Jolly Brew have been around for quite some time now. Probably a good year and a bit I’d say. Yet somehow, The Tea Witch managed to sneak in to sample some before ourselves. Feeling feelings of taking our bat and ball home, I contemplated protesting outside Jolly Brew HQ. However it was cold outside at the time and I could see the wind had knocked over my deck chair, so I popped the kettle on and stayed inside. I meant to add that I had finally acquired some prized Jolly Brew goodies before that last sentence but forgot. Basically I stayed inside and popped the kettle on to have some Jolly Brew.
The Tea Witch described her experience of Jolly Brew as being one of “premature tea-jaculation”. Her glowing review of the Mint Choc Royale, an after-dinner mint tea that you might have just after 8pm, had the tea community in stitches. “It smelled like I had just motor boated a Mint Aero, rubbed myself against it and smothered its juices all over my face. Twice.” Those are her words, not mine. She then witters on no end about how it’s the best thing since Yorkshire Tea, only told in x-rated words that can instantly fill empty kettles with water from all the moisture. And…. we’ll stop there.
Buckinghamshire based Jolly Brew was founded by top tea drinker Greg Hassell in 2014 or maybe 2013. I think 2014 but maybe Greg will tell me off for getting this wrong? He was “bowled over” when he first tried loose leaf tea and had the vision to set up his own tea company following an unfortunate (or fortunate) redundancy. He clearly recognises that loose leaf is superior compared to a tea b…. hey wait a minute here… tea bags aren’t all that bad Greg. I see your point though. Greg’s been supping tea since he were 15 year old, which means he’s got years of tea drinking experiences under his belt. He also looks like a guy I’d trust so I reckon he’s sound as a pound. Greg ‘ummed and ‘arred as to whether folk would latch onto the loose leaf but recognised its potential and here we are, in 2016, and Jolly Brew has over 1000 followers now on Twitter! Oh wait, that’s the Jolly Brewer pub in Stamford, Lincolnshire. You’ll be pleased to know that Jolly Brew, the tea company, boasts 4262 followers, has a cracking online shop and generally bosses things on social media.
I was sent 3 teas to sample, enjoy and witter on about on this blog. We were sent, in pouches of 15 silk bags, the following: The English Answer, Cheeky Caramel Creme, Barmy Berry. Jolly Brew apoligised for sending me “the most boring flavours” but I disagreed and I’m here to write why. Wait a minute… so I’m defending a tea on trial and I’m up against the tea company that makes them. Crackers!
With my 3 pouches of tea in hand, I got jiggy with it (the kettle) Will Smith style. Thirst up was The English Answer. Of course it would be the first… it’s the English Breakfast. The tea that powers our days at the office, fuels our intelligence and keeps us looking handsome at #teaclub HQ. That’s what we tell ourselves anyway. I’d ask The Tea Witch for confirmation but she seems to prefer Lady Grey rather than Earl Grey if you catch my drift.
With the kettle boiled, I slipped in my silky bag into the mug and let the brewing do the talking. This gave me an opportunity to catch up on some light reading. I’d just bought this book from a charity shop and it was packed with great advice.
The English Answer pretty much summed up why I love fresh tasting, loose leaf tea. This was right up my road (as I don’t live on a street). It’s solid, full of flavour from the Kenyan and Assam teas, and every cup is as reliable as the last. Kenyan tea… you will not go far wrong with Kenyan tea folks. It’s my favourite. I’ll tell you what I like most though. It’s the advice given, which suggests you brew it for a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of 7 minutes. The longer the better I say, for any loose leaf tea, and I’m so glad Jolly Brew recognise this.
After learning how to avoid a big ship whilst I’m on a lilo by a beach in Spain, I decided to go for something fruity. It was after the watershed after all. The time when you can play Luther Vandross and Marvin Gaye music. The perfect drink for all of this? Well yes, you could have a beer I suppose, but I fancied a caffeine-free Barmy Berry. Again a silk pyramid bag, it’s ingredients of elderberry, raising, hibiscus and natural flavours come from all over the world. Get your posh looking silk bag dipped in your mug of choice and let it brew away for a good 5 minutes. Go for 7 minutes and that way you can dance to Sexual Healing and Never Too Much. After being overwhelmed by the very fragrant smell of berries to begin with, I was not disappointed with the taste. Jolly Brew describe it as a “fruit explosion”. I’d describe it as the feeling you get when you have a Jolly Brew Barmy Berry. A bit of a fruit explosion and a half.
Last up to the plate was a mug of Cheeky Caramel Creme. After my earlier cheeky shenanigans of enjoying a fruity tea to some romantic music, i thought I’d take a small detour and settle down for the night with a good book. This time I opted for the Offensive Football Strategies book as it’s Superbowl week and I wanted to brush up on my tactical knowledge of the game. I’m going to forward my copy onto the Philadelphia Eagles in time for next season as I really feel that scoring touchdowns might benefit their game.
The Cheeky Caramel Creme, consisting of South African Rooibos (Redbush), Calendula Petals (Marigold) and natural flavours, creates a dessert like experience on the palate. Rooibos is a caffeine free tea and healthy for you so it’s a good tea to have to settle the stomach just before bed. Jolly Brew describe it as having a “sweet toffee like flavour” which I’d go along with. I say this because when I was supping on my Caramel Creme I was thinking it tastes sweet and it tastes like toffee. I brewed mine for a good 5 minutes and wasn’t let down. With or without milk is up to you. For fruit based Rooibos teas I take mine without milk. For this I can see the appeal of both preferences.
And there you have it. Them’s my ramblings about Jolly Brew and their 3 champion brews. Jolly Brew stock loads of other tea options, including Sherbert Lemon, Moreish Masala Chai, Cracking Cranberry Apple and Rhubarb and Custard. 7 teas are available in bag form, with most being available as loose leaf. Sample packs can be purchased if you fancy just having a bit of a dibble and a dabble. Speaking of, I’m off to the Bingo to get my dabber out. That’s not a euphemism.