It’s summer, the sun is out and the garden is just begging you to sit down and enjoy a peaceful moment while you can. No screaming children, no pressing chores, just some time to relax and enjoy a moment of downtime. Normally this would also be the perfect moment to crack open an ice cold beer or pour a chilled glass of white wine.
But sometimes you can’t. Whether you’re pregnant, scheduled to do the school run, watching calories or simply because you don’t feel like it, alcohol isn’t always an option. You’re then faced with the problem that a lot of alcohol-free drinks are pretty dismal. Most soft drinks contain a tonne of sugar or dodgy additives, but sometimes water just won’t cut it.
What you need is a drink that’s just as enjoyable as a glass of wine, but made with natural goodness. Let me introduce Green Lady No 1, the UK’s first sparkling green tea, and the brainchild of entrepreneur Francis Oyewole.
The UK’s First Sparking Green Tea
It was on a trip to London during his university days, that Francis stumbled upon his idea. A trader who was selling tea in Borough Market commented “Darjeeling in India is to tea as Champagne, France is to wine”.
This got Francis thinking – why not combine the tea of Darjeeling with the sparkle of Champagne? “I wanted to incorporate the health benefits of tea, the classic culture of tea but at the same time modernise it and appeal to a generation that is not necessarily into builder’s or loose leaf tea,” he explains.
He started dabbling with different flavours, and even bought a sodastream (if you didn’t grow up in the 70s or 80s, you may not be familiar with this household gadget, used for carbonating still liquid) and started brewing, experimenting and mixing.
“I was working from my mum’s kitchen, with her coming home and complaining about the kitchen tops being all sticky, tea leaves and bottles all over the place, and the sodastream in action. I could never clean it all up right!”
After a long journey of discovery, the Green Lady sparkling green tea was born; a blend of green Darjeeling tea, carob fruit, nutmeg and rose oil, with a delicate floral aroma. It’s a light and refreshing drink in the summer, but also great to enjoy during the winter, when the subtle spice of the nutmeg really shines through.
A Different Kind of Dragons Den
In the early days of Green Lady, Francis employed some fearless tactics to get his new drink in the front of the right people.
“We were led into this office that was like a library – it was like walking into a villain’s lair.”— Francis Oyewole
A celebrity chef advertised an open day at one of his London restaurants, and Francis gamely packed a few bottles of Green Lady in his bag, and in a daring move, snuck into the event and charmed his way in front of the chef.
“We were led into this office that was like a library – it was like walking into a villain’s lair.”
All of a sudden Francis found himself explaining to the chef, “I’ve done something really cheeky, but I’ve got this product, and you have to taste it, it’s the UK’s first ever sparkling tea.”
“He [the chef] tasted it and said ‘you know what, I can see this working in one of my champagne bars in London’”.
Enjoyed, In Style
And this is how Francis believes the sparking tea is best enjoyed – in style. “When you drink a Green Lady, you’re not drinking it in a can or a shoddy tumbler glass, you’re drinking it in a wine glass. Healthy drinking with style.”
It’s likely that most people in the UK haven’t heard of sparkling tea and probably haven’t tried it, but I promise you it’s good. Very good. The subtle tea flavour really complements the other ingredients, and you’re presented with a very refreshing, well balanced drink. Less sweet and more sophisticated than iced tea, even if you think it’s not for you, have a try! You might be glad you did.
If you like the sound of Green Lady sparkling tea, you can find it available online at Yumbles or Ocado, and make sure to enter our July competition where you could win an entire case to enjoy at your leisure!