Us Brits love tea, and in my opinion there’s really nothing better than waking up and enjoying a good strong mug of builders brew. When it comes to a cuppa, I admit that I am usually not very adventurous, and mainly stick to buying big name brands of black tea bags – although I have definitely got into drinking green tea recently. So when I heard* that Bluebird Tea Co, the self described “tea mixologists” were due to open a branch in Bristol, I was intrigued to find out more and eager to discover some new flavours – read on to see what I thought.
Shop on Park Street
Originally founded in Brighton in late 2014, Bluebird’s Bristol branch is its third opening (following Royal Tunbridge Wells in October 2015). Located near the top of Park Street (in premises that used to be a book shop), their shop features their famous tea wall, and tea enthusiasts can pick up a whole range of tea related goods as well – from accessories to gift sets.
As I walked in, I was approached by a friendly Tea Mixologist called Becky who offered to give me the low down on the store and everything that Bluebird sell. I was told that Bluebird are really passionate about creating unique tea blends (they sell over 80 of them), which involves mixing tea with blending ingredients such as herbs, flowers, fruits, caramel and chocolate to create a range of flavours – I hadn’t realised that tea could be so exciting before!
One of the most popular teas that Bluebird sells is matcha tea. If you’re new to this super green tea (like I was), then let me fill you in.
Popular in Japan, matcha tea is one of the latest health crazes to reach the UK. According to Bluebird, this green powder (made from ground green tea leaves) has 10x the benefits of regular green tea and 3x the energy boost of an espresso. Not only can it can it completely destroy a hangover, but it can help with slimming and detoxing too – I was sold!
To make matcha tea, here’s what you need to do:
1. Put 1 teaspoon of matcha powder in a cup
2. Add 50ml of water that has boiled and cooled down slightly (around 80 degrees) – it’s important not to add boiling water or the powder will burn and the tea will taste bitter
3. Then mix in a W shape, using either an aerated frother whisk (as used by Bluebird in the picture above)/an electric whisk, a regular kitchen whisk or fork. Whisk well to get rid of all lumps!
4. Once you have a liquid paste, fill up your cup with more 80 degree water, stirring as you go.
After watching a demonstration, I was eager to taste matcha tea for myself so I decided to buy a Homemade Matcha Lemonade for £3.25 from the in store drinks menu – it was delicious! I also bought a pot of Lemon Matcha so that I could try and make a cup myself at home. At the Bluebird store they sell seven different flavours including Orange and the impressive sounding Super Matcha, so there is guaranteed to be one to suit every taste! I also noticed that they sell matcha starter kits from £35 which contains a tin of matcha powder and all the accessories you’ll need to create the perfect drink – ideal for beginners like me!
Enjoying tea at home
For Summer 2016, Bluebird have launched a range of brand new flavours, all of which should be popular with sweet-treat fans like me – think Red Velvet and Jelly + Ice Cream. All of the teas are of the loose variety, and require a tea infuser in order to brew them. Having relied on tea bags previously, I needed to buy an infuser in order to enjoy the teas at home, but luckily Bluebird had a range available to buy in store – I picked up an in-cup infuser basket for £6.95.
My highlights of the 2016 Summer collection are the delicious sounding Sangria (a blend of apple, orange, coconut, pineapple and lime – alcohol is optional!) and Strawberry Split (green tea, freeze dried strawberries and sugar sprinkles). To make a cuppa, I simply had to place the infuser in a mug, add a teaspoon of tea, fill with hot water and leave to brew for between three and four minutes.
While drinking the Sangria flavour, I literally could have closed my eyes and imagined I was sitting at a bar in Spain – it tasted just like my favourite holiday cocktail.
The Strawberry Split flavour was fresh tasting, sweet and really fruity – I think it would taste extra delicious making it in advance, chilling in your fridge and drinking it cold.
I really enjoyed my experience of visiting Bluebird Tea Co on Park Street and then trying some of their delicious teas at home. If you are a tea fan and fancy trying something different than your usual cup of PG Tips, their products come highly recommended by me, and I’ll definitely be back to buy some more matcha tea soon!
Have you been to Bluebird Tea Co before? What did you think? Comment below and let me know!
*Although I was sent some tea from Bluebird Tea Co for the purpose of a review, the words, thoughts and opinions stated here are all my own.