I love Portsmouth for a hundred different reasons, but mostly because of the amazing craft, artisan and vintage scene. From the independent coffee shops to the lovely craft cafe, the antique stores to historic buildings, it's all too easy to lose hours to this beautiful city. While I was doing some research for a magazine feature, I ended up taking heaps of photographs of my absolute favourite haunts, so I thought it'd be nice to do a few posts celebrating the amazing places that make up Southsea. First up, the home of the best tea on the South Coast - Portsmouth Tea.
Portsmouth Tea is a unique combination of factory and tearoom; rows of steel shelving packed with original blends of tea towards the back, with tables, chairs and sofas towards the front. Cakes and muffins are stacked on glass stands, flowers spill from vases and small antiques are dotted around; packets of tea balance on top of vintage scales, and an old soldiers hat jostles for space with floral vases.
The tea itself is incredible; in our house we're dedicated converts to the eponymous Portsmouth Tea. Strong, malty and intense, it's perfect first thing in the morning, when I'm struggling to prise my eyes apart and wrestle the kiddos into the bath. On my first visit, I wandered along the racks, reading the labels on each bag; Southsea Breakfast, Pure Assam, Earl Grey and Darjeeling all sit happily side by side the more exotic blends - Liquorice, Jasmine Petals, Lemon Verbena, Jade Pillars and China Gunpowder.
We ran out of Portsmouth Tea a couple of weeks back, and I ended up having to rummage in the back of the cupboard for some of old teabags. It was, in short, a disappointment; lacked flavour and just looked a bit, well, anaemic. I can't recommend their tea enough, and what's even better is that they have an online shop - so if you can't get to the factory itself, you can still stock your cupboard with the finest tea in the South.