Written and Photographed by Danielle Boise
I love tea. No, strike that – I am obsessed with tea. I love the taste and texture of tea. Everything from bold brews to subtle hints of fruit or tart flavoring really excites my palate. It makes me giddy. When I heard that Battle & Brew was going to not only introduce a cafe to the bar, but also add tea I was stoked. It’s not just your average, ordinary tea…it’s High Tea.
What!? The idea really intrigued me. Considering Battle & Brew is a haven for geek culture, how was this going to work? I had to know how they were going pull off adding a level of sophistication and elegance and yet still maintain their level of nerdom. So I reached out to have a chat with one of my favorite people, Barrie Sanders, the mastermind behind it. We discussed what she learned on her year-long journey to bring High Tea to life.
When you first think of Battle & Brew, the most immediate thought is the merging fandom with a variety of libations. What made you think, “Hey, let’s kick this up a level and bring tea into the mix,” and not just tea, but let’s supersize it by doing High Tea?
Well, just like our food and cocktail menu, we aim to bring a higher quality product in a more laid back environment. Just because you are relaxing on a couch playing Mario Cart with friends doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a craft cocktail, an expertly prepared steak, and finish off the night with an artisan espresso drink or pot of loose leaf tea. Just like our beer dinners, our High Tea is an outlet for us to go above and beyond and do something cool for our clientele.
What was the process of bringing the elegance and refinement of High Tea to Battle & Brew?
We hunted for months for fine china that we could serve our High Tea in. Some of our china was donated by the staff and they are pieces that belonged to their families for years. We put extra love into taking care of them. The menu itself was tweaked and played with for about two months until we felt it was perfect. It was a hard job, but we soldiered on a taste tested everything repeatedly. I hope you are reading that last line with a sarcastic tone.
How often do you plan to host High Tea at Battle & Brew; and will they be themed events?
We definitely want to keep them themed from now on- this way we can encourage the guests to dress up. It also is more fun to plan our teas and menu around the theme.
What do you hope people are able to take away from the experience verses other locations in the city that do High Tea?
We really put our heart and soul into creating the themes, tea blends, and the food pairings. We embrace our geek side and let it run free.
Finally, when is the next High Tea extravaganza and are there any surprises you can share with us?
Our next High Tea will be the end of May, and it is Alice in Wonderland themed. All of the staff is going to be in character and we are going to have a VIP section that will be Alice’s personal tea party. We are already working on the menu for it. We will be breaking out our new blend of tea, a white tea blend called the Jabberwocky. We plan in the future to debut a new tea blend every High Tea.
Their first High Tea impressed me from start to finish. The presentation of eclectic sets of china fit perfectly and the selection of teas were perfectly paired with savory or sweet food. I enjoyed a nice sampling of six different varieties of teas, starting off with the lowest caffeine content that continued to elevate with each round. Alternating hot and cold tea for the entire tasting was a nice touch. Capping the afternoon off with a sparkling white wine with a raspberry hibiscus infused tea was the perfect closing note.
Cheers to Battle & Brew for hosting a fantastic High Tea. I cannot wait for the next one to roll around at the end of May…especially since the theme will be Alice in Wonderland.
Check out the full photo gallery from the Inaugural High Tea at Battle & Brew here.