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“I realised that tea could be extraordinarily good. So, armed with my infectious passion, I founded Lahloo, named after the tea clipper my great-great grandfather sailed. Bring your teapot to life with Lahloo!”

The above is the mission statement of Kate Gover, founder of Bristol-based Lahloo Tea. We’d been following her on Twitter for a few weeks, but when the opportunity came up to meet her and taste some of her teas at the Arch House Deli in Clifton, it was far too good to pass up.

An avid tea drinker who was disappointed with the range of teas – especially those produced by smaller companies – on the market, Kate set up her business around 18 months ago. Named after the tea clipper that her great-great-grandfather sailed, Lahloo encompasses a range of teas that not only taste good, but are beautifully packaged. Furthermore, Kate’s teas are not “mass-produced tea from huge factories where cost is the number one priority”. Instead, they choose to source their teas from small, fairly traded, family-owned tea gardens, and the quality speaks for itself. Lahloo teas are available at a range of delis, cafes and restaurants in Bristol, and are also stocked at Liberty’s and Harvey Nichols.

My arrival at Arch House luckily coincided with the arrival of two fresh pots of tea, one of Amber Oolong, one of Long Jing. The former was a slightly smoky tea from Taiwan, which Kate explained was a good digestive, the latter a refreshing and easy to drink Chinese green tea. While I was there, I listened to Kate talking to others sampling her teas, and learned far more than I had previously known. I never knew, for example, that all tea – whether green, black, white or oolong – comes from the same plant (camellia sinensis)…or that drinking coffee – particularly milky coffee – numbs the tastebuds…or that all tea (yes, including green), unless specifically decaffeinated, contains caffeine. If you’re looking for a low-caffeine green tea, Kate suggests going for Chinese  teas – they tend to be roasted, whereas Japanese teas are more likely to have been steamed…and roasting lowers the caffeine content.

Kate’s enthusiasm for all things tea-related is evident, and this enthusiasm really is translated into her product range and personal levels of service, as evidenced by the testimonials on her website. She’s also keen to visit those who are keen to stock her range, to talk through the best ways to sell and serve her teas, with tea tastings and decisions on which products to stock, and advice on merchandising and marketing.

For more information on the company, the products, and details of where to buy, go to http://www.lahlootea.co.uk.

Find Lahloo Tea on the Bristol Bites Directory…

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