Want to drink less caffeine, without sacrificing the specialist tea experience?
Guest blogger Tim Gibson embarks on a caffeine-free journey of exploration, to see what Cup of Tea can provide.

My name is Tim Gibson, and I haven't drunk caffeine for three years, one month and two days. After years of caffeinated living, I went cold turkey on the stuff in 2009. I emptied my cupboards of caffeine, cleared out my caddies and readied myself for a new way of un-stimulated living.
The lack of caffeine I can live with. It turns out that I don't need it to get me through the day. But I do miss the social side of hot-drink drinking. You know, gathering around a tea pot as it gently puffs a damp mist of green tea from its spout, or the soothing clink of cup on saucer as you offer your vessel for a refreshing refill of Darjeeling.
For three years, I've stood by while friends and family, colleagues and collaborators indulge in moments of caffeinated solidarity. I've peered from the side lines while they chuckle and nudge, laugh and banter around their shared refreshment. And meanwhile, my own sorry cup has swilled with the nondescript grey liquid that passes for mass-produced decaff tea.
Until now. Because I've discovered that caffeine-free living needn't be a bore. And, with a bit of imagination, your tea-drinking experience can be every inch as fulfilling as that of your caffeinated chums.

If culinary adventure isn't your thing, then stick with decaffeinated Sumatran tea . Like most of its caffeine-free range, Cup of Tea sells this in handy teavelopes. It's by far the nicest decaff black tea I've tasted, and the first in my caffeine-free career that I haven't needed to douse with sugar to make palatable.
For a richer flavour experience, don't limit yourself to tea with the caffeine removed. There are plenty of teas that never had caffeine in them in the first place - and all of them offer an enjoyably vivid tickle of your tastebuds.

One of my favourites is Lemon Sky - a delicious fruit infusion that tingles on your tongue and enlivens your senses more than any caffeine hit could do. I'm also a major fan of Winterdream , which combines the smokiness of Rooibos with a caramel and clove flavour that's the liquid equivalent of a fleece blanket.
If you're into Rooibos, I can recommend more or less any of Cup of Tea's range of Rooibos loose teas , especially Rooibos Vanilla (also available as a teavelope ) and Rooibos Hot Chocolate . The latter combines Rooibos with Irish Cream and a hint of vanilla. It's smoother than an evening with Harry Connick Jr.

Then you've the tried-and-tested brews like palate-cleansing Peppermint , summery Rose Hip and chilled-out Camomile . All of them offer a tea-drinking experience that is by turns sublime, refreshing, and deeply satisfying.

If you can't choose which caffeine free tea is right for you, you can order from a range of caffeine free collection boxes , in metal or wood . These provide a chance to sample a variety of flavours - meaning there's no excuse not to experience the joy of caffeine free tea for yourself. And when you do, you have my word that you're in for a very pleasant surprise.

5th July 2012

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