I have a slight obsession with teas and hoarding teas from my travels. I love trying out new teas as you can try lots of different flavours but without the fullness of typical meals or desserts. I know a lot of people find anything but black tea dull and weak tasting, and it can be an acquired taste as quite often the smell is stronger than the taste, but I love it. I was therefore excited to see Bird and Blend Tea Co. (used to be Bluebird) being added to Manchester’s repertoire! This is especially so since I hate coffee. Here, I attend their launch event open to the general public. *
Bird and Blend Tea co
Bird and Blend Tea Co. are originally from Brighton, and have opened up their first Manchester branch on Church Street in Northern Quarter, next door to Oké Poké. The inside is small, functioning primarily as a shop but there is a table in the back, a tea bar and some beanbag style chairs placed towards the front of the premises. They host some events such as tea mixology and blending workshops and are a dog-friendly place too!
There is a variety of teas on sale as well as tea related goodies, such as infusers, teapots and bottles. Teas are available as loose leaf or in tea bags, which are 100% plastic free! Bird and Blend Tea Co. has an entire page describing how eco-friendly they are, and how they are trying to improve things. Their biggest challenge is the pouches they use for their loose leaf teas. They offer incentives to customers to reduce waste, so will give you 10% off for:
- Bringing your own container to store your tea leaves
- Using your own cup at the tea bar for takeaway drinks
- Bringing your own reusable bamboo straws for drinks
Their teas are colour coded so you can easily look for teas which suit your preferences.
- Black: Black teas
- Brown: Pu-erh teas
- Teal: Oolong teas
- Green: Green teas
- White: White teas
- Yellow: Yerba mate teas
- Purple: Herbal infusions
- Orange: Fruit infusions
- Red: Rooibos
At the tea counter, you can ask about each tea. There’s some basic stuff like their house blend, but there’s also more interesting stuff like their Easter Egg Nests black tea or Bears Like Marmalade.
The back of every tin has a list of ingredients including how to brew it. This label will be on the packaging of the tea you purchase as well. You can also physically see the tea leaves and smell them before deciding which one to try. I spent a good 10 minutes at least slowly deciding what teas I was interested in and then another 5 smelling them before purchasing. I am really bad at deciding! Basic teas start at £3 for a sample pouch of 20g tea leaves which should give you 10 cups of tea. More expensive tea leaves will obviously cost more.
Bird and Blend Tea Co. also has a range of Matcha tea blends which you can buy in different sized tins as well as a matcha kit complete with a whisk. On the day of the launch, I got to sample a variety of the matcha blends and was particularly impressed with the Black Magic Matcha which contains activated coconut charcoal and cocoa powder. A 30g tin would set you back £20, however.
The tea bar serves a selection of hot and cold tea-based drinks to have in or take out. They cater to dietary requirements and all their drink recipes can be found on their website. Take for example their Unicorn Fizz which is made using their Raspberry Blue tea, still and sparkling water, vanilla essence and honey. I admit this looked far prettier than it tasted. I much prefer their chai and matcha latte!
I think I would definitely be back here once my tea supplies are low (did I mention I hoard tea?). As I don’t drink coffee, it’s nice to see another place catering to tea and tea based drinks instead. Definitely go in for a visit and smell some of their unique blends before exiting. Perhaps even make a purchase! Just don’t forget to bring your own container to get that 10% off!
Manchester address: 57 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD
What type of teas do you like? If you don’t like teas, what is your non-alcoholic drink of choice?
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