I first met Michelle Comins at the last Dorset Hour tweetup held in Sturminster Newton, she was demonstrating the art of tea making. I was enthralled by the whole process/ceremony of making the different varieties of tea, from vivid green tea powder to the slower more sedate Oolong tea. When she asked if I would like to come along to her tea house to listen to the world tea expert Jane Pettigrew talk about the social history of tea, I leapt at the chance.
The Tea House in Sturminster Newtown is run & owned by Rob & Michelle Comins. The business was created after a visit to India where they sampled single estate teas, but struggled to find a good supply on their return in the UK. They agreed on their business aim and direction which was to make it simple for customers to find and enjoy good value, quality, single estate loose leaf teas. The preparation and enjoyment of loose leaf tea can be an every day activity which can fit in with and indeed enhance our increasingly busy lives.
Their Tea House is the first shop on the left as you enter Sturminster Newton from the south, parking is available at the Rec which is the next left. Inside the Tea House is bright and contemporary, with seating available outside. As always I arrived early and I was greeted by Michelle & Rob, who are both so infectiously enthusiastic about whole tea scene. I sat down and read their extensive menu of teas, from which I chose an amber Oolong tea.
Rob brought over tea with all it’s components – flask, bamboo tray, teapot with the tea in it, glass jug, drinking bowl and most importantly a timer!!!
He patiently went through the whole tea making process for me. Fist to awaken the tea, pour in a little hot water into the teapot and swirl round. Rob then poured this into the drinking bowl, but not to drink, just to warm the bowl. He then filled the teapot right up and switched the timer on for 45 seconds. After the 45 seconds he emptied the teapot into the glass jug and before me was this stunning amber tea. He poured the warming tea into the tray and then poured my first bowl of tea. The tea was a delicious full bodied refreshing flavour and I was then left to fend for myself!!
If you think this takes a lot of effort for just a cup of tea, that is exactly the point, to switch off from the hustle & bustle of modern life and spend time enjoying the experience. I sat there relaxing and refreshing my tea for nearly an hour, during which I never reached the bottom of the flask (I guess you could even ask for a refill), all this for just £3.20!! They also have wonderful & I mean wonderful homemade cakes and light lunches, so it is perfect for ladies who lunch to while away a few hours!
The tea house started to fill with local tea lovers and others who had travelled from further afield Cardiff & Southampton! The stage was then set ready for Jane to talk on the social history of tea, during which we would taste 9 teas from each era.
Jane is a world renowned tea specialist, historian, writer and consultant. She started off by talking about the very first teas that arrived in the UK (we sampled Gunpowder & Lapsang souchong) all the way through to the current vibrant tea scene and the health benefits of drinking tea.
Her whole talk was entertaining and very interesting, especially for me who knew nothing about huge varieties of teas. The only downside was that drinking so much tea required regular visits to the loo!!!
Afterwards we were given more tea to relax and chat, unfortunately I had to dash, but I came away knowing all about the different teas and also purchased a bag of Dong Ding Oolong tea to enjoy…
If you want to find out more about tea and would like to taste the real thing, head to Sturminster Newton and the Comins Tea House for an authentic bowl of tea – I know I will be heading that way again in the very near future!
Comins Tea House
|Invited by PR company?||No|
|Guest of chef/restaurant/owner?||Yes|
|Restaurant/outlet knew ahead we were bloggers?||Yes|
|Was the meal complimentary from the restaurant?||No|
|Any complimentary items provided by restaurant/outlet?||Free Entrance|