The Process

The BeconTea group, a group of local residents formed following an open call by the White House. The group worked with artist Sadia Ur-Rehman over the course of a series of 5 gatherings. Over a cup of tea, they shared stories, experiences, memories of the Becontree estate, played games and made together. Each gathering focused on sampling different types and blends of teas, using tea as a starting point for conversation, care and unity.

The first get-together featured a visit from Batch Tea who ran a tea tasting session, enabling the group to sample teas from all over the world and it was clear that a black breakfast tea blend was preferred by all. From this Batch Tea crafted 3 tea blends that reflected the tastes, preferences and aspirations of the group for a custom tea blend that would represent the Becontree estate and celebrate and mark its centenary. These were:

  • Blend 1: Featured the preferred black teas Keemun and Darjeeling from the tea-tasting workshop, balanced with an Assam and Ceylon base to add extra depth to create a rounded Breakfast tea.
  • Blend 2: Modelled on the flavours of a Victoria sponge cake as provide by local Becontree resident Denise for the workshops. This tea blend features the sweet malty Keemun with a fruity Assam base, which includes raspberry/strawberry notes
  • Blend 3: Taking the Victoria sponge cake a little further to create a real ‘Victoria Sponge’ blend, Blend 2 was used and added dried strawberries, vanilla and banana adding a little extra unique dimension.

100 tea tasting packs with the 3 tea blends were sent out to 100 local residents in Becontree inviting them to vote on their favourite blend. Whilst this was taking place Sadia co-designed a series of logos and packaging with the group that were also put out to public vote. With a final tea blend and logo confirmed, Batch Tea were tasked with producing the tea ready for its launch at the White House  in which Sadia and the group transformed into a pop-up tea salon, activating the house as a space to celebrate, meet and come-together.

The project created a space that is warm, safe, inviting and utilised tea as a ‘conversation starter’, ‘trust earner’ and ‘comfort bringer’. This communal space activated a sharing of stories and memories, a meeting of a diverse set of personalities from a variety of backgrounds, discussions about histories and place, explorations into how people and activities make up the identity of Becontree today and out of this was borne ‘BeconTea’. A new tea for Becontree.