IETea Tasting & Testing

Last update: 14.01.13 First posted: 14.12.12 by in

We all love a story, but there is no story without a journey. The tea I want to sell creates free local organic food by being drunk. But what the flipping heck does that mean? Mary Clear sums up ‘Incredible Entwistle Tea’ in 6 words: “Drinking tea for a kinder world.”

I’m experimenting with traceability, and creating new, positive systems – for sustainable consumption. The accepted belief is, that tea doesn’t grow in this temperate climate, or at least favourite classics like black and green tea. Tea is transported around the world from places like the famed tea island of Sri Lanka. Thanks to Mary doing an ‘Incredible Spreadable’ talk for TEDx Huddersfield, I found out from Tony Ryan about the actual energy needed to make a cup of tea. But, if ‘Tea-Miles’ are an issue: Would tea grown in Britain taste the same though?

The true test of any tea is at a building site. So I brought samples sent to me from the only tea plantation in Britain, and tested them at a building site in Tod. Before I handed out the tea I was warned by Natalie (the lovely lady behind the building of a new Pizzeria) not to take any harsh words to heart… After the tea was drunk, the comments were about the lack of harshness in the smooth taste of loose leaf Assam tea – the only one grown in Britain!

Spurred on by the building site tea tasting I wanted to speak to the local people of Todmorden. So in the middle of Winter, with snow falling, Terry and I set up the TeaPee at the tower of the Unitarian Church for Todmorden’s annual ‘Candlelit Carols Concert.’ I got out a Victorian chalkboard and scribbled: “Does Tod want its own tea that by being drunk creates FREE FOOD?!”

From some, the answer was that they didn’t even understand the question… But from others, (once they had deciphered my handwriting,) there was a resounding: “YES!” Of course the question is biased, but that’s all part of the fun of Market Research! I mean, who doesn’t want to drink tea to create free food? Don’t answer that.

“I want to live in the TeaPee!”

Late Summer I foraged elderberries and blackberries from a towpath and froze them. I infused them with elderflower wine that had fermented from earlier in the year, and gave away an alcoholic tea I call ‘The Elder Tea.’ This lady said “Yes!” to my marketing question, and took home the rest of the bottle!

As well as British tea, I served an Ancient Indian Tea called ‘Tulsi’ (Organic), and a Middle Eastern Tea using ‘Three Mint’ & ‘Loose Leaf Green Tea’ (Organic & Fairtrade.) It was all free due to a kind investment by ‘Incredible Edible Todmorden’ community group – they love edible landscapes. I gave the money to Terry & Scott – ‘The IETea Biscuiteers’; who competed at a high standard creating ‘Early Grey Tea Digestives’, ‘Fresh Mint Leaf Biscuits’, ‘Green Tea Cookies’, and ‘Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies’.

The ‘IETea Biscuits’ created a lot of smiles. So I wanted to see if they would work in a commercial setting. ‘The Bear’ was where my final tasting session took place. Inside a beautiful building where the same people who created the teapot shaped biscuits, also cook and serve delicious vegetarian food and drink!

“Gorgeous!” – Lily (RSA Regional Chair)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on IETea.

‘Tall Tales of IETea’ and ‘Tea-By-Gum’ are presentations that are available with tea tastings for your event. Also, if you’d like to serve ‘IETea Biscuits’ at your establishment, please send a Tea-Mail: Eating ‘IETea Biscuits’ also creates free food (and improves the environment!)

Thanks to Mary & Fred, Terry, Yara & Harry, Pam & IET, everyone who visited the TeaPee, The Bear & Teal, and Beth.

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