Last week I found myself at Piacha Tea Bar & Shop in Islington, discovering the art of tea slurping!
When Piacha had first invited me to pop in I’d politely declined. The truth is I’ve never really enjoyed tea or coffee. However they got back in touch with a lovely note to ask if I’d be interesting in sampling some of their tea infused snacks and smoothies instead, which offer subtler flavours and are much more accessible to non tea drinkers.
“Wait did you say snacks and smoothies?” I said. “Well in that case…”
I brought along my friend Rachel, a fellow non tea drinker. Yes that’s right. There are two of us Brits who don’t ‘do’ hot drinks.
Apart from the traditional teas, Pia dreams up the combinations herself and then works with local artisan producers to get the flavours just right. It’s clear that she really knows her stuff and has a feel for what her customers are going to like. Always a sucker for packaging, I loved the design of Piacha’s which looks so pretty sitting in colourful rows on the shelves.
The ground floor has lots of natural light and seating inside and out. However if you’re planning on staying for a while I recommend heading downstairs. There you’ll escape London’s hectic pace to find cosy furniture, industrial lighting and a bookshelf housing a growing collection of travel guides. Eventually you’ll be able to pick any place on the huge wall map and then find the relevant guide to flick through as you enjoy your cuppa, or at least that’s the plan!
We settled into our chairs and talked about about our favourite foods and flavours. Pia persuaded us to try a couple of teas as she was convinced that she could find some that we’d like. I ended up tasting 5 in total, which as a non tea drinker I think was pretty good going!
I soon discovered that it’s black tea that I don’t like the taste of. And milk. Milk in water is wrong! I hadn’t realised that there were different kinds if I’m being honest, I’d assumed that one tea was pretty much like another!
Pia taught us that the best way to release the flavours of the tea is to slurp it! This mixes oxygen with the tea which brings the flavours to life.
I’m not entirely sure how to describe the Honey Green Tea Brie sandwich, other than that it’s like a cinnamon roll but with soft smooth cheese oozing through. It shouldn’t work but is somehow drop dead delicious. We polished off the lot and I’m still dreaming about that sandwich a full week later. It was THAT good.
We also had Hummus and Herb sourdough bread sandwiches which were beautifully fresh with crunchy carrot slices, salad and a little twist of lemon.
Now this is a way to drink tea that I can totally get on board with! The Lemongrass Pineapple Iced Tea Smoothie was light and refreshing and the Orange Ginger Chilli Smoothie had a gorgeous warm kick at the end.
The ‘Berry Cosmopolitan’ Muesli Smoothie was the overall winner though. If I could pop in and pick up one of these for breakfast each morning I’d be there like a shot! We tried the muesli version which was wonderfully thick and filling with just the right mix of tart berries cut through with sweet honey.
Rachel and I were supposed to be somewhere else at 4pm, but at 4.30pm we were still there chatting away over our drinks. It was such a relaxed way to spend the afternoon and I kind of feel like I’ve been missing out on ‘popping out for a cuppa’ all these years. Consider me converted!
Piacha |280 Upper Street, Islington,London N1 2TZ
Thanks go to Piacha for inviting me and being so warm and welcoming. The various tea and snacks that we
tried were complimentary but as always, all opinions are my own and you
can read more about this on my disclaimer page.
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