Once again, we’re delighted to welcome novelist A.A. Abbott to Coffee Birmingham. In her latest guest blog, she writes about a recent trip to the latest Boston Tea Party to open in Birmingham.
Much more than a coffee shop, the Boston Tea Party offers crisp croissants, brownies, craft beers and substantial meals as well as the usual hot beverages. Breakfasts, served all day and late into the night, included the West Country (true to the BTP’s roots – more on that later) and a vegetarian option that is everything you could wish for, without the bacon. There’s plenty of space: a large, canteen-like room, another area with padded booths, and an upstairs chamber that would be ideal for live performances. The BTP is open to suggestions, apparently.
I’ve also tried the chai latte. Like most places, this is made by adding steamed milk to chai syrup. My Indian friend Shima, who boils tea, spices and milk in a pan, would doubtless pour scorn and derision on the BTP version – but I found it extremely palatable. Here’s a teatime tip, by the way: if your companion orders a cream tea, ask for one too, as it’s sheer torture watching a cream scone steadily disappear without so much as a crumb heading in your direction. They really are too good to share.
The BTP is an independently-run chain of 15 in the Midlands and West Country. Perhaps it’s reached a pinnacle to which all indies aspire? It started life as a single coffee shop in Bristol, where it’s still going strong, having seen Starbucks come and go across the road. The original Bristol branch is delightfully shabby, appearing to have been furnished from a house clearance store. Harborne has a much smarter vibe. Everything is shiny and new, although often made to look old in a kind of fusion of poshed-up American diner with industrial chic. It’s clearly working, because the BTP is buzzing. It appeals to everyone: students meeting for a chat, business folk networking over a latte (guilty as charged) and couples doing lunch.