“ Brand: Tea Time / Type: Utensil „
Tea Time Biscuit Coasters and Spoon Set
Have you ever used a biscuit as a coaster for your cup of coffee? Or perhaps used one to stir your tea? The answer doesn't need to be yes to realise what a bad idea either of these things might be. But, thanks to the Tea Time Favourites collection these seemingly hare-brained ideas are now feasible - well, sort of.
Being a sucker for a novelty item I couldn't resist this set when I first saw it, despite not being in any dire need for another coaster or teaspoon in my home.
== Contents ==
Included in the excitingly presented, but overly packaged, set are two circular rubber coasters each measuring 9 cm in diameter - one in the design of a Rich Tea and the other resembling a Chocolate Digestive. Also included are two teaspoons each with a plastic handle representing two more biscuits - the Bourbon biscuit and one of those hugely masculine pink wafer varieties.
== Coasters ==
The coasters look quite realistic despite being made from a less-than-edible rubber material. The colours are pretty spot on in my opinion, with both coasters close to their realistic hues. They are however slightly larger than their real-life counterparts but not so much so that the novelty is lost. Obviously they're not going to fool the intelligent members of society, especially upon closer inspection, but given only a furtive glance or a peripheral glimpse then they do look like biscuits.
I really like the accurate detail on the coasters which I think adds to the overall effect and quality. The chocolate digestive replica has a raised up lattice effect whilst the other coaster has recessed lettering and small surface holes. The chocolate digestive actually looks like a chocolate digestive should look. The chocolate lattice is neat and uniform whereas the rather sad biscuit reality is a slightly melted and often unappealing chocolate smear. On the other coaster, the words 'Round Biscuits' are accurately copied in the same style as the true biscuit but unfortunately, rather than reading Rich Tea across the centre, the writing instead gives the game away by reading 'Tea Time' instead. Not a brand of biscuits I ever remember eating but this is just a small grievance.
Fortunately, the good points don't stop at the appearance. The coasters actually... erm coast, exceptionally well. Being rubber, they are non-slip and stay rooted to my table-top without sliding (a useful property to avoid hot tea and coffee going over the floor). The tops of the coasters are equally good, holding mugs, glasses and bottles in place with ease.
The only slight negative I have with the coasters is that they can be a little difficult to clean. The rubber is not the easiest wipe-clean surface when tea and coffee stains inevitably appear. Also, because of the latticed and pitted surface effect of each coaster, dried stains can prove stubborn and difficult to remove. Washing them in a bowl of hot soapy water seems to do the trick though and I find that they dry very quickly on their own as well.
At 9cm wide, there is great scope for what can be placed on the coasters. I don't have any issue with any of my mugs fitting on the surface; even one of my large novelty mugs with a large base fits on easily. Whether it be a mug of tea, a glass of water, or a bottle or coke (plastic or glass) they all sit on the coaster's generous base size easily. I am even able to fit the odd bowl of cereal on one of the coasters for the times when the table place mats go walkabout.
== Spoons ==
I have to say, I initially bought the set for the coasters - the spoons were just an added bonus. However, I soon grew very fond of the teaspoons and they are now my favourite half of the collection.
The action-part of the teaspoons (the spoon end) are like any other teaspoon I own - stainless steel and the standard size for spooning sugar and coffee into a mug. The handles however are plastic and shaped liked biscuits (!) Like the coasters, the quality is also very good and I think they do look remarkably like the Bourbon and pink wafer biscuits they are imitating.
The 'Bourbon' has a sandwich style effect with small holes on the surface. Again, like the rich tea coaster, the words 'Tea Time' replace the true biscuit's name which is the only flaw in an otherwise excellent representation. The size is almost spot on and the colour is a good match too, although slightly on the smooth side for realism. Again, you will be hard pressed to fool someone enough into getting them to eat the handle but it is a great likeness of the instantly recognisable biscuit.
I have mixed feelings about the pink wafer biscuit. My masculine side deplores me to like this one but I can't help but love the novelty and charm of it. It is very similar in size to the Bourbon imitation and therefore is a little squatter than it should be. The raised lattice effect on either side is intact though and the edges of the handle are contoured to resemble the sandwich effect of the creamy filling. The detail is once again really accurate and makes for a high quality look.
Appearances aside, the teaspoons are also incredibly easy and fun to use. The chunky handles make them very easy to pick up and use when adding sugar or stirring a cup of tea for example. However, the handles are fairly low down on the spoon and as a result the handle will be partially submerged below the water line when stirring. Not a big problem but it does mean that the handles stain easily and because of their detailed surfaces, this makes them difficult to clean. I've tried with a scouring pad and still being unable to remove all the coffee stains so have given up. With more care though I'm sure I could get them as good as new - I just don't have the patience.
== Overall ==
I am a big fan of novelty items so it may come as no surprise that I love this set. The coasters and teaspoons are not only accurate representations of some of my favourite biscuits (I would have loved a third 'custard cream' teaspoon though) but they are also very effective. The coasters are as good as any other coaster I have with their non-slip qualities and wide drink-placing area and the teaspoons work as you would expect a teaspoon to work, only with more amusement. The small flaws such as the short metal part of the teaspoons and the slight cleaning difficulties are a small price to pay for a highly enjoyable product which no one else will have.
The coasters currently sit on my coffee table and don't look at all out of place whereas the teaspoons are regularly used alongside my other spoons in the kitchen cutlery drawer. I can appreciate that not everyone will see the appeal of this set but I really like them because they are quirky and out of the ordinary. I would have no hesitations in recommending the set if you can see a place for them in your home. They would also make a great gift and fall directly into the category of "what to buy the person who has everything?"
== Price/Availability ==
Whilst I initially bought my set from Hawkins Bazaar, they are now a little harder to find. The Tea Time Favourites set can however still be purchased from the following websites:
> allthingsgifts.co.uk £9.95 + £2.95 delivery (free delivery for orders over £40)
> shinyshack.com £12.99 with free delivery
The set is a little bit pricey for what essentially boils down to (pun intended) two coasters and two teaspoons. However for a novelty addition to the home I think it is definitely worth it and you will at last be able to stir your tea with a Bourbon without having to face the risk of the dreaded biscuit disintegration. After all, isn't that the Great British dream?
Thanks for reading :)