We had snow overnight in Bristol. While it wasn’t the 40cm the Met Office was panicking about, it was sufficient to prevent me being able to drive to work; with the trains and buses not running either, there was nothing for it but to stay in Bristol. Which gave me the perfect opportunity to get to Attic, a Bristol tea house I’ve been meaning to go explore for some time.
It is a cosy little shop, that today resembled more of an alpine cafe given the number of parents and children all kitted up in the snow gear for a day of sledging, snowball fights and snowman building. Nevertheless, Anne, the proprietor, was an absolute delight finding time between making endless hot chocolates to fill me in on the store and their teas.
Attic have a cracking selection of teas sourced directly from China via a friend of Anne’s there. Which means big leafy tea and big flavoursome teas. Being Chinese the teas weren’t blended but typically pure, which means there was no house blend to go for (my usual tactic) and something I had half an eye on with a view to sourcing another tea for the blind tea tasting. So rather than be dull and have a black tea, I plumped for a White “Silver Needles” tea, one of their best sellers.
The brewing experience is a fun one too. You’re given an egg (tea?) timer to count down the three minutes until your tea has brewed. And this is the best bit: you pour the tea pot out of its bottom, so to speak, by holding it onto the top of the cup and let the tea gush down. I found it strangely satisfying.
The problem I generally have with non-black teas (by which I mean green, herbal and fruit teas) is that while they often smell fantastic, they frequently taste of not a lot, or worse, slightly suddy dishwater. I admit, that’s probably more my palette, but bear with me. However, this was a marvellous tea – while light as expected, it was also pleasantly sweet with a reassuring tea-ish taste. A subtle hint of, um, an undertone of, well, and a definite light after taste on the tongue that reminds me of…. er… Well, Oz Clarke I am not; but it was lovely. So that will have to do you for now! For being a “serious” tea place with “serious” tea, you can’t go wrong. [I apologise for the shocking photos! Misty lenses due to the icy cold outside and the steamy warmth inside!]
Attic, 115 Coldharbour Road, Redland, Bristol, UK
Their website has details of their online shop, as well as twitter, facebook and blog. Go look.