In 2014 Becky and her mum Julie opened a little tea shop that was previously the post office in the quaint little place that has a village feel to it called Nether Edge of Sheffield. It sits about a ten-minute drive from the city centre. There is Cafe no9 which has the coolest, tiniest music venue you could ever imagine visiting. Homemade By Thelma’s is a cafe that sells the most delicious salads your heart could desire and a natural health food shop where you can buy vitamins, spices plus organic fruit and veg. The locals love celebrating the little independents there and when there is a farmers market on it has a buzzing vibe. I first went there about 6 months after opening and bought my first loose tea. My memories of loose tea is one of horrible black leaves that hit your mouth as you were trying to get to the bottom of your cup. My mum used to love it and always asked me if I wanted any. I gave up when I was about 12 and switched to coffee instead.

I remember popping in and chatting to Becky. At the time I spent so much time at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital having physio and tests. On my way home to cheer myself up I would go visit the Birdhouse Tea Company and buy some tea. Becky first introduced me to the wellbeing range as I suffer from autoimmune issues and get a real fatigue sometimes that lasts for a few weeks at a time. The wellbeing tea has green sencha tea, with lemongrass, yerba mate, lemon and ginger blended together. What I say to people is it’s like a red bull can but in the form of tea! It literally changed my life because when I had fatigue it lifted me up and gave me so much energy that I needed to get through the day.

Becky is one of the first people that ever encouraged me to start my interior blog. At that time Becky was only 25 and yet was such a wise old soul. I loved her vision and she inspired me. Julie, Becky’s mum trained as a nutritionist and saw real potential in Becky’s ideas as a young girl having such an interest in tea that they started blending tea at home before opening the tea shop. Becky went on to become a tea champion in 2016 and her knowledge of tea has gone from strength to strength!

So many creative events were planned there and I had the pleasure of going to a tea cocktail and terrarium workshop where we learned about mixing tea to make very tasty alcoholic drinks. So I was thrilled to see Becky and Julie move on to their latest venture which was bringing the brand closer to the city. They had a very clever strategy of building the brand over the years and places like Tamper and good cafes around the city were already stocking their tea. Offering over 60 different bespoke, blended teas means that there is something for everyone.

Moving into the city was the next natural step for Becky and Julie. While they had expertise in marketing their brand and developing new tastes in the tea world, in order to create such an inspiring building they brought in the help of Julie’s brother Phil Barnes. He undertook the whole project of the new premises. Wearing a hard hat became second nature to him as he spent a whole year planning and working to bring the new premises to life. Sitting on Sidney Street you might wonder why a cafe and restaurant would want to even think about opening there but when you actually wander down you begin to understand. Now called the Cultural Industries Quarter, there are so many industrial buildings in Sheffield that were once used for some form of skill whether that be a silversmith or in this case a factory to make belts. This part of the city is being brought back to life and thanks to Jaywing, a consulting and marketing business spending a small fortune on renovating the building next door means there is more footfall down that part of town. It is only a matter of time before we see a huge expansion pretty much like Kelham Island and I can’t wait to see it grow. The good news is a car park sits very close by and much easier to park than Kelham Island.

In the first week the Birdhouse opened its new doors I got the chance to head up there and have a look around. First of all, I sat and took in all the atmosphere by having a pot of Full Monty. Then Phil kindly showed me around all the premises. The first thing that grabs your attention is the courtyard area outside. I joked with Becky about it being such a vast area to enjoy and how the warmer weather will bring great opportunity to hold outside events and really utilise this space. The first door to catch your eye is the retail area where you can buy tea and access the takeaway bar. Then to the side is the main door that takes you into the Tea Bar and Kitchen. A small area to have a cup of the famous Kelham Island or the Full Monty greets you downstairs while upstairs is where the full effect of this build hits you. Two rooms that have such a pretty feel. Even though there is exposed brick and lots of beams, it has a light airy feel. This comes from all the windows being installed which all had to be replaced from the original ones. Upstairs has the scope for private events and would be a lovely place to have a wedding reception or party. Phil showed me around the back where there is a classroom for tea tasting and offices. Even though there is a lot of brickwork focus on this building, the clever use of lighting balances it. Plywood is used downstairs at the counter and pale colours are used to enhance the red brick. Black is the main colour used to complement the design and it works.

My eldest was around Sheffield so I met him there for lunch and I really do think the menu is very good! Grabbing my attention was the Sheffield Rarebit a toasted sourdough with grilled cheese, mustard, Abbeydale ale & hendos relish, served with homemade chutney. For an extra £3.00 you can add ham so that’s what I did and it was delicious.  I also had an iced tea that was on offer and when it came it looked like a cocktail! My son Joe had the Eggs Benedict which he loved and by the time we were leaving at 1 pm there wasn’t a spare seat in the building.

I wish Becky, Julie and Phil all the best in this brilliant venture and just know that it is going to be a very popular meetup place. Becky has a great vision, is full of creativity and you see a great balance between all the owners of this place.  If you haven’t been yet please pop in and also have a look at their website here.

My favorite Birdhouse tea is

Wellbeing Sunrise

Kelham Island

Yorkshire Rhubarb

Feature Image – JS Collective jscollective.com

Gallery Images – JS Collective

 

 

 

 

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