Knock Knock! Comins... This is definitely our cup of tea!


Comins Tea House 
Finest Single Estate & Single Origin Loose Leaf Teas & Teaware. 

Most people have at some time or another enjoyed a cup of tea. It's one of the world's most popular drinks. But the difference between an average tea - even expensive average tea from a famous brand name - and a truly special, carefully sourced, single estate tea prepared and served in the correct way - well the difference is palpable. The simple fact is that the vast amount of the tea enjoyed in Britain is below par. Even top hotels and clubs that proudly offer a selection from their menu or an array of teabags from some hinged wooden box with a well known logo, are merely peddling mediocrity.

You've probably been drinking the wrong tea, the wrong way and you don't even know it!

We met Rob Comins - one half of the husband and wife team behind Comins Tea House - at the Chefs Forum gathering at Parlour last May. Rob and his wife Michelle go out of their way to personally source and supply single estate teas and teaware. They also have a physical tea house in North Dorset where one may enjoy delightful sounding snacks to accompany a very special tea experience indeed. 

It doesn't take long in Rob's company to appreciate he is a tea connoisseur, extremely passionate about tea and only too happy to impart his expertise to share the joy of all things tea. Rob's down to earth demeanour and approach to discussing tea is extremely engaging. He's definitely no tea snob - rather someone who knows what he's talking about and wants others to understand and appreciate the very best tea.

A visit to the plantations of Darjeeling in Northern India over 10 years ago and a tasting experience at the Makaibari Tea Estate, completely transformed Rob's perception of tea and inspired Michelle and Rob on an ongoing journey in tea, the fruits of  which, we get to enjoy. Rob and Michelle's subsequent tea travels have taken them to China, Sri Lanka and Japan - all in search of the finest single estate teas. 

There's far more to a great tea experience than merely the actual tea - although of course the tea itself is an important element. The atmosphere and surroundings, the tea-making and tea-drinking teaware, the ritual and care, just the right method for preparing and serving each specific tea. These are the elements that - when combined correctly - can produce a mind-blowing tea experience.

Comins Tea House advocate serving tea the correct way. For example, High Grown Ceylon loose leaf tea is infused at 100 degrees Centigrade for 3 minutes and served without milk. Japanese Matcha is properly scooped, sifted and whisked with water heated to 80 degrees and presented in a beautiful bowl made in a Japanese kiln dating back to the 13th Century. Oolong teas are served in the correct Gong Fu cups and small pot which really bring out the best in this subtle and changing tea.

The range of Oolong teas available from Comins Tea House is most impressive - with seven currently on offer - each sourced from specific regions of China and Taiwan, including mountain ranges and remote gardens. In addition to Oolong and Matcha, other teas on offer include Silver Needle white tea and of course a wide choice of black teas.

Oolong is an unusual tea - not just because of it's subtle taste which evolves between sweet and smoked - but also because it actually improves the more it's brewed - up to six times - so long as the water is changed each time. Rob explained that there's an old Chinese saying about brewing Oolong tea: "The first brew you give to your enemy, the second is for the servant, the third brew is for your wife, the fourth is for your mistress and the fifth is for your business partner. The last brew one keeps for oneself."

Rob was kind enough to make me a Japanese Matcha green tea. I'm a massive fan of Japanese Matcha green tea and I would go as far as saying it was the best cup I've ever experienced. Matcha green tea is the same tea used in the famous and exquisite Japanese tea ceremony - a ceremony that takes years to master and perfect. Comins' Matcha is some of the very finest produced in Japan - it comes exclusively from Uji in Japan near the city of Kyoto - which is the home of the Japanese tea ceremony. Before harvesting, the Matcha leaves are left in the shade for up to five weeks, an extremely delicate process which creates extra Theanine and in turn leads to sweeter and more mellow tea. The is milled and ground down using Hikusu, a traditional stone pestle and mortar. Rob used a traditional natural bamboo Chashaku to carefully scoop some of his top grade Matcha into a Sifter to smooth out and remove any clumps - this assists the whisking process and leads to a smoother result. Once sifted, the Matcha is poured into a bowl - as mentioned the ones provided by Comins Tea House are made in Japan at an ancient kiln - Rob added hot water, not boiling but heated to 80℃  and then proceeded to whisk the mixture using a Chasen - hand made bamboo whisk. The Chasen provided by Comins Tea House has 120 bamboo bristles - the highest number a bamboo whisk can have. The liquid is whisked in a quick "W" shaped motion and eventually forms an incredibly light froth. Unlike so many Matcha green tea experiences I'd had previously this was unbelievably sweet tasting, smooth and deeply pleasurable. It also gave me a clear boost - somewhat like the effect of drinking an espresso, but healthier feeling. Whereas all my previous Matcha experiences had a slight bitterness to them, this tea had no bitterness at all - it was a sweet delight.

An especially enjoyable aspect of our work at Ambassadors of Food is that we're fortunate to meet some of the motivational people that source and present excellent food and drink - the men and women behind a top notch restaurant or extra special produce suppliers. The hospitality food and drink business is not an easy one; it takes vast amounts of hard work, passion, expertise and dedication to succeed in a notoriously competitive industry with ever more knowledgeable and rightly demanding customers. That said, in our experience the most successful people in this industry tend to be some of the nicest, with big hearts and a genuine love of what they do, who derive the most pleasure from sharing their passion. That's why we think Comins Tea House are worth your time. To discover some of the finest taste experiences available in teas then do pay a visit to and whisk us a sweet Matcha and save us the fifth or sixth brew of Oolong; thanks to Comins when it comes to tea we now know what we're talking about.

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