The East India Company’s extraordinary and influential history stretches back to 1600 when it was established by a Royal Charter from Elisabeth I.
Over the years it had its own army, and flag – said to be the inspiration for the U.S. Stars and Stripes.
The Company’s dealings led directly to British rule in India and its system of organisation was precursor to the British civil service.
Today, by a strange karmic quirk, East India Company is a luxury brand owed by an Indian company. Their shop, just off Regent’s Street is an elegant emporium, and a rather glamorous place to buy tea. It is quite posh, but not in the least bit snooty; they are most welcoming, with an invitation to try one of the teas brewing in glass teapots.
The choice of tea is fantastic; samples are displayed in glass jars, allowing you to enjoy the aroma before choosing. There are some pricey leaves – especially the rare white teas- but there are plenty of interesting teas to try at a reasonable price.
It is worth knowing that with whole leaf tea you can get three or more infusions from the same leaves, so good quality tea can in fact be a very economical luxury.
The East India Company also sell coffee, chocolate, preserves etc. and some very exotic teaware; hand-painted with gold leaf, and rich colours, dazzling to behold. Everything is beautifully packaged, so make lovely gifts.
The East India Company,
7-8 Conduit Street,
East India Company Mail Order
If you are unable to visit the shop, the East India Company offer a mail order service, which I have tried and found to be very good.
I ordered a selection of teas which arrived promptly. Each was individually wrapped in tissue paper; great for a gift. Other goods are available including coffee, biscuits and chocolate.
Standard post & packing is £2.15.
East India Company Website
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