Hop gear #1: Tiny Rebel, Brew Dog, Wayland’s Yard, Ale By Mail.

Hop gear #1: Tiny Rebel, Brew Dog, Wayland’s Yard, Ale By Mail.

In the now near legendary words of a certain Mr.Scroobius pip from his equally revered podcast, Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!

Officially the first fully fledged article from the new #BSB blog. Hop Gear will be a medium of delivering a regular round up of all the most interesting and up to date goings on in the beer scene, picked up from social media and the deepest darkest reaches of the internet, podcasts and all the media I manage to consume between posts.

Going forward I will probably look to recruit contributors to this area to allow me to stay up to date with more than my scrolling thumb can deal with alone, so keep your eyes peeled for new faces and names throwing content your way. But for now, lets get started on that good shit…

The prince of all Saisons

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Tiny Rebel have officially tugged on my nostalgic heartstrings by releasing their newest beer ‘Super Saison’. The draw of the Dragon Ball Z inspired artwork and one of my favourite beer styles is simply too much for my little brain to cope with. Take my money. Take all the money.

An intriguing combination of Kaffir lime leaf and Lemon Verbena, layered among the powerfully unique characteristics of the Wallonian Saison yeast will surely be something everybody will want to get on board with, however it will not be for the faint hearted at 7.4%. This bad boy will be available at Tiny Rebel Newport and Cardiff from the 20th April and looks as if it will also end up in a bottle shop or bar near you very soon. I have high hopes for this one! Read more @ Tiny Rebel

I’m sorry… it’s terminal

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By now I am sure if you are familiar with craft beer you will be familiar with Brew Dogs ‘BORN TO DIE’ range, beer with a limited life span delivering bold flavours, usually with a hefty ABV and the ability to leave a big impression on you. A very good mark for the craft beer trophy hunters among us, so if you want to join the BTD club you can read more and most importantly buy it, here @ Beer Hawk

Wayland goes to B-town

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My favourite coffee shop and friend of the blog Wayland’s Yard in Worcester, had some great news this week as they have welcomed a brand new arrival to their already great WY family…beer! They have had a brand new delivery of Beavertown beers which include stand out brews from the Tottenham brewer such as the widely adored Gamma Ray, The easy drinking Neck Oil and the punchy blood orange flavours of the newest wave of Bloody ‘Ell, Sam and the team truly do have you covered, from the beautifully crafted coffee to the hearty and soul fulfilling food, finish off with a (responsibly enjoyed) craft beer and you are sure to have a pretty good day on your hands. Give them a visit next time you are in Worcester! http://www.waylandsyard.com

Discount from Ales By Mail

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The picture says it all really, any discount on your beer bill is a saving grace. Visit www.alesbymail.co.uk and enter the code ‘highfive’ at checkout for £5 off.

In other news…

Brew Dog £213m equity deal NOT a sell out say’s James Watt: Full story

American brewers association get all PC: Full story

London craft beer festival tickets still available: Find them here

#BSB BREW SHACK BBQ

#BSB BREW SHACK BBQ

Today I have finally completed work on the rebranding, reimagining and repurposing of my long time love affair with food and drink, my blog. I have spent weeks trying to get everything to feel right and making sure it fits everything that I wanted it to be. I mean, the site is an outlet for my own culinary designs, my experiences and a platform for other people who have a likeminded approach when it comes to food and drink.

Why change?

After and unfortunate mishap in renewing my domain name for Hungry Buck, I took it as a sign that things needed to change. My tastes had changed since I started HB and I felt like it didn’t reflect where I was coming from anymore, it needed to be more of a representation of the food I was eating and the things I was doing day to day.

Reasoning:

  1. BEER. I work with beer, I’m incredibly passionate about it and what is happening in the industry and the creative, incredible beers that exist today as opposed to 10 years ago.
  2. BBQ. I am obsessed with the concept of true BBQ. Whether it is coming from my smoker or from someone else’s grill, the process and the art of being able to smoke or cook meat over coals awakens something primal within me. There is nothing better.
  3. CULTURE. Lets be fair whether its new age craft beer bars, passion project coffee shops driven by people who deliver something truly unique and special such as friend of the blog Wayland’s Yard or fun and unapologetically obtuse food from the likes of our other close friends at Rub Smokehouse… it is all about the culture. Bringing people together for the love of doing things the right way, you have all inspired this new look and it is people like you guys that continue to drive the culinary transformation that the UK has been in for the last 5 years.

 

What’s next?

No spoilers… but the weather is getting better. Prime smoking weather. Plenty of beer to get through and some exciting work coming up with Wayland’s Yard, Rub Smokehouse on their new menu and a brilliant new Donut project coming out of Birmingham… that is just a taste. There is PLENTY on the horizon so stay tuned. Content will be coming your way soon. Bigger and better than ever,

 

I can’t wait to get stuck in and build BSB up from the ashes of a great run with Hungry Buck and into something totally new, fun and interesting. It is the beginning of a new chapter this year for me, my work and this site. Time to embrace the change and make some waves!

In the meantime… here’s to a fresh start.


Wayland goes the whole 9 Yards

Wayland goes the whole 9 Yards

Some of you may recall a few weeks ago we ran a bit of a support campaign for a very special project coming out of the city of Worcester: Wayland’s Yard. The brain child of former professional rugby player Sam Smith, the team at Wayland’s Yard are aiming to raise the bar for food lovers in and around the city. It is all too easy to accept generic coffee chains as the best option due to them being thrust in our faces at every turn, this however is clearly not the case. Luckily for people who are searching for more than soulless syrup laden latte’s and a £12 austerity portion panini, some among us are prepared to rebel. Sam and his team are those very rebels. I was very kindly asked to attend the soft launch of Wayland’s Yard on 15th October 2016 so I could answer the question… Will Wayland’s Yard make waves in Worcester? Keep reading to find out…

Upon arriving at the shop, myself and two friends waited while a few final adjustments were made before they started serving. It was really interesting and encouraging to see everybody getting involved to get things moving. There was a real vibe of everybody pulling together and knuckling down to ensure things went smoothly, even a few current Warriors players who didn’t make the trip to Russia for the weekends game were mucking in! Credit to them. Very much a compliment to the collective team spirit on show all round. Admittedly it was also quite good for the rugby fan boy within me.

Once the prep had finished we were signaled over to order and I went for three cappuccinos to get us started.They came over fairly promptly considering they were still dealing with deliveries and trying to find their feet, one thing I loved about this was the fact that regardless of the organised chaos of opening the shop while they were still in the throws of developing it to its full potential, there was still no rushing the latte art in our coffee cups. It showcased the care taken in the presentation of their produce and it really makes a difference when your handed something so personal from a smiling, enthusiastic member of staff. All of this became an after thought when I actually tried the coffee… In a good way! I have clearly been accepting freeze dried Carte Noir at work for far too long because I can honestly say that I am struggling to think of a better coffee than this one. The full bodied, rich flavour of the beans really came through and the texture of the silky, frothy head paired beautifully to create a genuinely luxurious experience. I would put this coffee up against anything you find elsewhere on the high street and be confident of winning every time. Credit to Wayland’s Yard and Method roastery for opening my eyes on on that front. Brilliant.

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While I was thoroughly enjoying my coffee I was mulling over the menu, which at first glance strikes me as a set of creative dishes that all have an element that removes it from the norm. For instance the eggs benedict is accompanied by pink hollandaise and the toast section of the menu is home to the Marmite, shiitake mushrooms and Worcester gold cheddar, which was my instant first choice. I can honestly say I have never thought to put Marmite anywhere near cheese on toast but I was keen to give it a go. I also thought the addition of two poached eggs for an additional £1.50 was really quite reasonable for a much more substantial meal, at a total of £7.20 your getting a pretty balanced and healthy brunch.

***One thing I feel I must mention is the bread, as what really annoys me in cafes and pretty much anywhere that deals with bread is the question ‘white or brown?’ there are so many alternatives to white or brown Hovis! Alas, not an issue with these guys. Upon ordering I was asked ‘Sourdough or Rye?’… which represented a moment of realisation for me. Sam and the team are seriously building something that I can subscribe to. This place is all me! It’s the little details that make the biggest difference sometimes.***

In terms of execution I will again have to give credit where it is due, as I was handed a really well presented meal with two perfectly poached eggs and a generous scattering of mushrooms quilted in rich, golden melted cheese carefully placed on toasted, crispy sour dough bread and dressed with flecks of green lentil sprouts. I have had mushrooms and cheese on toast before but I felt the Marmite genuinely lifted it to a different level, cutting through the velvety indulgence of the cheddar and complimenting the delicate woody flavour of the mushrooms below. When you take a second to add the oozing cascade of golden yolk from the eggs were looking at a genuinely perfect Saturday brunch. Again, very well put together and a great addition to the menu.

***Special mention goes to the fry up that my colleagues ordered as that was probably the best looking fry up I have seen in Worcester.***


Overall Wayland’s Yard made a big impression on me during their first outing. Sometimes these kind of things can ride the hype train and underwhelm when they are actually realised, however every single detail on show from the coffee to the light fittings has been an extension of Sam and his passion for making this a unique experience. The food is tasty and wholesome, the prices are reasonable, the staff are enthusiastic and accommodating, the coffee is bloody superb and the owner is passionate about quality. I’m not being funny but what more could you want? The other worry can be whether people will ‘get it?’ but Wayland’s Yard presents an accessible, good value experience that leaves any worry of pretentiousness at the door. There’s no bullsh*t. It is exactly what it set out to be…

‘Proper coffee. Proper food’ 

I encourage everybody to get on board and support Sam and the team in making this the success that it deserves to be. They care about the food and drink you are being offered and they care about supporting Worcester. You can experience it for yourself from Saturday 22nd October when Wayland’s Yard becomes your new favourite place to be.

www.waylandsyard.com/

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Wayland’s Yard needs you!

Wayland’s Yard needs you!

Plenty of us get up in a morning and wish we could follow our hearts and take that leap of faith that will finally make our dreams a reality. We all have things that we would do anything to be able to accomplish in life but sometimes can’t quite push ourselves to do it. These pipe dreams could be travelling the world, writing a book, moving abroad or to someone like Sam Smith, running your own business.

Some readers may know Sam from his time as a rugby union player for Harlequins and Worcester Warriors, what you may not know however is that he has an incredible passion for coffee. A passion that clearly wasn’t satisfied by keeping it to himself, so naturally this developed into an idea. This idea then slowly evolved into Worcester’s newest answer to the UK’s growing love of modern, progressive food and drink, Wayland’s Yard.

 Sam now calls Worcester his home and to give back to the city he wants to provide everyone with the incredible coffee and great food they deserve, enjoying the fruits of local produce in a grade II listed building with a private walled garden and every effort being taken to help you relax and enjoy. Who can argue with that? It sounds special right? That’s because it will be…although to get this going he really needs your help.

How can you help?.. Wayland’s Yard is now crowd funding.

 

Being a part of the birth of Wayland’s Yard doesn’t just come with a huge amount of gratitude but also with some awesome benefits. You can start with as little as £10 and go as far as £250 but every little helps, see below for a list of what bang you get for your buck.

  • £10 – Draw yourself into our epic wall mural, becoming part of the shop.
  • £20- 5 free coffees and draw yourself into our epic wall mural.
  • £35 – 5 yoga classes in our community room with the amazing Yaur Yoga (www.yauryoga.com)
  • £45 – 2.5 hour home brew class at the shop with Sam and a free bag of coffee. Learn to make coffee the Wayland’s way for whenever you can’t make it to the shop!
  • £50 – 15 free coffees, Wayland’s Yard t-shirt, a free slice of cake on your birthday for life and draw yourself into our epic wall mural.
  • £100 – 10% off hot drinks, 30 free coffees, Wayland’s Yard t-shirt, a free slice of cake on your birthday for life and draw yourself into our epic wall mural.
  • £250 – 10% off food and hot drinks, 60 free coffees, invite to a home brew class at the shop for you and 1 friend, Wayland’s Yard t-shirt, a free slice of cake on your birthday for life, draw yourself into our epic wall mural.

 

I will be working with Sam and Wayland’s Yard in the coming months when they are open for business to show the world what they are missing in Worcester. In the meantime lets make it happen. Lets support Sam in his journey and repay his faith in setting up shop in Worcester. For more information on the project and to see where your money will go hit the ‘Make it happen’ link below. Read. Pledge. Get ready for Wayland’s Yard.

 Make it happen!!

www.waylandsyard.com

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York – Hungry Buck on tour

These past few weeks have honestly been very eye opening for me. I have always thought of the south of England as the place to be for the discerning foodie to get their ‘rocks off’ as it were and I am not ashamed to say that I wasn’t entirely right.

I still think that the south stylises food trends in a way that is hard to match, for instance; The traditional sleepy Devonshire seaside town with its cream tea’s and fish bars, the fashionable edible universe that is Brighton, Food markets and street food gems of London and everything else that incredible big city has to offer. However the UK has thrown me a curve ball in the shape of the walled medieval city of York, and what a place it is indeed.

First of all I will say that I know Yorkshire has a lot to offer but I have always just been more drawn to the in vogue south as all of us textbook, cliche foodies are, so apologies to Yorkshire for ever even remotely underestimating your produce. From the moment I got their I was completely and utterly spoiled for choice when it came to choosing our plan of action in terms of where to visit, the vast and rich history seeps out from under every cobble and brick. The Minster has a fantastic presence in the city as its Gothic architecture pierces the skyline from every direction, the walls mark the outskirts and whisper the tales of hundreds of years of marauding invaders with its visible battle scars, weathered but ever present. So many battles that have since been forgotten by the modern world happened in the city, a person would be forgiven for stopping in their tracks while walking the walls, running their hands across the ancient wall and wonder just how many people have done the same over the thousands of years it has existed.

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All this makes for an incredibly dramatic backdrop for a gastronomically motivated tour of the city. Speaking of which, I guess I should show you some of what we found. First of all, we arrived needing to find something to eat quite badly so it was very much a case of diving in and seeing what we could find. Now there is a LOT to get through so I will give a few mini reviews and tips regarding what to do and where to eat in this post, then finish off with two more thorough, extensive write ups about the top marking places that we discovered during our stay.

Bagel Nash

We arrived early afternoon in York and checked into our bed and breakfast with food already on our minds. We walked around the city scoping out everything available and came to a place called ‘Bagel nash’, a brand that I wasn’t familiar with until I did a little digging. They are predominantly a northern based chain who operate from their Leeds HQ and prepare bagels while you wait, in a sort of ‘Subway’esque way and also have a range of smoothies to go with their extensive bagel and filling options.

We went for the mozzarella and pesto bagel and the smoked salmon, cream cheese and olive (New york) both on wholemeal, with a fruit smoothie each. It wasn’t a cheap meal for the amount of food that we had but it was very enjoyable filler and it certainly serves its purpose. The decor was modern and quite interesting without being over the top or soulless. Luckily, It also didn’t have any underlying guilt factor like most fast food and it felt like we were only putting good, positive things into our system after a fairly lengthy drive. Overall it was a very pleasant experience and I would encourage you make a visit to them if you get chance.

Visit rating: Give it a try

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The Shambles

Following this we went for a bit of an exploration around the Shambles, which is a series of lanes, market stalls and eateries that have a more independent feel to them. What a hidden gem the shambles is, although a diamond in the rough in comparison to say The lanes’ In my beloved Brighton, the shambles has a lot to offer. There is so much going on down there its hard to keep track of but its certainly worth a look, every turn of the head presents a new cafe, pub, sweet shop or another foodie oasis in a beehive of cobbles and hungry punters. We didn’t end up eating anywhere around the shambles in the end as we were spoiled for choice and seemed to be a little overwhelmed with choice, while also being short on time trying to pack so much in to a few days. The Shambles is a place well worth a visit and there is a lot available to see, eat and drink.

Visit rating: Essential.

Wild boar pies, found at a pasty and pie shop in The Shambles.

Wild boar pies, found at a pasty and pie shop in The Shambles.

Cafe Concerto

Walking around for a while and taking in some of the culture on offer (such as the best busker I’ve ever had the pleasure of coming across playing a full on piano int he middle of the street) I developed a need for coffee and cake. As some of you may know the need for coffee and cake is an insatiable one and in my experience can lead you into two types of places. Really good ones that leave you feeling as happy and satisfied as a ‘pig in muck’ as they say, or alternatively leave you fuller but no more satisfied than if you’d eaten a bowl of dry porridge. It might fill you up but its not good for the soul.

Luckily on this occasion it led us to a little place by the Minster called ‘Cafe concerto’ that comes with tag line of ‘Truly independent -The ultimate neighbourhood restaurant’. This appealed greatly as we saw there was a few attractive options on the dessert menu and tea/ coffee was available too, so we sat down and I ordered the Vanilla and chocolate cheesecake and a cup of coffee while my fiance ordered a tea and a banoffee pie. After a few minutes the desserts were dropped off at our table by a pleasant member of staff and we got stuck in.

The cheesecake was a baked new york style vanilla cheesecake with little flecks of chocolate running through it, I find cheesecakes can be a little too much towards the end but this one was enjoyable all the way through. I found it wasn’t overly dense which is usually a bit of a bug bear when it comes to cheesecakes and the biscuit base was pretty good too to be fair, even better when paired with a coffee. My partners banoffee pie however was just too sickly for me as it was just a bit too sweet, if you like a lot of cream and to take sweetness to the next level then that is the best choice for you. Just a bit too rich for my blood I think.

Decor was a bit ‘woody’ but it was really a nice place to be. Its a little bit out of the sun so it can feel a little dark in there but its certainly not dingy, the wooden chairs aren’t the most comforting but the service and food on offer is warming enough, paired with the cool ‘chalky’ drawing of the Minster and the sheet music used as wallpaper it provides a very intriguing, jazzy feel to the restaurant which I love, being a musician myself. Very much enjoyed our visit here and would recommend you give it a try, its got a real individual personality and should be appreciated for it. Support the real independents!

Visit rating: Essential

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The Fudge Kitchen

One for the sweet toothed confectionery hunters out there, The Fudge Kitchen uses their own take on fudge to provide something a little bit different. They provide plenty of choice in terms of interesting flavours and even have a viewing area in the back of the shop so you can watch them make it.

In terms of the quality of their fudge I must say its very good and is well worth poking your head around the door for a sample. We went for the dark chocolate and sea salt. Very creamy and quite moreish but you will have to go in and see them if your a fudge fan, well worth a look. You can also buy online (go to the bottom of the page).

Visit rating: Worth a look

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These are a few of the notable stops that we took while in York and would genuinely recommend you have a look at if your in the area. The historical atmosphere and bustling city streets is a real treat for anybody who decides to visit, it is a fantastic place that really should be seen to be appreciated. I have two more reviews to go but I will be putting that into a ‘part two’ post this week, as this post is getting quite long and I want to go into a lot of detail on the final two restaurants. Nobody wants readers fatigue after all!

The final two big hitters that I have left to write about that really impressed me were La Vecchia Scuola and GBK: Gourmet burger kitchen. Keep your eyes peeled for comprehensive reviews on them both at a later date, In the meantime here are a few useful links if you are interested in traveling to York.

http://www.visityork.org/

http://www.fudgekitchen.co.uk/

http://www.cafeconcerto.biz/

http://www.insideyork.co.uk/what-to-see/shambles.html

http://www.lavecchiascuola.co.uk/

http://www.gbk.co.uk/

Mugs of joy: Why you should put PG tips on hold and have a ‘Bluebird day’

Over the past few years, everybody has become familiar with the idea of coffee as a real treat, thanks to the large chains such as Starbucks and costa. These companies find new and extravagant ways to entice use through the doors of their cafes with variations of the strong stuff that a lot of us crave during our daily commutes. This could be a caramel latte with sugary crunchy nuggets sprinkled atop a small mountain of cream and caramel sauce or a simple dusting of chocolate to cap off your mocha, however these come at a price, and not a price everybody can afford regularly.

So this naturally leads to the astute business types in their lovely suits and offices, backed up by a small army of marketing gurus to take the opportunity to get these drinks, put them in a nifty bit of packaging and sell them in your local supermarket making it more cost effective for you to keep drinking their products. This has been on the up for a while and the coffee sections in our shops seem to be getting bigger all the time, with seemingly endless amounts of combinations of flavours, strengths and styles to chose from. However something stirs on the opposite side of the aisle that peaks my interest.

Tea. The third food group a vast majority of the world assume we in England, constantly consume next to roast beef and scones. A product that is consumed in such vast numbers all over the world, in so many different forms, it makes coffee look pretty drab! From the traditional English breakfast, earl grey and Darjeeling, to the incredible array of fruit teas and eastern favourites such as green and white tea. The potential to have a different tea, every hour for the next year is a distinct possibility if you look hard enough I’m sure. Now for a nation such as ours that is famous for our consumption of tea, are there any companies out there trying to push the boundaries and offer us something completely different? Well, yes. there are. There are a few. But one comes to mind that beats all of the others that I have tried so far.

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The Bluebird tea co: You can find them at http://bluebirdteaco.com/

Who are they?

In their own words ”Bluebird Tea Co. is a fairly young, happiness spreading, independent, award winning, unique, caring little Tea Mixology Company on mission to make people happy with tea!”

I like this, not only because they’re not just another version of Twining’s or PG tips, designed to grab you on your way into kwikcutter or costsaver or whatever your local shop is called, designed only to increase the margins of an already huge company, but because it is quite clear they love what they do and really believe in it. The ‘award winning’ part of the statement says that somebody else does too, and the quality an innovation shows when you drink their teas.

Product focus:

I first discovered them at last years BBC good food show tucked away at the back of the show, while I was, and ill be honest, prowling for cheese and chocolate. I was talking to a guy about a sugar free chocolate that he was selling and I realised I couldn’t see my partner, so naturally I poked my head round the corner and happened upon the Blue bird stand to my left, I decided to investigate.

It was quite busy and the guys that were on the stand were quite occupied talking to other customers so I had a look at some of their products myself. The one that stood out to me was the “Coco chai no.5” so it came home with me. (Naturally I waited and paid!) Once home all of the goodies that filled our copious amount of bags were unpacked and the kettle went on. The pyramid shaped bags revealed the contents of the teabag, which look and smell great. A promising start. The teabag contains Indian Assam tea, Ginger, Cardamom, Cloves, Red peppercorns, Coconut, Natural flavour” the coconut in particular seems to be a winning combination when added to the classic chai experience, as once the hot water is added you can really smell the exotic twist slinking out of the mug and up into your nose.

Once the water goes in you have to leave it for 4 minutes to infuse, which allows it to get to more or less perfect drinking temperature for myself, then add milk if you take it that way. I have been taking it with milk and a sweetener but its doesn’t need a sweetener to enhance the flavour at all, as the coconut does come through very well considering its in bed with the diverse combination of flavour’s found in chai tea. However I do enjoy my chai a little bit spicier than this comes out, but I appreciate that the coconut aspect of the drink would get lost in translation if the spices were to be cranked up a notch. This teabag provides an intriguing and comforting experience that helps you melt into your chair after a day at work or a long day out, I can also report this is consistent throughout the whole box and not a one off great teabag as I have now finished them all!

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What else do they offer?

The website provides a lot more detail into their range but to give a quick overview, they provide a great range of caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks. I myself have to drink predominantly decaff drinks due to having given up coffee some number of years ago and not having anywhere near the caffeine tolerance ever since, but I can drink some caffeine in small doses. Which is lucky as the coco chai does have some ‘caff’ in it I believe. I do find it hard sometimes though to get interesting decaff (or low caff) options. Blue bird provide a good range of teas including fruit, black, green, white and herbal teas, as well as all sorts of other tea paraphernalia to expand your experience with their products. Full information is available on their site so pop over and have a look!  http://www.bluebirdteaco.com/

Final verdict

There are alternatives on the market when it comes to chai tea but personally I would recommend you look no further than Bluebird tea co. This particular product stands out as something very different, while simultaneously not losing its basic promise of being a cup of chai tea. They are out to fill a void in the tea market that has been filled to the point of total saturation when it comes to coffee, and I can see them doing very well if people continue to look for diverse ways to enjoy a hot comforting beverage in the comfort of their own home, that offers something more than an industrial strength mug of Yorkshire tea can ever hope for but not something so ”out there” that it completely loses its way. The bluebird tea co “Coco chai no.5” never left me thinking that it could do with something more, I am quite confident you will feel the same way.

8.5/10 – recommended purchase.

Also available at http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/bluebirdteaco