Today Begins with Tea (Tasting) - Proper Tea Rooms Manchester*

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I was recently given the opportunity to take part in an exercise to gather information on great places around Manchester for a project on the Millennium Guide to Manchester you'll be able to find the guide once it's been produced. The aim is to  to gather all the amazing places in Manchester and have the details all in once place.

I love tea and I'm gradually working my way round all the tea rooms and cafes in Manchester, when Joe Bloggs contacted me to see if I wanted to take part I didn't hesitate and said I wanted to try and include Proper Tea Rooms. I've been meaning to go since they opened and never had the chance.

I was booked on to the Proper Tea Developer Part One which part of a series of tea tasting workshop they offer.

The workshop started at 11am last Sunday morning and you're asked to arrive around 15 minuets early I was asked to wait at a table. I love the flowers and sign on the tables. It brought a smile to my face. 

There were 12 of us all together, previous worshops have been 8 people but they have been more popular than they expected and are looking to run the workshops on a monthly basis. I already know of two people who are looking to book on. 

We were given a brief introduction and a hand out. Hand outs make me happy as it gave us a chance to scribble notes and extra information that we could read at our leisure.  

There was a real mix of people on the workshop, a few had been bought the voucher for Christmas, another person was a cafe owner and wanted to get more information about tea and then there was me. I didn't feel out of place going alone and everyone was really nice and friendly. 

We tried 12 different teas 3 white tea, 5 green, and the rest black. We were given information about how the tea's are created and what to look out for when buying and storing tea.

Like with most things tea is a personal preference and what one person likes another one will hate. Tea will taste different to everyone and depending on what else you've eaten or drunk. 

Some of the tea's had very little flavours and some people thought they were just hot water but often these tea's were quite rare and there for more expensive. They are ones you would buy and drink if you were very into tea and not have as an every day brew. 

The hand out also had a space were we could record details of the tea's we'd had and space for notes on what temperature the water should be and how long to brew them for. White and green teas need to be brewed at a lower temperature than black tea as they are closer to the natural state of the leaves and are easy to burn. 

We did have a couple of brew's that were burnt (the water too hot) and then they were re-brewed and the taste was very different. It's worth knowing what temperature is right for your brew. Especially if you're buying decent loose leaf tea.  

I love the tea leaves in their raw form I could't stop taking pictures of them and I've take out a vast number of pictures from this post. 

It was really interesting listening to Kalpa who is the tea expert at Proper Tea rooms listening to how she got into tea and the differences between the different types of tea.

As you can see from the pictures I've shown the tea gets gradually darker as we work out way from white to black tea.

The tea was made by checking the temperature of the water it was brewed in a glass teapot then decanted into a glass jug before being poured into the cups.

We were also given some biscuits and cakes which were really lovely. I'm planning on going back with my mum. I was perusing the menu at work the other day with a colleague trying to decide what I'd have. I think it will be the soup, sandwich, breakfast tea and scone deal for £11.  

We were shown what to look out for when buying tea and did a bit of a comparison between the three black teas.

My photo's didn't upload in the order I took them but I think this one was my favourite one.It's Imperial Earl Grey It comes from Sri Lanka and should be brewed at 95 degrees. They spray the leaves with Bergamot Orange as it grows to be scented rather than flavoured. I was showing the notes to someone at work who is thinking of booking a place and he pointed out I'd written "Amazing" in the comments box. 

The Beijing Breakfast tea was the most fascinating to look at, the leaves look to have been twisted before they are dried and beautiful to look at. 

We had plenty of time to chat through the different teas and ask questions. We talked about having tea for comfort with milk and having loose leaf teas, decaf teas and a brief mention of tea infusions. 

The workshop costs £30pp and lasts for two hours. My first though was this was a little expensive but with everything we covered and the number of tea's we tasted it is a fair price and I think it would make a great gift for the tea lover in your life.  I have a list of tea's I want to try and I want to get away from my tea bag teas. There is nothing wrong with these but my eyes have been opened to loose leaf tea and I now know I've been making my green tea with water that is far too hot and I prefer white tea to green. This from the girl who was always a builders brew kind of girl is a bit of a revelation.

From their website they have a number of dates for the Proper Tea Developer Part One

Sunday 22nd March, 11am
Sunday 19th April, 11am
Sunday 17th May, 11am
Sunday 14th June, 11am

There is a Proper Tea Developer Part Two which they don't recommend going on until you've done part one and this looks at ancient and fermented teas. I am quite interested in trying this workshop in the future. 

I think this would make a great gift for the tea drinker in your life, it's also a great option when you've run out of material things to buy someone. 

There was a great atmosphere in the tea room, at times it was quite hard to hear as there was the noise of customers but they are learning and taking feed back from each course to get the set up perfected. It didn't detract from the course it just meant we had to have things repeated a couple of times.

I've also had an email in the past day or two saying they are looking at putting on other workshops and may do dome evening workshops so it will be worth keeping an eye on their website. 

I was gifted the voucher to attend this workshop but all views and opinions are my own. A big thank you to Joe Blogs for organising this opportunity.

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  1. Looks like a lovely day out :) xxx

  2. It really was, even though I went on my own i was made to feel welcome and I didn't feel like i needed a friend there x

  3. Sounds like agreat workshop if you enjoy tea.

  4. This sounds like a fan event! I love a good green tea made with proper leaves, I've also just ordered a glass/see through tea pot and I cant wait for it to arrive!

    Dash xx
    Mode Lily

  5. It was a great event. I'm keeping my eyes open for the other workshops they've got in the pipeline. They are expensive but I think it was worth the money x

  6. I really want a glass tea pot. I've seen one that Alfie Dayes uses but can't workout what it's called. I really should make use of google! x

  7. It was really good fun, I'd recommend it if you know a tea lover.


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