Friday, June 7, 2013

Rob and Michelle infuse a passion for tea

Blend a tea lover, a tea sceptic and personal tasting on a Darjeeling tea estate. Leave to brew for several years in Brussels and the result is another Dorset business served with passion and commitment.

Comins Tea House in Sturminster Newton has been sourcing and blending the finest teas for a couple of years. Rob and Michelle, the husband and wife team behind Comins, have spent a long time developing the eye and the taste for a beverage that offers huge variety and complexity, that’s missed by most of us when we dunk a tea bag in a mug.

Realising that setting and mood are essential ingredients in the best tea experiences, this year they opened a real Comins Tea House. Here you can choose your black, white, green or oolong tea and enjoy a contemporary take on the traditional ceremony associated with its serving.

Making time for tea

“Tea becomes a personal journey,” said Michelle, who from her childhood learned the importance of the tea ceremony in bringing people together. “People come into the tea shop saying they want to stay for ten minutes and they’re still here an hour and a half later.”

Michelle and Rob want to share their enthusiasm for tea with their customers, by serving it themselves. The tea shop is only open four days a week, giving them time to run their importing and blending business, and to allow space in their busy lives for their young family.

Recently the tea house hosted a visit by Jane Pettigrew, tea specialist and historian who has helped Rob and Michelle find their way around the fascinating world of tea. An author of several books on tea preparation and culture, Jane’s visit included a presentation on tea to an enthusiastic audience. The event was extremely popular and with demand for places so high, they hope to run it again.

Allowing everyone to discover the secrets of tea

The tea served in the tea house is personally sourced from single estates. It’s served in exclusive tea ware designed by Comins and made by British craftspeople. If you choose, the tea can be accompanied by delicious locally sourced food.

“There are exclusive tea houses in London,” said Michelle, “but they can be very intimidating. We want to make tea accessible.”

And they’re doing just that. Customers are making the effort to seek out Sturminster Newton, and the Georgian building that is home to the tea house. Rob and Michelle’s recipe for a successful business based on a product they love is working.

Discover more about Comins Tea House by visiting their website, or you may spot their stand at one of the many festivals held around the area.

By Andrew Knowles

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