The Whittard Blog

A warm welcome to the Whittard blog. Since 1886, we've been passionate about fine tea and coffee and we'd love to share our passion with you

20th December 2013 by Whittard

Around the World Coffee Infographic

If you are a true coffee lover you'll know that different regions produce coffee with different flavour characteristics. Many factors influence the taste and aroma of coffee including: plantation location, soil, altitude, climate, species of plant and finally the roasting and blending. 

Whittard coffee infographic

We source coffee from around the world and we also have a variety of roasts, to suit all palates - so take a look at our infographic for a quick and easy guide to different flavours and roasts.

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15th November 2012 by Whittard

What Type of Christmas Shopper are You?

Christmas is eagerly anticipated by many, dreaded by some and viewed with indifference by others. What sort of Christmas shopper are you? We consider four main types and provide some tips for reducing stress . 

Christmas hamper

Four key types of Christmas shopper – which one are you?

 The Early Bird – the most relaxed and least stressed Christmas shopper, plans and budgets carefully, shops throughout the year and has all gifts wrapped and squirreled away, ready to pop under the tree on December 1st.

The Average Shopper – most of us fall into this category, generally starting shopping around November – with a combination of planned and impulse purchases.  The lovely festive displays and Christmas music act as a catalyst.

The Last Minute Shopper – this person gets to the week of Christmas without a single gift under the tree.  Unfortunately by this time, many shops have sold out of the most popular items, some online shops can’t guarantee delivery pre-Christmas and it’s so busy that it’s impossible to get advice from harassed shop assistants.

The Chronic Procrastinator – this person literally puts things off until the very last minute, often trying to cram all of their shopping into Christmas Eve.  While they may benefit from bargains, their panicked buying at depleted shops can result in inappropriate or unwanted gifts.

Five tips to enjoy Christmas shopping and avoid stress:

  • If you know something is going to be very popular e.g. newspapers often run features on the year’s top Christmas toys, order that item as soon as you see it on the shelves to avoid disappointment.
  • Christmas shopping online can be much more relaxing and enables you to shop around from the comfort of your home. Many retailers often have exclusive online offers that are not available in store, but bear in mind delivery charges and timings.Visit the Whittard Christmas shop here.
  • Instead of giving individual gifts, you could consider giving a hamper which contains something for everyone – saves on wrapping too!
  • Instead of racking your brain for inspiration at the eleventh hour, keep a note of throwaway comments friends and family make during the year about things they’d love to own.  Think how special you feel when you unwrap something you mentioned back in June!
  • When money is tight - you can combine a smaller present with something homemade e.g. a beautiful Kilner tin of tea or coffee accompanied by some home-baked cookies or florentines.

Happy Shopping!

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1st November 2012 by Whittard

What is the Most Popular Mug Design?

With a fine tradition of hand-painted and  fine bone china mugs  we’ve always offered a constantly evolving selection, but have you ever wondered which mugs are the most popular? Spots, stripes, famous quotes, floral patterns, animals or characters?

It changes seasonally, our vintage rose design on fine bone china mug is always in the best sellers. If we are running animal designs, our senior buyer for ceramics, revealed that in all the companies she has worked for, the most popular animal mug designs have always included cats or dogs!

cat mug

Whittard have always included a selection of animal-based designs to cater to this demand but our latest range combines fine china, muted colours, unusual textures and a range of farmyard animals, as well as the perennially popular cat and dog.

dog mug

The artist was spotted selling unusual animal prints at an exhibition and intrigued by the distinctive result, our Senior Buyer Karla took a closer look and discovered that the artist was using potato prints. The artist was commissioned to create designs exclusively for Whittard and the resulting potato prints were translated into a range of fine bone china mugs. 

cock and pig potato print mugs

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16th October 2012 by Whittard

Wake up and Smell the Coffee

There are certain aromas that have an instant effect, freshly baked bread, freshly brewed coffee, a new car... In fact some say that there are supermarkets who pump the smell of fresh bread into store so we not only think we’re buying freshly-baked bread, but we buy more in general as it stimulates our appetites.

But have you ever wondered why coffee never tastes quite as amazing as it smells?

Coffee beans

Speaking at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen in September 2012, Prof Barry Smith, of the University of London, said:  “We have got two senses of smell. One sense is when you inhale things from the environment into you, and the other is when the air comes out of you up the nasal passage and is breathed out through the nose.”

The phenomenon is down to the fact that, although we have sensors on our tongue, eighty per cent of what we think of as taste actually reaches us through smell receptors in our nose.

The receptors, which relay messages to our brain, react to odours differently depending on which direction they are moving in.

“Think of a smelly cheese like Epoisses,” Prof Smith said. “It smells like the inside of a teenager’s training shoe. But once it’s in your mouth, and you are experiencing the odour through the nose in the other direction, it is delicious.

“Then there is the example of when they don’t match in the other direction. The smell of freshly brewed coffee is absolutely wonderful, but aren’t you always just a little bit disappointed when you taste it? It can never quite give you that hit.”

Only two known aromas - chocolate and lavender - are interpteted in exactly the same way whether they enter the nose from the inside or the outside.

In the case of coffee, the taste is also hampered by the fact that 300 of the 631 chemicals that combine to form its complex aroma are wiped out by saliva, causing the flavour to change before we swallow it, Prof Smith added.

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