Saturday, 28 April 2012

Twinnings Review and Green Tea Biscuits

I don't tend to show photos of my drinks on the blog that often...well certainly not as often as I do my food anyway! Some of you may have noticed that the focus has switched from coffee to tea recently though. I still have my treat coffees but day to day I have been drinking a lot more tea.

The main reason for this is to increase my water consumption and decrease my caffeine intake, so when I was contacted on behalf of Twinings to see if I'd like to try some of their Green Tea range, it was perfect timing! There seem to be different opinions as to whether green tea does actually have less caffeine than black tea...any thoughts?

I had a look at all the green teas on Twinings website to get an idea of which ones I might like to try, but unfortunately I found the range much more limited in my local stores. I managed to pick up a box of green tea with lemon at Waitrose, and then also found a selection box of different green teas at Sainsbury's:

This was ideal as I haven't drunk much green tea before, so this was a good way of being able to try lots of different flavours. The selection box contained green tea with cranberry, green tea with apple & pear, green tea with pineapple & grapefruit, green tea with orange & lotus flower, and green tea with citrus. All the tea bags in this box came individually packaged and separated into different sections for each flavour - handy for popping a few in my bag so I can drink green tea when I go to other places as well as at home!

The first tea that I tried was the green tea with apple & pear. I normally sweeten my hot drinks with vanilla stevia drops, and I love the combination of pear and vanilla, so thought this would work well.

I did try to drink the tea unsweetened first, but found that just a few drops of vanilla stevia really brought out the flavour. I don't know what plain green tea tastes like, but the apple and pear was a lovely subtle flavour, fruity rather than what I imagine "green" to be!!

I'd seen Maria drink her green tea with lemon as an iced tea so wanted to give this a go. The weather has been terrible this week so I haven't really felt like cold drinks so much, but I decided to put on a jumper and get out the ice! ;)

I'm so glad I did as I absolutely loved this!! To be honest, I was a bit nervous about trying it as I'd made some iced peppermint tea a few weeks ago which was horrible, but this was completely different. The key is not to use too big a glass (I think the peppermint was way too watered down) and to add sugar. I brewed the lemon green tea bag in a little bit of hot water for a couple of minutes, then, after removing the tea bag, added 1.5 tsps of sugar. I then mixed this with some cold water and poured it over lots of ice. Amazing - this tasted just like lemon sherbet, my new favourite drink for when we actually get some summery weather!

As well as drinking the green tea, I really wanted to bake with it! I'd tried to google for some ideas, but most of the recipes used green tea powder rather than tea bags. Then I saw Maria's post where she made a green tea loaf cake, and it gave me the idea to search for just general tea baking to give me a starting point. I came across a recipe for Earl Grey Tea Cookies which sounded tasty. I'm really liking orange flavours in baking at the moment so decided to use an orange and lotus flower green tea bag in the cookies. I wasn't sure what kind of flavour the lotus flower would give, but decided it was worth a try! I also added some orange zest to complement the tea bags, but obviously if you decide to use a different type of tea bag feel free to leave it out. I wouldn't recommend adding in anything "chunky" as these biscuits come out really thin and crisp.

I don't like writing out other people's recipes on the blog unless I have made significant changes, however I can't bake using 'cups' measurements. So for my own reference, and to save anyone else from googling the conversions, I am going to write out the ingredients here, but for the method please see the original recipe.

Orange Green Tea Biscuits
(makes approximately 30 biscuits, depending on size)

  • 130g plain flour
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 35g icing sugar
  • contents of 2 Twinings Orange and Lotus Flower Green Tea bags
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp water
  • 113g unsalted butter
  • zest of half an orange

A lot of tea recipes have you brew the tea and then use that liquid, but these biscuits use the whole contents of the tea bag. I love that as it gave the dough a lovely speckled appearance, and also made the tea flavour a bit more pronounced.

The one thing I would say about the method, is that I found the cooking time of 12 minutes too long. Luckily I checked on my biscuits after 10 minutes and quickly took them out - the thinner cookies were already really brown, but the slightly thicker ones came out perfectly. The browner ones weren't burnt, but the flavour in them was lost. Liam loved these as they were just crunch, whereas I liked the paler ones so you could really taste the orange flavour. I'm not sure what the lotus flower flavour is meant to be like, but these definitely had a slightly "pretty" floral taste to them if that makes any sense!

I've never cooked thin crispy biscuits like this before. They spread more than I was expecting which is why they look misshapen, but the flavour and texture was perfect. Only problem is that they're so light that you can eat lots at once without getting full...not that that is a problem really! ;)

Do you like green tea? Have you tried any of the more unusual flavours before? The Twinings website shows all the different types of tea they sell (and you can also request a couple of free samples from a selection of their teas, although none of the green teas seem to be included there), and you can also check out the Twinings Facebook page for more information. I wasn't sure I'd like green tea, and still haven't tried it pure, but I really like the different flavour teas for a lighter, more refreshing drink.

I was compensated by Twinings for this review, but all the opinions written are my own.


  1. That selection box sounds like a fab idea- I like ones that come wrapped individually too as I can take them to work. I must say green tea is my least favourite tea, but I think the flavoured ones are nicer, and if you brew them for a very short amount of time the bitter green-ness does not take over. Those biscuits look lovely too- I bet they would be good with a chai teabag too. As for the caffeine, it does still contain it, but I think (as with black tea) that it depends on how long you brew it for, and if it is plain tealeaves, or if it has other things added (so green tea with lemon would be less than plain green tea). But it would all have less than coffee.

    1. Yes, I think not brewing them too long is key. Although I was chatting to my friend yesterday and she said she prefers green tea if brewed for longer so I guess everyone's tastes are different!

      I want to make the biscuits (lots of times!) again with different tea bags - its such a quick easy method, and I'm sure they would taste great with lots of different teas - chai was my first thought to try next too :)

      Thanks for that about the caffeine. Having less than coffee is the main thing for me, plus I tend to drink more liquid if I'm drinking tea than coffee (as I feel ill if I have more than a couple of mugs of coffee) so it helps to increase my liquid intake in general too.

    2. I have brewed green ta for too long before and I think it tastes like grass! Or what I would imagine grass to taste like!

  2. I love green tea, but I actually prefer it on it's own rather than with the added flavours.

  3. I love Jasmine Green tea, but the one with pear is calling me now!

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