy
Tea Foundation Online
£175

UK Tea Academy has provided me with Tea Foundation Online for the purposes of writing an honest review.

From now until the end of January 2021, you can use the coupon code OMS20 for 20% off any course from the UK Tea Academy.

UK Tea Academy reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in taking some of their courses. As a life-long learner who’s spent quite a long while with post-secondary courses, I was of course interested in doing an online course! As a person who doesn’t live in the UK time zone, as well as living a busy life, an online and self-paced course was more than appealing to me, so this is my review on UK Tea Academy’s Tea Foundation Online course.

The Tea Foundation Online is a fully digital/online course that doesn’t require any other equipment aside from a device that can access the internet. The course takes approximately 12 hours to complete with 4 modules (so about 3 hours per module). The modules include photographs, charts, and videos to help keep things interesting and engaging, which I enjoyed.

Module 1 is the introduction, talks about the basics of tea, the history, steeping and drinking.
Module 2 begins the talk of tea manufacturing processes, and discusses green and black teas.
Module 3 discusses the manufacturing of white, oolong, yellow, and pu’erh teas. I found this part fascinating because there isn’t a lot of information about there about yellow teas, so I was quite interested to learn more about it.
Module 4 is all about tea grading, flavoured and blended teas (with a touch on one of my favourites – Earl Grey!), flowering teas and also about health benefits behind the chemical compounds from tea.

The tea manufacturing process was really informative, as well as the videos and diagrams of the actual machinery being used as well as the skill and labour used when creating tea by hand. There were certainly details and information that I haven’t come across before. It goes quite in depth into tea manufacturing process in China and Japan, as well as discussing the history of tea estates and tea farms throughout India, and other parts of Asia.

There are short multiple choice quizzes within each module to help reinforce the learning, as well as a longer final test at the end of the course as well to help reinforce the education that you’ve just gone through. A nice touch is a videos from Jane Pettigrew herself (who’s the founder of the UK Tea Academy) at the end of the course and examination, as well as a printable PDF certificate when you’ve completed the course.

I feel like this course is aptly named. Tea Foundation Online gives you a great foundation of knowledge in which to build upon. It was split into bite-sized lessons and modules that allows for easy learning and logical places to stop and start if you’re pacing yourself or only able to carve out short periods of time to do some reading. There’s a lot of information packed into the course which has been informative for me as both a tea enthusiast and tea blogger.

While there was some information that I already knew (which, to be fair, probably isn’t that surprising), I did learn quite a bit about the manufacturing process of tea which really gave me a better appreciation of my favourite drink. With a personal goal to do more learning in general, I’ve been pleasantly enlightened with the information provided through the course and it also give me a greater interest in learning more about the history of tea and the development of the different types of teas – as well as a piqued interest in pu’erh teas after learning more about them.

Dessert by Deb’s Grapefruit Mint Granita

Grapefruit Mint Granita by Dessert by Deb
Green Tea / Flavoured
$16.00 for 75g

Grapefruit Mint Granita is an exclusive blend for Dessert by Deb subscription subscribers and is available for purchase by subscribers only at this time.

First Impressions

What a name! Grapefruit Mint Granita to me invokes the idea of an icy, fruity dessert with the cooling effects of mint and a punch of citrus goodness from the grapefruit. Granita, of course, being a frozen icy dessert from Italy, it really does invoke a certain picture in my mind of how I expect this green tea blend to taste.

Grapefruit Mint Granita came to me as part of my Dessert by Deb subscription box and it is a subscriber exclusive currently. It came in a matte gold foil pouch with a colourful label. The aroma of the dry leaf is mostly mint, with hints of citrus in the background. I don’t really smell the green tea base, because the mint is that much stronger in fragrance.

This green tea blend consists of organic: green tea, hibiscus, orange peel, rose hips, spearmint and peppermint. No wonder the mint is so fragrant, there’s two in this blend!

Preparation

Dessert by Deb recommends steeping Grapefruit Mint Granita in 200°F (93°C) water for 5 to 6 minutes. I followed the steeping instructions and did this as a preparation for iced tea. I did an initial steep of 5 minutes and then poured it over a glass of ice.

First Taste

Grapefruit Mint Granita steeps to a pleasant punch of bright pink, many thanks to the hibiscus for that. The aroma of it is primarily mint with a hint of citrus in the background. The green tea base is lost, because of the strength in the mint and citrus in comparison. I found that the flavour to be an interesting balance between the minty freshness that was throughout the sip, but really highlighted itself in the aftertaste, with just a touch of the citrus that mingles in the background. There is a certain level of tartness that I attribute to the hibiscus, but I really found myself searching for the green tea and was hoping for a stronger citrus flavour to help make it seem like there was grapefruit in the blend.

A Second Cup?

I attempted a second steep of Grapefruit Mint Granita and found it quite minty still, but fell even shorter on the delivery of citrus goodness. I would recommend Grapefruit Mint Granita for just one steep.

My Overall Impression

I thought that Dessert by Deb’s Grapefruit Mint Granita was just okay. The mint was an easy ingredient to find in the steeped tea, but I didn’t find myself thinking Italian iced dessert, or grapefruit. Certainly a bigger punch of citrus could make those dreams come true, for sure. I think it’s a lovely refreshing iced tea, and definitely should be had iced versus hot. I would consider steeping this in a pitcher and cutting it with some lemonade or grapefruit juice, I think it would just add a little something something with the burst of acidity and citrus flavour while the green tea would add the mint flavour and some extra freshness to it.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Tea Experience: Tsujiri

Tsujiri
Burnaby, BC
Matcha-Infused Drinks $4.25-9.00

I was spending some time with my sister last month as we’re in each other’s social bubbles, and decided we needed a treat (as one does). So we decided to try out Tsujiri after hearing about it from her husband. Tsujiri is self-described as a “matcha infused restaurant”. Fun fact, you can pre-order on their website, and even opt for local delivery with the various side-gig food delivery services out there (I take zero responsibility if your frappe is all melted by the time it gets to you).

The menu consists of parfaits, drinks, shaved ice, floats, frappes and more. Tsujiri also features drinks with matcha, houjicha, and yuzu (which is not a tea, but is an Asian citrus fruit). The prices aren’t the cheapest, but considering the ingredients in play, it’s not anything to turn your nose up against. It probably isn’t a sustainable treat option for the every day choice though.

My sister ordered a float while I ordered the Matcha Frappe ($7.00) which has the product description of “Rich and creamy blend of Matcha slush and yogurt with a swirl of whipped cream and Matcha crumbs topped with a luscious Matcha sauce”.

Unfortunately, the soft serve ice cream machine broke after we had placed our order, so we ended up getting a refund on the float. Fortunately (for me), the Matcha Frappe that I had ordered did not contain ice cream so I could still receive my order.

The matcha slush and yoghurt comes layered in the drink, topped with whipped cream and then with the matcha “crumbs” on top. I found that the yoghurt adds a nice layer of tangy flavour to the matcha, which is sweetened. The matcha sauce on top has a good amount of grassy flavour and umami, which is tempered considerably with the fresh whipped cream. I really found it to be tasty but the cup isn’t very large (and there weren’t a variety of cup sizes to choose from).

While I did enjoy my Matcha Frappe with the tangy yoghurt layered with the matcha slush, I think the experience was soured a bit by their machine malfunctioning. I would definitely give them a try again, but very wary of going back for a third time if the machine had an issue on the second try. I wasn’t too fond on the matcha crumbs on top though, as I feel like it didn’t add a nice texture to the frappe. That said, I think the drink was tasty, albeit I would have hoped for a much larger drink for the price (I would definitely consider the cup size offered to be more of the “small” size).