Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane

Tea at Prufrock Coffee, Leather Lane
Beijing Breakfast
from Laoshan Mountain
Shangdong Province

‘…the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons’

T.S. Elliot.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Prufrock coffee has a reputation bar none in the world of the coffee geek. I hope they don’t mind being referred to as geeks as they are charming and friendly folk, but the lengths they go to make a brew are impressive.
No flicking the kettle on here, this is a veritable laboratory of caffeine. Chrome contraptions to weigh, time, filter and take temperature.
Continue reading

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Gatwick Airport, South Terminal

Giraffe gatwick Airport
Mint Tea Yorkshire style
Giraffe
Bridge Bar Gatwick Airport
Yorkshire Tea
Bridge Bar
On my way to Turkey I challenged myself to find a decent cuppa at Gatwick.
I usually go to Pret, whose tea is good, but served in a paper cup, could I find a china cup among the fast-food joints?
Not thinking I would have much luck, I was pleasantly surprised to discover two places serving a decent brew:

Giraffe

Before checking in, just opposite the station exit at South Terminal is Giraffe. This chain has a sort of young groovy backpacker theme, with a ‘chilled-vibe’ and a nod to ‘fusion’.

They offer a good range of Teapigs tea, including darjeeling,rooibos and mao feng green, at £2 but I was curious to try ‘Moroccan’ Mint made with Yorkshire Tea (£1.95). It was very good; served in a lovely cast iron tea pot so managing to evoke Japan, Marrakesh and… Leeds.
giraffe.net

Bridge Bar

Once through check-in, I was very happy with another pot of Yorkshire Tea, this time served in white china from the Bridge Bar.
My flight was early morning, so bleary-eyed, I was in need of tea and toast. This was far more comfortable than being perched at Pret with a cardboard cup. Continue reading

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Turkish Çay

Turkish tea
Çay
It’s holiday time at Tea at Three, so I’m off to Southern Turkey with books, watercolours and my little yellow tea-kettle.
I love Turkey, and the Turkish people are great tea drinkers – everywhere you are greeted with courteous offers of tea. Tea in turkey is called çay (pronounced chai; rhymes with ‘eye’) and is made in a wonderful double tea-pot called a çaydanlik; consisting of a small tea-pot sitting on a larger one. Strong tea is made in the top pot, and the one below has hot water, so you can dilute your çay to taste. Çay is usually served in small tulip-shaped glasses without milk, and with two Continue reading

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Canteen, Covent Garden

Canteen Covent Garden
English Breakfast
Canteen
Covent Garden
‘Convent’ Garden was the 13th century kitchen garden of the Abbey of St Peter, Westminster.

In 1630 the Duke of Bedford commissioned Inigo Jones to build houses ‘fit for the habitations of gentleman’. Inspired by trips to Italy, he created Covent Garden Piazza – the first open square in England.

Market stalls have been trading in the area since the mid-17th century. When the fire of London destroyed smaller markets, it became the most important fruit, veg and flower market in the country.

In 1973 the market was relocated to Nine Elms and Covent Garden faced demolition. It was saved by campaigners, and is now a lively area of shops and Continue reading

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Liberty Cafe, Regents Street

Liberty Cafe
Darjeeling
Liberty Cafe
Liberty was established in 1874 by Arthur Lasenby Liberty, selling ornaments and objet d’art from the East. By the end of the 19th century it was hugely fashionable and influential, collaborating with the foremost designers of the day, particularly of the Art and Crafts and Art Nouveau styles. In Italy Art Nouveau is known as ‘Stile Liberty’.
The store was frequented by artists and aesthetes – Oscar Wilde declared:

“Liberty is the chosen resort of the artistic shopper.”

Over the years Liberty has worked with contemporary designers and artists including William Morris, Gabriel Dante Continue reading

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Caravan, King’s Cross

Caravan Kings Cross
Green Tea
Caravan Kings Cross
The extraordinary redevelopment of the area around Kings Cross Station continues apace. Since the Eurostar terminal arrived at St Pancras in 2007, the area has seen the opening of King’s Place – a canal side arts centre and home of the Guardian newspaper; the restoration and reopening of Sir Gilbert Scott’s much-loved Midland Hotel and an impressive new roof at Kings Cross Station.

Recently Granary Square, an expansive cobbled space north of Regents Canal, has opened, making apparent the scale of the final project (it even has a new postcode, NC1).
Formerly a canal basin where barges unloaded their goods, Continue reading

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Choccywoccydoodah, Foubert’s Place

Choccywoccydoodah
Pot of Tea
Choccywoccydoodah
Newburgh St. is a pleasant cobbled side street running parallel to Carnaby street – a handy cut-through from Oxford Circus to Soho. I was doing just this, when I noticed a handsome shop on the corner of Foubert’s Place which seemed to be glowing red from inside.

“That’s very curious!” she thought. “But everything’s curious to-day. I think I may as well go in at once.” And in she went.

(Mad Hatter’s Tea Party
Lewis Carroll
)

Inside Choccywoccydoodah Continue reading

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Where to Buy Tea in London: Twinings, Strand

Twinings London
Twinings London
Thomas Twining started selling tea from his coffee shop just off Strand in 1706. Tom’s had a library and was ‘…a place renowned for its polite and scholarly interests’.

Twinings is still run by Thomas’s family. Over the years they have sold tea to Jane Austen, Sir Christopher Wren and Winston Churchill.

The distinctive doorway, with its Chinese figures and golden lion, dates from 1797. The Twinings logo, chosen in 1787, is the oldest in continual use.

On entering Twinings London shop, the first thing you notice is the wonderful Continue reading

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Fleet River Bakery, Holborn

Fleet River Bakery
Karma tea
Fleet River Bakery
The Fleet River is one of London’s lost rivers. Running underground from Hampstead via Kentish Town, Kings Cross and Clekenwell into the Thames at Blackfriars; it was once a major waterway with healing wells along it’s course.
With the industrial revolution, the once clear waters became polluted and the Fleet was gradually bricked over. There are some extraordinary photos and a brief history of the river here.

The Fleet River Bakery is in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, behind Holborn Station. A welcome independent cafe in this area of chains, they bake everything on site from scratch. Emphasis is on the Continue reading

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Tom’s Kitchen, Somerset House

Toms Somerset House
English Breakfast
Tea Tom’s Kitchen
One my recent visit to Samuel Johnson’s House, I bought a booklet of essays entitled ‘Tea and coffee in the age of Dr Johnson’; a fascinating insight into the coffee houses of 18th century London.
I learned that one of the early coffee shops was called Tom’s. Established by Thomas Twining in 1706 nearby the shop on Strand that sells tea to this day. Tom’s had a library and was ‘…a place renowned for its polite and scholarly interests’*. Further up Fleet Street was Nando’s coffee shop (perhaps shortened from Fernando’s).

I am reminded of this 300 odd years later, and Continue reading

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Where to Buy Tea in London: Postcard Teas

Where to buy tea London, Postcard Teas
Postcard Teas
Postcards Teas travel extensively in Asia, working with small-scale producers to find the finest teas which you can buy from 9 Dering Street, a former 18th century grocers shop.
The lovely calm space has tea simply displayed and beautifully packaged in brushed metal canisters; each with a unique postcard and Continue reading

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Momo Cafe, Heddon Street

Momo Heddon Street
Five o’clock Tea
MoCafe
Heddon Street loops off Regent Street towards the Piccadilly end. In 1973 Ziggy Stardust landed with his Spiders from Mars at no. 23 and changed the world. An old red telephone box, featured the back of the album cover, sits in the far corner, past a bar where everything, including the glasses is made of ice (useless for tea cup!).

Forty years on, Heddon Street has been branded, a bit clumsily, as ‘Food Quarter.’ There is a good choice of restaurants, many with tables outside. It is car-free so has a pleasant, courtyard feel.

Momo restaurant, with its impressive Moroccan inspired interior, has been Continue reading

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London Review Cake Shop, Bloomsbury

London Review Cafe Bloomsbury
White Peony with Rosebuds
London Review Cake Shop
The London Review Bookshop is one of London’s finest. A lovely, peaceful book-lover’s oasis in Bloomsbury, and just steps away from the British Museum. It also has a tea and cake shop.

I am greeted by lady with a lovely warm smile and handed a tea menu.
This lists an impressive choice of teas from Jing, including silver needles and phoenix honey orchid oolong.

There is a description of each tea with a QR code which links to videos about the tea and how it is produced.
I chose a white peony with whole rosebuds which was served in a pretty Continue reading

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