Consuming 30,000 cups at our desks every year, tea is the essential elixir that gets us through the working day. Its restorative properties help spark ideas, relieve stress and provide a soothing moment of calm. But with sales of alternative tea soaring, has the traditional office brew had its day? I headed to tea bar and shop, Piacha, to get the lowdown on the new tea trends that could soon be sweeping through your office.
Nestled on uber-trendy Upper Street in Islington, Piacha was founded in 2014 by Finnish ex-lawyer, Pia, whose quest for a proper takeaway tea transported her from the board room to the world of infusions. Word of her alternative tea range quickly spread and bespoke tea tastings (available by appointment), now take place in offices across the capital.
Pushing open the door on a dark and dismal February evening, I enter a soothing scandi-haven of dark wooden floors, exposed brickwork and subdued lighting where shiny teapots and elegantly packaged tea line the wall-to-wall shelves. Hovering over the trendy, American-style bar, Pia appears with a beaming smile. Grabbing our mugs, we settle onto comfy, orange sofas for a brew and a chat.
Sipping a zingy apple green number, I discover there’s a herbal mood-boosting tea to conquer every situation. Feeling down and depressed, reach for the Liquorice.
Frazzled and wrung-out? Try a stress-relieving Ginseng spice. In need of a 9.00am energy boost – grab a Matcha latte. With a glint of excitement in her eye, Pia dashes off to bring more samples to try.
With a hint of cinnamon and a long black pepper after taste, the ginseng spice is both fiery and soothing – and my all-time favourite. In second place is the Matcha latte. Boasting 25 times the anti-oxidant concentration of Goji berries, Matcha is the undisputed super-power of the tea world.
Releasing slowly into the bloodstream with none of the blood “sugar” crash associated with coffee, Matcha provides a sustained boost to keep you zinging along from dawn till lunch break. Not being a green tea fan, I’m initial wary of the milky, green concoction but soon warm to its smooth, oaty overtones that have none of the bitterness I usually associate with green tea.
And what about those 4.00pm sugar cravings when only a Twix and Diet coke will do? Reach for the Rooibos choc cinnamon. Described by Pia as dessert in a cup, the cinnamon naturally curbs sugar cravings by helping to balance blood sugar levels. The taste is rich, dark and velvety – like Horlicks on steroids.
Having by now supped our way through half the shop, Pia leads me down to the basement event space which welcomes yoga converts, mum and toddler groups and corporates alike. When not in use as an event space, it’s the perfect sanctuary for freelancers.
Piacha also offers a quirky lunch break pit-stop where you can try an intriguing Lapsang Ham sandwich washed down with a carefully paired cup of Earl Grey and Vanilla. If you’re feeling flush after pay day, treat yourself to a Piacha afternoon tea. Fresh sandwiches, cakes, truffles and an intriguing ice cream tea twist are accompanied by four teas of your choice – (all with recommended tea pairings). At £14.90 it’s an affordable treat, not to be missed.
Leaving the tea bar feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, I can’t wait to try out my Matcha latte at work tomorrow. When my tea round rolls round, there may be a few surprises in store for colleagues.
To book a tea tasting for your office, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you tried any alternative teas? What ones would you recommend?