Give your coffee machine a break this National Tea Day (April 21) and support a Scottish tea business
These makers share their most popular buys, from rhubarb rooibos to GABA oolong
Switch off your coffee machine.
On April 21, it’s National Tea Day, so we’re celebrating the humble cuppa, instead of its over caffeinated cousin.
There are plenty of Scottish businesses that you can support, by buying a brew, from black to herbal, whisky to rooibos, loose leaf and in bags, see below.
The evocatively named Blue Lady (15 biodegradable tea bags for £6, or 50g caddy for £8) is the first that this business successfully blended from scratch at their Leith factory. It features sweet floral rose notes, grapefruit, mallow, rose and calendula and sells well globally, but is a particular favourite in the USA. They also produce a Whisky Tea Collection (from £9.50 per caddy) with five blends, each of which are inspired by a whisky-producing region of Scotland. Personally, we think their lapsang souchong is pretty magnificent.
20 Leven Street, Edinburgh (shop closed until April 27) www.pekotea.co.uk
The Wee Tea Company
This company blends their own tea in Dunfermline and supplies five star hotels, including Gleneagles, where they use them in their bedrooms. The bestseller is their new subscription tea service. From £7.50 a month, you can choose a monthly tea of your choice from their range and they’ll chuck in a free mug infuser, tea caddy and postage. Their Scottish Breakfast Blend is also popular, as is the fruity Rhubarb Rooibos (both from £5 for 15 pyramids), which tastes like rhubarb and custard sweets and is available as biodegradable bags or loose leaf.
“My best selling tea (excluding breakfast and Earl Grey which are always popular) is Tropical Green - a fruit flavoured green tea. The pineapple and peach make it very refreshing and it's also great as an iced tea. The best selling herbal blend is Chocolate & Ginger”, says John Mellor of Shibui Tea, which is based in Loanhead. This small company, who use plastic-free packaging, has an array of Great Taste Award, including two stars for their Mulled Spice Organic tea pyramids. All from £4.95 for 15 bags.
If we’re to haud our wheesht, we’ll need this Edinburgh business’ Keep the Heid tea (from £2.50 for 10g), with calming meadowsweet and heather as well as Assam. There’s also a GABA oolong (from £3.50 for 10g), which is nothing to do with techno, but contains an addition that promotes a certain neurotransmitter in the brain. If you want something more conventional, they also do black, green, white, matcha, and others. Their tea rooms at 41 Frederick Street and 111 Rose Street are currently closed, opening April 26.
Hebridean Tea Store
“When I created the Machair Tea, I tried to transform the sweet smell of the machair in summer into a taste,” says Sabine Weiten, the owner of this shop on the Isle of Lewis. This blend (from £3.25 for 50g) features Assam black tea, cornflowers, seaweed, blue mallow and Ceylon, among other ingredients. Another of Weiten’s blends is The Blackhouse (from £3.10 for 50g), which was designed to replicate “tea that was made over a peat fire”. She also sells matcha, oolong, and various black teas, and has a couple of tables to sit in when restrictions allow.
22 Cromwell Street, Stornoway, www.hebrideanteastore.co.uk