I first met Michelle Comins on a visit she made to Caro when it was newly opened. I was so delighted to meet a friendly face - a friendly face and an old-hand in the shop-vendor circle, at that. Little did I know when I served her a pot of tea, that she was an aficionado in all that is leaf, oolong and fermented.
Since that cuppa together, the Comins couple have opened their second Teahouse in Bath which is such a treat. Tucked away on Monmouth St is a light and open room with a wall of tea boxes advocating the assortment of globally sourced leaves to choose from. There is also an extensive menu to enlighten you on tea strength and notes to taste for. If Rob or Michelle aren't there, they have staff that are genned up to take you through your tea journey.
All the teas are fine loose leaf but the provenance, strength and flavours are of a wide diversity - green, black, white, oolong. The star of the show however, is the ceremonial way in which your tea is delivered. Depending on the country of origin, your chosen tea will be accompanied with the appropriate teaware. As I had chosen a Chinese tea, i was presented with a Yixing-style teapot, gong fu tea bowl and glass serving jug along with directions on brewing times and pouring techniques. If I had opted for a Japense Tea, a different teaware set and instructions would have applied. The experience was beautifully ritualistic and enriching.
If you're in the Sturminster Newton area, the home to Comins Tea is set in a meander of the River Stour. The town is famous as the home of poet and author William Barnes, and, for part of his life, Thomas Hardy so also well worth a visit.