Remember when the Tea Factory – now Igloo – opened, and it had that beautiful mural-cum-infographic on the wall? It displayed the tea routes that brought the precious tips of the Tea plant (Camellia sinensis) to our shores, and on to the old Mantuna Tea plant that gave the swanky new Wood Street development its home. We might be infatuated by coffee still – with Golden Square and 92 Degrees two new kids on the caffeinated block – but Liverpool and tea? We go way back. So it’s great to see two new, powerful, punchy new loose leaf teas really capitalising on the city’s brewing heritage. We love Phom Tea’s rich, nutty breakfast tea (so did Dragon’s Den’s Kelly Hoppen, investing £50,000 in the company) and we grab it from Baltic Bakehouse every week.
But it’s also great to see Brew (they of the long-gone, and long-lamented Brew tea bars, with their dinky little tea-pot travelators) snag distribution in Waitrose, Booths and Havery Nichols. Again, their Breakfast Tea is rich, balanced and refreshing. It’s funny, we love everything about Leaf – the vibe, the food, the good people who run it – but we’ve never been keen on their house Tea. Tad too under-powered for us. But their range takes in so many variants the fun is finding your new favourite one. Currently, ours is their perky apple and lemon. Phom and Brew, too, offer a range of green teas, decafs and infusions. But we’re simple folk, we like nowt better than a mug of strong English Breakfast.
The new, and ace, Titanic Hotel prides itself on its real-tea Afternoon Teas too. As does the Maritime Dining Rooms at the Mersey Maritime Museum. In Liverpool ONE? Try Browns Brasserie’s decent value finger sandwiches, cakes and loose-leaf combo. Or head uptown for Cuthbert’s house-blend, in this always-welcoming cafe.
And what of the city’s illustrious tea importing past? Looks like that’s set for strong future too, as Typhoo has revealed it’s set on using Liverpool to land 100% of its imports, when Peel’s new Liverpool Two port comes online later this year.
That calls for kettles on all round, yeah? Fortunately, Liverpool can do that, too, with Alison Appleton’s gorgeous designed-in-Liverpool range.
What we’d like to see next? The city’s coffee shops taking tea seriously. Tea bags? They are, in no uncertain terms, the work of the devil. Ditch ’em, put the strainers back in your tea-pots, and brew us up a treat. Thanks. In the meantime, book a decadent afternoon tea at the Tea Parlour, for doilies, teetering towers of cupcakes and proper, brewed-at-the-table tea. Or head out to Crosby’s Tea Rooms for clotted cream scones and a pot of Earl Grey. That’s how to do it.