I’m completely caffeine fuelled. Speak to me before my first black coffee of the day and you’ll be lucky if I can muster a wonky smile. In the office I have a cafetiere permanently positioned next to my computer, powering me through. At home we have a pod coffee machine that I feel so guilty about I’ve gone mad keen on recycling in a misconstrued attempt to balance its environmental impact. I also like tea. Though I drink it rarely I fondly remember leisurely Sundays spent supping a full pot and eating biscuits with my former housemate, Laura.
Tea is my hangover hero and coffee is a continual companion but despite my enthusiasm I’m a bit of an amateur when it comes to making and drinking both. I like to think I know a thing or two about cake consumption but my knowledge of the accompanying brew is still in development, something I became even more aware of on two recent trips out.
Slurping with Ringtons
Sometimes as a blogger I’m lucky enough to be invited to events that seem too good to be true. Now, right up there with Pie Night at Asda is my Christmas trip to Ringtons. We’ve always been Ringtons fans in this house, not least because my boyfriend eats two packets of their ginger snaps a week. A little while back they ran a Christmas blogging event at their HQ in Byker and I had my first seasonal slurping experience. It looked a little something like this
Shoutout to Shivanee of Cloudinateacup who you can see trying her hand at cupping tea in the final photo, you can read her post on the event here, which includes a good run down of Ringtons’ strong regional profile as well as some fabulous photography that’s far better than my own. When it comes to blogger events I do much prefer the ones that allow you to learn, get involved and get your hands dirty, so I really should have been more willing and prepared when it came to cupping.
For the uninitiated, this is the quality control process that’s used to test tea. Laid bare without milk and sugar it’s easy to differentiate between teas of different qualities and even detect subtle differences between blends. I’m down with tea tasting, I’ve done it before during a Chinese tea ceremony. I’m not it seems down with slurping in public. I tried to be okay with it, really I did. I’ve no shame about being the first out of my seat at a buffet or even the first on the dancefloor sans alcohol but when it came to slurping, I was very self conscious. Luckily, the top tea testers at Ringtons have no such silly constraints and I was blown away by their knowledge and enthusiasm. Tea might not be my first choice but I’ve now ditched my standard teabags in favour their Darjeeling.
My second cupping opportunity came just a few weeks later at Cup North, Manchester. This two day event is all about coffee and if you’ve got a serious interest, I suggest you add it to your calendar for 2016. For me the event conveniently coincided with a planned catch up with my fellow coffee enthusiast Nic and while I shied away from cupping in the heat of the moment (it can happen to anyone) we did enjoy talking to all the coffee producers present and purchasing some fuel for life to take away with us. There was also some seriously scientific coffee equipment in action. Here are a few snaps of the trip.
Are you more of a coffee or tea person? Have you ever tried cupping and if so, what did you make of it?