This Valentine's day we wanted to share with you a little bit about why we all love our favourite drink. We asked our staff members to each share a little about why they have a love of tea.
I love tea primarily for the sense of comfort I feel when I drink it, I feel warmth deep in my body and a moment of peace when I take the first sip. I discovered my love for tea when I was in university and needed a hot drink that didn't leave me with a huge caffeine crash like coffee does and didn’t make me sleepy like hot chocolate does, tea was my answer (hot drinks are necessary for survival in a student flat!).
I still drink a lot of tea when I study and work to help me feel relaxed while also giving me a gentle boost to stay focused. I have a strong sense of curiosity and enjoy learning so, naturally, I started to ask questions about the comforting tea I was constantly drinking and I found that the world of tea was so much bigger and more interesting than I imagined it would be. I studied biology at university so I did start with the science surrounding tea and later immersed myself in the long and complicated history of tea and the cultures of tea. So tea is now something interesting that I enjoy learning about as well as being a comforting drink.
I was brought up on tea, the considered classic working class family style tea. Teabag, brewed in a large teapot and served with milk and sugar on the side of every meal, breakfast lunch and dinner. It wasn’t unusual to have a fish supper accompanied with a strong cup of tea. It wasn’t until I got older when I got into tea more, in particular green teas. This then progressed into learning more about tea when I began working for Pekoe, and then my fascination and appreciation really began. What was a national comfort, became this abyss of information, in terms of history, culture, science, medicine and personal consumption. It’s a humble drink, that never fails to surprise, it’s simple as a plant yet complex as a drink, and marginal changes in terms of location, growing, plucking, processing or brewing can transform the leaf, flavour and aroma greatly. Not to forget, importantly, the feeling tea gives you when you enjoy a good quality cup; it can transform your mood, it’s warming, but also cooling and refreshing, it can help you feel relaxed and alert, as well as provide some much needed comfort through the meditative practice of serving and sipping.
Tea is a great way to take time for myself. I have a pretty busy life, so getting to stop and enjoy a cup of tea without doing anything else is a great way of taking a (delicious) break. There's also so much diversity in the ways and varieties that people prepare and drink tea! Learning about the different tea cultures across the world is half the fun.
I love the ritual of tea and learning about tea culture. The ceremonies around tea are beautiful and they are designed to make you pause and appreciate the drink you are about to consume. From sitting with a long afternoon drinking a fine tea in a Gong Fu pot to carefully preparing a ceremonial matcha, the whole experience of tea drinking covers not just the taste but all the senses - it's visual, it's aromatic, it's wonderful. There is always something new to learn and enjoy and a massive variety of flavours to experience.
We recently started blending teas and this is something I have really enjoyed learning to do. We have been able to experiment with new flavour combinations which has been really good fun. Tea is a very special drink and it's never boring.
When I first started dealing in tea, I only knew the absolute basics. I travelled to China and was blown away by the wide variety of different types and flavours. This was my first real introduction to what is now my profession. 15 years later my passion for the tea is stronger than ever. Every day is a learning day and I find out something I didn't know about tea all the time.
I love the fact that tea is for sharing with. The finest teas should be enjoyed slowly - Gongfu tea for example is made using small cups and should be enjoyed with others. The small cups are so that you ponder and enjoy every sip.
Pretty much every culture in the world has some form of hot infusion, whether it's tea or herbal and the idea that tea can bring people together is something that is really important. I love finding out about all the different cultures and histories surrounding tea.
Direct from the Zhou family we've got three handmade oolongs: Wuyi Da Hong Pao, Wuyi Shui Xian, and Ya Shi Xiang Dan Cong.
Alongside these we've got a brand new harvest of First Flush Jethi Kupi from the Rohini Estate in Darjeeling.