Steal a Moment
Everyone loves a proper cup of tea… The Brighton Tea Leaf Co look to bring the best loose leaf tea to your pot
Article by Lauren Naylor
Most would agree there’s nothing more British than the humble cuppa – but thanks to England’s 19th century taxation laws, there was once a time when our national drink was off-limits to all but the filthy rich.
Fuelled by a sense of injustice (and spying an opportunity to make a few quid), a bunch of rogues and ne’er-do-wells took it upon themselves to liberate the mighty tea leaf from the taxman’s grasp. By hook or by crook (but mostly by crook) they made it their mission to share its wondrous properties with the masses. And so, a national tea obsession was born.
The Brighton based Tea Leaf Co brings exquisite quality fair trade tea sold at a fair price. Hailing a tea-volution, they’re having none of this teabag nonsense for a start – it’s loose leaf all the way. They’re also firm believers in the notion that a quality cuppa starts with respect for tradition, people and the place in which it’s grown.
Founded by two tea-obsessed Brits and the son of an Indian tea planter, their adventure began over a pot of English Breakfast at a kitchen table that took them halfway round the world to the tea fields of Nagaland (that’s right next door to Assam for all you tea buffs). To a place untouched by modern industry, where tea is grown the old-fashioned way – and tastes all the better for it. Where farmers use traditional methods, so no nasty chemicals in the ground. Every leaf is hand-picked and rolled with a love and care that’s reflected in the way they treat their workers. ‘The Tea Leaf Company’ only uses tea from the Naga family-owned tea garden because they like the way it’s traditionally run.
As tea connoisseurs, we no longer settle for a breakfast tea, despite it being a quintessentially English tradition and the influx of fitness fanatics prolific on social media expect an abundance of health benefits with their humble brew. The Tea Leaf Co’s Hide and Seek Nagaland Black Tea (also delicious with a splash of milk) is lower in caffeine than coffee; some of the reported health benefits of black tea include beneficial impacts for high cholesterol, tooth decay, low-concentration levels, digestive problems, poor blood circulation, high blood pressure, and asthma – so what are you waiting for?
So why do ‘The Tea Leaf Company’ stand out?
Well, the history of tea is a colourful one. It’s a tale of royals and rogues, heroes and villains – daredevils who risked life and limb in their quest to bring the people a better brew. The name of the company is a nod to their invention, resilience and downright craftiness. Like John Fortune, who played a fair bit of hide and seek in his time. Disguised as a local, he entered China seeking precious tea seeds and closely-guarded cultivation methods. Hiding them in many ingenious ways he smuggled them out of the country and introduced tea growing to India.
“Just like the smugglers before us, we too believe it’s everybody’s right to enjoy a good cup of tea. And call us old-fashioned, but we think modern day tea-drinkers can learn a lot from the way those early tea-volutionaries did things,” says owner Jason Blyth.
And so, while they might not be risking life and limb, they like to think a little of the rebellious nature of those early tea pioneers lives on through their tea. So join them for a brew and, in the spirit of those crafty rascals that made all this possible – steal a moment.
Enquiries: www.thetealeafcompany.co.uk, £4.99 for 45g of loose tea