Celebrate October 31 with Our Luxurious Halloween Tea

October 31st.. Teatime is almost upon us. 

An icy wind cuts through the ragged net curtains of Madame Vlatzski’s tumbledown shack on the edge of the graveyard. Standing with her palms flat on the counter, her head rolls back as evil-smelling orange ectoplasm spills from the spout of the steaming vessel. Her white eyes gaze at an imagined abyss as a rough voice tumbles with a name from the ether. An infestation of cluster flies spell out the name on the wall – that of the supermarket rooibos tea that stains the veil between this world and Paradise. 

A bolt of lightning backlights a figure that stands in the doorway.

“Begone foul brew! Thine name is repellent; thine tea is coarse and profane.” 

There is a clap of thunder, and sunshine suddenly permeates the gloom. Madame Vlatzski regains her composure as the figure enters the premises.

Dressed in a dark twill suit and carrying a doctor’s bag, he takes his seat at the table and throws Madame Vlatzski a small bag labelled Luxury Halloween Punch Tea.

“No milk, no sugar, please”, he calls, “and may I have a biscuit and a small exorcism with that, thank you.”

Madame Vlatzski opens the bag and takes in the heady aroma of red bush and blackberry leaves, cinnamon, orange blossom, safflower petals, clove buds, cardamom seed and ginger.

“Madame, this mesmerising blend of intriguing charm and irresistible warmth will imbue your soul with eternal contentment – or at least until Blankety Blank comes on. There are some things that can never be put right. Stick that in your brewing vessels and allow to steep.“

The stranger was never seen again after that night. Madame Vlatzski still makes her Luxury Halloween Punch Tea to this day, but only during the month of October until the night of All Souls’ Eve – Halloween.

Why the Top 3 Decaf Teas at I Love Decaf are the Best You Can Get Anywhere


When you’re looking for a great cup of decaf tea, there are many to choose from. We’ve sipped all sorts of decaf tea in our time, but it’s hard to find one that will refresh and energize without compromising on the taste.

In this article, we will take a look at three of our favourites, and give you tips on how to choose the perfect one for your needs. 

It turns out that choosing our favourite top 3 I Love Decaf decaf teas wasn’t as difficult as it could have been. Choosing the best three is simple when we only do the best three you can get.

1. Sheba’s Small and Large Leaf Best Decaf Tea

If you’re looking for a quality decaf tea that with excellent, malty notes that make it perfect for a refined breakfast tea experience, Sheba Large and Small Leaf Teas are the perfect option for you.

We offer our rich, powerful and golden brews in small and large leaf styles. And like all our decaf tea, we use only the finest quality leaves.

Our decaf teas are perfect for people who want to reduce their caffeine intake or for those who are trying to avoid caffeine altogether. Not only that, but we always insist that taste is the most important consideration with decaf tea.

Our teas are delicious and will leave you feeling refreshed and energized.

If you’re looking for the perfect decaf tea, look no further than Sheba’s Best. Choose from large leaf and small leaf variations.

2. Lancashire Black Decaf Tea

Lancashire Black Decaf Tea is a delicious black tea that is perfect for those who are looking for a decaf option. Its name is a nod to a famous brand from the county next door, but our decaf is better than theirs.

Lancashire Black Decaf Tea is a straight Ceylon Leaf  – the finest black tea from Sri Lanka and is decaffeinated using the high quality CO2 process. This decaf tea is great for those who want to enjoy a delicious cup of strong tea but don’t want the caffeine.

It is also perfect for people who are looking for an alternative to regular black tea.

If you are looking for a delicious decaf tea option, try our Lancashire Black.

3. New English Breakfast Brew Decaf Tea

If you’re looking for an excellent decaf tea, look no further than I Love Decaf. Our English Breakfast Brew Decaf Tea is the perfect choice for anyone who wants a delicious and healthy cup of decaf tea.

This decaf tea is sourced from a single Kilkotagiri estate Nilgiri black tea in Tamil Nadu, its healthy leaves, with their smoky and oak notes, are perfectly captured in this decaffeinated black tea using a chemical-free method.

It’s also ethically and sustainably sourced. It delivers the same great flavour and health benefits as a regular English Breakfast Brew, but it’s also much lower in caffeine so is therefore ideal for those who are concerned about their caffeine intake.

Our decaf teas are available in a variety of weights, so you can choose the perfect option for your needs. We also offer a variety of other great teas, so be sure to check out our website for more information.

I Love Decaf Tea Promise

At I Love Decaf, we know that decaf is a popular choice for many people. That’s why we make sure that our teas are top quality and the best decaf around. We like to think we put the Love into Decaf.

Our promise to you is this: If you’re not happy with the taste of your brew, get in touch and we will refund you or send you another tea to taste.

Every tea we sell at I Love Decaf is decaffeinated using the most advanced technology available. We take great care in ensuring that our teas are free from caffeine, not just as a health choice but also because it’s the right thing to do.

We hope you enjoy our selection of our top three decaf teas!

Decaf Deconstructed – Different Methods of Decaffeination

There are five ways to decaffeinate, which one works for you?

There is a problem with tea and coffee packaging. It is stricken with an unsightly rash of trademarks and logos erupting from every available surface like zits on a pizza-faced teenager. The blemishes speak of a virtuous product; Organic, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, sustainable, green. Separate info boxes impart details such as strength, bean, roast, blend, grind, carbon footprint and, possibly, USB compatibility. It has made shopping for hot drinks as complex and nuanced as a conference on geopolitical ethics.

We call these little reassuring information panels LoV – Logos of Virtue. They make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

This is one detail you should pay attention to, because how your tea or coffee is decaffeinated is arguably more important

There’s still room on the label – just – so why not add one more detail, the method of decaffeination? This is one detail you should pay attention to, because how your tea or coffee is decaffeinated is arguably more important than many of the other LoVs. For example, with the amount of decaf the world is consuming, how that caffeine is removed has measurable consequences for the environment. Differences in decaffeination can also affect taste and aroma. And the big one; effectiveness of decaffeination varies with each process and if you are buying decaf, it makes sense that you will want it to be as caffeine-free as possible.

The truth is that decaffeinated tea and coffee comes in a bewildering variety of forms but not all are created equal. With a decaf tea or coffee, a lot hinges on the method of its decaffeination. Which one should you choose and why does it matter?

Here comes the science bit

There are five known methods of decaffeination. The original method, which used salt water and benzene is no longer legal because of, well, benzene. In 1906, a chance discovery by German coffee merchant Ludwig Roselius resulted in the world’s first mass produced decaffeinated coffee. Although his coffee later turned out to be carcinogenic, Roselius made up for it all by his involvement in a 1943 plot to blow up Hitler. You win some, you lose some.

Which leaves us four ways of taking caffeine out of tea and coffee. 

1. Methylene Chloride Decaffeination 

Methylene chloride is bonded to caffeine molecule by molecule by soaking the tea leaves or green coffee beans. There are two methods of achieving this, directly on the beans or leaves in hot water and indirectly, where the beans or leaves are soaked in hot water to remove the caffeine and the solvent is added to the water after the beans are removed. Although ‘solvent’ and the names of most solvents sound quite scary, only the tiniest trace residue will remain on the decaf product and even that will evaporate completely over 38°C/100°F.

2. Ethyl Acetate Decaffeination 

Although ethyl acetate hardly sounds much better than the previous method, decaf produced using ethyl acetate as a solvent is sometimes touted as ‘naturally decaffeinated’ because ethyl acetate is a chemical found naturally not only in tea, but also in many fruits. The process is otherwise identical to the direct and indirect methods that use methylene chloride as a solvent. Sometimes, according to learned decafficionados, ethyl acetate decaf leaves a slight chemical taste

3. Swiss Water Decaffeination 

This non-solvent alternative decaf process extracts caffeine by a long soak in hot water, followed by filtering though activated carbon to remove the caffeine. The now-decaf water is added back to the drained beans or leaves so that they can reabsorb the oils and flavours. There are a few teas that use the Swiss Water decaf method, but it is most often used for coffee.

4. Carbon Dioxide (co2) Decaffeination 

This is the space age version of decaf. This was probably invented when boffins meant to be working on something very clever were momentarily appalled by the state of their decaf and filled whiteboards with obscure formulae and Greek symbols to come up with a solution to the second most important problem before them. We probably won’t have interstellar space travel because of this, but who cares when the decaf tastes this good?

Having said all that, it’s not that complicated. Beans or leaves are pressure cooked with carbon dioxide. In such pressure and temperature environments, carbon dioxide (co2) goes supercritical and becomes a solvent that attracts the small caffeine molecules, leaving the larger flavour molecules intact.

5. Mountain Water Method

Similar in many respects to the Swiss Water decaffeination method and widely regarded as a cut above all other decafs, the Mountain Water Process (MWP) is also sometimes called the Mexican Water Process as it uses water from that country’s highest mountain – Pico de Orizaba.

The process starts with steaming the green coffee beans which are then soaked in a water solution, which removes the caffeine along with the flavour compounds. The water is removed from the seeds and run through a carbon filter that captures caffeine molecules to strain them from the solution. The green coffee is then soaked in all the flavour compounds and reabsorb them without the caffeine.

Rooibos or Red Bush: Tea or Not Tea?

That is the Question

Rooibos or Red Bush tea is not, strictly speaking, a tea at all. True teas – from Breakfast to Earl Grey, Typhoo to Tetley and many more besides are all variations on a theme based on a type of camelia, the tea plant. The ‘tea’ leaves of Rooibos (Afrikaans for ‘Red Bush’) are the leaves of a Southern African shrub – Aspalathus linearis – that have been fermented and sun-dried to an autumnal red.

Red Bush Teatime

South Africans have been drinking Red Bush tea for over 300 years, since Europeans settled the Cederberg area of the Western Cape. 

There are no records of pre-colonial Rooibos use, but someone must have shown that picking leaves, thrashing them against a rock and leaving them out in the sun to dry was a fantastic idea and not, as logic would suggest, a spectacular waste of everyone’s time.

Green and black tea from India and China were expensive to import for European settlers, so Rooibos taken with milk and sugar (or honey) was adopted as the next best thing. I Love Decaf sells a classic South African Rooibos that has bags of character, is naturally sweet and slightly nutty but – like all red bush teas – contains no caffeine and very little tannin.

White with one lump or two isn’t the only way to drink Rooibos. The sweet, malty notes of red bush blend very well with all kinds of fruits and spices for an exceptional, often sublime, cup of un-caffeinated tea.

2 Birds in a Red Bush Tea

A bird in the hand is worth two in a bush, right? If it’s a Red Bush and the bird is the notoriously demented South African Ostrich, things can get out of hand fairly pronto. On the other hand, a cup of this sweet and slightly nutty Rooibos tea is worth more than all the barking mad ostriches you can carry. Stay grounded and smooth, with an earthy caffeine-free drink that makes you unflappable.

The Red Bush Melting (Tea) Pot

As if South Africa isn’t already a global crossroads, Red Bush has some inspirational cross-cultural blending going on. While the colonial powers were moving tea from east to west, Europeans were spreading vanilla – slowly – in the opposite direction from Aztec Mesoamerica to Asia and Africa. Nowadays, vanilla is grown in Madagascar off the east coast of continental Africa, but in the settlers’ time red bush and vanilla was nothing but a wild and fragrant dream. Wake up and smell the vanilla.

Vanilla Flavoured Rooibos Infusion

A gorgeous and subtle mix of sweet orange and light clove notes make for a naturally caffeine free, delicious and bright infusion with excellent antioxidant properties.

Meanwhile, mixing cool peppermint – often used in North African cuisine – with Rooibos tea grown in the Cederberg area of the Western Cape unites two Mediterranean climates half a world away from each other.

Minty Rooibos Tea

Make sure your everyday is as good as it can be with this delicious tea. Adding a sweet minty flavour to the malty, earthy Red Bush, this tea is perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or a relaxing evening drink. Get your hands on our 1kg bag of Minty Rooibos tea and enjoy a cup whenever you want.

From pick-me-up to put-me-down, Rooibos is the perfect calming blend. After a hard day shouting at ostriches on the veldt, the Red Bush drinker wants nothing more than to relax into the evening, rejuvenate and wind down for the next day’s ostrich intimidation. Fortunately, Rooibos is versatile enough to mix beautifully with aromatic herbs, fruits and flowers for a soothing cuppa.

Aromatic Luxe Red Bush Tea

Find your perfect night-time tea. This delicious infusion is the perfect partner to help you relax and rejuvenate after a hard day. Blended with soothing Rooibos and aromatic lavender, apple and orange, it’s a wonderfully warming tea that will help you to both relax and rejuvenate. Our Tea Masters add just enough apples to complement the earthy notes of the rooibos, making for a deliciously clean but comforting cuppa with warming aromas.

Rooibos Tea Cosy Blend

This winter blend of red bush tea, cinnamon orange, almond cloves and cornflowers is a tea cosy for your mind. An inspiring brew to battle the cold with confidence, so you can go about your day.

We have yet more delicious blends of Rooibos tea on the way, from a pirate-inspired blend of spiciness to a liquid gold infusion as lavish as watching the sun set over the Great Karoo.

Spiced Pirate’s Rooibos Tea

A Rooibos pirate blend that it is one-part ahhh and one-part arrrr! With cinnamon, blackberry leaves, orange blossom, safflower petals, clove buds, cardamom and ginger extract, this treasure chest of Rooibos and spice is a pirate’s punch of flavour where X marks – but T hits – the spot.

All Seasons Luxe Red Bush Tea

A deluxe wrap-around warming blend of Rooibos, with the added spicy tang of cinnamon orange, the sweet, smooth textures of almond cloves and cornflowers. A comforting, tranquil cup for all seasons.

Another Mother Nutty Rooibos 

Still naturally caffeine-free, Another Mother is a nuttier alternative to our flagship South African Rooibos infusion. With excellent antioxidant properties and a delicious, sweet orange and light clove character, Another Mother pours as a liquor as bright and rich as a South African sunset.

What is Bubble Tea?

And do you have the tapioca balls for Boba? 

Bubble Tea, or Boba, shops have become the High Street’s latest fashionable infestation and the kids – not forgetting men-children with messenger bags and grown-gurls – are loving it too. Here at I Love Decaf, we support the wilder edges of tea drinking where our broad selection of decaf and no-caf can bring something extra to the mix.

What is Bubble Tea or Boba?

Bubble tea is evolved from iced white tea – a popular drink in East Asia – but also contains a measure of tapioca. Before Boba, tapioca was a common ingredient of hot desserts in Asia, but sometime in the mid to late 1980s a dessert merchant in a Taiwanese night market added it instead to chilled milk tea – a local favourite often made with condensed, evaporated, whole or soya milk. The new drink quickly became popular and spread rapidly to other Asian countries. 

It’s a craze that has taken quite a long time to get to the west. While the first bubble tea was brewed in Taiwan in the mid to late 1980s, it took until 2003 for London’s Chinatown to get its first Boba shop. The most recent spread now sees Boba bubbling up in every city in Europe and North America. And that just means it’s time to bring it to the decaf mainstream right now.

Flexi-bubble tea

One of the best things about bubble tea is that it is very flexible. Those first brews of Boba were made using black, green and oolong tea varieties. But there’s nothing stopping you from trying almost any tea or infusion in your own bubble tea. In Boba culture, creativity and experimentation is encouraged – it’s how the entire world of bubble tea came into being, after all.

Bubble tea with tea oil

One option is to flavour your bubble tea with tea oils. I Love Decaf has dozens of flavours of tea oil with many organic choices. You should use a single drop per pot – tea oil is super concentrated – but it’s one of many ways to put your own stamp on bubble tea.

There are no rules to decaf bubble tea

There are no rules, there are infinite recipes, but there are some guidelines. The bubbles in bubble tea aren’t really bubbles as you probably imagine them. For one thing, they are slightly chewy and that’s because they are made of black tapioca pearls. You can get these from any Asian supermarket, or they are also readily available online. They need to be lightly boiled for 5 minutes to get that perfect slightly chewy texture – sometimes known as ‘QQ’. 

Generally, the process is as follows.

  1. Bring the tapioca pearls to boil and simmer for five minutes
  2. Steep the tea at the same time
  3. Sieve the tapioca and sweeten it in a bowl (or leave as is)
  4. Let everything cool to ambient room temperature.
  5. Add a spoonful of tapioca pearl mix to the bottom of a cup or glass
  6. Add a single drop of tea oil to a full pot
  7. Pour in the tea over the tapioca, leaving room for milk, coconut, soya or regular milk
  8. Add a few cubes of ice 
  9. Add milk, cream, condensed or evaporated, nut milk, soya milk, whatever floats your boat.

What milk, how you sweeten the drink and what tea you use are all up to you. You could try a red berry fruit tea or bubble-up an odd cuppa of lemon and apple. Or stick with standard black, oolong or green decaf, it’s entirely up to you.

Decaf Peppermint Tea – What’s That About?

The crisp and sweet, airy tang of peppermint tea is one of the most vibrant and punchy of all herbal infusions and, like all such teas, proper peppermint tea is decaf. You will find a few peppermint brews around that are tributes to the way North Africans always added mint to their food and drink. When Europeans first took tea across the Mediterranean to Morocco, the locals blended it with mint, making it as Moorish as it is moreish. Tea blended in this way will be caffeinated to some extent, depending on the blend.

Pure peppermint tea is as it should be, made only with Mentha piperita leaves from the world’s freshest corners. Proper peppermint tea, which is properly pepperminty contains no tea at all. 

Got it. So, peppermint tea is decaf? Right?

No. Not quite. Peppermint tea is un-caffeinated. Peppermint has no caffeine in it at all. You can’t decaffeinate something that has no caffeine in it in the first place. That’s just silly.

All that aside, the purity of peppermint tea is important because it has been shown to have several benefits from digestive problems to relief of migraines, as well as its ability to help with blocked noses. That little wafer-thin mint on your plate after a restaurant blow-out is not there by accident and neither is the menthol oil that relieves nasal congestion like a boss. We can’t make health claims because of ‘the man’, but we all know what’s right.

Peppermint tea is not tea either

Strictly speaking, it is a herbal infusion. Tea is different: Black, green, white and oolong tea all come from the leaves of varieties of a kind of camelia bush or, rather, rows and rows of camelia bushes. Camelia sinensis is an evergreen shrub, native to Southeast Asia. Blend those leaves with mint leaves and switch the kettle on and you’ll have a caffeinated drink, just like those Europeans taking tea across the Mediterranean. It’s a bit like those pan-faced telly chefs who insist on adding ‘a twist’ to traditional recipes by sprinkling balsamic vinegar, yuppie sauce or liquid nitrogen into the pot.

We have shown decaf peppermint tea cannot be decaffeinated because it contains no caffeine at all, and it cannot be said to be tea because there is no tea in it. Which only leaves the crisp and sweet, airy tang of peppermint behind.

If you’d like your own crisp, sweet and airy properly pepperminty peppermint ‘tea’, then take a look at I Love Decaf’s ballistic Intercontinental Peppermint Tea – as well as our Moorish blend of peppermint and decaf, Menthol Health Tea. Get yours while it’s cool.

Does Coffee Have More Caffeine Than Tea?

We’ve all heard the old chestnut that tea contains more caffeine than coffee, but is it true or false? The answer is that it is both true and false at the same time. We should explain.

Before it is brewed, a tea leaf typically contains about 2-3 times as much caffeine as a coffee bean. Once you compare the average caffeine content of a cup of tea and a cup of coffee, however, coffee wins hands down with approximately twice the amount of caffeine than black tea. 

What about different kinds of tea and coffee, eh, eh?

Keep your knickers on, tiger. Perhaps you should be cutting down on caffeine. Not all coffee is created equal. Fine ground coffee as you might use in a high-pressure espresso machine will yield five times more caffeine per ml than coarse ground coffee from a French press. But, unless you double-shot your way through the day, your caffeine intake from a 30ml espresso will be less than a full mug of French press brew.

Tea gauge

There are differences, also, in tea brews – from the cup of tea that your partner drinks, where, ideally, a tea bag is wafted over the cup in a less-than-vigorous fashion, to Yorkshire builders’ tea that looks as though it has been drained from the engine of a rusty Transit van.

The secret of soap opera tea

Whenever there’s a soap opera crisis brewing, the aftermath will always feature a pot of tea. There’s a lot of truth in the observation that a nice, hot cup of tea will put the world to rights. Tea contains its own stimulant, L-theanine, said to help ease stress and anxiety as well as reduce insomnia. Sipping on a fresh cuppa really can be relaxing.  A study even found that people who experienced higher blood pressure discovered L-theanine helped reduce the increase in blood pressure. And because L-theanine stimulates without raising cortisol, the body’s natural stress hormone, the way that coffee does, tea can even help you sleep more soundly. The welcome surprise is that tea’s L-theanine is not removed by decaffeination. Decaf can still be used to dramatic effect after your pub landlord has gone postal with a baseball bat, the hospital has exploded, or there has been a murder or similar feature-length episode of festive trauma and ill-will.

Apart from L-theanine, your decaf cuppa also contains plenty of antioxidants which may well lower the risk of diabetes and strokes, as well as combat free radicals and slow the wear and tear on your DNA. Any tea is a healthy choice because of its antioxidants, but herbal teas that are naturally uncaffeinated are the best choice of all. As far as drinks are concerned, only tea made from the leaves of the tea plant camelia sinensis contain L-theanine, but a cup of chamomile is a great aid for restful sleep, well known, as it is, for its relaxing effects. 

To find out more about I Love Decaf’s teas and herbal teas, look around our online shop.