When I'm not designing coasters, I'm drinking lots of lovely cuppas, served beautifully! Here are my 5 latest brews...
To kick off my Boozy Brew series (and because the British Summer has finally arrived) I tasted the ‘worlds first premium alcoholic ice tea' from Harry Brompton - the perfect picnic pick me up.
The range of three tasty 4% abv, gluten free teas are lightly sparkling (nicely not too fizzy) made with Kenyan black teas and craft-distilled vodka. A pretty good mix and a nice little boozy hit on a hot day. As well as the classic London Iced Tea, there is Berries and Cucumber (lovely light flavour) and a slightly less sweet (and yay only 99 calories!) Skinny Peach. Recommended with lots of ice and a slice of lime - add mint and cucumber to make it truly extravagant!
So pop some bottles in your picnic basket for a tasty tipple while the sun shines!
Tea tip: they do a non-alcoholic iced tea too if you're looking for a refreshing hit without the liquor kick.
From a lovely part of the world comes Devonshire Tea, created by a little company in the West of England.
They sell a small range of simple and popular blends (Classic Breakfast, Earl Grey, Assam Origin and Delightful Afternoon) containing high-grade tea sourced from estates monitored by the Ethical Tea Partnership and individually-wrapped in ‘stitched' teabags, which don't contain glue or staples.
I love the colourful sail boat packaging - a tasty way to brighten up your day!
One for your diary tea lovers!
Along with a load of tea companies sampling their brews, there'll be tons of other tea fun to be had in various zones including the Bou-tea-que, Tea ‘n’ Tipple Boulevard, The Tea Bazaars, Tea ‘n’ Treat Village, The Vitali-Tea Garden and the Picnic Park.
Top of my to-see-list is the museum of vintage tea ware (oh yes please!), chocola-tea parlour (count me in), tea pairings, cake decorating and a cocktail master class (not missing that).
Day tickets are only £10 each or £25 for a Family Pass.
Find out more and book your tickets here.
I've booked my ticket - hope to see you there!
Now this is an afternoon tea that is out of this world! From Jupiter Cakes to Galaxy Macaroons, the space-inspired Gravi-Tea at Skylon Restaurant on London's Southbank is a truly stellar experience.
Keeping the ‘sky' from Skylon in mind, Executive Chef Kim Woodward told me her team were inspired by the restaurant's planetary Christmas decorations. She told her pastry chefs to go crazy with the cosmos concept and the result is just fabulous, with a delicious, galactic menu that takes you on a journey through the solar system . . .
Colourful delights include:
And that's just the top tier! There's also traditional freshly backed scones, with clotted cream and preserves, and a tasty range of finger sandwiches of which the salmon and avocado was my favourite.
Served with Brew Tea Company's loose leaf Breakfast Blend (champagne and cocktails also available) this is a quirky afternoon tea and a playful, edible astronomical adventure.
Tea tip: Sit as close to the floor-to-ceiling windows as you can - those views of the Thames are marvelous.
Need to know:
Gravi-tea Afternoon Tea is served in Skylon's bar and river view area,
£25 per person (not including alcoholic drinks)
Skylon, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, London SE1 8XX
020 7654 7800
In busy, buzzy Soho on the corner of Greek Street and Old Compton Street is the Bun House & Tea Room. Upstairs is a steamy street-food-style cafe serving Chinese steamed buns, aka bao (not to be confused with the popular bun-of-the-moment Taiwanese bao which are served open like a sandwich. Chinese bao are ball-like and sealed so that the filling is hidden.) At £2.50 each they are more filling then they look. I had the lamb (slightly spicy and very juicy) followed by a custard bun (salted duck egg, coconut milk and carrot juice) which was so messy but so tasty I was licking every spillage off my fingers!
Alongside my bamboo basket of pretty stamped buns was a teapot of oolong – bought from nearby Chinatown obviously. Refreshing, delicate with a light flavour, and just what I needed to wash down my sticky lunch.
I loved everything about this place; the fast food bustle, the smiling servers, the soft, bouncy, flavour-filled buns, my large pot of tea, the beautiful green tiled floor and all the Asian touches throughout the small space. I could linger there with my cuppa all day, just sipping and watching the activity of the place.
Tip: if you're a glasses wearer be prepared - it's so steamy in there that you'll be fogged up for a while!
The Tea Room
Downstairs is a Hong Kong-style speakeasy, lit with neon green Cantonese lettered lights, it's a fun throwback to 1960's Hong Kong tea rooms and serves cocktails and a much longer tea list. It's a different food menu - no steamed buns and you can't bring them from upstairs down with you which I think is a shame. Because of this I only popped down to take a look but shall have to return to try their tea list which includes Uncle Cai's Fuding White Tea and Uncle Dong's Yunnan Dianhong Tea. It has a 3am license so you can satisfy your tea cravings well into the early hours (if you haven't moved on to the Rose and Lapsang cocktails by then!)
Need to know:
24 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 4DZ
Bun House has limited first-come-first-served seating only. (I went at 2.30pm on a Saturday and I didn't have to wait long for a table but be warned, I hear it can get very busy!) The Tea Room accepts reservations. Opening hours vary quite a bit so double check their website.