Cup // 9 Little Belmont Street, Aberdeen AB10 1JG
“Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.”
― Henry Fielding
I recently finished Kate Fox’s insightful Watching the English, which offers in-depth analysis on British behaviour, as observed by an anthropologist. One of the chapters focused on tea, and how, were we to enter into a third world war, our first reaction would be to “pop the kettle on”.
Giggle as we may, we also relate. Is there anything better than a hot cup of tea? Given the calming, cooling and medicinal effects, I think not. I remember the days of dissertation stress, employment hurdles, boy worries and friend bust ups, and how they always involved a “hang on, I’ll be over in half an hour” and then a cup or two of Tetley’s (other tea brands are also available, of course). In my last post I touched on how I would sit in the garden in Lewis with my cups of green tea – I find there is nothing better than snuggling up with a recent Waterstones purchase and some green (Bolay!) tea brewing in my favourite mug.
And so, the perfect distraction for the “meh” job-hunting period that is currently my life was to venture to Cup in Aberdeen with my good friend, Hannah, who also needed time to recover from a wild weekend of sick beats, lots of wine and an Alice in Wonderland costume made from a white pillowcase. She looked as angelic as always, of course.
Described as an “elegant tea salon”, Cup is situated on Little Belmont Street, which, for those who you have not been to Aberdeen, forms the studenty hub of Aberdeen city centre. Along with Belmont Street, this area is lined with pubs, bars, nightclubs (the infamous church-cum-nightclub conversion, Priory) and fast food joints for your late night culinary needs. I never knew of the place until Hannah suggested going there during one of our very silly texting sessions, but I guess if I was actually resident in Aberdeen I would have heard all about it. It’s quite exciting to have a list of new places to visit, now I have returned from Glasgow – of course, I will blog very pretentious and flowery posts about each and every one of them, don’t you worry.
Before the space was transformed into this very chic purveyor of tea, it used to house a hair salon which, I have to admit, I never paid much attention to. But now, if you saunter down Little Belmont Street you’ll instantly notice Cup with its cute duck-egg blue grid windows which, at the time of writing were lined with an array of blossoming multicoloured flowers which I *think* are meant to emulate the flowers that spoke to Alice in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. The interior is bright and open (unfortunately I was too engrossed in enjoying my tea and munchies and forgot to take some photos, but that just means you’ll have to go and see for yourself, doesn’t it? :-)) and they have a beautiful floral wallpaper adorning the sofa area. Cup has also sourced some adorable bits and pieces such as cute mis-matched framed pictures and quotes, and bird shaped salt and pepper shakers sitting in birdcages, which took me a good while to realise what they actually were!
Whilst most coffee shops may not bother much with their restrooms, Cup has been uber inventive and went all out with not only the toilets themselves, but also the corridor leading to the them. It’s definitely a speaking point, and Hannah exclaimed, “You’ll like it, it’s Alice in Wonderland themed!” as I toddled along to sort my make up after being battered about in the harsh Aberdonian weather. It’s evident that a lot of thought has been put into the decor, from the hanging teacups to the quotes on the walls to the guestbook in the cubicles themselves. And I have no shame that I spent a good while snapping away at the interior of a bathroom.
The food menu was extensive and contained a wide selection of sandwiches which could come in croissant, toastie, panini or open form. Hannah went for the Port Salut and basil mayo croissant which she accompanied with the Citrus Melon tea.
If you know me, or have the great fortune (ha) to meet me in the future, you’ll know that I am one of the most indecisive people ever, in all aspects whether that is where to go for dinner or where to live. And certainly, when it comes to food I’m probably even worse. After umming and ahh-ing, consulting the menu, making a decision, closing the menu, then opening it again about five times, I finally settled on the chorizo open sandwich which included sunblushed tomatoes (my favourite) and some “chilili”, which were round, sour/spicy berry-shaped things. They were quite fun. What I really liked and thought was a cute touch was the inclusion of a “taster” cup of the soup of the day, which was tomato, pepper and chilli that windy Monday.
Mother Hen is very much into her teas, and always gave me exotic leaves to try out when I still lived at home, but back then, at the age of sixteen I definitely didn’t appreciate the taste of anything besides perhaps a cup of builder’s tea, at best. However, recently I’ve been living with people who have the habit of brewing interesting teas after dinner and hanging with friends who actually like green teas. So, as a result, I’ve a newfound interest in trying new flavours. At Cup, I ordered the loose leaf version of their Organic Green Mango Peach tea, which was a really clear green tea with subtle hints of (surprise surprise) mangoes and peaches. Hannah opted for the Organic Citrus Mint, which I didn’t manage to sneak a taste of, but she did say it was lovely. There’s a whole host of new and interesting flavours which I haven’t ever come across, so I can’t wait to go back and make my way through their list – I’ve already decided that Orange Pekoe and China Gunpowder will be next…
Cup is definitely a place you’ll end up going to time and again with your friends, and for me, it’s great to have somewhere different to go to for my tea fix, and particularly somewhere that specialises in them. It’s in a brilliant and convenient location; when we were there it was filled with students, working professionals and families, and I’d imagine that it will continue to be just as busy as it attracts more and more people with its large variety of teas and yummy sandwiches and cakes (which I need to try next time)! Their interesting decor and cute teapots and cups mean that several photos had appeared on my Facebook feed before I had even stepped foot in their shop, so I can envisage Cup soon becoming the place to be seen in.
Current Album: Animals with Amazing Disguises – Stanley (Aberdeen band! “Sumthins’ Burnin'” is my favourite.)
Current Book: The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick (Bradley Cooper is on the cover…)