Octeaber: Bluebird Tea Co. Bonfire Toffee & enforced hairdresser heterosexuality

The Tale

You stumble into the bathroom after one too many chai lattes the night before. You force your bleary, saucer-like eyes upwards to look in the mirror. You are horrified to see a caffeine hungover, rapidly ageing twenty-something with the appearance of ‘Cousin It’ from The Addam’s Family on an exceptionally bad hair day. Foxy look. You can’t face your adoring T’witchy fans this week looking like a poor drag interpretation of Tina Turner after a botched face lift- you are a local celebri-tea now, you are in the paper and on the radio and everything (Tuesday 27 October, 2:40 on BBC Radio Sheffield’s Paulette Edwards show…y’know, hypothetically). How could you sign adoring fans’ sizeable mugs using a brightly coloured Sharpie, with a mop that wouldn’t be out of place in the below the belt ‘special’ regions of a 1970s lady porn star waiting for the washing machine engineer to arrive?

As much as you hate it, you are going to have to brave the hairdressers. A place of fake tans, awkward make up tide marks and more bitchiness than the dressing room of a gay male cheerleading team with eyebrows that are so ‘on fleek’ they could cut steel. You can’t wait to spend an hour and twenty seven minutes of your life faking an obsessive love of the male jizz-totem, referring to your other half as Mr – rather than Ms – PG Poonami and pretending to give two shits about how hot Jay from The Wanted is on Strictly (I-think-of-it-to-stop-me) Come(ing) Dancing. SUCH FUN! But you face it; you endure relentless, vacuous questions about your last holiday; you endure your hairdresser mishearing your request for a ‘gentle trim’ as ‘shear my locks down to the scalp like Britney Spears in 2007’; AND you even endure the worst of the seven deadly sins…being made to drink a Tetley tea bag at scissor point. (I have found an excellent therapist – I am working through this traumatic experience one painful CBTea step at a time).

Somehow you survive the enforced heterosexuality, brain rotting small talk and assault on your wallet (£40.95!?!). You return to your perceived safe haven of your car to find the needle in the jockstrap of all motorists – a parking ticket – as you have outstayed your little white bay welcome by just under two minutes. TWO MINUTES. Not even enough time to brew a decent cuppa, send an offensive SnapChat of the desecration of a Yorkshire teabag  with bleach to #teaclub, OR even bang out a quick w-…AeroPress coffee. You need something to quash the rage that is boiling over inside of you, the blind anger that makes you want to trap the traffic warden’s – or should I say HEARTLESS BARS-TEA-RD’S –  tea infusers in a vice and joyfully squeeze them until their teapot spout turns royal blue and falls off. Unfortunately, coming by Tramadol at 4:02pm on Eccy Road is rather difficult. So, you settle on the next best thing – a brew to match your mood (and ideal woman) instead; strong, fiery and bittersweet. You know what will hit the spot and prevent you being arrested for the manslaughter of a road law enforcement officer; a Bluebird Tea Company Bonfire Toffee tea.

Fiery red-head of brews
Fiery red-head of brews

THE TEA

Indeed, being made to feel like the Myra Hindley of the traffic world led me to try Bluebird Tea Company’s Bonfire Toffee for the first time. Initially, I was concerned that Bluebird’s slogan – ‘spreading happiness one cup at a time’ – meant that the box of samples they kindly sent me might more closely resemble the exhibits from a National Association of Sperm Banks conference than loose leaf tea, but my concerns were unfounded. To my relief, they were yummy sachets of the most creative blends I have ever got my jammy, tea-stained paws on. As ‘Tea Mixologists’ (read mad scien-tea-ists), Bluebird have over 70 different cray cray infusions as wacky as Cara Delevingne’s above-eye forehead hair and thousands of different ways that you can brew them, from iced teas and tea cocktails, to brewing your favourite blend only on a Wednesday, upside down, wearing Spongebob Squarepants knickers and juggling baby racoons (maybe…). Their Bonfire Toffee is no exception (I have found Elmo pants on a Friday work best – brings out the depth of flavour); it juxtaposes Ceylon black tea, with real caramel and apple pieces and toasted cinnamon. Ramming my nozzer into the packet, I drunk in a heady aroma of what I imagine the love juice of a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Caramel would taste like after painstaking confectionary foreplay; Ceylon smokiness, earthy-sweet caramel and cinnamon, and fruity undertones of apple. I was already pre-empting a ferocious #teagasm.

THE TASTE

I was right to pre-empt such a #teagasmic experience. Upon brewing Bonfire Toffee for the prescribed four minutes and adding the recommended dash of milk (after the Jolly Brew Pumpkin Spice incident, I have learned to take the dictatorial tea packet instructions as seriously as Christina Hendricks’ Wikipedia page ), I enjoyed a sensually silky smooth and creamy brew that was like drinking rich – yet not sickly – molten caramel. Mixed with the citrus notes of the Ceylon and hint of fructose from the apple, this made for an explosion of incredibly well put together, delicate autumnal flavours in my uncouth cake-hole. It would go perfectly with a Bonfire night first date, as a brew that says: ‘I am as romantic as an Andrex puppy frolicking through autumn leaves in an idyllic forest’, to mask the reali-tea of: ‘I’m as randy as Hugh Heffner at a Victoria’s Secret lingerie launch and just want to get into your loose leaf pouch’. To paraphrase, it was lip smackingly good.

Best when wearing Elmo pants...
Best when wearing Elmo pants…

T’VERDICT

If you like the caffeine punch of a hearty English Breakfast tea, but are looking for something seasonal to satisfy a sweet craving, then Bluebird Tea Company’s Bonfire Toffee would be a no-brainer. Well mixed and complimentary flavours made for a satisfying, rich and wholesome brew for guaranteed pant-wetting #teagasms. It is also a great way to chase away those winter blues as the nights are drawing in and the temptation to spend your life in a Primani giraffe onesie. In sum – haircut: £40.95. Parking Ticket: £35. Being able to avoid imprisonment for ripping off a traffic warden’s knackers by drinking Bonfire Toffee instead: PRICELESS.

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!

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