Cuppa? Mine’s a Full Monty


Little brown jug, a mug and Full Monty

 We’ve had The Full Monty the film, about stripping redundant steelworkers, and I don’t mind telling you I made a bit of brass out of it a few years ago. Then there was the musical and the play. And I’ve had a fair few Full Monty breakfasts. Now here’s the Full Monty – the tea. Someone’s given me a sample in a goodie bag. Now that’s a bit of luck so I’ll put it on to brew while I give you the full monty on the Full Monty.

 I ran the Diary column at The Star when we heard the film was being shot in Sheffield back in 1996 so we asked to come down. They said no because the star, Robert Carlyle, insisted on a closed set. Perhaps he was worried we’d point out his non-Sheffield accent.

 So we did what journalists always do when people say no. We wrote about it anyway. I pointed out the BBC had shown something very similar as a TV play quite recently. so it was unlikely to do well! And we plugged Brassed Off, to my mind a better film. Excuse me while I warm the pot.

 The sample is from blenders the Birdhouse Tea Company, just round the corner from me. They say it’s “a blend of classic black teas. Strong, northern and proud, ‘a proper Yorkshire brew.’” Best drunk in your birthday suit. No, I made that last bit up.

 When the Oscars came round, as luck would have it, there was a Sheffield girl in the Academy Awards press office so that meant stories about her translating the local idiom for the Yanks, ie kecks mean trousers.

 Water’s boiled. Birdhouse recommend one to two teaspoons per person, brewed for between three and five minutes. Like its namesake it has also won a gong: a Great Taste Award 2015.

After the Oscars the world’s press wanted to find a real troupe of Sheffield stripping ex-steelmen but, of course, there never were any. But you’ve heard of supply and demand? A couple of local enterprising local people set them up to cash in. That made me more stories and I had their telephone numbers which I sold to Fleet Street reporters for a small fee.

 Tea’s ready! Now will I be able to taste the smoke and the grit of a steelworks or the sweat and the greasepaint from a group of half naked fellas? I’ll be drinking it from a manly mug.

 It’s a dark, rusty coloured brew with plenty of tannin from the medium-cut leaves. It’s certainly not dust. Better than builders’ tea, definitely, with more body. That’s the tea not the builders. This would wake you up at breakfast but might be a little too strong to pair with a scone or a French fancy.

 Birdhouse is run by mother and daughter Julie and Rebecca English who founded the company in their kitchen. They stock over 60 varieties so you could say when it comes to tea they’ve got the full English.

 Full Monty retails at £3.95 for 75g.

 Address: 7b Nether Edge Rd, Sheffield S7 1RU. Tel: 0114 453 5589. Web:









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