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Lost City

Meet the Owners of Biscuit and Brew, an Elegant New Tea Room in the Heart of Nottingham

31 August 21 words: Daniela Loffreda
photos: Ekam Hundal

Nottingham’s Biscuit and Brew is a little tea shop with some big ideas. We pop down to meet the owners, Darren Brookes and his fiancée Dee, to find out why so many locals are raving about this hidden gem...

Nestled down Hounds Gate in Nottingham city centre is the charming, elegant Biscuit and Brew Tea House. It's a little bit of a challenge to find, but totally worth it. 

“Would you like a pot of tea?” owner Darren asks as he passes me a copy of their drinks menu. I’m presented with a list I could mull over for hours. Watermelon Sugar, Moonbeam and Banana Fudge are just some of the blends I contemplate, but my curiosity about the Jaffa Cake tea ultimately gets the better of me. 

The relaxed ambience is a refreshing change from the chaos of the city centre. The vibe is homely and comforting, and the neutral colour scheme teamed with some cosy lighting helps get me in the mood for a nice warm drink.

Dee, co-owner and Darren’s fiancée, brings over a teapot with a strainer - containing the tea - and a separate tea cup.

After a quick and easy demonstration, I am left with the freedom to brew my drink for as much or as little as I please. As someone who likes their tea quite strong, this is greatly welcomed. All these loose leaf teas are made and packaged by Darren and Dee, and served in understated glass tea sets.

“Tea is the focus,” Darren explains. “Not the packaging that it comes in, not the pretty box, not that lovely China.” 

Biscuit and Brew opened in February this year, but Darren and Dee’s journey to opening a tea house started long before then. Darren’s interest in loose leaf tea started about six years ago when he decided to stop drinking alcohol, and shortly after the couple started experimenting with different types of tea and adding their own twists. 

After working in industries hard hit by the pandemic, both felt ready to take a chance on a new business venture. When they first laid eyes on this Nottingham-based venue, they knew it was the perfect place to bring their vision to life.

“It was a nice way to find our feet and get the menu sorted,” says Dee on opening mid-pandemic.

Tea is the focus, not the packaging that it comes in, you know, not the pretty box, not that lovely China

Popping to Biscuit and Brew is about much more than having a quick cup of tea and a bite to eat, though. Darren and Dee, who will marry next year in France, have worked to create tea that tastes like music. Following the former’s career as a musician, he has created blends that can be listened to with his tunes, creating an immersive sensory experience. 

The name for the tea house came about when the pair would invite friends round to try their new blends and call it biscuit and brew. This love for hosting means the duo put customer experience at the forefront of all that they do.

“Above everything is that we just want people to have an experience that they can go away with and go, ‘That's memorable’; an experience with meaning that they can't get anywhere else. We treat everyone as if we are welcoming them into our house.” 

Discussing how Biscuit and Brew can maintain their friendly and intimate atmosphere if the business expands, Darren says, “We want to grow, but by finding people with the same attitude. We always want to remain a small business or we wouldn't be able to have the same relationship with it.”

“It's about finding people who care as much as us.” Dee agrees. 

Whatever happens in the future, if you’re looking for a quiet spot to escape the stress of everyday life or fancy a natter over a tailor-made brew, it’s safe to say the couple have already made this little gem the perfect place to slow down, chill out and enjoy a proper cuppa.

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