Today Tea Freaks, I’m going to be talking about tea’s cooler, better looking and more verile younger brother – Tey – pioneered by Massis Tea. Before you click the unfollow button as you think I’ve gone a loose leaf too far, Tey is a thing. An innova-tey-ve, groundbreaking and revolutionary thing. Tey is the (highly original…) name given to a new invention of loose leaf tea that is ground, processed and served like coffee. I know – mental. Naturally, when I heard about this I was thirsty to find out more. So, I courted Hov – the brains behind Massis Tea – via all social media channels imaginable with outrageous Tey puns, cheeky ban-tea-r and gratuitous shots of my mugs. Surprisingly (to me AND Hov), he FINALLY granted me an audience. Hard to get, my arse.
Now, I don’t brave London commuters, Covent Garden hipsters and in-tea-cent assault on the tube for just anyone. But Hov was totally worth it. He is undoubtedly one of the nicest people I have met in tea, and I have met a few, the brew whore that I am. Greeting me with a bone crushing hug (in a good way), an infectious enthusiasm for all things Tey and a kindred spirit for swear word usage, we settled down to wax lyrical about my new favourite poison of choice.
In testament to Hov’s previous life as a member of a mildly successful rock band (I KNEW I would find a cool tea aficionado eventually), I peppered him with music related questions to learn more about his mad scien-tey-ist idea.
1. What’s The Story Morning Glory: How did Massis begin?
We started at the very beginning (a very good place to start). Armed with every sweet item in Massis’ brew arsenal for me to try, Hov told me the story behind Tey as I attempted to listen and politely teygasm at the same time. After finishing his Biomedical degree, Hov decided that medicine was not for him. Good decision – he’s way too nice to regularly get covered in blood. Hov-iously, his next choice was world domination as a drummer in a semi-serious rock band, minus a drummer’s usual imbecility, dreadlocks and personal hygiene issues. (FYI, he smelled lovely). Yet, he found himself drawn to the business side of the music industry, rather than the gin, gigging and groupies of rock stardom. Hov decided to flex his business muscle in a more sustainable way and lay down his sweaty sticks to give birth to Massis instead. You couldn’t write it could you?
2. A Rush of Blood to the Head: Where did the idea for Tey come from?
Hov noticed that coffee drinkers could ‘hov their cake and eat it’ so to speak, with wide variety, high quality and availability of their beloved beans. When compared to tea, coffee lovers also have way more awesome places to drink it as prepared by trained baristas. Hov wanted to create the same culture, coolness and care around the humble tea brew. Why don’t people take loose leaf tea as seriously as coffee? Why can’t tea be processed and prepared with the same level of meticulousness and training? And why do coffee drinkers think tea sippers wear cardigans, smell like libraries and talk to cats? (We don’t by the way. I prefer dogs as conversation companions.)
And so, Hov set to work to revolutionise tea culture as we know it. The clever clogs only managed to patent a way to grind down a secret recipe of loose tea leaves like coffee beans, so that it can be passed through an espresso machine to create lattes, cold brews and even Hulk strength tea espresso shots. All with the same depth of flavour as coffee without all the nasty additives that some cafe chains rhyming with ‘Charbux’ like to use. The name for this wonderful concoction then is Tey, or tea that has done the Insani-tea workout programme for six months, got hench and is now modelling for Arman-tea. The name for the machine that produces it is also affectionately know as…THE TEY-MINATOR. Suck on that Coffee-C**tz!
Hov was generous enough to let me try…well…pretty much every Tey blend my heart desired (and stomach could take). I can confirm that Tey produces a more intense flavour – for lower calories too – than your average tea leaf pretenders and coffee based lattes. It was disconcerting to experience multiple teygasms in front of Massis’ owner, but hey, I’m an exhibi-tea-nist. From a Toffeenut Temptation Latte and a Ginger and Honey Iced Tey, to a Gingerbread Hug and Butterscotch with skinny milk, I teygasmed again. And again. And again. I think a little bit of wee came out, I was enjoying myself that much. The depth of flavour, vibrancy of aroma and expertly blended taste dimensions of the Tey base, milk, soda and/or homemade syrups, made for delicious brews all round. Although Hov is an avid fanboy for the bestselling Gingerbread Hug (which comes with a literal one if you ask nicely), I was taken by the understated Coconut Tey Latte. The delicate taste of coconut is difficult to combine in tea blends without it being overpowering or completely lost in black tea. However, the Coconut Tey Latte showcased the piquancy and complexity of flavour that Tey shots can deliver, resulting in a silky smooth, refined cup with the delicacy of a good Darjeeling. Sen-tey-tional.
3. Dear Future Husband: What’s next for Massis Tea and Tey?
At present, Tey (and to die for cakes from Madd) is available from the Madd Hatter’s Cafe at the Arts Theatre in Covent Garden, and select stockists and cafes around London and Brighton. As bloody usual, the southerners get all the good stuff, although I am making it my mission to get Tey to Winterfell AKA Sheffield. BUT, there is so much potential for Hov’s mas-tey-piece of a brew. Hov talked about expanding his repertoire of stockists – hopefully to us wildlings north of the wall – and a chain of Massis Tea cafes with highly trained Tey-minators crafting top quality Tey Lattes, cold brews and alcoholic Tey infusions to induce every kind of Tey-drunkeness. WIN! Hov also shared a top secret development in the pipeline that I can’t tell you about unfortunately, otherwise I would have to kill you. Slowly. With questionable use of a teapot spout. So don’t ask. Safe to say though, it sounds MEGA!
In the words of Peter Kay: Tey is a tey-ste sensation. It’s the future. Hov has created a product that showcases the versatility, multi-faceted taste combinations and bloomin’ deliciousness of the mild mannered tea leaf in an exciting new way. But Tey is so much more than that. Tey is also two fingers up to the coffee world that say tea is only for old people and is irrevocably lame. It is the bare arse to haters who herald ‘Charbux’ festive drinks as the only way to enjoy a milky beverage. Tey is the Jesus, the revolution and the saviour of the tea culture. Hov is singlehandedly bringing tea drinkers kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. I raise my mug to you sir – you hov my al-tea-giance forevermore.