How do you start your day?
Are you a coffee fiend or a tea guzzler?
Me? I am most definitely the latter.
I do drink coffee but not first thing in the morning; I am strictly a ‘tea only’ kinda gal before 10.30am.
And I’m also quite fussy about how I take it.
Milk no sugar. And strong. Waving a tea-bag around for a couple of seconds just doesn’t cut it for me.
I like strong, dark brown, English Breakfast blend first thing in the morning.
But tea — in all it’s guises — is good for me any time of day, to be fair.
Green, Earl Grey, Lady Grey, Lapsang Souchong, Oolong. I love them all.
So when one of my boys’ guidefathers paid us a visit recently and said his family had just taken on a tea company and would I like to try some, I jumped at the chance!
Now, I must just clarify that I haven’t been paid to write about this but I’m so impressed with Mazawattee Tea — and as well as tasting absolutely delicious — it has got the most amazing back-story that I really wanted to share.
Mazawattee Tea — The Stuff of Legend
Once upon a time, in 1850’s Plymouth, there lived a chemist called John Boon Densham.
He sold loose leaf teas in his pharmacy — as was the custom at the time — and (as tea was highly prized for its restorative benefits and was regarded along the same lines as alcohol) his catch-phrase ‘the cup that cheers but does not inebriate’ became very fashionable amongst the well-heeled, Victorian tea drinkers.
Before too long, his little tea sideline took off to such an extent that John Boon Densham left the pharmacy, to pursue a full time career in tea.
Roll on a few years and Mazawattee became one of the most important — and most advertised —tea firms in Britain, during the late 19th century. And by 1898 it had become the largest tea company in the entire world.
They were such a power-house, they paid unprecedented sums in tea duty and turned the record-breaking duties into advertising campaigns.
Mazawattee signs could be seen on nearly every railway platform and bus across the UK and, eventually, they became the most important and advertised brand in England for 50 years.
They even used a small team of tame zebras to pull one of the Mazawattee vans, in certain areas of Kent.
Sadly, things began to go into decline in the 1900s and the events of two world wars were just too much for the tea company to overcome.
World War 1 saw huge increases in tea taxes; there were problems within the company ranks — resignations and sackings — and finally, after the World War 2 bombings destroyed their factories and head office, The Mazawattee Tea Company finally closed it’s doors.
Like a Phoenix From The Flames
Our friend’s family has resurrected the Mazawattee Tea Company — given it a new lease of life — and bought it into the 21st century, with a brand new look — and a lovely new website.
They’ve collaborated with Fairtrade producers and the Rainforest Alliance to track down the finest tea leaves; worthy of the Mazawattee name.
The tea nowadays is plucked from the finest tea plantations in India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, China and Indonesia; then expertly blended and packed, here in the UK.
With exotic and distinctive teas from all over the world, they’ve managed to capture the luscious taste and aroma of the most verdant tea gardens, in each cup of tea.
John Boon Densham would be so proud.
The Cup That Cheers.
I love that they’ve used the zebra pulled carriage on the modern day packaging.
Their entrepreneurial founders certainly knew how to turn heads to get their products noticed — and the new Mazawattee Tea Company owners are certainly following suit.
Finally, if you’re wondering how Mr Densham came up with the name Mazawattee, it’s an exotic blend of the Hindi word ‘Maza’ meaning pleasure and the Sinhalese word ‘Wattee’ meaning garden.
An unusual name that has proved as popular — and as memorable — today, as it did all those years ago.
I don’t quite hold with the Victorian notion that tea is a good alternative to alcohol though.
My morning cuppa will never replace my 6 o’clock gin.
And vice versa.
But I do, wholeheartedly, agree that a mug of Mazawattee Tea is a ‘cup that cheers’.
If you’d like to try Mazawattee teas for yourself, pop along to their website.
They’ve got a lovely selection of English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Sencha Green and Perfect Everyday Black Tea, in biodegradable bags.
This post is not sponsored in any way but I was gifted the tea and all thoughts, words and images — as ever — are entirely my own.
Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.