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Last year I switched from coffee to tea, and have quickly become spoiled for the U.K. imports. My favorite by far is PG Tips. But there is something I simply don't understand: why do you Brits not have tags and strings on your tea bags? All the UK teas available at my local tea store (Typhoo, PG Tips, Taylors of Harrogate, etc. etc.) are stringless and tagless.
I do a lot of tea drinking at work, and can never find a spoon handy (i.e. am too lazy to wash and dry one every time I use it). I've got perpetually burned fingers.
Then again, I occassionally see a PG tips tag hanging out of a mug on your site, further confusing me. Is it just that you keep the tagged bags for yourself, and ship us the tagless offerings? I'm starting to wish the colonies had never split from your country at all, if this is the case.
Without exception, all the US teas have strings and tags. The only problem is that the tea hanging off the end of the string is crap.
Any help with this appreciated (love your site, btw).
|Nicey replies: The tagged bags are one cup bags, although most people prefer (us included) just to bung a normal bag in their mug and fish it out with a spoon, rather than having all that extraneous string and cardboard. Also the spoon is vital to a properly stirred cup of tea and sort of agitating a suspended bag in your cup does not cut it.
Most brands have such tagged bags but they only really figure largely in catering type scenarios such as trains, and hotel rooms. The ones on our site are various one off promotional ones and I suppose they like the tag as it adds branding.
So really the only advice I can offer is to start taking teaspoons more seriously.
I yield to no-one in my admiration for the (original) Hob Nob, especially as a (tea-)dunking biscuit. However, with coffee, rather than tea, I have long preferred the plain chocolate Hob Nob (obviously not dunked). I find these are becoming rarer and rarer, and now cannot reliably be sourced anywhere near here (I live in rural Derbyshire). None of the big supermarket chains seem to do them. I am reduced to buying them from petrol stations etc. when I find them.
Do you know anything about this shortage? Have they in fact reduced or (heaven forfend) ceased production? I noticed that before the unavailability problem there came the changed packaging - tubes rather than wrapped. I think they were trying to take them up-market. Can you or your other correspondents cast any light on this mysterious disappearance?
|Nicey replies: Yours is not the only message we have had about this, and indeed I was unable to find any when I last visited a Sainsbury's. Given the steadfast following that it enjoys it is a mystery as to why its failing to grace many a supermarket shelf. I'm assuming the demand is there, I don't imagine there is a problem with supply so I'm as perplexed as you.|
Jacob's Orange Club Review
Nicholas Bryan writes that the sugar-free Farley's Rusks were delicious.
I'm not so sure.
Back in 1989 I worked in the Quality Assurance labs at Farley's factory in Plymouth (it is now the site of a Morrisons supermarket). Apart from all the microbiological, chemical and physical (for packaging) testing which was required, one of my tasks was tasting the rusks.
I dreaded sugar-free rusks. They were revolting - like eating sawdust. In reverse order, my favourites were sugar-free, original, banana and (yum!) orange. Still, the sugar-free rusks weren't as bad as the Breakfast Timers - a slurry which passed for baby food.
Another of my jobs was to empty the contents of the Insectocutors (those blue lamp insect traps). Each set of dead insects was bagged and labelled, then I would go back to the lab and look for any pest organisms (e.g. flour beetles) amongst the corpses, using a binocular microscope.
|Nicey replies: I used to use one of those binocular microscopes as a student to do insect dissections. I remember a fairly gross incident with a cockroach where its head, which I had been instructed to remove, crawled back into my field of view using its antennae. As I recall I spent the rest of the practical in the tea room dissecting a Jacob's Orange Club biscuit instead.
Anyhow sounds like you had a dream job there, although I'm not sure whose dream it was.
McVities Milk Chocolate Digestive Review
|Dear Nicey and Wifey,|
I am new to your website, but i'm glad i was directed to it by my obvioulsly in the know brother.
I have what i consider a problem. My job often becomes boring and to break the day up, i do enjoy a nice cup of tea, as i spend all day sitting down i cannot experience that part of the process, but i have taken to standing to drink my cups of splosh (i am aware you will find this unacceptable and i shall punish myself accordingly).
Anyway my problem:
I seem to be consuming large amounts of tea (in mug form) and am becoming concerned as to the effects this will have upon me. It's just the tea making process is worked on a rota type basis each person taking their 'turn' to make for the rest of us etc, but some peoples tea skills seem to be poor at best. One lady must leave or squeeze the bag (not PG) until it can take no more as when it arrives to quench my thirst it seems to be orange almost glowing in a David Dickinson kind of fashion. This i find unacceptable and undrinkable i have attempted to drink this stew and the result of it was me needing to rehydrate my self with 2 pints of water. Is this harming me. Should i try and get this lady the sack just to stop her inflicting pain on us. Whats more as if this wasn't enough i'm the only one to buy biscuits (choc digestives) oh yeah they all like eating them. I feel my good nature is being taken for granted and these halflings with impaired taste should be removed from my day to day life. So i guess the question is are these people harming me, do i have a case?
Hope you can help
|Nicey replies: Mr Rew,
These are common problems faced by most office workers. The problem is the basic conflict between peoples individual preferences in tea and the need some people seem to have for their tea to be made for them. Personally I've always found large tea rotas to be a pain. As you point out the tea is often made by people with odd and unpalatable personal tea habits. Sometimes there is a tendency for too many cups of tea to made if the rota is large as people just like the excuse to slope off for a while on the pretence of performing the altruistic task of tea making.
I've always suspected that those who most vocally insist that everybody makes cups of tea for everybody else are in-fact missing the attention of their parents who probably waited on them hand and foot for years.
I've always preferred making my own tea, rather than having some teabag squeezer or too-much-milk type forcing some dreadful brew upon me. A small select micro-rota of no more than three people with those who I actually like and have trained to make tea correctly to my specifications is about as for it goes for me.
As for the biscuits this too is sadly inevitable. You'll need to tell everyone in no uncertain terms that they either take turns buying the biscuits or they can take a hike. They should respect your position on this one, and you'll have set the stage for you to dish out withering remarks about pinching biscuits to the transgressors, which should cheer you up.
|Revd. Stephen Day
Cornish Fairings Review
Just got back from Cornwall, and I'm sorry to report that your "missing in action" section may soon have to include the Cornish Fairing
An intensive search in Truro this morning discovered only one shop (a patisserie) selling the biscuits, and the proprietor said that they weren't going to be available any more as Furniss were in receivership.
On the other hand, the Camborne and Redruth Packet has potentially better news
One for NCOTAASD HQ to keep an eye on...
Hope your summer holiday was at least as good as mine, and with fewer blisters !
|Nicey replies: Hi Steve,
Thanks for the on the spot reporting on important Cornish biscuit matters. Lets hope they can sort it out.
We had a lovely time in France, no blisters although it may take some time to erase the psychological scaring of having to play mini-golf in torrential rain.
Here is a rousing picture of some cakes with France in the background, taken on the same day as the mini-golf incident.