Hands up who’s taking a break from alcohol this month! Having survived the excesses of the festive season, our bodies deserve a well earned rest and a bit of TLC, don’t you think?
This month is the perfect time to kickstart your new health regime and feel better about yourself. And us Brits are leading the trend in switching to low or no alcohol beverages. Research has shown that a huge 65% of 25-34 year olds in the UK are trying, or have reduced their alcohol intake.
However, it doesn’t have to be boring! This month tea is your friend even more than usual. And just because you’ve taken up the Dry January challenge doesn’t mean no more nights out on the town.
Here come our recommendations whether you fancy a classic cocktail, a sumptuous pairing dinner, or a night in with the guys and gals.
Cocktails at the Smith & Whistle with Mighty Brew
Kombucha is a slightly sparkling fermented tea, so the perfect non alcoholic alternative. Mighty Brew’s organic kombucha comes in a range of fantastic flavours, like Sencha, Lemongrass, Jasmine. Pop down to the Smith & Whistle at the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane where they’ve put a tea twist on the classic French 75 cocktail using the Hemp flavour kombucha. Check out the video to see Bar Manager, Salman in action!
Tea Pairing Dinner at Club Gascon
A Michelin starred restaurant, Club Gascon has been serving innovative cuisine from the South West of France since 1998. Recognising the trend for reduced alcohol consumption, especially at lunchtime, they introduced a tea pairing menu in 2017. Treat yourself to their delectable 5 or 7 course tasting menu at lunch or dinner with 3 beautifully paired teas.
Throw a DIY mixology party and get your guests creating their own tea mocktails! To get you started here are a couple of our favourites that have seen us through Dry January so far.
Spiced Apple Mock-tea-ni
- 2 Amber Rose Yunnan Green teabags
- 2 tbsp syrup half tsp cinnamon (ground)
- 300ml apple juice
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- apple slices
- sparkling water
Steep 2 teabags of Amber Rose Yunnan Green tea in 300ml of boiling water for 4 hours. Remove bags and put liquor in a saucepan with the syrup/agave and simmer until reduced by half. Cool down the tea syrup to room temperature. Mix tea syrup, ground cinnamon and apple juice and muddle. Pour into 4 martini glasses, top with sparkling water and add a cinnamon stick and fresh apple slices for garnish.
- 1 teabag Yogi Tea Peaceful Moment (Rooibos with lavender oil and lemon balm)
- 30ml Pimento drink
- 30ml Apple juice
- 10ml Lemon juice
- 30ml Sparkling water
Brew tea with 150ml freshly boiled water for 5 minutes and leave to cool. Stir in apple juice, lemon juice and Pimento. Add ice and top up with sparkling water, and enjoy!
Spicy Winter Cooler
- 3 Oteas Lemongrass, Ginger and Cinnamon teabags
- agave nectar
- sliced fresh peaches
- slices of fresh ginger
Using a large teapot, infuse teabags in 750ml boiling water. Add agave nectar to taste, then place teapot in the fridge to cool until ready to serve. Add sliced peaches and ginger to 3 or 4 glasses and pour over the iced tea. Enjoy!
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We enjoyed a fantastically indulgent weekend recently at The Cake & Bake Show, ExCeL London! It was great to meet so many tea and cake fans who came along and savoured our live tea pairings.
Brioche Pasquier PITCH brioche and Supreme Earl Grey – No. 07 by The Tea Makers of London
Throughout the 3 days we had great fun pairing up some deliciously devilish desserts with tan-tea-lising teas and infusions. First up, we paired Brioche Pasquier’s PITCH brioche with the Supreme Earl Grey – No. 07 by The Tea Makers of London. The PITCH brioche is filled with a generous helping of hazelnut chocolate filling, and was a huge hit with everyone, young and old! The well-rounded flavour of the Supreme Earl Grey matched perfectly. The distinct citrus notes of this blend of exquisite Ceylon teas, scented with flavours of Bergamot oil with blue cornflowers, enhanced an already sensational chocolate flavour with layers of citrus and chocolate creaminess.
Gooey Chocolate Brownies from Ridiculously Rich by Alana and Nazani Tea Roasted Spring Oats
Next up, we paired the famous Gooey Chocolate Brownies from Ridiculously Rich by Alana with Nazani Tea’s addictive Roasted Spring Oats. Made with 70% dark Belgian chocolate these brownies paired so well with the Roasted Spring Oats. In isolation neither infusion nor dessert contained any nuts. However, when paired together the moreish and sumptuous nutty flavour profile of the oat infusion created a magical choc-nut dream.
Ridiculously Rich by Alana’s Sticky Toffee Flapjack and Oteas Strawberry & Cream Tea
Finally, we paired Ridiculously Rich by Alana’s Sticky Toffee Flapjack with the classic British flavour pairing that is Strawberry & Cream tea, by Oteas. With a wonderful hibiscus flower base, enhanced by hints of sweet apple, distinctive rose hip, zesty orange and the creamy taste of strawberries, our yummy tea pairing complimented the buttery and nutty notes of the flapjack in all its glory.
After chatting with so many lovely tea fans about all things tea and cake, our very own Diaz took to the Cake & Bake Stage! He demonstrated the tea pairings, explaining why each pairing worked in the way it did. The talk was then rounded off with giveaways and tastings. All in all a truly delectable weekend of tea and cake – what’s not to love!
Check out the highlights video on our Youtube channel!
Kombucha is experiencing a meteoric rise in the beverage world. Once a niche product hidden away on the shelves of health food stores, it’s now gone mainstream! We’re seeing it in supermarkets, convenience stores, bars and cafes, in a whole host of flavours. So what exactly is kombucha, and is it really that good for you? Where did it come from, and why are we only just discovering it now?
We had a chat with our friends at Mighty Brew to lift the lid on all things kombucha!
What is kombucha?
NTD: We’re seeing kombucha everywhere these days, what exactly is it?
MB: Originating in China more than 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a sparkling fermented tea, made from a blend of water, tea, sugar and a special live culture called a ‘SCOBY’, or a ‘symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast’. The ‘SCOBY’ starts the fermentation process in the blend, converting the sugar, caffeine tannin and the remaining ingredients of the tea. The result is a lightly sparkling fermented tea, naturally rich in live cultures and packed with a multitude of nature’s goodness.
Is it alcoholic?
NTD: Kombucha is a fermented drink, and alcohol is a naturally occurring by-product of any fermentation process. However, kombucha does only contain trace elements of alcohol, less than 0.5%. So Kombucha is classed as a non-alcoholic drink?
MB: It’s the perfect refreshment when you’re looking for an alternative to sugary soft drinks, a flavourful non-alcoholic beverage to pair with food, to drink on its own, or an imaginative mixer for a whole host of cocktails and mocktails.
What does it taste like?
NTD: You can find so many different flavours of kombucha, but what does an ‘original’ kombucha taste like?
MB: The taste of kombucha varies depending on the choice of fermented tea used to make it. The result is a drink that is slightly astringent in taste, thanks to the beneficial acids and vinegars, and low amount of remaining sugars.
Mighty Brew Kombucha is made with organic Sencha green tea leaves giving it a fragrant, fresh, crisp taste similar to a light sparkling apple juice, cider or champagne. You can choose our original Sencha Kombucha or try one of our premium brewed botanical kombuchas, such as Sencha, Jasmine, Lemongrass or Hemp.
How is it made?
NTD: Kombucha dates back thousands of years, so is there a traditional way in which to make kombucha?
MB: Yes, the process of preparing Mighty Brew Kombucha follows time-honoured traditions and involves a double fermentation process. A SCOBY (a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) from our Mother Culture is placed in a tea mixture and sweetened with raw cane sugar. The brew is left to ferment at room temperature (first fermentation). The sugar is consumed by the culture, converting it into health-giving energies. We then infuse the brew with natural botanicals and leave it to ferment (second fermentation). At the optimum moment, our raw, unpasteurised Mighty Brew Kombucha is then bottled. This is artisan brewing at its best and we invest both love and dedication to the entire process – reaping exceptional taste as a result!
NTD: There seems to have been an explosion in kombucha’s popularity, why do you think it’s become popular now?
MB: People are becoming increasingly aware of taking closer attention to what they eat and any potential health benefits. Kombucha is a great way to assist the proper functioning of the body. Along with being a fun, flavourful and energising non-alcoholic, low-sugar beverage for all the family.
What are the health benefits?
NTD: there are many health benefits claimed for kombucha. in your opinion what are the main ones?
MB: When it comes to health benefits, ideally you want to pick a raw, unpasteurised kombucha like Mighty Brew which follows the double-fermentation process and is made with the finest and freshest fully Certified Soil Association and Vegan Certified ingredients. Being free from all flavours, colours, preservatives, sweeteners and GMOs. Raw, unpasteurised kombucha is naturally rich in live cultures and packed with a multitude of nature’s goodness including minerals, vitamins, organic acids and nutrients indispensable for the proper functioning of the body.
One of the most common reasons people drink Kombucha is for the probiotics the drink contains. If your kombucha is raw and unpasteurised, it’s full of the probiotics from the live bacteria and yeast. You naturally have bacteria in your digestive tract but with our modern diet, this microflora might not be at its best. Adding probiotics into your diet, can promote healthier bacteria to grow and translate into better digestion.
Our warmest congratulations to London Marriott Hotel County Hall and The Tea Makers of London on their new partnership!
When we first spoke with London Marriott Hotel County Hall about the tea experience, it was so inspiring to hear Alex and Darryl talk about how they wanted to elevate their guests’ tea experience at every touchpoint of the customer journey. They were looking for a premium tea brand that would reflect their own values and match the splendid historic setting of the hotel.
London Marriott Hotel County Hall is one of the most photographed hotels in the world, and offers amazing views of the London Eye and Houses of Parliament. Steeped in history, the listed building was first opened by King George V and Queen Mary in 1922. It was once the HQ of Greater London Council before becoming a luxury hotel in 1998. Boasting 206 rooms, 12 suites and 7 magnificent balcony suites, London Marriott County Hall is the largest hotel within the Marriott group in the UK.
“It’s an absolute pleasure working with the Exper-teas in Hospitality team at National Tea Day. I was really blown away to see their passion and dedication to the tea industry as a whole. I really appreciate their knowledge and inspiration when looking to create a truly world class tea experience tailored to our hotel. They took the time to understand our brand values and heritage when considering which tea brand is the best fit for us. We are delighted to announce that we will be serving an expertly curated tea selection from The Tea Makers of London. A luxury brand with a London provenance, they are a great match for London Marriott Hotel County Hall. We look forward to creating memorable tea experiences for our guests and the National Tea Day community of tea lovers.” Alexandra Stoican, Food & Beverage Sales Manager, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
Considering their historic London provenance, desire to source locally and requirement for a holistic and customised solution, we introduced them to The Tea Makers of London.
The Tea Makers of London is an award winning British tea brand with a focus on authentically produced speciality teas with exceptional flavours. Built on the team’s rich history and heritage of tea making, the company source their teas from the finest tea gardens and small scale artisan tea farmers around the world. With an exciting range of expertly curated teas and ability to customise their offering, they were the perfect match.
“London Marriott Hotel County Hall is one of the iconic venues in London with a rich history, heritage and impressive architecture with British charm. When National Tea Day presented us with the opportunity to partner with this quintessentially British venue, we immediately knew this is a match made in heaven. When we met with Alex and Darryl, they presented their vision for tea service for the hotel, and creating a great customer experience was at the heart of it. We knew as a company we are fully aligned in term of what they are looking to create. As a British luxury tea brand with the London provenance, our mission is to create an unforgettable tea experience with every cup, with our carefully curated teas, herbals and infusions. We are thrilled to be part of this journey together.” Sam Sameen, Founding Director, The Tea Makers of London
This beautiful partnership was 2 months in the making! Together we looked at every opportunity within their beautiful property to enhance their guest’s tea experience, from in-room to afternoon tea to banqueting. Many tea tastings, tea chats and stakeholder meetings later, a tea experience befitting the historic elegance of London Marriott Hotel County Hall awaits!
In the Library, the expertly designed tea menu offers guests a perfectly balanced selection of 14 fine loose leaf teas to compliment their Afternoon Tea service. Served in The Tea Makers of London stylish Zenshi glass teaware, guests can watch the full splendour of the tea leaves unfurl! The menu also includes a bespoke blend named County Hall, especially created by Sam, Founding Director at The Tea Makers of London.
In-room guests will be delighted by a beautiful range of luxury teabags. Biodegradable and triangular in shape they allow for the full flavour of the loose leaf tea to be conveniently enjoyed. The luxury teabag range also extends to dining, banqueting and self serve areas where the tea is displayed in elegant presentation boxes.
To compliment the in-house tea experience guests also have the option to take their favourite tea home with them! A bespoke gifting and retail solution for London Marriott Hotel County Hall has been developed within the reception area, including a tempting window display.
When considering a brand match, it’s so important to consider every aspect of the venue and a potential partner brand. With our Exper-teas in Hospitality consultancy service, National Tea Day takes an ultra tailored approach with each venue, ensuring a long and successful collaboration for the future.
If you would like advice with tea strategy to increase footfall and revenue for your venue contact us today and join our complimentary consultancy service, Exper-teas in Hospitality. Contact email@example.com
Meet Patti, our new OOH (out of home) Tea Transformation Lead! Patti joined us 2 months ago and has hit the ground running, visiting hotels, cafes and restaurants to get the low down on the state of the out of home tea experience. Coming from a fashion background, we asked her to sum up her experiences jumping into the tea world, and to share her initial findings with us.
Over to you, Patti…
This summer I found myself at a crossroads. After a career in the high pressured and dizzying world of fashion, I wanted a change. But, first I needed some “me time” which started with a cup of tea. With that first sip, I contemplated my career and a job that I no longer found fulfilling. I considered why, after countless days in exclusive venues of New York, Milan, Rome and Paris, I had lost my passion.
First I needed some “me time” which started with a cup of tea. With that first sip, I contemplated my career.
Facing an unhappy reality is never an easy task, but the warm tea soothed not only my body but my soul. Taking time to reflect, I realised that I needed a new challenge. I’ve never been afraid to take on a new risk. After all, I relocated to amazing London from another country and taught myself a new language. So, when I had the opportunity to join National Tea Day, I didn’t think twice about the fact that I was not only changing careers, but also industries.
there’s more to tea than I thought!
Over the past two months I have launched myself into this new tasty challenge, and am delighted to introduce myself as Patti, your new tea guide! In this series of blogs I’m excited to share with you my thoughts, observations and learnings about the tea experience in my new role as OOH (Out of Home) Tea Transformation Lead with National Tea Day.
I’m excited to share with you my thoughts, observations and learnings about the tea experience.
Truthfully, I had little expectations during my first month in the business. I was totally unaware of the tea making process, having never really considered all that goes into a cuppa – the tea type, the water temperature, the brewing time. And I’m not sure what I actually expected goes into a traditional Afternoon Tea, outside of my personal experiences (which were embarrassingly limited). In my opinion, Afternoon Tea is about quality time with friends and family and of course the experience. It’s been a steep but fascinating learning curve for me. I realise that from a business perspective, visions of tea plantations were the extent of my thoughts, but it’s a long journey from leaf to lip.
In my opinion, Afternoon Tea is about quality time with friends and family and of course the experience.
my findings on the tea experience…
So here’s what I found out about tea in my first month – people will go out for coffee, but not tea. Why? Because baristas have perfected the coffee brew and lost the art of brewing tea. The trend of hospitality in the UK has been so coffee focused, that we’ve lost our national identity. However, all is not lost! I have found so many great tea brewers here in London and the rest of the UK, and I know there are so many more to be discovered. In general the best tea brewers consider the type of tea, water temperature and brewing time. I’ve learnt that while teas can be robust, they are best treated with respect for their nature. For example some teas express themselves best at a cooler brewing temperature.
So here’s what I found out about tea in my first month – people will go out for coffee, but not tea. Why?
I’ve noticed that venues are evolving and developing their tea experiences by offering a wider variety of teas at a higher quality. I’ve also noticed that the most well rounded venues are aware of the story of tea and offer environmentally friendly brands.
I am very much looking forward to taking you on this journey with me. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you my personal experience with how tea is perceived by venues, what type of occasions need more focus in hospitality, overview on trends in the afternoon tea experiences and how my work as OOH tea transformation will contribute to the hospitality sector in next 12 months.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the tea experience out of home, whether you’re a hospitality professional, tea supplier or a customer. Please get in touch with me! – firstname.lastname@example.org
Take some inspiration from our archives!
No matter where we go in the world, tea is always on our mind. In our Des-tea-nations blog we’ll bring you the tea experiences worth travelling for.
After an extensive renovation project the Willow Tea Rooms has been brought back to its former glory. The original 1903 Willow Tea Rooms were designed entirely by Mackintosh and is one of the finest examples in the world of a complete Art Nouveau scheme.
Celebrating their centenary this year, Bettys is a Yorkshire institution. The original location in Harrogate is a beautiful place to while away an afternoon’s tea drinking and cake eating. They also have 5 other locations around Yorkshire.
Tea on-board a vintage train carriage! 1957 Mark 1 Carriages to be exact, which have been lovingly restored to their former glory by volunteers. A fabulously unique tea experience awaits.
Love tea? Love music? This Is Leaf is the place to be. A creative space to hang out and discover great music whilst sipping on a loose leaf.
How about a bit of intrigue with your tea? Held in a private home, the address is only revealed after booking. As well as a range of artisan loose leaf teas and treats, you can also book crafty and bakery sessions at this little secret.
The ‘most stylish museum cafe in the universe’ according to Bill Bryson. The Edwardian Tea Rooms at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery even have a ‘press for champagne’ button for when you’re feeling little louche!
Tea in a lighthouse. With a 50s retro vibe. And vintage wallpaper and teacups. What’s not to love? Take a bracing stroll along the cliffs, then relax with a cuppa and slice of cake whilst Vera Lynn plays on the vintage record player.
Tea with Mr Darcy! Ok, it’s a portrait of Colin Firth hanging on the wall, but a girl can dream… Based at the Jane Austin Centre in Bath, you can sip on fine loose leaf tea served by staff dressed in full regency regalia.
We’d love to hear about your favourite tea rooms and what makes them special!
No matter where we go in the world, tea is always on our mind. In our Des-tea-nations blog series we’ll be exploring tea experiences worth travelling for.
To kick off, we’re starting right here at home in the UK. Of course, being a nation of tea lovers there are so many amazing tea experiences. So Des-tea-nations UK comes as a 3 parter. Here’s part 1 with 7 unique tea experiences in London.
A tea and cocktail bar with a library in the heart of Covent Garden. All Teatulia’s teas are single origin, grown on their own tea garden in northern Bangladesh. Catch one of their literary events and kick back with a tea cocktail.
The oldest teashop in London. At Twining’s iconic 300 year old store you can take a tea masterclass, sample teas at the tea bar, peruse the Twinings museum, and choose your favourites at the Pick & Mix wall.
If you’ve been wanting to try bubble tea, Bubbleology will not disappoint. Take your pick from Salted cream cheese crown, Fruit, Milk or a Cocktail – you may need some time to digest the menu.
With over 100 teas to choose from you’re spoilt for choice at Camellia’s. Feel free to open the jars, take a sniff and ask questions. Many of the teas are designed and hand blended by the founders, a homeopath and a master tea sommelier.
For fine tea served in the Chinese gongfu tradition, head over to Teanamu. They also have a range of tea tastings and masterclasses for those looking to deepen their tea know how.
Once the fastest clipper bringing tea from China to Britain, Cutty Sark is the last surviving ship of her kind. Climb aboard and delve into the fascinating adventures of this historic ship and her crew.
France’s oldest teahouse and purveyor of luxury teas, Marriage Frères opened its first UK tea emporium this year in Covent Garden. It’s home to the world’s largest tea collection housed in an apothecary-style wall, a tea museum and most exciting of all – a tea infused menu!
We’d love to hear what your top tips are for unique tea experiences in London!
Coming up: 6 unique tea experiences around the UK