Posted by: ben | January 26, 2009

on puns and organisation

Ben: A few days ago, I got fed up of what I was drinking.

For a few years I’ve been toying with loose leaf tea. This was after an epiphany at the V&A Museum in London – one reasonably-priced cup of aromatic Earl Grey and I was hooked. Ever since I’ve been casually buying packets of casual brands, casually making the odd cup whenever I feel extravagant.

Looking at the languid cup of Whittards ‘Vanilla flavoured black tea’, I despaired. Where had my love gone? Was this as diverse as I now got – the same leaves probably prepared in a giant warehouse in London, with the occasional bit of vanilla pod or ginger stem thrown in?

I collared Dan over instant message. ‘Surely there’s more out there than this?’

‘Yes,’ he agreed, before ignoring me in favour of Daft Punk’s Alive 2007. Again.

So I explored. I googled my heart out and found that there’s a myriad of ’boutique’ tea shops, each offering their own unique mixes. Some offer the standard ‘black leaf tea with x’, where x is any prominent ingredient (chocolate, chilli, ginger, the dreaded vanilla), whilst others liked to play.

I got excited (not like that).

I told Dan. He got excited too. (It might have been like that. This was over instant message too. Difficult to tell.)

We both talked about the new Franz Ferdinand album for a while.

Then we talked more about tea.

Then we decided to do something a little bit radical. We made a blog. For both of us, something as proactive as this seems ridiculous – maintaining a Twitter is difficult enough – but we’re determined on this one. After a day of throwing puns at each other (Stay Loose, Leaves and Sleeves, Sound and Fusion, The Beat-Tea Boys…), we settled on a name and began what you now see in front of you.

Our aim is to try a few different teas every month from various specialist retailers while also talking about any notable music that comes to mind at the time. This is mostly selfish – we want to discover more tea, more bands and generally have more fun. At the same time, we hope someone will stumble across this blog and will similarly be inspired to try some tea and tunes.


Dan: In contrast, I’ve not really been that adventurous when it comes to teas. I’ve dabbled with a few common types from Whittards and Twinings. I have discovered that:

Earl Grey is very drinkable, and is probably the only tea I’ve ever had that I can drink without milk or sugar. I’m sure this classes me as a heathen among the hardier tea-suppers, but I’m not wildly keen on the bitterness of tea. I’m in it for the taste, and if that means adding milk and sugar, so be it. That said, I have very little of either. Milky tea is awful, and if it’s too sweet, the flavour of the tea is lost.

Assam is gorgeous. Very small amount of milk, and little to no sugar, please. I like this tea a lot.

Darjeeling is quite nice, especially in the morning. I like it as a breakfast tea, with some milk and a spoonful of sugar (as usual).

Lapsang Souchong is foul. I almost liked the first cup I had. After that, I couldn’t swallow a mouthful. With or without milk or sugar.

And that’s pretty much it, except for some everyday teas and the occasional bland restaurant green teas, which don’t really count. I don’t buy any of the big brand teas (PG, Tetleys, etc), but go for the FairTrade stuff instead. It’s nicer, and appeals to my ethics. I drink this when I don’t fancy any of the three tasty teas I listed above. Which isn’t often.

I also hate coffee, love wine, and can’t get my hands on enough good music, as will hopefully be shown in the upcoming posts.

Oh, and it totally was like that.

Other rejected/unavailable pun titles: The Polyphonic Tea, Loose Tea in the Sky with Diamonds, Theft (all proper tea is…), Smells Like Tea Spirit. I think you’ll agree we made the right choice.


Ben: The first order has been made (eek!) and the first discs are being cued up. Settle in – something good is brewing.



  1. […] not done since The Go! Team’s Bottle Rocket. It turns out I like Dance music. Who knew? (See repeated mentions of Alive 2007 on […]

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