Category: Tea & Coffee

Mountain Maid and Ifugao Coffee

Coffee from the Good Shepherd - Baguio, photo by JMorton

Coffee from the Good Shepherd – Baguio, photo by JMorton

We have  run out of Taylors of Harrogate Rich Italian coffee and I thought the world as I know it was over.  Luckily I remembered that I have got a few bags of coffee from Baguio, Philippines.

I thought I should try it.  I tried the Mountain Maid Coffee.

I am glad I did.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  It tasted terrific, full-bodied and has the right scale of bitterness.

Just perfect for a cold afternoon break here in London.

We got the coffee from the Good Shepherd convent, which is just below Mines View in Baguio.

Aside from gorgeous Mountain Maid and Ifugao coffees, the convent/centre brew their own civet coffee, unfortunately for Peter, they had just run out of the coffee.  He was so aggrieved like you won’t believe.  He was so very, very sad that he did not get to drink coffee from beans which have been swallowed and pooped by musang (civet).  What is the world coming to?!!! 🙂

Anyway, the coffees above  are comparable to the best coffees available here in the market.  I hope the Good Shepherd convent are exporting them or is thinking of doing so.

Green Tea Cooler

Green Tea

Green Tea

The jury is still out whether green tea is indeed some sort of superfood. There is an article published in the NHS Choice website entitled Green tea: the elixir of life or just hype?

It is a very good reading, very informative.  You have to judge for yourself whether green tea is what it is cracked up to be.

Anyway superfood or what, green tea is a refreshing beverage.

Here is a recipe that will cool you down, if the summer sun here in the UK will ever show up!  🙁

Green Tea Cooler


6 tsp green tea leaves or 2 green teabags
2 cups of either fresh apple juice or peach juice
4 tsp of honey

Method of preparation:

Pour into a teapot 1 cup of boiling water onto the tea leaves or tea bags. Leave it to brew for 3-5 minutes.

Strain into a couple of tall glasses.  An old trick my mother told me was to put a metal spoon on the glass to prevent it cracking from the hot temperature of the water.

Leave the green tea to cool.

Add the apple or peach juice.  Stir in the honey.

Finally, add ice-cubes.



Raspberry, photo by JMorton

Raspberry, photo by JMorton

I am the type, who needs some kind of fruits in my diet.  I miss fresh fruit; though I have a selection of canned ones in my food cupboard, ready to drizzle with custard or cream whenever I wanted, I really pine for fresh, crisp fruits.

Whilst at Willesden a few days ago, I came upon a shop with vegetables and fruits tantalisingly displayed in their shopfront.  I got some bananas, satsumas, bitter gourds (ampalaya), okras (lady’s fingers) and avocados.

While I was inspecting the colourful display of fruits and vegetables, some familiar, some rather alien to me, the seller got into an argument with a woman in a djellaba, who apparently wanted freebies.  They made such a racket that the seller gave me a packet of raspberry for my patience and as an apology.  Thanks! 😉

As I got home, I unpacked my packages and got to thinking what to do with the raspberries.  I have seen raspberries before, I have had raspberry muffins, but I am not sure what to do, I tasted one and it was rather bitter-sweet and there is an after-taste of mineral compound-like, don’t really know how to describe it.

So I thought I’ll make cupcakes with them, which I did and Peter, the hubby, and I enjoyed.



Apparently raspberries belong to the Rubus of the rose family.  The above red kind of raspberries is what I am familiar with but actually there are different cultivars such as  golden raspberries, black raspberries, purple raspberries, blue raspberries and yellow raspberries.  They can be eaten as fresh fruits, made into juices, dried raspberries for cakes and puddings or preserved as jams.

Raspberry is a bit of a superfood.  It is rich in vitamin C and contains a lot of fibre.  It also contains flavonoids and a great source of antioxidant.  Also the leaves of red raspberries can be used as tea-leaves!


Peter, The Barrista

Peter had always aspired to be a barrister but because of circumstances beyond his control (and being bored working in a legal firm when younger and impressionable), he thought the next best thing is to become an amateur barrista! hehehe

He has been brewing coffee as if there is no tomorrow, thus keeping us well watered and awake! 🙂

He has been delighting us with different blends and various types of beans. Ask at your peril about the beans, Peter will give you a blow by blow account/history of coffee from the Biblical period to the present! hahaha

Peter, The Barrista

How to brew the perfect cuppa according to Peter, the Barrista:

1. Warm the pot, weather glass or ceramic and even metal. Fill the pot with hot water and leave for a couple of minutes and then pour away, the pot should be nice and warm at that point.

2. In to the warmed pot, measure in  ground coffee, a spoonful for each cup and then another one for the pot.

3. Heat the water until near boiling.

4. Pour just enough water to cover the ground coffee in the in-built filter of the caffetiere/kettle and leave for a minute or two.

5. Pour the rest of the near-boiled water in the pot. Cover with a kettle warmer/cosy and leave to steep for 4 to 5 minutes.

6. Apply the filter plunger slowly.

Pour the coffee in cups and share.

Time to enjoy a steaming hot coffee. Ideally the coffee, if good brand, should be drunk neat, i.e. without any milk or sugar/sweetener or other additives.

Bottoms up!

Tea, Char, Chai

If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited, it will calm you.
– William Gladstone
British Prime Minister (1809-1898)

Where there’s tea, there’s hope.
– Sir Arthur Wing Pinero

Tea, Char, Chai

teaTEA which is said to have been introduced into China by Djarma, a native of India, about A.D. 500, was not familiar in Europe until the end of the sixteenth century. And it was not until 1657, when Garraway opened a tea-house in Exchange Alley, that Londoners began tea-drinking as an experiment.

In 1662 Pepys writes—
“Home, and there find my wife making of tea”—two years before, he called it “tee (a China drink)”—“a drink which Mr. Pelling the Pothicary tells her is good for her cold and defluxions.”

Tea drinking is a culture.  It is psychologically settling, it cures maladies and ailments and it promotes social cohesion.

Tea is not like vodka, which you can drink a lot of.
– Russian Saying

Superstitions connected with TEA:

Look into your cup/mug, apparently if you see bubbles, money is coming your way… soon.

Long ago, it was believed that throwing away tea leaves was a way of encouraging poverty.  The advice was to burn the used tea leaves for prosperity.


A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
– Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)


Tea is second most popular beverage in the world, next to water.

Green tea of Japan and its tea ceremony is central to Zen Buddhism. Green tea is also used to flavour ice-cream.

China is the greatest producer of tea.

Green tea has the lowest level of caffeine. Further studies are being conducted as to the health-giving properties of green tea.

Bedford, Bunyan and Home of Afternoon Tea


Bedford, Bunyan and Home of Afternoon Tea

 Bedford is not far from where we live and we hope to vist in the spring. It is home to the John Bunyan museum.  Bunyan wrote the famous novel Pilgrims Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come (Full title) A narrative of persecuted Christian pilgrims travelling from England to The New World (America) becoming among the first settlers there. 

There is perhaps nothing considered more quintessentially English that drinking tea; indeed tea drinking has influenced much of what is regarded throughout the world as British culture and features strongly in nursery rhymes, fairytales and folklore.

Yet as a nation we were relative late arrivals to the proverbial tea party; the drink becoming popular in mid-1700s when the East India Company began trading in tea. Clipper ships like the Cutty Sark, which could travel at an incredible 18 knots, as fast as a modern cruise ship, were designed to halve the transport time from Asia. Heavy taxation inevitably led to tea smuggling but did nothing to dent its popularity, indeed its importance led to the growth in the other industries such as pottery manufacturing where names like Wedgwood and Royal Doulton became synonymous with fine tea ware. It was a prized commodity and often it was only the lady of the house that held the key to the tea store.

Tea drinking even led to changes in social etiquette with the opening of tea gardens and tea shops, since these were places where an unchaperoned woman could meet her friends and socialise without harming her reputation. But the single most lasting of these traditions is without question the invention of afternoon tea and here Bedfordshire can stake its claim to being the home of afternoon tea.