TEA NEWS: Interview with Alex Holland, Founder of the Real Tea People

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Today, teaxplorer is chatting with Alex Holland, Founder of the Real Tea People, who is running TEA and ALCOHOL, a tea cocktail pop-up this month in Brixton.

teaxplorer: What’s TEA and ALCOHOL?

Alex: Classic cocktails made better with tea. For example an Grey and Tonic, which is like a traditional G&T where the gin has been infused with a lightly bergamotted Earl Grey.

teaxplorer: Why are you doing TEA and ALCOHOL?

Alex: The Real Tea People are reversing the decline of our national drink by converting you to loose leaf tea. We treat tea like a real drink, one which deserves at least the same level of respect as coffee or wine.

Most so-called tea cocktails in London don’t actually have any taste of tea in them. It’s just been put down there as a novelty item on a long list of ingredients. For TRTP flavoursome teas are at the heart of our cocktails. It’s really important to me that people can taste the teas in them and how special they are.

Like the oolong in our version of a Blue Moon, the Brew Moon. The Russian Standard vodka takes on the floral complexity and slight smokiness of the oolong really well and when muddled with fresh blueberries and other ingredients it comes together as a seriously good tea cocktail.

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teaxplorer: So how does this help to convert people to loose leaf tea?

Alex: Tea cocktails which celebrate the flavours of special teas are a way of helping people see tea leaves as more than just something that comes in a bag with scalding water and milk thrown on top.

The job of converting people to more traditionally used leaf tea will be done by TRTPs main venture Brew, a pub for tea. Brew will serve tea cocktails and pots of exceptional loose leaf tea in an atmosphere that works for people who aren’t keen on hotels or traditional style tearooms.

What TEA and ALCOHOL shares in common with Brew is that we are using teas that are leading-edge in terms of the benefits they give to the growers. The Assam used pays its growers, like Dalim Bora, several times better than Fair Trade.

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teaxplorer: Why are you doing this?

Alex: I was sitting in an old white working class caff in Brixton one day, drinking a mug of black tea which tasted massively better than tea I’d had anywhere else. The reason why was because they’d never changed the method of making it since the 30s, they’d never adopted teabags with the inferior flavour that brings. They kept using leaf tea, and that’s when it hit me. What does it say about Britain that as a nation defined by tea drinking we accept the worst possible standard or tea when a humble caff in Brixton could get it right? What does it say, that it’s easier to get a good pot of tea out in Paris than in London? That’s when I knew what I had to do. I have to save Britain for tea. To get rid of teabags and help make loose leaf tea the new norm.

Others have been doing a heroic job of championing supply and drinking of decent leaf tea like Tim D’Offay at Postcard Teas and Henrietta Lovell at Rare Tea Co to name just two. Creating places where people are converted to good teas is the way I can best contribute towards freeing leaves from the prison of flavour that is the teabag and restoring dignity to our national drink.

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When and where is TEA and ALCOHOL:

TEA and ALCOHOL is being held at Brixton Cornercopia, 65 Brixton Village Market, SW9 8PS.

It is open 6.30pm – 11pm Fridays and Saturdays in December (12th, 13th, 19th, 20th and 27th)

Social media links:

Twitter: @tea_and_alcohol
Facebook: Tea and Alcohol, the tea cocktail pop-up

 

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About teaxplorer

I grew up in the Midwest of the US and was introduced to tea at a very young age - unsweetened iced tea, that is! It was not until my early 20s, when I was seeking a lighter alternative to coffee, that I took tea drinking to a new level. I still remember my mother suggesting that I try putting milk in a cup of black tea (something that actually sounded a bit repulsive at the time, but I gave it a go). I quickly became tired of supermarket tea and started ordering teas from shops and companies all over the US. Throughout my 20s and now into my early 30s, pursuits in higher education studies, work opportunities and marriage have given me opportunities to live in the UK, Canada and Germany and travel around the world, which has sparked an even greater interest in tea and the culture of tea. This blog is my outlet to discuss my love of tea and show off some of my photos. All images and opinions on this blog are my own, unless stated otherwise. I retain copyright on all photographs, but please do not hesitate to contact me at teaxplorer@gmail.com if you wish to reproduce any of my images. Likewise, if you would like me to review and photograph any teas for you, please get in touch. I would be happy to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by my blog, and I hope you return many times! Happy drinking! Drew B (@teaxplorer)
This entry was posted in Postcard Teas, Rare Tea Company, TEA and ALCOHOL and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to TEA NEWS: Interview with Alex Holland, Founder of the Real Tea People

  1. Hi Alex, great to see your tea dream flexing its wings and starting to take to the air . . . Good luck

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