Slurp away to enjoy success down to a T

Favourite brew: Tea specialist James Pogson holds a tasting event at Jameson's caf� in the Sheffield Antiques Centre with Sarah Jameson.                                               PICTURES: sarah washbourn
Favourite brew: Tea specialist James Pogson holds a tasting event at Jameson's caf� in the Sheffield Antiques Centre with Sarah Jameson. PICTURES: sarah washbourn
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If you slurp your tea, you’re doing nothing wrong.

Some may say it’s bad manners but, in fact, you’re maximising the flavour to a T.

The nation’s favourite brew is best savoured by a bit of slurping, say local tea expert James Pogson.

A group of enthusiasts found that out and more when they ‘took tea’ with third generation blender James, of Chesterfield’s Northern Tea Merchants.

Among his top customers are the Sitwells of Renishaw Hall, Knightsbridge store Harrod’s and the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire - when Prince Charles is a house guest he is very partial to their locally-blended teas.

Whether his poshest customers slurp or not, though, James wasn’t saying when he gave a tasting lesson at Jamesons Tea Rooms, the vintage-style cafe tucked away inside the Sheffield Antiques Centre on Broadfield Road.

Owner Sarah Jameson opened up in November and has a menu of 18 cuppas to leaf through - South African Rooibos, gunpowder green, Chinese jasmine, Moroccan mint and Earl Grey among them.

“People of all ages are getting really into tea,” she said. “There are a couple of students working their way down my tea menu week by week.”

Sarah’s favourite is the house tea, Jameson’s Exclusive Blend, which was made according to Sarah’s exacting requirements after a lengthy tasting session with the Northern Tea Merchants on Chesterfield’s Chatsworth Road.

“It was like a cocktail-making session with loose tea,” the 34-year-old grinned. “The blend he created for me contains leaves from Assam, Kenya and Sri Lanka and has lots of strength and character.” She was so impressed by the experience, she invited James to stage a tasting session at the tearoom. It was tea for 20, but there wasn’t a cup and saucer in sight. “We tasted nine different teas from Northern Tea’s range of over 1,000 from soup-spoons,” revealed Sarah. “We were encouraged to slurp noisily and get the tea under the tongue to taste the true flavour.”

James, 41, whose family have been selling the nation’s favourite brew since 1926 and now makes over 100 million teabags a year for the likes of Sainsbury’s, explains: “Tea is our national drink, yet few people have experienced it properly.

“There are so many incredible flavours to discover and slurping from a spoon atomises the drops of liquid going into your mouth, enhancing the taste and smell sensation. It also stops the tea from burning your tongue!”