In order to celebrate National Chocolate Week…
…this post will not feature the slightest reference to the crack cocaine that is the cocoa bean that everyone has been wanging on about today (and rightfully so – chocolate is sex in edible form…and a whole lot cheaper and less messy). Not a sniff. Nada. So, now I have crushed your sugary hopes like discovering Ryan Gosling is a show-er not a grower, I will build them back up again. I solemnly swear to cram Saturday’s blog full of milk chocalate-y, glucose fuelled, cacao covered wet dreams and #chocgasms as I have a date at Cocoa Wonderland with the delectable Michael from Hashtag Tea Club as part of our Texas Chai-saw Massacre Tea Crawl. I imagine the an-tea-cipation for said chocolate b-log is like a heterosexual female or homosexual male (or indeed any other sexuality and gender binary you choose) arriving home to find Ryan Gosling naked on your dining room table sporting a melted Cadbury’s Dairy Milk wetsuit, Mint Aero jockstrap and Curly Wurly nipple tassels. Delightful – despite his small Twirl finger.
Now that I have let you chocolate fiends down gently, welcome to my critique of my new favourite haunt, my partner in crime and the spiffingly splendid Mugen Tea House (MGT). As I keep trying to convince you all to visit by attending our upcoming Octeaber Tea Tastings, I thought it was about time that I give you the hard, fast but sensual sell of the wonderful establishment itself. On with the review!
My brother made the quite spectacular decision to move to Los Angeles on the back of his Star Wars game peripherals business going exponential. Who would have thought that the disposable income of acne ridden, socially awkward and probably virginal Star Wars buffs who spunk their TIE fighter fuel into their Princess Leia pillows every night, was so lucrative. Anyway, this caused for a drunken celebration and send off of Death Star proportions. (Stay with me – this will lead to a Mugen Tea House visit I promise). After one too many rum and cokes, Sex on the Beaches and Explosive Pink Pussies, my brother gets around to eventually giving a shit about my life after being wrapped up in his LA LA Land adventure:
Brother: ‘So how’s all this tea blog bollocks going anyway?’
Me: ‘Yeah, pretty good. I think I might be arrested for slander or production of offensive material in the near future, but people seem to like it. Hopefully the smokescreen of smut, innuendos and outrageous references to Christina Hendricks’ milk jugs will throw them off the scent that I know as much about tea as the Pope has a vintage Playboy collection.’
Brother: ‘Riiiiighht. So where is this all going…like why have you stopped washing, socialising and drinking anything other than tea to write this dross?’
Me: ‘Errrr…honestly? It keeps me entertained whilst Steph is shooting gang members, making strippers perform fellatio on one another and punching pedestrians in the knackers on GTA. And I wouldn’t mind doing something good with it y’know…like a chari-tea thing.’
Steph chimes in: ‘Firstly, strippers aren’t pieces of MEAT.God, you call yourself a feminist?! They have names…I banged Lesqueesha and Shania last night, hussies that they are. Secondly, you should totally do something for charity…with a punny name. What about…OCTEABER?!’ *Elegantly falls off high stool pissing herself laughing, snorting WKD out of her nose*
Me: ‘Ridiculous idea – it would never work. What would I even DO? Write a blog a day? Make people drink an unhealthy amount of tea AND pay me for the privilege?! What smacked off their tits imbecile would sign up to that?!’
The rest is history. It is Ms Teabag Titwank’s fault that I have not washed since the beginning of Octeaber and smell like a musty tea sack, have a pile of washing up that Kim and Aggie from How Clean Is Your House would have an apoplexy (or cleangasm) over AND (promised this would link up eventually) led me to visit MGT for the first time. After pitching my crazy idea on Twitter, Sarah – owner of MGT – got in touch to wax lyrical about the number of beltin’ brews she had on her menu from The Tea Experience and Cheshire Tea Company – over 30 no less – and we got chatting about a tea challenge. Emboldened by my new Twitter friends – who seem to be infinitely more intelligent, witty and photoshop better looking than my real human ones – I donned my Superdry dyke boots, packed my travel tea infuser and became a bus wanker with the rest of the unfortunate souls on the peasant wagon, in search of the promised land: Mugen Tea House
Even before I set foot on my journey to MGT, I already had a sneaking suspicion it would be my cup of tea. ‘Mugen’ itself means dream in Japanese (and is also a Japanese video game character, martial art fighting style and brand of laptop battery, my bezzie Google tells me), and the line up of teas that Sarah had already alluded to did indeed sound as dreamy as Kate Beckinsale in her Underworld leathers. *Sigh*. Secondly, this was infini-tea-ly easier to find than a concealed clitoris. If only a lady love button was a simple left off a main road, opposite a large hotel and PAINTED BRIGHT YELLOW, just so you couldn’t miss it or mistake it for a flap. Yes, MGT really is the best tea house you haven’t been to yet, and more hospitable than your standard female sensual garden too I assure you – at least I got a cuppa and a sit down for my effort at Mugen…
Located at the front of The Hide space – another wonderful treasure trove of events, culinary delights and general hang out of interesting folk – MGT is a quaint haven away from the bustling city centre, which is surprisingly only a stone’s throw away at a 5 minute walk from the Cathedral, and 8 minutes 49 seconds from the Arts Tower at the University of Sheffield (look, I bought a new stopwatch to keep an eye on my beverage brewing times, alright!?). My first tentative step into this sacred place of brew worship was like stepping into your Nan’s nostalgically British front room with its mismatched tables, alluringly comfortable Chesterfield sofas, and an overwhelming array of vintage china that would make an Oxfam volunteer quiver and was just gagging for a pretentious aerial Instagram shot. BUT, this was like your Nan’s front room had been decorated by Liam Gallagher in the vein of his Pretty Green fashion label: mod-like, hip-cool and welcomingly edgy…like it might head butt you for looking at it funny, but dust you off afterwards, apologise fastidiously and then offer you a cuppa as recompense. In the words of Forrest Gump; ‘I liiikkkeedd it A LOT.’
I was greeted by Sarah’s instantly heartwarming Wakefield drawl (she has an incredibly endearing shy greeting for every tea pilgrim who bursts through her doors), some chilled out Jazz choons – but not in the pretentious polo neck wearing sense – and FREE samples of chocolate cherry brownies made by Sarah’s very own and exceptionally talented hands. Yes folks. FREE CAKEY GOODNESS! Many repeat visits have also taught me that Sarah always has some irresistible tasters for patrons to try; I have had scrumptious almond cake, yummy pecan brownies, and gargantuan granola slices flavoured with the sweat of Christina Hendricks (perhaps), just to name a few. I repeat, MUGEN IS A GIGALO FOR GRATIS GINGERBREAD, A PIMP FOR COMPLIMENTARY PANETONNE and a FLOUSY FOR FREE FRUITCAKE! For the love of cake, check it out.
There is also a mouth watering selection of sandwiches and nibbles too, all made with local Sheffield produce from Porter Brook Deli and Seven Hills Bakery and even gluten and moo moo juice averse options. This is a local tea shop, for local dietary challenged people, with non of the inbred snobbery and serial killing that you associate with such places akin to Royston Vasey. I hope you like the League of Gentleman, otherwise that just sounds like a place to avoid on the outskirts of Barnsley.
We were off to a winning start then; MGT had made me feel: a) like I was in Oasis’ parlour that made me cooler than Liam Gallagher smoking dope in an ice box; b) giddy with joy at enjoying an on the house sugar injection; and c) slightly teagasmic as I noticed the row upon row on loose leaf beau-teas flashing their naughty bits at me behind the counter, which may as well have had a stripper pole and spotlights on it as the selection of tea was that FIT. I was in love.
MGT’s selection of the best caffeinated nectar is second to none, unparalleled by any other cafe in Sheffield – and I am not just saying this because Sarah has been fantastically generous with all her support of Octeaber. Go and see for yourself. I was almost reduced to tea-rs as there was so much choice…and as I was still coming to terms with a difficult break up with my long term love Jolly Brew’s Mint Chocolate Royale (I reached the end of my stash and pay day was a long way off – a sad and Bridget Jones watching day in the Witch household). From delicate Chinese Senchas, via fragrant Rose Pouchongs, to hearty Assams and chai blends, The Tea Experience and Cheshire Tea Company offerings at MGT are both vast and delicious. I haven’t got through them all yet, but you can always join me on Saturday 24 October for our fundraising Little Tea Shop of Horrors tea tasting to see me attempt all of them in one sitting, probably break down with caffeine poisoning and exhaustion, and then pros-tea-tute meself out to encourage you lot to cheat brew-induced death too. What’s not to like?!
What is also wonderful about the tea selection is Sarah’s knowledge, passion and all round ‘bumming off’ of the blends she serves. Ex president of Sheffield University’s Tea Society, she knows her shit and makes fantastic recommendations based on your taste or what you fancy. Like the best brew-pushers, she is also not afraid to push you out of your comfort zone to try something new; she has taken my comment ‘I think green tea generally tastes worse than what I imagine Yoda’s pre-cum would be like’ as a personal challenge to get me to try it. She will even tuck you in if you accidentally fall asleep on one of her comfy armchairs, the Florence Nightingale of cuppas that she is. Top tea, top lady.
Do you like a nice tea, served by a nice lady in a nice setting? Do you like FREE cake on the regs? Are you narcoleptic and need somewhere to nod off without feeling judged, getting an oversized cock and balls drawn on your face in Sharpie pen AND having a selection of psychedelic blankets to cradle you during your adventures in slumberland? Then you had best get your arse down to Mugen Tea House…or maybe wait a short while and come on 24 October, 2-4pm to try every single tea on offer, raise some mullah for SYEDA and watch me have a tea/blogging/clitoral navigation related nervous breakdown.
REMEMBER WHY WE ARE DOING THIS…
CONTINUE TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT BY DONATING ONLINE AT THE JUSTGIVING PAGE, ATTENDING SOME OF THE MUGEN TEA HOUSE FUNDRAISING TEA TASTING EVENINGS, AND GET INVOLVED WITH THE TWITTER HYPE!
Check back tomorrow for the next Octeaber blogging challenge instalment!