Camellia sinensis – the tea bush, Rubiaceae Coffea – the coffee plant

Before Christmas I ordered a Tea & Coffee ‘grow it’ kit from Gift Republic, and now the weather has become less Arctic I’ve planted the seeds.

Since the coffee seeds/beans require a soil temperature of 25-30c to germinate (and up to six months before seedlings appear!) I bought a heated propagator to help them along. My house is quite cold and the seeds would never germinate otherwise. Hopefully by the time seedlings appear it’ll be summer and much warmer.

The tea plant’s seeds are large beanlike objects, bigger than peas and quite hard. ‘Raw’ coffee plant seeds are white and require soaking in warm water for several hours prior to planting. Provided with the seeds were five coir pots and dehydrated compost and some labelling sticks.

I took some other photos, follow this link to see my tea plant and coffee plant photos. Hopefully the seeds will germinate and I’ll be able to provide more progress. Also in the heated propagator are the seeds from some carnivorous plants I bought. These have yet to show any signs of life, I hope they’ve not rotted.

Ginger Beer update

A week ago I started making some Ginger Tea Beer, using an expensive piece of root ginger, some lemons, some yeast and a lot of sugar and water. It’s been sat in a bucket in my office for a week now. Initially the specific gravity was 1.014, and has now gone to 1.006 which shows the yeast has been fermenting the sugar, but not by much. The stuff also tastes quite sweet and is somewhat bland.

More lemons and ginger are required, I’ll have to get some tomorrow from the supermarket. In the mean time as a bit of an experiment and to potentially add some flavour I found a half mouldy tin of black treacle and 1/4kg of brown sugar. The treacle was boiled in a pan to remove any mould (only the tin was moudly, the stuff in it was fine) and I then added the sugar and some water to make a sticky, very nice tasting syrup. Some more yeast was activated and the whole lot tipped into the bucket.

And instantly the bucket produced a load of foam. Yeast respiration is evidently a very quick process!

Specific gravity now 1.014 again and has a pretty nice flavour at the moment. Lacks the ginger spice though. I also can’t taste the tea. I think it needs a really really strong brew of tea and a lot more ginger to add the required bitterness to the flavour.

Experimental brewing is kind of fun though 🙂

Homebrew experiment: Ginger Tea Beer

This may or may not turn out to be nasty, but I decided it was worth a go. I’ve started production of a batch of Ginger Tea Beer, which is a mix of root ginger, lemons and some strongly brewed tea. I took inspiration from this ginger beer recipe.

There’s a few pictures, so hit the more link to continue reading… Continue reading Homebrew experiment: Ginger Tea Beer

New office is smaller, how is this possible?

I think some sort of reverse TARDIS thing has happened during our office move. It seems smaller than our old one now everything is in there. We’ve thrown away four boxes of paper for recycling, three large bins of general crap and have not imported any new things… and yet the place seems full. There is more storage available and the room is three times the size of the old one. It’s not the extra office furniture that is causing this, but the sheer amount of books, papers and boxes we appear to have. All this stuff fitted in our old office and somehow seems to have tripled in volume during the move.

It’s crazy, everyone that visits comments that it looks full and walks out slightly confused.

I’m liking my new desk though, next to a window I could jump out of. The sink is behind me with the vital tea making supplies and a water boiler. They say the average British person drinks 3 cups of tea a day… I think I managed at least five this morning. We traditionally have one at break and one at dinner. I had one before break, then one at break and the same at dinner. And then two after school and one in the morning.