Fancy a cuppa? Brighton and Hove’s newest shop is a specialty tea store from the owners of MDTea, previously an online-only business.
The outlet, in Brighton’s Open Market, showcases dozens of beautifully-crafted single estate teas, blends and infusions, from Meccas of the tea-growing world – including China, India, Japan and South Africa.
Upon entering, shoppers often comment on the wonderful aromas which include heady scents of turmeric, chamomile, peppermint, lemon, ginger, vanilla and rose with much, much more besides.
They are all mixed, of course, with teas that range from black, green and white leaves to oolongs and pu-erhs. For those who prefer naturally-caffeine free options, there is a delightful selection of health-oriented infusions and rooibos blends.
Founder Helen Taggart has been on quite a journey since quitting a 20-year career as personal trainer back in 2009.
An opportunity arose to set up a tearoom in an antiques shop and, feeling she wanted to pursue something new and different, she jumped in with both feet. So Metrodeco, the fore-runner of MDTea, was born.
From the outset, Helen’s passion for health and wellness prompted her to create the café’s own tea range so quality would not be compromised. The business also became a successful Afternoon Tea venue and its tea range started to grow increasingly popular.
With her interest in tea growing, and her focus on wellness not leaving her, Helen and her business partner sold Metrodeco in 2021 to concentrate on building what is now an entirely independent brand, MDTea, which retails tea online. MDTea also sells wholesale to many of the city’s hospitality and tourism destinations, including including the i360’s West Beach Café, Food for Friends and the Ginger Group restaurants
Helen now owns and runs that fiercely independent business with her husband Michael.
“There’s always more work to do,” Helen told me, “but my original dream of inspiring our city with the taste and health benefits of gourmet leaves, blends and infusions becomes more fulfilled with every new customer that walks through the door of our beautiful little tea store.
“The Open Market, with its eclectic mix of independent shops and stalls, is the perfect place for us to take MDTea to the next level.”