For one reason or another I’ve spent a lot of time talking to smaller tea companies, and trying out a number of different brews. If you have a tea lover to buy for this Christmas then consider supporting a truly small and independent business, such as one of these:
* Bluebird Tea Company – I met Mike at the Alternative Game Fair at Vale House B&B in the summer, and have been seeing mentions for them keep popping up. I really liked the Toasted Apple, and I’m not a massive fan of fruit teas. They’ve put together some really lovely looking gifts as well, definitely worth a look.
*Bellevue Tea Company – one of my personal favourites, I have sent gifts from Bellevue to my team in the past. They are so colourful with beautiful packaging, but this is not style over substance at all. I really like the Bellevue Belter for a great daytime tea for those who like it strong! Clare’s tea is also available from Not On the High Street as well as through her own site.
* The Ramsbury Tea Company – the lovely team at Ramsbury sent me some of their fabulous Earl Grey earlier in the year,which I really loved. It was soft and smokey to balance out the zest of the bergamot, and I was hooked. I like the Tea Basket, giving you something to drink and something to drink it out of.
* Lahloo Tea – another great, truly small independent business, I always think of this being quite boutique, something a little different and quite exotic. Kate’s passion, in fact like all the owners, really shines through. I really like the Tea Taster sets, great if you need a few, lower priced gifts that are similar to each other but the same, as there are a number of different choices.
* Eve’s Pantry – whilst not purely a tea company, I wanted to mention Eve’s Pantry to support a new business. I met Eve on a course at the Guild of Fine Food, and she was very passionate about what she wanted to do with tea and great to see her business take off. Her focus is on fine loose leaf tea. Whilst she has no specific gifts on offer online, there is a lovely edited choice of teapots and other tea paraphernalia so you could make up your own.
* Tea Box – I haven’t had Sheffield Brew for a while, but it was a really good strong brew. Again, no gifts on offer but if you wanted to buy a tea that is doing good as well as tasting good, then can I recommend you buy the Cricketer’s Loose Tea, which is raising money for the Broad Appeal in aid of motor neurone disease.
* The Kandula Tea Company – another lovely tea business to support, Kandula is a focused offering, featuring whole leaf Ceylon teas, not to mention lovely packaging. There are lovely gifts on offer, I am quite taken with the Pink Ceylon Tea Gift, especially as this was an award winning tea at Great Taste Awards. Again, you can buy direct or from Not On the High Street if combining with other gift shopping.
So, this year of all years, please consider supporting small, independent businesses who really need your custom. Know who you’re buying from and what they stand for, knowing that they will deliver to you on the taste front.