HAPPY BREW YEAR ONE & ALL! What better way to overcome a hangover, drown out humiliating memories from last night (I danced to The Bangles with a tiny red-haired Chinese man), and stall your ‘New Year, New Brew’, than reviewing the best tea-related tomfoolery from 2015!
Before we start, I want to say a HUGE ‘ta v.much babs!’ to all of you Twitchers for your support from September 2015 to present. It has been a whirlwind four months of blogging, wringing my brain for every last tea pun imaginable, and avoiding arrest for in-tea-cent content publishing. I have been so humbled, honoured and…a tad scared by the love from the blogging community and Twitterverse, especially with nervous-breakdown inducing Octeaber. I can’t wait for more cray-tea adventures with you all this year (it’s now 2016 by the way, just in case you are still in a Prosecco haze), and seeing where the migh-tea brew will lead us! Hopefully not to prison…they do a shit cuppa there I hear. Anyway – seriously, THANK YOU 🙌.
As a nod to my Witchy alter-ego, awards are arranged into four categories:
- Hubble – Best Teas 2015, split into types
- Bubble – Best Brew Innovations 2015
- Toil – Best Tea Cafe 2015
- Trouble – Best Personali-tea 2015
Now, before you English degree nerds tell me my Shakespeare is incorrect, I KNOW it’s meant to be ‘double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble.’ But, it simply sounded shit, alright? I’m an ar-tea-st. I’m allowed ar-tea-stic license. So don’t you dare comment; I will garot you with your polo neck, and beat you with your oversized hipster glasses and handmade leather bag.
As your sleep deprived eyes probably can’t take a lot today, let’s get on with it!
1. Hubble – Best Teas 2015
- Best Breakfast Tea – T2 New York Breakfast
Such a hard decision as there are SO MANY amazing breaky brews out there. I chose T2’s blend as I reached for this the most on those cold winter mornings; it is a warming, beautifully balanced Assam & Keemum blend with delicate vanilla notes, and is versatile as a latte and even a food ingredient. Review to come soon…I’ve been too busy teagasming solo to write about it.
- Best Black Tea – Birdhouse Tea Company Full Monty
Malty, ballsy and to the point – like my women (or woman, sorry Tetley Tits). A proper workhorse Assam brew that will not disappoint when you need to celebrate, console or just get the world to f**k off. Will also go down in history as the first tea I ever reviewed!
- Best Flavoured Black Tea – Jollybrew Mint Chocolate Royale
No words needed. You know how much I bum this already…and how many pairs of knickers I burn through enjoying it. If you haven’t read my review in full (HERMIT THAT YOU ARE!), you can see it here. Be warned: not suitable for reading whilst your boss, or indeed anyone under the age of 18, is around.
- Best Green Tea – Tg Green Tea Jujube & Osmanthus
Proof that both green tea and a teabag don’t have to taste like a sweaty scrot sack (I imagine). A distinctively umami (savoury) taste combined with sumptuous floral flavours, this is regularly my pre-gym kryptonite. You can see my full review and comparison with drag queens here.
- Best Rooibos – Piacha Choc Cinnammon
Like drinking liquid Freddos through a chai flavoured straw, without the calories OR the caffeine. A must for post Christmas tea-toxes everywhere! Also ideal for tackling suicidal spreadsheets when you get back to work…BOOOOOOOO!
- Best Herbal Tea – Tea Leaf Company ‘Apple of My Eye’ Honeybush
Do you like cider but hate the post-4-pints aggression? Do you like sweet things? Do you like lovely Canadian tea sellers called Steph? YOU DO!? Then this infusion needs to be fed to you intravenously from Jan 1 – Dec 31 2016. Honey sweet with citrusy apple undertones and cinnamon warmth, this was a cuppa that took me by surprise as the best moist bush I have tasted all year. And I have tasted a few…review of all wet bushes to follow soon!
2. Bubble – Best Tea Innovations 2015
Again, this was a harder decision than my steely disposition towards teabagging. So difficult in fact, that I have chosen two deserving winners. Both are not only revolutionising the taste of tea with their unique, contemporary blends, but are also attempting to overhaul the way we conceptualise tea, tea drinkers and tea culture. Oh, and like me, they like a healthy dose of smut, innuendo, and showing their bare bottoms to coffee aficionados too. Dir-tea sods. Our two winners then are:
- Piacha, for their gorgeous organic blends and amazing take on the ‘Tea Bar’ – see more on Pia’s vision here.
3. Toil – Best Tea Café 2015
It would be pretty rude of me if I didn’t name this café the winner. Vintage yet modern, understated yet cool, local yet cosmopolitan, this cafe is a hidden gem of Sheffield’s tea scene (and defined by dichotomies, it seems). Serving exceptional brews from The Tea Experience in Doncaster (even good coffee ones from Smith Street Coffee too *goes to wash mouth out with soap*), and hearty, local food, it is a supporter of all things Steel City. This includes hosting poetry slams, health workshops and ridiculous charity fundraisers like Octeaber (can you guess what it is yet?!). It is also owned by one of the loveliest yet most unassuming tea nuts in the North. The winner should be no surprise then: it’s Sarah’s delectable Mugen Tea House. See my take on it here.
4. Trouble – Best Personali-tea 2015
There’s always one, isn’t there? That person with brew banter bordering on the obscene, an outlook on life that is utterly infectious and a selection of flat caps that your grandad would be impressed with. Well, our ‘Trouble’ winner certainly hits the three necessary criteria for not only this award, but also a ‘bae fo’ lyf’, as I believe the youngsters call it. Our winner has been a massive support of The Tea Witch blog from the off, a sycophant for Octeaber (in a good way), and an all round nice bloke to share a cuppa and a cheeky Snapchat with. Put your hands together for the one, the only and the probably tea drunk Michael of Hashtag Teaclub. I’m sure the other half of HTC – Benn – is as bloomin’ fabulous too, but he is an evasive beast not dissimilar to Gollum I am told. Love to you both!
There we have it then my wonderful Tea Geeks – that was 2015! Do you agree with my verdicts? Is there anyone/a brew that I have missed? Do you think there should be more questions in 2016?! Thank you again for lending me your eyes, sensibili-teas and support for The Tea Witch, and keep your kettle on the boil for exci-tea-ing developments in 2016.