Tea for you and me

Join me on my epic quest to find the best tea ever


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Tipsy bean

18 Prospect Street, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire, RG4 8JB.

wp-1476990122244.jpgTipsy bean (great name) is a cafe/bar in Caversham, where the old Wordplay bookshop and toy shop used to be. It’s a long space with the bar along one side towards the back. The windows onto the street give light to the tables at the front, while the area near the bar is quite dark, but it feels nice and cosy rather than oppressive. The seating matches the change in light – with upholstered grey/cream chairs near the window and a long red leather bench opposite the bar. With dried flower bunches hanging above the bar, red Gerberas on the tables and jam jar style lamps, Tipsy bean has a welcoming feel.

The menu said that they had lots of tea and they certainly seem to – they had rooibos at least and quite a few other varieties (all in boxes on a high shelf at the back of the bar). I wanted to sample their cake, but unfortunately they’d run out.

My tea came in a mug, with a milk jug and a little plate with a sugar. It was a good mug of tea and I enjoyed my visit.

  • Teapot? No.
  • Leaf tea? No, but Waitrose rooibos teabags, which I’m quite partial to (Tick Tock and Clipper are my other favourites, just so you know).
  • Milk jug? Yes.
  • Price? £2.
  • Cake? No (sob). But platters (smoked salmon, veggie, meat) and sandwiches and breakfast and nuts and nibbles.
  • Go again? Yes, both because I liked it and because I’d like to try the cake and the veggie platter.
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Siblings Home

16 Hemdean Road, Caversham, Reading, RG4 7SX.

Visited on: Sunday 20th September 2015

Tea and knitting at Siblings Home

Our tea, knitting, spinning and cakes at Siblings Home.

Siblings Home middle room

The middle room at Siblings Home.

Siblings Home opened in February 2015 and despite often walking around this area, I didn’t know it existed until someone at Outcasts mentioned it to me. Once I heard about it, and once everyone else there who hadn’t been had heard about it too, we decided we needed to visit. And so the monthly ‘Knit brunch’ session (every third Sunday) was moved to Siblings Home, so that we could all experience it.

Brownie and tea at Siblings home

Brownie, caramel tart and pot of rooibos for two at Siblings Home.

I thoroughly enjoyed being at Siblings Home. They sell homewares and it makes for a homely feel. There was loose leaf rooibos (hurrah!) and you could have it in a pot for one, or two or even three, with it being cheaper to share a pot. Some cafes are sneaky and offer you a big pot (that’s sometimes not even especially big) with no discount.

Back room at Siblings Home

Some more things for sale in the little room at the back at Siblings Home.

I had a pot of rooibos tea and held off the cakes until later on, as I had eaten breakfast relatively recently. When I did head for the cake, I went for the chocolate brownie. Apparently I’ve lost my ability to make a varied choice when it comes to cakes. I do apologise if this is making the blog posts less interesting.

It might help to know that the brownie was very good, with chunks of chocolate and raisins in it. The raisins added an extra dimension to the brownie and left me wondering why I’d never come across the combination before. Forget chocolate covered raisins, this was chocolate brownie covered raisins.

We all had such a good time eating and drinking our way through the menu (between us we managed to sample every cake they had and all reported excellent results) that two of us stayed longer than our knitting session and had lunch there too.

We moved to a different table for lunch, because it had turned sunny and we wanted one near a window. There are three rooms in Siblings Home and each has a different feel to it. When you go, make sure you have a look round all the space before you pick a table. When you go the time after that, pick a different table and enjoy the difference.

Siblings Home

View of where we sat for lunch at Siblings Home.

Door view at Siblings Home

View out of the door at Siblings Home (I got a bit snap happy at Siblings Home, can you tell?).

Lunch at Siblings Home

Piadinas for lunch at Siblings Home.

Lunch was a toasted Piadina (flatbread) with Spanish chorizo, Jarlsberg and mushrooms inside. It was very tasty, though not very big. As a light lunch after a chocolate brownie, it did very well.

  • Teapot? Yes.
  • Leaf tea? Yes.
  • Milk jug? Yes, though technically it was a little glass bottle for the milk. Having glass bottles for the milk is definitely the current trend in cafes. There are a few I’ve been to recently that do this.
  • Price? £2.30 for pot of tea for one, £3.50 for pot of tea for two, £5.20 for pot of tea for four. I haven’t made a note of how much the brownie was but I think it was £2 something.
  • Cake? Yes, four different types of cake. Between us I think we had one of everything: chocolate brownie, cheesecake, caramel tart and pistachio topped chocolate brownie. I’ve been back recently and the cake was different, so I think they change the cake offered.
  • Go again? I already have and I plan to go again soon.


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The Tea Kiosk

Caversham Court, Church Road, Caversham, Reading.  Please note the tea kiosk is only open Thursday-Sunday (and Bank Holidays), April – October.

The view of the first section of Caversham Court, with the 'footprint' of the old house.

The Tea Kiosk is a tea kiosk in Caversham Court. Caversham Court is a bit of Caversham owned by the council – the gardens were redeveloped with lottery funding in 2008 and opened to the public in 2009. The kiosk is in the gardens and run by different charities with the profits going to those charities. A nice example of community partnership working and tea. There is also a Friends group and more info about the gardens can be found on their website.

Mug of tea and custard Danish (my favourite kind of Danish pastry) at The Tea Kiosk in Caversham Court Gardens.

I’ve gone a bit photo happy here as the gardens are beautiful. They lead down to the river and are well worth a visit. There are toilets in the gardens and this, along with the tea kiosk, makes it a great place to visit.

There were a selection of drinks available the day I went, including tea, coffee, hot chocolate and squash. Also a selection of homemade cakes and some Danish pastries. Yum. Very cheap too – everything was £1. As the kiosk is run by different charities on different days, I’m not sure if these prices stay the same every day, but I’m sure there won’t be too much difference.

View of the Thames from my table.

Teapot? No.
Leaf tea? No.
Milk jug? Milk added by the lovely kiosk ladies.
Price? £1 for tea, £1 for any bit of cake.
Cake? Yes – and all homemade.
Go again? Yes, but it’s only open Thurs-Sun (and Bank Holidays), April-October so I probably won’t be heading down here until 2011 now.

View of the kiosk (far left) from another bit of the garden.


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Warings Bakery

32d Church Street, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire, RG4 8AU     0118 946 4749

Perfect mince pie and tea at Warings Bakery

Warings is a small chain of family bakeries based in Reading. They are also one of the few that still actually make the things they sell on the premises. A lot of other chains bake the products on the premises but they don’t make it there. It comes in from somewhere else and they just stick it in the oven. Warings does things properly and it smells good when you walk past, what more could you want?

I realised that it was almost halfway through December and I hadn’t yet had a mince pie. Warings seemed the place to get one so I went in. They had a choice of normal shortcrust pastry mince pies or Viennese style mince pies. I chose a Viennese style as it has crumbly pastry and they heated it up for me. It was my perfect first mince pie.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? No.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? £2.50 for tea and mince pie, I think.
Cake? Yes and soup, jacket potatoes etc.
Go again? Yes.


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The Griffin

10-12 Church Road, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire, RG4 7AD.

Tea-total tea at the Griffin

Tea-total tea at the Griffin

We had been wandering along the river Thames and thought a trip to the pub would be very good. So we headed over the bridge and went to The Griffin. The Griffin is an old fashioned looking pub with beams and nooks, comfy seats and hops pinned to the ceiling. It’s also got an outside seating area but the weather was so good we couldn’t get a seat. Inside I decided what I really fancied was a pot of tea. I’m fine with ordering tea in pubs and bars, most places that serve food will serve you tea and the worst that can happen is that they say no.

Years ago, before every pub was open in the morning and had a coffee machine next to the spirits, a friend and I were at a gig in a pub in Kingston. We really wanted some tea, so we thought we’d take a chance and ask at the bar. They didn’t serve it, but we must have looked disappointed as the barman went upstairs to his flat, made us some tea in two of his mugs, and charged us 50p each. Standing at the back of the crowd watching the gig with a mug of tea is one of my fondest gig memories. Ah.

Anyway, R took some persuading that asking for tea at the bar wasn’t going to be frowned upon, but he did and I was very pleased with the result. The best bit, in my opinion, was that the teapot had a picture of a tea pot on the side and ‘ttotal’ underneath. Excellent.

Teapot? Yes.
Leaf tea? No.
Milk jug? Yes.
Price? Not sure, but less than £2.
Cake? No, but pudding and food etc.
Go again? Yes.


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Alto Lounge

32-32a Church Street, Caversham, Reading, RG4 8AU

Another blurry picture of tea, this time at the Alto Lounge.

Another blurry picture of tea, this time at the Alto Lounge.

Caversham seems to be sprouting places to drink tea at an alarming rate. I say go for it, and hope the crunch doesn’t bite. Alto Lounge is part of a chain of ‘Loungers’ and was a friendly place to be on a Sunday lunchtime. It had board games and newspapers and lots of helpful staff who cooked us some lovely food. We’ll be going again.

Teapot? Yes, generously sized metal one.
Leaf tea? Teabag.
Milk jug? A mini one just for me.
Price? £1.50
Cake? A big glass cabinet of home made looking brownies and muffins and biscuits.
Go again? Yes.


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Thelis!

42 Church Street, Caversham, Reading, RG4 8AU

Thelis!

Tea at Thelis! Apologies for the terrible blurriness.

Going to Caversham and not going to Delicious… to get my tea fix felt like adultery. I considered not going at all. But it’s a place that sells tea and the quest takes priority.

There was a cafe deli here before, but it closed down a year or so ago. It’s good to see a new business here and nice that it’s another cafe. The tea was okay, nothing to rival Delicious… and nothing to make me go back.

Teapot? No.
Leaf tea? Twinings Everday teabags.
Milk jug? No, it came with milk in it.
Price? £1.40, I think.
Cake? Some.
Go again? No.