For those of you who were expecting a middle aged man in his undies, sipping on a builder’s brew and dancing to Hot Chocolate…I am sorry to disappoint! However, if you are looking for a punchy, strong, loose leaf ‘Yorkshire Tea on steroids’ then do read on.
My first Arount the World in Eigh-tea Days (ATWin80) review starts in good ol’ Blighty, with Birdhouse Tea Company’s Full Monty blend. I have started with this tea to ease you in gently to the world of loose leaf brews if you aren’t quite committed to relinquish the tea bag yet. The Full Monty is the perfect introduction to those staunch believers in tea from sachets, only coming in the flavours of ‘strong’ or ‘middling’ and being drunk whilst sporting a ‘builder’s bum’/overcharging people for DIY services.
Don’t just take my word for it either; Birdhouse won a Great Taste Award 2015 for their signature blend, but also picked up an even greater accolade…they converted my partner Steph – Queen of ‘Any Old Tea Bag Will Do’ – to go cold turkey on her PG Tips addiction and finally take up the loose leaf tea mantle!
So, what’s all the fuss about then?
Flavour & brewing
The Full Monty has all that you want from a strong, full bodied tea full of northern soul. It is a black tea blend of small leaves from Assam and Kenya, and is part of Birdhouse’s Sheffield Collection that celebrates our local industrial past.
As you would expect then, it tastes exactly what you want a good Yorkshire tea to taste like; bold, slightly malty and has an ‘eeEE LASS WAKE UP!’ caffeine kick. But it also has an x-factor that your standard breakfast tea bag doesn’t have; it has a rich, silky smoothness that no tea bag could give you, and if you brew it for slightly longer than the recommended 3 minutes it also takes on a spicy character.
Big question though: to milk or not to milk?! Well, Full Monty is proud to be northern, and no northern tea would be complete without some Our Cow Molly Sheffield Milk and a sprinkling of sugar. I have drunk it both ways, but it really does come into its own when drunk as a milky brew should and directly compared to a tea bag cuppa. The milk takes the edge off the bitterness (not a bad bitterness mind) and makes Full Monty even more flavourful and wholesome.
When to drink
The Full Monty is a perfect addition to breakfast-although not in the literal sense as if we spent breakfast stripping rather than sipping we would never get anything done. It’s caffeine content and big flavour pairs well with slabs of white toast, bacon and egg for that comforting breaky pick me up. It’s al
so equally refined enough to go with Greek yoghurt, homemade muesli and/or fruit if you are dashing out in the morning but have time to Instagram the hell out of your hipster lifestyle. No shame in that-we all do it!
I personally love it on lazy Sunday mornings, with a face mask in bed whilst wearing oversized marvel t-shirts…y’know, like a proper builders’ tea should be enjoyed!
The verdict: qualitea or move oolong?
The Full Monty is the perfect all round tea, for when you are craving a bit of comfort and you know exactly what will hit the spot. It’s the kind of tea you need when you feel ill and want a cuddle in a mug; or when you have a problem that can only be solved over a cuppa, biscuit and natter with your mom; or, simply, when you want to wake your ass up in the morning. It isn’t a tea you would get out to impress people or to celebrate; it’s the kind of work horse tea that you employ to comfort a friend, soothe the soul or – most importantly – get shit done!
And for these reasons, Birdhouse Tea Company’s Full Monty gets my qualitea seal of approval. Do you agree? Any recommendations for food pairings or another all round tea contender?
I’m off for a cuppa and to dance around a warehouse naked…maybe ;P!