Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tasseography - Reading tea leaves

Hello,  MysticMcmo here.

As it is Hallowe'en the Afternoon Tealadies have asked me to explain the mystery of reading tea leaves.  

I will share some of the secrets with you but of course not all of them.  For example, it takes many years to be able to read the future in floral tisanes, and don’t even get me started on tea bags.


First, make a pot of tea with loose tea leaves. Pour out a cup – preferably one with a nice plain inside (not using a strainer of course!)  and drink until about a half an inch is left at the bottom.  It may help you to think about the question you want answered while you drink the tea. 

 Actually, thinking about problems while drinking tea is recommended anyway.  Don’t dunk your biscuit  in the tea – that will dramatically change the reading

Swirl the tea 3 times round in the cup, then place it upside down on the saucer. Count to 7 and turn the cup right side up..

Empty your mind. Relax and prepare to interpret the images that have formed.

First consider the overall pattern. Many tea leaves left in a cup means a full or busy life.  (Or you like strong tea)

Anything in the very bottom of the cup is an area of your life that needs special attention.

Some symbols are obvious in their meaning. For example, a boat, train, car or plane means a journey.   Numbers refer to time.

Birds are generally a lucky sign, though a penguin suggests sorrow or angst.

Animals sometimes appear – obviously it depends on what those animals mean to you but in general the following apply:
Cat – home loving
Dog – loyalty
Lion – fear
Giraffe – something is just out of reach
Pig – happiness
Fish – water, perhaps a journey
Horse - partnership
Hippopotamus – vivid imagination

Letters of the alphabet mean people such as relatives, friends or associates. The closer to the handle, the more important they are to you
Poorly outlined shapes represent indecision, or laziness.  

Stars and triangles are risky, circles indicate success and squares mean security.
Below is a list of a few other shapes and their interpretations

Table – work
Owl – aging
Flowers – love
Pineapple – exotic
Snail – gardening
Ladder – a parking ticket
Lamp post – a dog
Skull – Shakespeare
Balloon – an explosion
Tea – you’re not really trying

Of course it takes years and a huge amount of guesswork  and creativity to become proficient in reading tea leaves but I hope that you at least have a go.  It’s amazing what you can see if you just look


* That's not me.  MysticMcmo can never be photographed

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Tea Review - Chateau Rouge

The very kind people at  Chateau Rouge Teas recently sent us some Rooibos to review

Chateau Rouge are a London based independent tea company.  They  import, pack and distribute speciality teas from around the world.  They are passionate about tea and want to celebrate it in all its diversity. So we were very keen to taste some of their products.

Rooibos is not actually a tea but a tisane, a herbal tea, made from the leaves of the South African plant known as the "red bush"  (scientific name Aspalathus linearis).  It is naturally caffeine free.  Most Rooibos is oxidized which produces the distinctive reddish-brown colour and enhances the flavour.

Chateau Rouge  sent us two from their range; Wiedouw Rooibos - £4.95 for a 50g pouch; and a Vanilla Rooibos also £4.95 for a 50g pouch.  Both are organic and certified by the Rainforest Alliance.

The packaging is sleek, modern and rather understated.  They sell mostly via the website and, we supposed, don't need shelf appeal.  They do also sell some of their teas in rather attractive tins (£10.95 for the Wiedouw in a 100g tin)

We liked the fact that the pouches are resealable and will keep the tea fresh.

The Wiedouw was tasted first and we all agreed it smelled very fresh and appealing.  It is single estate, coming only from the Wiedouw farm in South Africa.  It brewed to a rich reddish-brown colour and had a bright, almost grassy flavour with a malty undertone and no hint of bitterness.  There was no heavy aftertaste, and it tasted very refreshing.

The Vanilla Rooibos is made from a combination of South African rooibos and vanilla pods grown in Madagascar.  Prior to brewing the vanilla scent was faint but once in the cup if came out beautifully.  Even without checking, we could tell the vanilla was real, as it didn't leave the sour aftertaste you often get with vanilla essence or flavouring.  The vanilla added a sweetness and creaminess to the rooibos flavour that Charlotte and Caroline particularly appreciated.  Charlotte was surprised to find that she preferred this one, as she's not usually a fan of flavoured teas.  Mo, however, liked the plain rooibos, as the vanilla made the tea too sweet for her. 
In conclusion;  these are two really good tisanes - ideal if you want something without caffeine.

If the standard of these are anything to go by, the rest of Chateau Rouge's range is well worth checking out, expecially as they offer taster packs of  five 10g samples for £10.95

*EDIT:  The taster packs are no longer available, but Chateau Rouge now do a range of jams, coffee and hot chocolate alongside their teas.