Birdhouse Tea Company began in a Japanese tea house in London’s Soho, back in 2001.
After learning about the centuries-old tradition of the tea ceremony in after-school Japanese lessons, Rebecca English and her mum, Julie, visited a specialist tea house to sample the loose leaf green tea that Rebecca had heard such great things about. Those first curious sips soon became gulps of knowledge, as over the next few years both Rebecca and Julie nurtured their new-found love for loose leaf tea with research, tasting and of course, lots of delicious pots of tea.
After leaving school, Rebecca worked at a world-famous coffee shop chain and witnessed first-hand the thirst for knowledge around coffee, as well as the praise and creativity that it attracted from customers and baristas alike. On the other hand, people were disinterested in tea at best, and downright neglectful of it at worst – trapped in a teabag and limited in its offering, tea seemed doomed to always be coffee’s dowdy cousin.
This was the inspiration that Rebecca needed to take her love for tea one step further. She attended a tea masterclass in London, taught by the winner of the ‘Best Educator’ at the World Tea Awards, and which furnished her with the knowledge, inspiration and aspiration she needed to put tea in its much-deserved spotlight.
The natural teammate for Rebecca was her mum Julie, who studied holistic nutrition and had a wealth of her own knowledge of healthful herbs to contribute. Together, they hatched what would become the Birdhouse Tea Company.
Feathering the nest in Julie’s kitchen at her home in Sheffield, Rebecca and Julie began creating loose leaf tea blends with a firm focus on ‘health and happiness’. They began taking their creations to small local markets and larger food festivals, spreading the word on the benefits and versatility of loose leaf tea and soon drawing a loyal following from across the region and beyond.
Rebecca gained recognition for her talents, taking home two awards from the Deliciously Yorkshire ceremony. Winning ‘Best Beverage’ and ‘Best Overall Drink’, competing against some of the County’s best artisans. Rebecca and Julie opened their first store in leafy Nether Edge, providing their customers with a place to explore loose leaf tea, ask questions and attend Rebecca’s tea education classes.
Birdhouse Tea Company were nominated for ‘Best Independent Retailer’ and ‘Best Brand: Made in Sheffield’ at the Exposed Awards 2015. They also achieved two gold stars at the Great Taste Awards for their best selling blends Full Monty and Earl Grey.
Rebecca qualified as one of the countries first Tea Champions certified by the UK Tea Academy; achieving an impressive 96% grade in the final exam.
2017 has been dedicated to converting an old factory in the centre of Sheffield. Birdhouse tea company are creating a tea lovers haven and a hidden gem in a beautiful courtyard setting with additional riverside walk. The 4 zones will include a retail area, takeaway tea bar, kitchen and eatery with a classroom for tea tastings and private functions.
“It’s always been my dream to open my own tea bar & eatery, and after working quietly on this project for the last 12 months, we’re now ready to shout it from the rooftops. We’ve worked hard over the last 4 years to build a national reputation for pioneering great quality tea and helping other establishments to bring their tea offering to life. We’re creating something different from anyone else in the city and will continue to work closely with other businesses, old and new, who would like to provide their customers with great, hand blended tea.
We owe our success to our loyal customers and will continue to provide innovation and the high standards as always. “ – Rebecca