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Rich Tea Review
|Seeing your poll on the merits of Rich Tea shapes, it reminded me that there was at one time a square variety. Marketed by our old friends Burtons in the 80’s, it was one of a range of economy-style “Bakers Selection” products. Unsurprisingly it was never a success, meeting with bemused reactions from retailers and consumers alike. It lasted about 3 years before the plug was pulled and a ‘real’ round version launched instead.|
Waiting for my train on Didcot Parkway station, and a coffee/tea vending machine nearby started beeping. Wandering over, I saw the display panel flashing: "Warning: Hot Flush", and true to its word, a few seconds later came a stream of boiling (well steaming in the cold atmosphere) water, aimed directly at the space where a cup would have been. Is this a sign of intelligence in the vending machine? or a sign of middle age? or a sign that it was trying to dispose of some unspeakable gunk?
||I'd like to tell you all about a nice box of chocolate cream wafers I was given last week by my boss. He'd been sent them by a colleague in Japan (in a box of rock samples, but luckily only a few of the wafers were crushed). They are called 'Chocolate Collon' which sounded so much like the part of the intestine reserved for biscuit digestion that he just couldn't face them.|
I can report that inside the box were 6 individual packets, each containing ten inch-long crispy wafer tubes filled to the brim with creamy chocolatey goodness. The chocolate was more of a praline, but very good nonetheless. They went very well with a short sharp espresso in the morning.
We have a vending machine too (Klix) which does a good tea, a very poor coffee (like rainwater), and the soups would be ok if there was a device for stirring the inch of sludge at the bottom of the cup.
Southampton University (Oceanography Centre)
|Nicey replies: Its a good job the rocks didn't smash them all. We'll have to let Ace biscuit hunter Jonathan Dean know as he is in Japan right now.
Horrah for the Japanese and their unfortunate product names!
||Dear Nicey and The Wife,|
I tend to work a home a lot and so am often the only individual in the house during the day. I do enjoy a good cup of tea, specifically PG Tips and relative newcomer Scottish Blend (both of which come in "Pyramid" varieties), but I find that making tea for one makes me fall short of the regulation "two cups per Pyramid bag." I hate to think that I am using a tea bag to only half of its full potential and was wondering if you could give me any advice on the matter, either regarding the optimisation of tea bag use, or on alternative uses for partly-used tea bags?
|Nicey replies: You should get a really big mug, that way you can maximise your tea bags' potential. You might not always want to finish your big mug but from time to time it will come into its own.
We have four hot drinks machines at Screwfix in Yeovil, dispensing a wide variety of 'delights'... There must be at least five versions of Nescafe, plus chicken soup, vegetable soup, a couple of Starburst drinks which have the option of being hot or cold, a couple of hot chocolate varieties (why two, shirley it's the same thing?). And all for the princely sum of 15p a go.
I am not a coffee drinker at the best of times, but I did try the standard Gold Blend from this machine and it truly was comparable to the excretions of a dog. The Starburst leaves a nasty-looking residue at the base of your plastic cup, which only becomes apparent upon emptying the container of liquid. The chicken soup and hot choc is actually quiet nice, which surprised the hell out of me...
The tea is PG Tips utilising a bag, with the silver bit of foil to aid withdrawal. Invariably, i.e. 75% of the time (not a scientifically determined figure, but an experiment I may conduct later), this piece of foil is underneath the bag, or the bag is lying on it's side, covered in hot tea, and thus impossible to remove unless you happen to like the Accident & Emergency Department. Or cold tea. Luckily there tends to be a couple of small spoons in the vicinity of a nearby sink, for just such an occurance.
This seems to be the only quirk of the machine, but as others have pointed out, the powdered milk renders what would be an otherwise fine drink, to being merely adequate. Perhaps the wonders of the 21st Century will solve the puzzle of storing fresh milk for long periods of time, perhaps with some kind of cooling device. Maybe you could even get one for the home! You could keep other things in it too. On second thoughts, perhaps that's a bit too far-fetched.
The buttons on the four machines appear to be arranged in a different order, depending on which machine you go to. For example, you absent-mindedly press your normal selection of white tea, and horror of horrors, it produces white tea with sugar! And just because you moved to the machine positioned two inches to the left of your normal one... They do have the same number of coffee buttons, the same number of tea buttons, and one or two 'bonus' buttons which contain the aforementioned alternatives. They just happen to be in a different order on each machine. It's some sort of game, I'm sure, or perhaps another way those pesky warehouse Supervisors are trying to wear us down....
As for biscuits, the kitchen provides some excellent 'home-made cookies', which are baked on site. Naturally, I always take the double-chocolate version over the choc-chip. More chocolate for your buck is always a good thing :-)
To tie the vending machine/chocolate matters together, our snack machine routinely leaves my chocolate bar selection dangling in mid-air, just holding on by sheer willpower alone, it seems...