Our Tea House has been open just over a month now and it's been great to share tea with so many new customers. We wanted to write a little about it - but then we thought - it's not really about what we think - it is about how the space & the experience feel to our customers. So, over the next few months we will be asking a few of our lovely customers to share their views.
We met Chris in the opening week of the Tea House & he has kindly agreed to share his tea adventure (so far)......
Well it's been a few weeks now since the Tea House opened and I took my first tentative steps into the wonderful world of "proper tea".
Now, like a few of us, I have drunk tea in many forms,well two actually. Bags and some loose leaf from the supermarket. I have also been lulled in buying such and such a tea by articles I have read telling me this is the latest thing the fashionable people are drinking. I have a cupboard full of little used packets to prove it.
So when I saw a Tea House was about to open on my doorstep I thought that's for me. I like tea and I drink a lot of it during my day on the road selling my wares as a traveling salesman. This, I thought, would be a nice place to unwind at the end of the day. Anyway that night I read an article in the Blackmore Vale Magazine about the owners and the second thing I thought was this is a couple who are serious about what they do. So out came the laptop to have a quick look to find out a bit more about tea as I did not want to look a fool when I went in! That was a big shock. It is a vast subject and a bit like wine tasting - and I am rubbish at that. [Oh and by the way the first thing I thought was blimey they are young to know so much about an ancient subject!]
So anyway I said to myself I had better read up on the the subject as if I don't know my black tea from my green tea what will they think of me? and what might the other people think? - they all might be tea experts. Now I thought the Internet would be just the thing for me. Well it turns out that you have Japanese, Indian, Chinese to name a few. The list goes on and don't get me started on tea pots and the like. I was now having doubts about going to the grand opening so I am ashamed to say I chickened out but I also had a prior engagement which made it easier for me not to attend. I felt guilty I had missed a good event (I did as it turned out) and when I drove past later that afternoon I was surprised to see so many people there. Were these people all tea aficionados or just tea lovers like me?
Anyway a couple of days later I plucked up the courage to venture into the unknown. Now I had been onto the web site so I had an idea what was likely to be offered to me. So there I stood out side, good nobody inside - only me to embarrass. In I go. Into this tranquil place - very simple decor and very clean.
I was greeted by Michelle who asked me if I would like to take tea and asked me what I would like. Now I thought to myself "don't go mad - you have had Darjeeling before you know what it looks like and what it tastes like so play safe. You also you know it is taken In the afternoon. Really you are a Darjeeling expert, or so I thought."Which flush would you like?..." "oh"...
The panic you would not believe. The first flush would be nice so I said yes that sounds good. See I told you I was an expert. It was served to me in a beautiful tea pot and bowl. So here we go. It's not so scary, just don't dribble tea everywhere, you are not at home now. Well as I said, I have had this tea before, but nothing prepared me for the flavour of this golden liquid - simply wonderful. Michelle told me where it was picked, how it should be prepared, I was made to feel special. It felt good to be away from the hassle of the day and I think I could get used to this very easily. I was in a nice place with very nice people not the intimidating place I had feared.
I made a few more visits and played it safe with the Darjeeling. That was until Rob said give this a try. It was The Red Robe tea Da Hong Pao. Amazing tea. I had found a new favourite so went home read all about it. A remarkable story and a magnificent tea. So off we went again. It's Oolong for me now - or so I thought. Then he did it again. "Give this a try, I think you will like this one".
Well, he served me a bowl of a light coloured tea that smelled like no tea I had taken before - the taste was sublime. It was a bit floral but it also had a bite to it. What was this nectar from the gods? It was a Japanese tea called Houjicha also known as Bancha and I am hooked. If you only try one tea it has to be this one. OK, I have had a few others but always come back to this one. I have it at home in the morning with breakfast while watching the news, but it is best when I go back to The Tea House after a hectic day on the road sit down, take it easy and relax. ITS BANCHA TIME.