Tea-Rex, Hot Love - Adventures In Finding Great Tasting Decaf Tea.

I love tea. Good, strong black tea, tea which comes served with milk, served with lemon or even served with a huge slice of cake. If I was relocated to a desert island, my suitcase would be filled with nothing but English Breakfast and Earl Grey, so when my doctor told me that I had to cut out caffeine from my diet, I was distraught. And since my usual thing to fix a problem with is to stick the kettle on, it was a double slap in the face!

It wasn't so much that I was going to miss caffeine - I just genuinely enjoy the taste of tea. It's such a huge part of any social interaction when meeting with friends and clients, I knew I really needed to find a way around it.

My first port of call was to find out which places offer decaf options. Caffè Nero and Costa both have a decaf English Breakfast, as do many independent places if you ask them nicely. However I pretty much had a Starbucks barista laugh in my face when asking so unless you want something made from fruit syrup and cream, I'd avoid them at all costs.

As someone who frequently works from home, I really needed to restock my tea cupboard too. Making a brew gives me a much needed five minute eye and brain break away from my laptop, and is a tiny moment of calm between editing, shooting and emails. I tried a lot of different decaf brands and have compiled my top five tea dupes which you'd never know where caffeine free.

5. Clipper Everyday Decaffeinated Tea Bags (£2.69 for 40 bags).
The Clipper organic tea was my first foray into the world of decaf and really took me by surprise. I had expected an "eveyday tea" to be something akin to a builder's brew but this turned out to be a light Assam blend with a really malty flavour.

4. Yorkshire Everyday Decaf Tea (£2.79 for 80 bags).
On a recent trip to Cornwall I came across a huge box of this on special offer and decided to give it a try. Cheap and cheerful, it packs a punch giving a strong, traditional cup which calls to be served in a chipped mug with a (veggie) bacon roll.

3. M&S Decaf Tea (£2.80 for 40 bags.)
This was the first decaf tea I found which came close to my much loved English Breakfast tea which I very much missed. Strong but without tasting stewed, it's very much a tea cupboard staple.

2. Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Earl Grey Decaf Tea (£1.60 for 50 bags).
Light and zesty, Sainsburys have managed to produce a lovely blend for a moment of calm. Blind tested with the boyfriend on numerous occasions, you would never know this was a decaf version of a popular favourite.

1. Twinings Decaf English Breakfast Tea (£3.99 for 50 bags).
My love for Twinings knows no bounds. Although more expensive than other available options, one sip will take you back to your pre-decaf happiness.When I drink this, it's a cup of tea - not decaf tea - and although it feels a little bit of a luxury at the price, it's worth paying extra in exchange for the utter joy felt when drinking it.

For you coffee lovers out there in need of a great tasting decaf version, the good chaps from Old Compton Street's Algerian Coffee Store steered me in the direction of their decaf Colombian blend (£4.60 for 250g). As someone who drank coffee for pleasure rather than a caffeine fix, it tastes divine and like with all their other beans, they can grind it to your machine, pot or filter specification.

Until next time,

Diana xx

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