Hands up who remembers Yvette Feilding, the youngest ever Blue Peter presenter? Nah me neither, I’m to young for that. But I bet you do remember that blonde lady from Most Haunted don’t you! Well she and her long time friend Gary McClarnan have decided to set up a specialist loose leaf tea room in the visitors centre of the Manchester Cathedral.
The idea behind a tearoom in a rather unusual location came from Yvette’s quest to find the ultimate tea drinking experiences and Gary’s disenchantment with selling his Make Us A Brew tea range in bulk to large stockists. After successfully running Teacup with the Manchester DJ Mr Scruff and Bonbon Chocolate Boutique, Gary decided it was time to let go of Make Us A Brew and start doing what he really wants. It turns out that what he really wants is to bring great loose leaf tea back to Manchester and teach people how not to mess up this delicate drink.
I don’t think you’ll be surprised when I tell you that I know ball all about tea. Beer and food are my things, we know this. But I do like to be a smart arse and know a bit about everything so I thought I’d go along to this little Proper Tea thingy and try to learn a bit about tea. It turns out it’s not just dunking a bag in a bit of hot water. They take into account; steeping time, water temperature, cup shape and probably many other things that I’m yet to learn about. Basically tea is a complicated art and Proper Tea are trying to spread the word.
Just like Teacup we can expect this place to have a-mazing cake! I’ve been told that cake will matter her just as much as the tea. Proper Tea has started to share a central kitchen with Teacup so it’s basically guaranteed they will be of the same quality. I love Teacup’s cakes but you can make of them what you will, I’m not your mum. You’ll still be able to get rainbow cake by the massive slab over at teacup but Proper Tea will be serving slightly more delicate cream tea sorts of cakes. Although there may be some hybrid things sneaking in. While I was there I had a peanut butter and jam brownie tart. I may have been sick if I ate more than one but my word was it good!
I think we can all agree that when it comes to tea rooms image has a huge roll to play. Some like chintz, some like posh others hate the gimmicks involved with both. I’d class Proper Tea as neither of those things, the only bit of chintz I spotted was the saucer above these words. They’re still a work in progress but one day pretty soon they will own a grandfather clock and that will be pretty awesome. The idea is to slowly develop the room into a more female friendly space than Teacup. I’m not sure I totally get that idea. I have all three lady parts (work it out kids) and I’ve never felt phased by the place. Maybe they mean a slightly older or posher lady. Maybe some ladies find the business and Norther Quarter-ness of Teacup a bit too much.
A place like this being run by a former music tour manager and a ghostly celebrity was never going to escape a but of art now was it? They’ve done collaboration tea blends with a number of tea obsessed artist, tinned them and made them available as collectables. This is pretty cool but I find it cooler that you can have your own blend created by their sommeliers. They’ll even keep a record of it so you can come back in and ask for you Super Special Michael Mega Mix or whatever you want to call it. If it’s good enough it may even go on the menu so name is wisely!
Now for the coolest bit. See that weird little wrap of tea below…
… well it turns into a flower and you can drink it. MAGIC.
PROPER TEA NOW OPEN