Octeaber: Jolly Brew Pukka Pumpkin Spice & the Roger Federer of Squash*

*Potentially next instalment of Harry Potter series – JK and I are bezzies for lyf don’t you know, we have such a similar writing style apparently.

The Tale

It’s been four long months. 121 agonising days. 2920 tortuous hours. Since…

…you last won at squash. (Not what you were expecting? You sick puppies!) Every week she has beaten you, no, DESTROYED you and yes, you can assume that your tormentor is Steph the ‘PG Prozzie’ herself. She will love the fact that this is now public knowledge on the Internet, the squash victory showboating whore that she is (I love her dearly by the way, this name calling is actually part of our elaborate – and not dissimilar to Fresh Prince of Bel Air Carlton’s happy dance – mating display).

EVERY WEEK you have been annihilated. Twice a week sometimes. Without fail. You have tried everything: extra practice, distraction tactics bordering on the obscene, AND even alternative therapies involving being hit in the squash balls by a frustrated Reiki instructor whilst shouting ‘I AM THE ROGER FEDERER OF SQUASH…because I don’t know any famous squash players, and I don’t want to be the dense Nadal, personality bypass Murray, or bloody boring Djokavic’. All of these methods have made bugger all difference, made you feel like a royal tit (I do wonder what Kate Middleton’s mammories would say if they could talk…), and left you persistently victory-less. Even winning a point would feel as good as winning the prosperi-tea lottery, where the prize was a lifetime of decent brews.

So imagine your elation, your unbridled joy, your almost teagasmic ecstasy when one brisk Sunday morning after being forced at racquet point to play Ms ‘Team Teabagging’ again, you don’t disgrace yourself on the court. And I don’t mean that you have managed to keep your ‘squash balls’ in your ‘gym bags’ for once. No, you actually play…quite well. You win a point-almost as surreal an experience as being served a decent loose leaf tea by a server called Keith in a Little Chef. You go on to win an ENTIRE GAME. Shit, what’s happening?! Finally, after blood, sweat and caffeine infused tears, you only go and bloody DRAW the match! A DRAW! Finally the self esteem crumbling squash humiliation has ENDED(ish).

You know what you are going to do to celebrate. You have been planning it ever since you had your first multiple teagasm experience with Mint Choc Royale a few weeks ago, and still relive in your fantasies every day. Yes, you are going to sit in your sweaty squash undies in full view of the neighbours, have a Hobnob (other biscuit brands are available…but they pale in comparison to this oaty God – don’t bother), and indulge in the sensual flavours of Jolly Brew’s Pukka Pumpkin Spice. And nothing – not even an indecent exposure charge – can stop you.

The Tea

So this is the entirely true situation that I found myself in when trying Jolly Brew’s Pukka Pumpkin Spice for the first time this morning. Although, the inability to find a tea spoon did stall me for ten minutes as I rooted around in the bottomless pit of the ‘shit drawer’ where I found a defunct nose trimmer, a flyer from an Elvis tribute act that looked as much like Elvis as I look like Morgan Freeman with a boob job, and an inexplicable house key that I have never known what it’s used for and hold on to the childish ideal that it will be the key to Narnia. Eventually I did find one behind the sink, but I had obviously reached a new tea-addiction low and teaspoon predicament before: this teaspoon was a stolen teaspoon. From a hospital. Probably from a convalescing patient’s wheelie side drawer. Twisted tea leaf that I am.

Teaspoon Tea Leaf
Teaspoon Tea Leaf

Team Jolly’s flavoured black tea has a serious trio of the Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney of leaves ranging from Indian Assam, to those from Nuwara Eliya Tea Plantation in Sri Lanka and the Nandi Highlands in Kenya. Even I’m moderately convinced I sound like I know what I am talking about…or am at least technologically literate enough to navigate Jolly Brew’s beautiful website. This strong striker line up is supported by apple and orange pieces (Lee Dixon), cinnamon (Tony Adams), nut extract (Sol Campbell), hibiscus (Martin Keown), calendula (Dennis Bergkamp) and sunflower petals (Freddie Ljunberg). I know, I’m surprised too: not that can I remember my Arsenal dream team lineup of 2001, but THERE IS NO PUMPKIN?! Did Team Jolly lose it in their shit drawer too?! OR maybe where all much needed items are eventually found years after the heated arguments, house ransacking and life threatening ordeals navigated to find them…the lining of the sofa?! I needn’t have worried though; my brew did magically taste of a witch’s favourite eau de toilette when on the pull.

The Taste

As I ripped open my sampler still pumped from my squash success, I took in a heady whiff of cinnamon and citrusy spice with chocolate-like undertones. Whilst this did not induce the premature tea-jaculation of Jolly Brew’s Mint Choc Royale, it certainly did make me warm in my special tea place and salivate to try it. After brewing the Pukka Pumpkin Spice for the allotted three – seven minutes (I always go for the middle ground of five minutes, which probably tells you all sorts about my conformist, risk averse and control freak psyche-thanks parents!), I had a sip of this cup of liquid Autumn. BAD MOVE! TEA ABORT! BREW BAIL! All I could taste was a mouthful of nutty, Cavonia strength black tea. Always read the label: ‘Best with milk and sugar’ the packet told me afterwards, in the voice of a jobs-worth self service supermarket checkout. Thank god; I was worried that I was going to have to tell my favourite Tea Pimps Jolly Brew that I didn’t like one of their best girls.

So I added the recommended milk and sugar. I even had two cups to make up for my heinous earlier mistake. And…I would certainly request the company of Pukka again at the pleasure house of Jolly Brew, and ask for all the extras. The addition of milk and sugar was like the equivalent of giving Valium to a frazzled single mother working five jobs to support her demanding kids; the creaminess of milk calmed down the initial overpowering flavours so they could function together properly. I was treated to a smooth, earthy and rich pumpkin flavour to begin with, that then worked through to a wholesome, slightly sweet and nutty after taste that did make me feel ‘warm from the inside out’ as Team Jolly assured me I would. I even had a pretty respectable teagasm. Perfect for a bracing Octeaber morning and post squash come down. This tea would work even better as a frothy latte I think, as the creamy milk  draws out the spicyness of the blend. I sincerely hope Team Jolly bring out a guide on how to treat their new gal on the block properly (hint hint ;)!).

Excuse my double mugga pukka
Excuse my double mug’o pukka

T’VERDICT

I liked this tea. It’s a good quality brew made by some very lovely chaps who I have a fully fledged girl-crush on. However, I didn’t love this tea; I’m personally not a massive fan of pumpkin flavoured things and Pukka Pumpkin Spice was always going to have a lot of work to do to beat my muse, my sensational lover and long term life partner, Mint Choc Royale. But, as some extra-marital and seasonal entertainment, I highly recommend that you give it a chai; you might be begging the Jolly Pimps for exclusive access to Mistress Pukka, and a try of their oversized fir coat and cane.

REMEMBER WHY WE ARE DOING THIS…

CONTINUE TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT BY DONATING ONLINE AT THE JUSTGIVING PAGE, ATTENDING SOME OF MUGEN TEA HOUSE AND I’S FUNDRAISING TEA TASTING EVENINGS, AND GET INVOLVED IN THE TWITTER HYPE!

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the next instalment of my daily blog Octeaber challenge!

Do your bit mugga cuppas-put the ‘tea’ in chari-tea!

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