Lahloo tea of Bristol
A confession – I needed a little winning over to Lahloo tea.
Not that there is anything wrong with it of course, just that I usually like my tea straight up. Hot and the colour of Ronseal. The most extravagant I usually go with tea is Earl Grey.
So when I first learned of the company run by Kate Gover out of Bristol and named after the clipper skippered by one of her forebears, I was, therefore, a bit sceptical in the way that I am with new things I don’t understand or fear – tall people for example. And loose leaf tea! What a palarva!
Of course, like tall people, I found that once I tried them (so to speak) I found that they were at worst ok and at best actually rather good. The latter was the case with Lahloo.
I bumped into Kate at the Dartmouth Food Festival a couple of weeks ago and tried some of her wares. I was drawn to the Lahloo Smokey as much by the name as anything (marketing types high-five each other at the point). And once I sniffed it I was hooked.
I got a nose-full of its aroma and turned to Kate, saying it reminded me of an Islay malt whisky from the Scottish isle. She told me I was not the first person to say that. And it was true – it had the smoky peaty smell you get from a Laphroaig but without the saline marine taste of the sea that accompanies that brilliant whisky.
The reason for this is the fact that the tea leaves are smoked over cinnamon wood also grown on the family owned Handunugoda estate where it originates.
Then there’s the taste, and the smokiness is complemented by the taste of the tea itself – a lapsang souchong in style.
This is not an early morning tea, this is a laid back weekend afternoon tea in the same way that Sunday mornings are perfect for a cup of velvety smooth quality coffee. Something to sip gently as you mooch through the day’s papers, watch a Bond film or just make talk with friends and lovers. It puts you in a good place. At £6 for 50g, it ain’t cheap. But then you aren’t going to drink it every day. It’s one to share when you have time to appreciate it and do it justice. So I have a bag in the cupboard and I even, horror of horrors, have become the owner of a tea diffuser…
Update – Kate Gover quite rightly points out: “Don’t forget that you use just a pinch of leaves per person and you can reinfuse the leaves to make 2 or 3 pots of tea! So about 150 cups for £6.00 – a bargain!”