We British love our tea. But like lots of things we love, we take it for granted.
I drink a lot of tea – usually four or five cups a day. It’d be fair to say I don’t put much effort into it. Usually it’s just a tea bag hastily tossed into a mug without much ceremony. Strong, black tea with a fair bit of full-fat milk. Which makes a sort of strong, peachy coloured brew. It’s familiar, comforting – but it isn’t exciting.
Now coffee, I only drink one cup of that a day and I get more excited about it: I meet people for coffee and coo over it. But why shouldn’t tea be like that too? I’ll always love tea more than coffee, so I think it’s about time it moved from the bottom of my drinks menu to the top.
When I was invited to a special tea party to celebrate the 10th birthday of teapigs I had a chance to remind myself why tea is so awesome. Teapigs have been heading a quiet revolution in tea for the last decade. It started with Louise and Nick in 2006, who had a mission to get the nation drinking real tea.
By real tea, I mean proper whole leaves. These taste great when they’re loose in a teapot. But this is a bit of a messy business. Which is fine on high days and holidays, but not particularly practical. But that doesn’t mean we only have to drink boring, dusty teabags all the time. Teapigs fill their special ‘tea temples’ with the very best whole leaf teas, pieces of fruit and herbs.
My favourite part of the afternoon at the teapigs HQ was the tea tasting. Louise taught us to slurp our tea like real tea tasters. And you can taste the difference. Like switching from black and white to technicolour. Their tea is intense and exciting – it elevated the contents of my cup into the main event, rather than a sideshow. We all loved the liquorice and mint tea which was a real showstopper.
Ten years on from their launch Nick and Louise are still every bit as passionate about tea as when they started out. Their mission remains the same, and their range of tea now includes all sorts of exciting things like matcha and they like to remind us that tea doesn’t just have to be drunk hot. At the party we drank prosecco mixed with chilled super fruit tea, which slipped down pretty nicely.
Basically, tea needs to stop being such a wallflower. Since hearing the wisdom of the teapigs team, I’ve been making more of an effort to drink at least one special, civilised cup of tea a day. Preferably with a piece of cake.
To celebrate their birthday teapigs have launched a special limited edition jelly and ice cream flavour tea. It’s every bit as scrumptious as it sounds – think strawberries and cream, with a lovely biscuity taste. It’s very soothing on a cold autumn day.
On the 2nd November 2016, teapigs will be hosting a free tea day across the country at railway stations and cafes. Click here to find your nearest cup of free teapigs tea!