Wotcha guvs! ‘A ‘re ya? This week me ol’mukkas, I been mostly suppin’ Rosy Lees from me China plates Tea Leaf London…and pretendin’ I’m a cockney gangster. Or more accurately, Ray Winstone. Lovely jubly chaps them there Katya, Darren, Jeffrey the Tortoise and Pixels the Pug from TLL. Helped me ahhht when I was Jimmy Hill with a chest infection, and sent me a right Robin Hood care package of tea related goodies to help me ticker. The bleedin’ frogs and logs gonads these TLL blends ‘re – some of the best brews I’ver ev’r had for a Tiddly Wink.
So we’re gonna ‘ave a butchers at each one of their eight blends as if they were a member of me very own tea leaf, Kray bruvvers inspired, Landan Taaawn gang. They were only supposed to blow the blaady doors off.
*Pssst, I’m going to stop the cockney rhyming slang now. I’m worried that if I keep it up for too long, I will have an uncontrollable urge to eat jellied eels, rob a bank and molest Dick Van Dyke. For the hard of ‘cockney’ hearing, basically I got some lovely brews from Tea Leaf London, and we are now going to have a look at each of them, as if they were in the cast of a Guy Ritchie movie. One of them will probably get shot at the end. And they all look like Jason Statham by the way. Got me so far? Good.*
Strong, brawny and gets the job done
This breaky brew had caffeine balls of steel. Bold, full bodied, and deeply malty, it was everything I wanted for a 6am ‘the students have f**ked me off again’ wake up call. BUT, it wasn’t your standard morning cuppa, as it combined its hard nut exterior with a softer, feminine side i.e a delicately floral aftertaste that had the refinement of a Darjeeling. Impressive – like a body builder that does experimental dance and watercolours at the weekend.
Unpredictable, cool under pressure and a blast to be around
TLL’s South African rooibos blend combines mango, cherry, yoghurt crisps and red thistle, for an earthy almost coffee like in texture brew that explodes with flavour in the mouth. The fruity bitterness of the cherry and sharpness of mango provided a welcome revitalising punch to a normally sedate caffeine free beverage, making it a good alternative to a mid-morning caffeine hit. Not my favourite of the bunch but certainly a refreshing new twist on the rooibos…similar to how TNT would give Donald Trump’s face a refreshing new twist too.
Refined man about taawn, who knows all the right people
Definitely one of my faves of the bunch, with a mellow and subtle taste ideal for after dinner. The smokey oolong combined with the citrus and floral flavours of jasmine and orange made for a silky smooth brew with sweet topnotes. I couldn’t get enough of it; I finished the packet within 24 hours. Much like your gang fixer could bring down the London Stock Exchange in under 24 hours.
Sweet, sexy and dangerous
Gorgeous, gorgeous, GORGEOUS apple crumble of a brew. Lapacho – for the layman amongst you (including me, Wikipedia has been my friend) – is a herbal leaf made from the inner bark of the Pau d’arco tree, that tastes similar to the woody yet sweet honeybush leaf. Juxtaposed with apple and cinnamon, I swore blind that I was drinking my mom’s apple pie that had got jiggy with a Nutri-Bullet (other blenders are available). Sugary, fruity but not sickly, this has become my go to ‘vat of dessert’ replacement. If Christina Hendricks’ distracting bosom was a brew, it would be TLL’s No.04.
Visionary, spunky and next in line for gang leadership
Again, I think TLL’s take on rooibos is exceptional. Deep, dark and handsome, No.08 blended nutty rooibos with sumptuous, rounded berry flavours for a unique evening cuppa that made my top three teas in January. I haven’t tasted a rooibos quite like this; it managed to taste ‘big’ and spunky – like Jax out of Sons of Anarchy – rather than thin and weedy. Like Napoleon Dynamite and many other herbal cuppas I have tried. Another winner for me.
Masculinity personified…but enjoys long, hard shafts too
This brew made me feel like I was doing something incredibly butch (think fixing a cam belt or doing a tax return really aggressively) whilst doing something incredibly feminine (think rubbing bakewell tarts over my erect nipples). The Ceylon made for a strong, malty base and was chased up by the whimsical, marzipanny taste of cranberries, almonds and vanilla. I wasn’t crazy about this blend, but then neither was Reggie about Ronnie’s homosexuality. Don’t get me wrong, it is excellently put together, but compared to TLL’s more visionary caffeine free blends, this combo felt a bit ‘done’. The Tea House Wild Cherries, Birdhouse’s Secret Recipe and T2’s NY Breaky Tea all taste very similar.
Crazy, wild and not what you were expecting
The penultimate TLL blend melds together Ceylon with apricot, peach and papaya pieces with blackberry leaves and entire orchard from the South of France. Probably. This mug of citrus was a piquant cuppa that was a little too zingy for my taste – as if Christina Hendricks wanted to tie me up and use nipple clamps and shit – BUT I think Michael from Hashtag Teaclub would be a fan. Definitely worth a try if you fancy a fruit tea with a caffeine boost.
Intelligent, sophisticated and a jack of all trades
My top dog of the crew was this guy; a black tea and oolong blend with apple, papaya, almond pieces, popcorn and sugar confetti (I know, apparently you can use it outside of weddings). This brew had a bit of everything, from malty black tea and flowery oolong, to zesty apple notes and salted caramel undertones from popcorn and almonds. I adored the multi-layered nature of this blend, and the feeling of spit-roasting a very open minded bag of Butterkist every time I poured it down my cake hole.
In sum then me bobby dazzlers, Tea Leaf London concoctions are BLOODY MARVELLOUS. I have been seriously impressed with the level of tea craftsmanship that has not only gone behind balancing the flavours of every one of their blends, but also in their marketing, design and general ethos. Katya and Darren have created an impressive brand that I genuinely think is the next up and coming tea thang. Their teas have become staples of my brew cupboard and blown many other well known tea brands out of the water for me. If you want to try something, fresh, funky and new, then go and try their stuff. In fact, there is no IF about it. GO AND TRY THEIR STUFF! Use TEAWITCH10 to get a 10% discount too and tell ’em that Del Boy sent ya.
I’m glad that I have got in at the start before they are so famous that they wouldn’t even let me wipe their arses. Although, they probably shouldn’t be letting me do that anyway…